Below is a selection of projects that we have conducted which exemplify our work and expertise:
In 2020 we began working with Skateboard GB to support the development of the UK’s first ever talent coaching and performance pathway strategy for Skateboarding. This involved an in-depth process of consultation prior to the development and road-testing of initial ideas and concepts – a process which helped inform the successful SBGB submission to UK Sport for Progression Funding during the Paris 2024 cycle. Meanwhile, our ongoing engagement with three expert working groups in the areas of Hubs, Coaching and Pathway ensured that the sport continued to make as much progress as possible within the restrictions of COVID-19.
We were commissioned by TASS in autumn 2019 to conduct a review of their existing workstreams, and to make recommendations for their natural evolution over the final year of the funding cycle. Additionally, we were asked to look longer term to ensure that TASS remains fit for purpose in supporting its core client group – talented young English athletes – within the developing British sporting landscape towards 2024 and beyond.
RISE North East: In October 2018 we were commissioned by the then Northumberland County Sports Partnership to review opportunities for collaboration between Northumberland Sport and Tyne & Wear Sport. In view of the HR and employment considerations involved, we worked in partnership with Kraft HR Consulting Ltd to deliver the required services. This project involved our undertaking consultations, facilitating negotiations, and providing constitutional documentation which allowed the existing local authority “hosted” Northumberland active partnership to come together with the company limited by guarantee & registered charity Tyne & Wear active partnership into a shared legal entity in January 2020. This then paved the way for the entity successfully to become the current Rise North East Active Partnership in July 2020.
On behalf of UK Sport, we provided advice and support to the British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association – reviewing the existing governance and management structures for their fitness against the Code for Sports Governance, researching the viability of a number of different operational delivery models for the Skeleton World Class Programme, and providing input and expertise to the organisation as it successfully restructured during 2018-19.
In 2018 we carried out a review for Sport Wales which assessed their approach to the development of coaching in Wales, to ensure alignment and support for the newly published Vision for Sport in Wales. The review provided recommendations on how coaching should be developed and resourced to maximise its impact on the sporting landscape: these were shared both internally and externally with Sport Wales and its stakeholders, and support was provided to implement the agreed action plan.
Sarah has worked as part of the core delivery team on UK Sport’s main Paralympic coach development programme since 2015, where she has been fully involved in the design, development, delivery and reflection process. The successful completion of ParaCoach 2 Rio has been followed by ParaGen 24 and Tokyo 1st – the latter being targeted at first-time coaches for both the Paralympic and Olympic Games in 2021.
In 2015 we were commissioned by the Rugby Football Union to research and develop proposals for an upgrade to the competition structure for women’s rugby. Following consultation with players, clubs and officials, a framework was constructed for an elite domestic league, which existing clubs and other organisations were invited to bid into. In September 2017 the output from this process – the Tyrrells Premier 15s – saw its first matches played.
In 2014 we worked with the Rugby Football Union and the university sector to establish a series of partnerships through which individual institutions were commissioned to deliver specific aspects of the RFU’s programming. These included the recruitment of more players, coaches and volunteers, talent identification for Sevens, and support for the women’s high performance programme. The partnerships also created a framework for the introduction of a national competition for the leading universities, BUCS Super Rugby, for which we conducted an initial feasibility study and a full implementation plan.
Since 2012 we have worked with the Rugby Football Union and Premiership Rugby to develop and deliver an annual process of review for the 14 England Rugby Academies. This has been designed to assess their systems, structures and processes against a template reflecting best practice; gather third-party feedback from stakeholders (players, parents, educational institutions, clubs and partner organisations); make recommendations for improvement year on year; and determine the allocation of central funding for the following year. Since 2016 we have supported the England and Wales Cricket Board to develop and deliver a parallel, adaptive process for the 18 first-class county pathway programmes.
We were commissioned by Great Britain Hockey to conduct an independent post-Games review of the men’s and women’s preparation programmes and performances after each Olympics between 2004 and 2016. These reviews comprised a debrief with players, coaches and support staff, a situational analysis, and recommendations for the next cycle. Progressively, these helped to support the journey taken by the Great Britain women’s team from non-qualification in 2004, to bronze in 2012, and then gold in 2016.
In 2011 we were commissioned to support the Youth Sport Trust in the staging of the UK School Games finals on the Olympic Park, and in other Olympic venues, as a test event for London 2012. We worked with YST, DCMS, LOCOG, Sport England, Fast Track and other agencies on planning, logistics and ticketing for the £6 million four-day event in May 2012, which featured over 1500 athletes and nearly 600 volunteers in 12 different sports, watched by 30,000 spectators.
In 2009 we were commissioned by the Welsh Government to conduct a review of performance and excellence sport in Wales. The following year we worked with Sport Wales to translate the recommendations of the review into an Elite Sport Strategy which set out the way that international performances would be driven and supported at the highest levels over the next decade. The implementation of that strategy produced back-to-back bests for Wales in Commonwealth Games – 36 medals in Glasgow in 2014, and the same number including 10 golds on the Gold Coast in 2018.
We worked with UK Sport between 2006 and 2009 to support 15 different Olympic and Paralympic sports in building performance, management and governance systems and structures in preparation for the London 2012 Games. This included working with national and disability-specific sports organisations to create two new governing bodies, to allow Boccia and Disability Football to receive funding and prepare athletes and teams to participate in the Games.
We worked with Sport Ireland between 2004 and 2008 on the review and development of their high performance programmes, through the medium of two consecutive post-Games review projects. The two significant outputs were, first, a high performance strategy which led inter alia to Ireland enjoying their most successful ever Olympic Games in 2012. And second, proposals to the Irish Government to establish a national sports institute, which liberated €1 million of seed funding for what is now the Sport Ireland Institute.
In 2004 we were commissioned by England Netball to lead a review of their competition structures. The principal outputs were the establishment of a pyramid of inter-club competitions from local and district to county to regional to national levels – and a blueprint for the Netball Superleague, whose delivery and development we supported through until 2012.
In 2001, in one of our earliest engagements, we built a series of partnerships between Woodhouse Grove School and local organisations such as Bradford Bulls, Leeds Beckett University, and a number of community sports clubs. These underwrote the construction of a brand-new, state-of-the-art, £3 million sports centre which is now used as a training base by Bradford City FC.