MD1543 Mayor’s Sports Legacy Programme – Phase III

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Date signed: 
24 September 2015
Decision by: 
Boris Johnson MP (past staff), Mayor of London

Executive summary

This paper seeks approval for Phase III of the Mayor’s Sports Legacy Programme. £2.25 million has been identified within the GLA’s budget for this purpose and the investment was considered and approved by the Investment and Performance Board in August 2015. 

Phase III of the programme will, like Phases I and II, be based on the Mayor's strategy for sport, 'A Sporting Future for London'. Investment will continue in broadly the same areas as in previous phases, with funding directed to sports facilities, skills and a variety of sports participation projects. There will also be continued targeting of inactive people and disabled people.


The Mayor approves expenditure of £2.25million for Phase III of the Mayor's Sports Legacy Programme, a programme of projects designed to increase sports participation and to maximise the social impact of sport in London, subject to annual break clauses for all contracts and funding agreements.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1.     Background

As part of the UK’s bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the UK made a commitment to establish a sporting legacy. In order to deliver that commitment in London, the Mayor published ‘A Sporting Future for London’  in 2009 and made £15.5m available (MD385) to fund infrastructure development, skills and capacity building, and initiatives designed to increase participation in grassroots sports; this investment formed Phase I of the Mayor’s Sports Legacy Programme (MSLP). 

Following the success of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, an additional £7m (Phase 2) was made available for the MSLP to invest to ensure gains made in Phase I of the programme were sustained (MD1119). The full amount of Phase I and Phase II funding has been committed and, as a result of match funding, a total investment of over £53 million will have been made into grassroots sport in London.

1.2 Investment through the MSLP is designed specifically to deliver the four goals set out in the Mayor’s strategy for community sport, ‘A Sporting Future for London’, that is:

1.    Get more people active;
2.    Transform the sporting infrastructure;
3.    Build capacity and skills; and
4.    Maximise the benefits of sport to our society.

‘A Sporting Future for London’ underpins the Mayor’s commitment to deliver a lasting sports legacy following the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, but it feeds into a number of other Mayoral priorities, most notably, health, jobs and growth, young people, crime prevention, and volunteering. 

In order to achieve the objectives set out in ‘A Sporting Future for London’, MSLP funding is divided into three main categories:

‘Facilities’ – capital funding to support investment in community sports facilities;

‘Skills and Capacity Building’ – revenue funding to build capacity in the sport and active leisure sector, including training for volunteers;

‘Participation’ – revenue funding to support the expansion and growth of projects that provide opportunities for Londoners to take part in sport and stay active (including the ‘FreeSport’ small grants programme, and the ‘Make a Splash’ mobile pools initiative).  

To date, almost 400,000 Londoners have participated in projects funded by the programme; over 13,000 coaches and officials have been trained; 105 sports facilities have been built, refurbished or upgraded; and more than 33,000 people have learnt to swim through the Make a Splash mobile swimming pools programme.

The MSLP is focussed on addressing the issue of inactivity; every participation project funded has a target for the number of previously inactive participants that they must engage with. Additionally, increasing opportunities for disabled people to participate in sport is central to the strategy. It is a funding condition of all projects that they agree a bespoke action plan that demonstrates how their planned activities will be inclusive of disabled participants.

The Mayor’s investment, through his Sports Legacy Programme, has contributed to London being the most physically active region in the country. According to Sport England’s Active People Survey, once a week sports participation in London has risen by 412,000 since London was awarded the 2012 Games in 2005 (an increase of 2.8% of London’s population aged 16+). This increase outstripped performance nationally, with England seeing a 0.2% increase over the same period.

To strengthen London’s grassroots sporting infrastructure even further, in 2014 the Mayor partnered with Sport England to create London Sport, a new pan-London body responsible for coordinating the development of grassroots sport in London (see MD1279).

London Sport’s vision is to make London the most physically active city in the world and to get one million people more active by 2020. The Mayor appoints the Chair of the London Sport Board, currently his Sports Commissioner, Kate Hoey MP.

Whilst the Mayor retains overall control of decisions about funding provided to grassroots sport by the GLA, it is a stated ambition that the Mayor’s policy for developing grassroots sport in London should be aligned with London Sport’s objectives. The proposals set out in this paper for the distribution of Phase III funding have therefore been developed in partnership with London Sport officers and approved by the London Sport Board.

Given the success of the programme to date, combined with the continuing need for investment in London’s grassroots sporting infrastructure, there remains a clear case to invest in boosting the supply of, and stimulating the demand for, sporting opportunities in London. The MSLP’s focus on three main investment strands (facilities, skills and participation) has been widely welcomed and endorsed, and it is proposed that the Phase III investment is directed at similar areas.

1.3.     Proposed Delivery Approach

The GLA’s Sports Unit will be responsible for: designing the programme’s delivery parameters; commissioning projects and initiatives to be funded; and performance managing, monitoring, and reporting on progress in accordance with the GLA’s corporate requirements. 

