Local Sports Partnership & Their Role
Rationale of the Local Sport Partnerships
The Irish Sports Council (ISC) has recognised that the partnerships are an excellent mechanism for delivering recreational sport to local people. Key tasks that the partnerships are involved in include: -
The creation and implementation of plans for long term local sports development
The establishment of a sustainable structure to assist all those involved in local sports development to face the associated challenges -e.g. recruiting and managing volunteers, quality training, etc
Delivery of projects and programmes particularly for target groups - Establishing networks at local level and liaising with existing initiatives
Functions of the Local Sport Partnerships
The three main functions of the LSPs are: -
Information - establish a consultative forum, initiate research, compile a sports directory and database, and identify needs and resources to form the basis of local planning
Education - provide quality opportunities for education and training at local level, provide training courses targeting volunteers, and provide access to sport specific courses through the national governing bodies (NGBs) of sport
Implementation - develop a strategic plan for local sport, appoint a professional administrator, secure related support services, select participation programmes for LSPs modified to suit local needs, increase the impact of national programmes delivered locally, market and promote sport
Role of the Local Sport Partnerships
The key aims of the LSP are to increase participation in sport, and to ensure that local resources are used to best effect. Some of the outcomes we seek are:
Enhanced planning of sport at local level
Local directories of sports bodies & facilities
School, club, community and national governing body (NGB) links
Increased levels of local participation, especially amongst specific target groups such as older people, girls & women, people with disabilities, unemployed people, and those who live in identified disadvantaged communities
Membership of the Local Sport Partnerships
All those statutory bodies, organisations and groups operating in local areas with a responsibility for or interest in sports development should be invited to participate in the LSP. The involvement of the Vocational Education Committees (VEC), city and county councils, Health Service Executive (HSE), FÁS, universities, colleges, Institutes of Technology, commercial companies, sports' clubs, national governing bodies (NGBs) and community groups in the partnership will be important.
The LSP will lead the consultative forum which will represent the views of all local groups. The LSP will be established as a substructure of a local authority with its priorities decided in consultation with its constituent members. This structure will also ensure that all funding made available to the LSP can be dedicated solely to work in the sports sector. The Board of the LSP should be made up of representatives of those agencies regarded as key influencers in local sports development. The LSP will employ the Local Sports Coordinator and will set the priorities for the work of this officer. Thirteen of the initial LSP's are established as companies limited.
Local Sports Coordinator
The Local Sports Coordinator is employed by and reports to the Board of the LSP. The functions ascribed to the LSP will form the basis of the work of this professional, and therefore their work will revolve around the functions described as information, education and implementation. Each LSP will decide on the priorities to be assigned to the Coordinator's work, but in general their role will be the coordination of the planning process for the LSP, and the overseeing of the agreed plan. The Coordinator will also act as secretary to the LSP, facilitate meetings of the LSP Board, and liaise closely with the ISC to act as a conduit for information between national and local developments. The Coordinator will be responsible for the implementation of the local sports strategy, encompassing elements such as education programmes and local participation initiatives.
Assistance to Local Sport Partnerships
The ISC's Participation Unit provide a full support service to the LSP with staff from the Unit facilitating the initial establishment of the LSP. The ISC provide sample job descriptions for posts within the LSP, and assist in the recruitment of these officers. The Unit also provide advice and guidance on the strategic planning process which each LSP will undertake.
The Participation Unit aims to establish a good working relationship with the Coordinators, and to provide them with training and information updates. A Coordinators network is in place so that information on best practice can be made available to all Coordinators. The ISC is also involved in the development and dissemination of specific programmes, course and materials to the LSPs.
Two types of grant aid are offered to the LSPs: -
Core funding - towards the cost of employing LSP staff, developing the partnerships and innovative local initiatives
Programme funding - towards specific, high priority, targeted initiatives identified and promoted by the LSP.
A key recommendation in the Fitzpatrick Report has that from 2009, the LSP must generate 50% of its operating costs locally. Accounting for this funding will be subject to the terms and conditions relating to the allocation of ISC grant aid.