achieve common goals. Activity levels can be influenced, positively or

negatively through numerous environmental, societal and organisational actions and the answers often lie within the communities and individuals we are seeking to support. For example, new housing and infrastructure developments offer an unrivalled opportunity to start creating environments that encourage physical activity by design through high quality walking and cycling infrastructure. Social prescribing within healthcare systems

offers an opportunity to support people when they are motivated to change into a more active lifestyle. Employers can create the conditions and encourage their employees to reduce sedentary behaviour and build in activity in and around the working day. Schools have an important role in building physically literate young people and thinking creatively about creating an active school environment. Communities can be supported to take responsibility for providing more opportunities in their neighbourhood. In many ways, it’s like the cross-government

partnership with Sport England. Whilst the programmes we’ve delivered to date have created positive outcomes, low levels of physical activity and stubborn inequalities remain across different groups in society and the needs of our partners and communities are changing. Therefore, we need to act and think differently.

Q. How have needs changed? Activity levels are affected by a complex system of influences and no single organisation or programme can create sustainable change at scale. The Sporting Future strategy recognized this and called for a more cross government, outcome focused approach. Sport England’s strategy, Towards an Active Nation, built upon this and recognising the different needs of local communities, proposed testing a more place-based approach, which requires a different and stronger relationship with the Active Partnerships. Locally, public finances have been squeezed,

the funding, capacity and expertise for physical activity within local authorities has reduced, and associated services such as youth and community engagement, health and police are all under pressure. Yet it is these same partners that we need to work with to tackle inactivity. We also need to broaden the range of

partners we work with to include those that may be outside of the sport and physical activity sector but who can help engage the less active members of society.

Q. How are you adopting a systems approach to tackling inactivity? Recognising that inactivity and inequalities are complex social challenges which cannot be addressed through a single intervention or organization, we are increasingly adopting a systems approach, working across organisational boundaries to develop and


Active Partnerships work across all sports, activities, providers and audiences to meet local needs

At headline level, the partnerships are

seeking to create the following conditions in every locality: • An in-depth understanding of the needs of the local community built on robust data and insight.

• Cross-sector partnerships with a shared understanding and commitment to the benefits of an active lifestyle.

• A vibrant, inclusive, customer-focussed sport and physical activity sector with a skilled, welcoming and diverse workforce.

• Communities engaged in co-designing the delivery of impactful behaviour change interventions.

• Shared learning of what works locally to get people active and compelling evidence of the impact that sport and physical activity can have on a range of outcomes

Q. How will this change what you do? The shift in emphasis from programme delivery to a place-based, whole system approach requires us to develop different skills and approaches, moving away from top down approaches to facilitating the system and being part of it alongside other stakeholders. We are using systems thinking to consider much more deeply about the causes of

approach proposed within Sporting Future, but at the local level. The challenge for the Active Partnerships, given the scale of the task, is to establish clear priorities based on local need and where they believe they can have the biggest impact.

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