The Sports Unit has worked in collaboration with London Sport and Sport England to determine the most effective and strategic way of prioritising and disseminating the funding. It is proposed that the Phase III investment is distributed as follows:

•    Facilities Fund (£1.25m capital) - focus investment into developing new or refurbishing existing 3G multi-sport pitches in strategically identified locations across London. As previously, the funding programme will be managed and administered by an external body with technical expertise in running facilities programmes.

•    Sports Participation Fund (£900k revenue) - replicating the format of previous funding rounds of the Mayor’s Sports Participation Fund and maintaining the Fund’s focus on engaging inactive and disabled participants. It is proposed that that this tranche of investment be targeted at two key under-represented demographic groups: women and girls; and older people. As previously, the funding programme will be managed and administered by the GLA Sports Team.

•    Innovation Fund (£50k revenue) - target start-ups or other organisations specialising in technological innovation to bid for grants of up to £10k to develop and test ideas using technology that can help to support our strategic mission of getting and keeping people active. The funding programme would be managed and administered by London Sport.

•    Programme evaluation and contingency (£50k revenue).

Detailed financial costings for each project will be confirmed once bids are received through the commissioning process. 

In order to maximise the benefits achievable through the next phase of funding, the GLA will seek to ensure that third party recipients of funding secure additional funding from other sources. Therefore, as with Phase I and II of the programme, the identification of match funding will be a criteria of grant application.

As with all GLA expenditure, it will be publicly reported in accordance with the Mayor’s commitment to transparency.    

Further details pertaining to the administration and management of the programme, and the processes for use and distribution of the funding will be provided in future Director’s Decision papers which will draw down funds as necessary.

1.4.     Governance 

London Sport was launched by the Mayor in April 2015. It was created in partnership with Sport England following the re-organisation of five existing County Sports Partnerships in London (there is a network of 49 similar County Sports Partnerships throughout England). It is a single, pan-London body, responsible for delivering activities funded by Sport England and for the development of grassroots sport in London. 

London Sport is governed by an independent board consisting 11 members. The Mayor appoints the Chair of London Sport (currently Kate Hoey, the Mayor’s Sports Commissioner) and two additional board members. 

The board of London Sport has been consulted about the proposals for Phase III of the MSLP and gave its endorsement for the proposed delivery approach at its meeting of 9 July 2015.

The board of London Sport will be consulted during the commissioning of individual projects and their approval sought to endorse grant awards.

Objectives and expected outcomes

Phase III of the MSLP will contribute to delivering the strategic objectives set out in the Mayor’s strategy for community sport, ‘A Sporting Future for London’ (as above).

It is intended that a range of projects and initiatives will be commissioned to deliver these objectives working towards the headline ambition for Phase III of: at least 20,000 additional Londoners being provided with opportunities to get active and stay active, including a minimum of 4,000 (20%) previously inactive people.  Phased III is intended to contribute to the fulfilment of a broader capital investment stream that aims to see at least 10 local sports facilities built, refurbished or expanded.

In addition, opportunities will be sought to align with and support strategic outcomes related to other Mayoral programmes, such as:

•    Team London – the Mayor’s volunteering initiative;
•    The Mayor’s Healthy Schools initiative;
•    The Mayor’s Flagship Food programme; and
•    Cultural initiatives with a physical activity dimension, such as the Big Dance.

Detailed KPIs for each project will be confirmed once bids are received through the commissioning process.

Equality comments

An equalities impact assessment has previously been undertaken on the Mayor’s Sports Legacy Programme.

Sport England research shows that rates of inactivity are significantly higher amongst women, older people, disabled people, and groups of BAME people. The MSLP’s focus on targeting previously inactive Londoners, and the proposed targeting of female and older participants for the Sports Participation Fund, ensure that equalities considerations are mainstreamed throughout the programme. 

According to the most recent Sport England Active People survey (APS 8 published in January 2015), levels of participation in sport and physical activity are variable across different socio-demographic groups in London. Across all 33 London Boroughs, average figures indicate that 43% of men participate in sport at least once a week compared to 32% of women. 37% of Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) people participate weekly compared to 39% of people of white origin. 19% of disabled people participate weekly compared to 40% of non-disabled people. 17% of people over the age of 65 participate weekly compared to 52% of those between the age of 16 and 25. 41% of people from socio-economic groups 1 to 4 participate weekly compared to 25% from those from socio-economic groups 5-8 (based on the National Statistics Socio-economic classification system).

Projects supported by the MSLP aim to engage significant numbers of women, disabled people, BAME people and people from lower socio-economic groups, both via sports participation programmes and training opportunities. We are seeking to increase participation opportunities for these groups through the Phase III investment that this paper advocates.

Other considerations

Key Risks


Risk description

Mitigation / Risk response

Current probability (1-4)

Current impact (1-4)

RAG rating


The ongoing decline in grassroots sport investment by other agencies may mean that the impact of the Mayor’s investment only maintains the status quo rather than increases participation overall, representing a reputational risk.

