Scotland’s Eilidh Doyle was team captain for GB and NI at the London 2017 World Champs
scottishathletics are pleased to be playing a significant role with UK Athletics and other Home Country federations to seek to deliver on a new 12-year strategy for the sport in Britain.
Five governing bodies – UK Athletics, Scottish Athletics, Athletics Northern Ireland, England Athletics and Welsh Athletics – have now unveiled the blueprint: Athletics United – Powering Potential; Enhancing Experiences; Delivering Success 2020-2032.
The high level strategy, developed between all five organisations, was formulated from existing research and understanding of the sport has also benefited from an period of consultation during summer 2020, including an online consultation process and a series of joint engagement webinars held by UK Athletics and HCAF partners.
And scottishathletics chief executive, Mark Munro, feels there’s now a real chance for the sport in Britain to take a step forward – at all levels from internal governance to grassroots.
‘It is hugely important that the leadership and governance of the sport across the UK moves forward and we are delighted to see the progress to date through the framework agreement and changes at board level,’ said Mark.
‘However, arguably more important is how we collaborate and work effectively to support the sport at a delivery level.
‘With a new structure across the working groups, shared resources and clear action plans, we feel this can only be a positive for the future of the athletics community across the UK.’
Mark Munro (photo by Bobby Gavin)
At the heart of the new strategy are three key aspirations marking a clear departure from previous strategic focus areas and demonstrating commitment to supporting the core of the sport by putting the athlete and the athletics family at the heart of everything they do.
The key aspirations are:
*Goal 1: In 2032, GB & NI will have a representative in every discipline at all senior international events. In 2032, 95% of the Paralympic team will reach their final.
*Goal 2: A world-renowned infrastructure of athletics and running clubs, competitions and coaches that retains over 250,000 registered athletes across the UK by 2032.
*Goal 3: Athletics, running and pushing* is the nations’ choice to stay active: 9 million regular participants by 2032.
The three aspirations are strategically linked: To improve performance of athletes (Goal 1) there will need to be a world class support system of clubs, coaches, officials and competition (Goal 2) and to make sure this system flourishes with a continuous supply of athletes, participation levels need to be sustained (Goal 3).
If elite success is achieved, talented athletes are developed and major events are delivered this will inspire more young people to participate, existing athletes to stay in the sport and attract more commercial income to re-invest back into the sport to further support the strategy and delivery of these ambitions.
To deliver these aspirations all five organisations have signed up to a UK wide framework agreement, to clearly set out how they will work together, following clear roles and responsibilities, in delivering the unified UK wide strategy.
The respective CEOs; Mark Munro, Joanna Coates (UKA), Kerry Woods (Northern Ireland), Chris Jones (England) and James Williams (Wales), will work to clear terms of reference and, accountable to their respective Boards and reporting to UK Sport and the sports councils, will ensure that resources are utilised in the most efficient and effective way to drive success at all levels of the sport.
In addition, a cross-organisational series of working groups will jointly oversee the strategic and priority areas across the sport.
These working groups will comprise of a chair, the subject matter leads from UKA and each HCAF, plus additional volunteer and expert advisors. Areas they will coordinate on will include Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, leadership, performance and talent, coaching, officials, competition, clubs, club leaders and facilities, running, young people, commercial, major events.
Joanna Coates (photo by British Athletics/Getty Images
UK Athletics CEO Joanna Coates said: ‘This is a significant opportunity for the sport and the first time that all five governing bodies have come together as equal partners to build a united strategy for athletics in the UK, one that they will deliver together in collaboration.
‘This is a key development as outlined in the Dame Sue Street review of UK Athletics published in May 2020.
‘The co-development of a long-term strategy and framework agreement for athletics across the UK, with an ethical decision-making culture and a new communications strategy will ensure that we address the sport’s long-term issues.
‘I’m delighted that we are all united behind these three aspirations and that the new working group format will ensure we are working jointly on these key priority areas.’
Laura Muir and coach Andy Young after double gold at the European Indoors at Glasgow 2019 (photo by Sue Gyford)