Many groups and individuals throughout England are feeling more and more alienated from the rest of today’s society. Sport is one way in which social exclusion and inequality associates with gender, age, social class, disability and ethnicity. (Collins. F. M, 2003) “Social exclusion is about the inability of our society to keep all groups and individuals within reach of what we expect as a society” (Coackley. J, 2001) Ethnic groups contribute 11. 58% of the total British population, however a lower proportion of people from ethnic minorities take part in sport, compared with the national average.
A study by Sport England revealed that only 40 % of ethnic minority groups participate in regular sport throughout England. (Sport England, 2000). There are many challenges faced by Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) populations in taking part in sport and active recreation. Whilst it is known that those from various ethnic minority backgrounds are disadvantaged in terms of participation in sport, it is still the formal responsibility of the government to provide community programmes whilst supported by national agencies. Tackling social exclusion has become both a local and national challenge.
The UK government has made social exclusion a central issue that dominates all current social policies. Current documents such as ‘The Social Exclusion Unit’, and the ‘DCMS’s, ‘Strategy for Delivering Government’s Sport and Physical Activity Objectives’ provide significant information to address the issues surrounding exclusion within sport. National agencies are constantly implementing strategies within local communities to ensure access for every individual. This essay will examine the more recent and significant national policies in relation to ethnic minority groups.
It will look at how national policies are filtered down into local authorities and analyse the effectiveness of introducing sporting policy within a community and its benefits, in terms of the links with health, education and social order. Even with this refined method of policy processing, it seems not one method has been fully established as the most effective system to use when implementing a scheme. The Government and each separate National Agency will have their own personal policy framework which they will use to implement their own policies.
Within the policy implementation for sport there are three main bodies involved within the process, the government, sporting agencies and the voluntary/private sector. Throughout this next section, the essay will critically analyse the involvement of each separate body and discuss their importance towards the policy process. As seen on figure 1. 2, the DCMS Game plan document ‘A strategy for delivering the government’s sport and physical activity objectives’ (2002), this analyses the relationships between each body through funding and the overall influence between national, regional and local structures.
(Great Britain Cabinet Office, 2002) The first initial step towards implementing sporting policies for national governing agencies is to take into account the Government’s objectives within sport. At national Government level the responsibility for particular sporting policies relies upon a range of government ministries including the Department of National Heritage (DNH), Home Office, Department for Education and Employment and of course the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. (Houliham. B, 1997) The ministries are recognised as playing a role within shaping national policies, although they have few administrative responsibilities.
The main executive roles within sport policies are primarily conducted by Sports councils within the United Kingdom such as UK Sport. Accountable to Parliament through the DCMS, UK Sport’s work is directed by the managerial board which meets every two months (UK Sport, 2007). UK Sport, Sport England and the Youth Trust are all three national agencies that work very closely with local authorities, governing bodies and clubs within their own region. Each national agency works in conjunction with each other; which allows for a focus upon increasing sports participation through national policy schemes throughout England.
After the prolonged route towards distributing government policy schemes, the Central Council for Physical Recreation (CCPR) are then given responsibility to provide a range of services to 270 national governing and representative bodies. CCPR are closely linked with the three national agencies, in which they all focus on promoting community programmes through sporting bodies. All community programmes are delivered through the concern of DCMS’s Game Plan ‘a strategy for delivering Government’s sport and physical activity objectives’ document.
Published in December of 2002, the comprehensive document was produced jointly by the Government’s Strategy Unit and the DCMS. (Sport Development, 2007). The Game Plan document concentrates on the social value of sports participation within the United Kingdom. The Government’s vision and strategies for sport from both mass participation and performance perspective are extensively analysed up until 2020. Producing strategies with clear and measurable aims, objectives and targets is the starting point of effective delivery and improvement. People need to know what they are seeking to achieve.