Interim Director Update
Those of you who read my update a few months ago, or who attended our recent Stakeholder Engagement Event, will be aware that SASSOT recently went through an external PMIF / Quest assessment. PMIF (or the Performance Management and Improvement Framework, to give it its full name) is Sport England’s version of Quest for County Sports Partnerships, and is their new way of measuring the effectiveness of CSPs.
Our two-day assessment took place on 17th to 18th December, and was the culmination of a lot of self-assessment and evidence gathering both from within the team and Board, and with a wide range of our partners. We recently received our formal report back, and I’m proud to say that we achieved a ‘Good’ rating across all areas, which I believe is a fair reflection of where we are at, at this point in time, and recognises how far we’ve travelled as an organisation since the launch of our new strategy and the restructure of our team and Board last year.
As with any process of this kind, various strengths and areas for improvement were identified by the assessor, and overall these echoed what we’d already identified during the initial self-assessment process. A few excerpts from the report are shown below.
“SASSOT has a clear idea of where the organisation wants and needs to go, maintaining a focus on addressing inactivity and delivering the strategic priorities through a place-based approach, and it is developing the culture, the people and the collaborations needed to get there”
“There are examples of where physical activity has been heightened in other agendas, for example with Staffordshire Health and Wellbeing Board, Staffordshire Public Health and the Police and Crime Commissioner”
“The SASSOT team has been restructured to align with the Strategy and the staff have a considerable amount of knowledge, experience and competencies to deliver the priorities, and have the drive, passion and determination to make a difference through the new place-based approach”
“SASSOT has a very inclusive collaborative approach. Leadership is evident and the team feel empowered to engage with relevant networks, develop new partnerships and make decisions.”
Areas for Improvement:
“SASSOT has widened and deepened its reach and engagement with partners (existing and new). However, developing a more in-depth understanding of partners’ objectives and motivations may help ensure high-level ownership and understanding of the Strategy and identify new innovative ways to deliver against shared outcomes”
“Partners have indicated that they would like SASSOT ‘to raise awareness of physical activity in the area’ and on occasions to be firmer and bolder in advocating its value at a strategic level to influence other agendas.”
“The Board and team could consider raising the team’s profile by celebrating success, achievements and learning. They could be more outward facing and shout louder about what they do and the value of sport and physical activity”
We’re currently incorporating the recommendations from the report into our Improvement Plan, and then have a ‘round table’ meeting with Sport England in March to hopefully get our improvement plan signed off. More importantly, we will then begin working through the actions in the plan to ensure that when we are reassessed in two years’ time we are rated as Very Good or Excellent!
Stakeholder Engagement Event
As mentioned above, we held our latest Stakeholder Engagement Event on 7th February, which was attended by a wide range of our partners old and new. We used it as an opportunity to provide an overview of the work we’ve done this year and, through case studies and presentations, we gave everyone insight into some of our key work areas and the impact they are having.
We also outlined our current Products and Services Offer to partners – attendees had a chance to discuss this offer and where they felt we should focus our priorities during 2019-20, and also to input into how we engage with our partners in the future. Discussion was animated throughout the morning and we came away with lots of useful feedback and ideas which will help us shape our upcoming work, so thanks to all of you who attended and contributed.
Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire
SASSOT is pleased to be working with Staffordshire County Council and Stafford Borough Council to bring the Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire back to Staffordshire for the 5th consecutive year.
The event, which generated over £1.7 million for the local economy last year, involves a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile cycle and 13.1 mile will attract nearly 2500 athletes from across the UK and further afield.
SASSOT helped build the business case to secure the event for 2019 and will be providing contract management support to the County Council to ensure its successful delivery. This involves liaison between Ironman and the relevant departments of the County Council alongside statutory bodies and other local stakeholders.
Physical Activity and Mental Health in Young People – Making the Connection workshop
The Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent School Games LOC (Local Organising Committee) bought together over 50 schools on 13th February at Entrust in Stafford. The aim of the workshop was to explore the relationship between physical activity levels in young people and the positive effects that this can have on their mental health and offer some practical ways to use physical activity to influence this increasingly important agenda.
Schools were welcomed to the workshop with an engaging opening address from Simon Ascroft (Head Teacher, Biddulph High School and Chair of the Staffordshire Local Organising Committee).
Caroline Siddell (Director Via Vita Health Ltd & The Sunday Times PE Teacher of the Year 2009) then gave an interesting introduction to the topic. Caroline leads on wellbeing for all PiXL schools nationally and has created a huge framework of health and wellbeing resources, mental health ambassador training programmes and staff wellbeing programmes. She has lead successful mental health campaigns and developed employee resources and toolkits for the workplace.
Following on from this schools participated in a primary or secondary school focused workshop. The primary school workshop was led by Gaye Holmes from ‘imoves’ and involved practical ideas of how to use physical activity to improve mental health in Primary School Pupils. ‘imoves’ work across the UK to support teachers to become more confident in getting their children active and to educate them on the benefits they will see as a result; not just fitness levels but also academically, behaviourally and an improved mental health too. The secondary school workshop was led by key note speaker Caroline Siddell and included practical ideas of how to use physical activity to improve mental health in Secondary Pupils.
It is hoped those schools who attended will now be able to take some of these practical ideas back to their school environment to use and the impact of this workshop will be followed up at a later point in the year.
Youth Sport and Events Officer