Describe and Critically Evaluate the Policy Process for the following issue in Sports Development; Social Inclusion, focusing on Athletics.

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Evan Morris                Sports Development

(10042164)                Neil King

Sports Development

Describe and Critically Evaluate the Policy Process for the following issue in Sports Development; Social Inclusion, focusing on Athletics.

Sport development is fundamental to sporting success, health status and arguably to the benefit of society as a whole.  “PE and sport are a fundamental part of the education of all young people,” (DCMS ‘A Sporting Future for All’ document 2000).  Sports development officers fulfil this role.  According to Hylton et al (2001), the aim of the sports development officer  (SDO) is to plan, implement and monitor equality work within sport.  But LeGrand (1991) suggests that, “equality is illusionary, impractical, inappropriate and immoral,” (Hylton et al 2001 p38). If this contentious view is portrayed throughout society then ‘sport for all’ will never truly be achieved.    

In the realm of sports development, there are four main groupings of individuals dependent upon their abilities and their objectives for participation.  This is known as the sports development continuum.


Sports Development Continuum:





For this essay we must also understand what policy processes are.  A policy is, ‘a response to a crisis.’  A social inclusion policy benefits society because the cost to the taxpayer in health service and criminal damage is astronomical, and sport is viewed to reduce these problems.  

An example of the cost to the taxpayer is £228m was spent on youth prisoners in 2003.  Because of this the Government set up a Policy Action Team, PAT 10 to tackle the issue of social inclusion.  The government acted in response to pressure from the media, sports organisations (eg FIFA and the IOC), and from government agencies such as Sport England.  All of these agencies have highlighted the limited success the nation has at elite level and the escalating costs of health and crime.  The social inclusion agendas aim to increase success and reduce Government costs.  

Jones et al (1994) state that the three main stages in the policy process for success are initiation, formulation and implementation.

Finally we need to understand that social inclusion provides equal opportunity for all to participate in sport irrelevant of their age, sex, gender or ethnicity, Hylton et al (2001) and Donnelly (2004).  “Sport is directly influenced by society and consequently many of the wider processes of society express themselves in the realm of sport,” (Hylton et al 2001 p37).  This statement refers to the notion that if prejudice and discrimination are present in society, they will be prevalent in sport.

Almost half of adults participate in some form of physical activity, (DCMS 2000) yet there are many reasons why the rest of society does not participate.  The reasons vary depending on the individual and their specific situation.  To truly achieve the Government’s objectives of the 1970s ‘sport for all,’ these barriers must be apprehended.  

Inequality is shaped by different social, political, cultural and economic factors, Hylton et al (2001).  Houlihan (1997) and Hylton et al (2001) identify the key factors  in the search for equality are, age, gender, class, occupation, education, wealth, ethnicity and motor access.  Barriers to participation include:

stereotypes of athletes from sociological ideologies, such as women being inferior; religion and cultural differences; disability and the social constraints for disabled people.

For some children athletics is running, and usually for fairly long distances.  Many children dislike this because the feeling of fatigue is uncomfortable.   Compared to sports such as football, athletics receives little broadcasting.  There seem to be two renowned competitions in athletics, the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games.  These competitions do get TV coverage, but only every four years.  Athletics is not as well covered or publicised as competitive games such as football.

Another aim would be to change people’s views about athletics and sports in general.  It is not just for men and muscular people.  Sport is for all and participation is not necessarily competitive.  This is shown by the notion that more people partake in individual sports compared to team sports, Hylton et al (2001).  

However, more men participate than women, and more of the youth participate compared to the elderly.  Policies to encourage female and elderly people have been introduced for this reason..  

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In areas of social and economic deprivation such as Merseyside, many local people  do not have the disposable income to participate in sports such as athletics.  The cost of equipment and membership to a club has to be paid.  

In an affluent community where an individual works fulltime, finding time for sport is low on the priority list.  

In some local communities, transport to and from the sports centres can be difficult.   Provision of transport by local government is needed to gain access to the sports centres.  In major cities such as Liverpool there ...

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