Headlines: March 21st, 2005

The Government is taking steps to cut bureaucracy that it believes is hindering the work of local councils, voluntary bodies and others in providing sport for schools and local communities. Four Whitehall departments and other key sports stakeholders have agreed the plan.The measures are designed to make it easier for groups to find out about and apply for funds, to introduce new rules on security checks and to ensure there are fewer forms to complete and fewer demands for information. The initiative – Making a Difference: Reducing burdens in school and community sport – has been led by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the Department for Education and Skills and the Cabinet Office.

Over the last nine months more than a hundred front-line staff in local authorities, the voluntary sector, schools and key sports organisations have been questioned to help to identify unnecessary paperwork and ways to streamline the system. As a result changes will be made at various points from
now until autumn next year.

The proposals affect five key areas and will mean there will be a single source for information on funding, including the introduction of a ‘Sport Direct’ helpline. The application process will be simplified to create a single form, to help organisations submit successful applications for funds. There will also be a a new screening system for groups applying for Lottery funding so they get an earlier indication of their chances of success. Projects will be funded over three years to allow for planning ahead and an inspection and monitoring agreement will be developed for all Government and Lottery sports funders, to ensure a more proportionate level of audit.

Away from funding there will be less double-checking by the Criminal Records Bureau of individuals who work in different areas, or different sports in an effort to reduce barriers to out-of-hours use of school facilities, and more proportionate risk assessments with respect to school and community sport.