Accept. However, to avoid simply plugging investment gaps caused by the absence of funding from other sources, MSLP funds will be prioritised to support proposals that will deliver ‘additionality’ and/or the expansion rather than continuation of existing activity.





Investment may be mis-targeted, i.e. not be invested in the right geographical or sporting hot-spot areas, leading to under-utilisation, potential reputational damage, and ultimately reduced overall impact.

The GLA will ensure all funding decisions are informed by and influenced by the resources, research, and insight held by key partner agencies – in particular Sport England, NGBs, and London Sport as well key organisations already delivering within London.





The GLA does not have the capacity or resources to deliver sports programmes directly and will therefore rely on the work of third parties to realise the programme’s aims. There may not be sufficient competent delivery partners to receive grant funding awards, leading to delays or even, in extreme cases, abandonment of elements of the programme.

The majority of present and previous delivery partners have indicated that they would like to continue working with us. In addition, we work closely with London Sport, a newly established organisation with a specific strategic remit to find solutions or intervene directly if the gaps in the sector materialise.





Links to Mayoral Strategies & Priorities

The Phase III investment will:
•    support delivery of the Mayor’s grassroots sport strategy, ‘A Sporting Future for London’;
•    support delivery of the Mayor’s major sports events strategy, ‘London: Home of World Class Sport’;
•    support the aims of the ‘Inclusive and Active 2’ strategy for increasing participation in sport and physical activity amongst disabled people in London; 
•    assist in meeting the objectives of the Mayor’s Health Inequalities Strategy; 
•    promote social development in London;
•    assist the Mayor in delivering his commitment to a lasting sports legacy following the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games;
•    support the Mayor’s priorities around volunteering and his Team London programme.

Impact Assessments and Consultations

In writing ‘A Sporting Future for London’, the GLA Sports Unit consulted extensively with over 400 individuals from over 100 different groups and organisations including national governing bodies of sport, the Pro-Active Partnerships, senior representatives from local authorities and a wide variety of sports clubs and community organisations. 

The conclusions reached received broad support from all key stakeholders and reaction to the plan itself has been very positive.

Financial comments

5.1    As part of the 2015-16 budget process £2.25m was allocated for Phase 3 of the Mayor’s Sports Legacy Programme, a combination of revenue and capital funding (£1m revenue; £1.25m capital), phased over two financial-years as follows:













5.2    The Sports Unit, having reviewed the proposed programme are now proposing a revised expenditure profile to better reflect the Teams’ expectations on programme delivery. Consequently the re-phasing of the budget will be addressed as part of the 2016-17 budget process and is summarised below:














5.3    It should be noted that the 2016-17 budget will be the last to be set by the current Mayor and consequently all contracts and funding agreements entered will contain an annual break clause as well as the flexibility to increase or decrease budget provision as required.

5.4    Any changes to this proposal, including budgetary implications will be subject to further approval via the Authority’s decision-making process. All appropriate budget adjustments will be made. 



Investment and Performance Board

This proposal was considered at the 18 August 2015 IPB meeting.

The Board received a report seeking in principle investment for Phase 3 of the Mayor’s Sports Legacy Programme and approved in-principle the investment of £2.25m (£1.0m revenue and £1.25m capital) into Phase 3 of the Mayor’s Sports Legacy Programme subject to break clauses.
It was also agreed that the Prospectus for the Innovation Fund should be cleared by the Chief of Staff’s office before finalisation.

Planned delivery approach and next steps

The key funding streams associated with this investment are detailed in section 1.3 above.

The Programme Manager (Mayor’s Sports Legacy Programme) will be responsible for managing the overall investment programme. Management of the programme will be supported by the Sports Policy Officer, with oversight provided by the Head of Sport.

The GLA Sports Team will:

•    provide overall programme management of the investment;
•    manage and administer the commissioning of projects for the Sports Participation Fund;
•    commission London Sport to manage and administer the commissioning of projects for the Innovation Fund;
•    coordinate the process for commissioning projects for the Facilities Fund (we are currently reviewing the role of the Football Foundation as the Facilities Fund managing agent);
•    commission a programme evaluation;
•    coordinate input from key stakeholders, such as personnel from London Sport, the London Sport board, Sport England and Interactive, who will provide local knowledge and other expertise required to support the commissioning of projects;
•    coordinate and oversee the execution of grant funding agreements with all commissioned projects;
•    provide ongoing performance management across all strands of the fund; 
•    consult with the board of London Sport about the proposed delivery approach.




Sports Participation Fund opens for applications


Sports Participation Fund application process closes


Successful applicants to Sports Participation Fund informed


Delivery of Sports Participation Fund activities begin


Project monitoring and evaluation


Sports Participation Fund activities complete




Innovation Fund opens for applications


Innovation Fund application process closes


Successful applicants to Innovation Fund informed


Delivery of Innovation Fund activities begin


Innovation Fund activities complete and reports submitted




Facilities Fund delivery and commissioning approach finalised 


Construction of funded projects complete




Programme evaluation complete



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