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fi a update the scores on the doors


Steven Ward, the FIA’s director of public affairs and policy, reports on developments under the new government


scorecard for where we currently stand. Despite a mixed reaction to its


S


introduction, I’ve yet to talk to anyone who is not disappointed by the removal of central funding for Free Swimming. Unfortunately, from the moment it appeared in the Labour manifesto, its political affi liation and contrast to the locally-driven approach preferred by the new government made it £40m waiting to be cut. The FIA is working very closely with the Amateur Swimming Association, and we expect this partnership to be formally strengthened in the near future, but we would be wrong to hide our disappointment at the decision.


change4life Change4Life has been saved but not as we know it. We should not forget that the UK government was the biggest advertiser in the country last year. However Andrew Lansley, the Secretary of State for Health, has decided that, in a time of austerity, paid-for TV advertising is not something in which the government should be investing. But the campaign pushes on with


its partnership-based activity: there will continue to be extensive press and media partnerships, with ITV and the Mirror Group lined up in support of the sub-brand Walk4Life this autumn. Meanwhile, local partnerships are set to be incentivised with the creation of a Community Challenge Fund, providing central support for anyone able to leverage additional funding from other sources, including major commercial partners. Change4Life is down but not out.


ince the election on 6 May 2010, we have seen some fairly significant developments. Here is my


news


Central funding has already been removed from the Free Swimming initiative An interesting dynamic is emerging in


the debate around the legacy from the 2012 Olympic Games. Hugh Robertson, the newly-appointed Sports Minister, has introduced a concept whereby the delivery of legacy would take place through “community-based facilities” as well as through sports national governing bodies. Our industry should be well positioned to respond to this challenge.


healthcare reform Andrew Lansley is following through on his pledge to reform the way the Department of Health “does” public health. So far, we’ve been able to establish that there will be a new responsibility deal between government and business built on shared social responsibility and not state regulation, with a board on which the FIA chair will sit. There will be a new ringfenced public health budget, controlled locally by a board of partners, on which we would also like to see the FIA represented by local members. So much of this is open for shaping and development, which will


provide an interesting six months or so for my team at the FIA. However, as exciting as the reforms to


public health policy could be, it will be some time before the Secretary of State turns his full attention to this agenda. He has the immediate priority of reforming the way the NHS commissions services. Government is to devolve power and responsibility for this to the healthcare professionals closest to patients: GPs (and practice nurses) will work in consortia, and will start taking on fi nancial duties by 2012/13. Consequently, both Primary Care Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities will be abolished. So the role of the GP is about to


be transformed, and the work of the FIA’s Chief Medical Offi cer to build relationships with the Royal College of General Practitioners and other key medical bodies seems like a prescient move. With professionals on the front line being trusted to improve outcomes, it will be crucial that they value and respect the contribution that our industry can make to the health of the nation.


leisureopportunities is the offi cial recruitment magazine of the fi a 18 Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital august 2010 © cybertrek 2010


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