Sport Wales

As many of you will now be fully aware, my role as Chair of Sport Wales, was recently terminated, following a suspension of the entire Board previously, and following my extensive Review into the organisation, which was submitted to key stakeholders.

As I expressed in a BBC News interview recently, following my dismissal, I am extremely disappointed that Welsh Government has decided that this is the best course of action, and will be continuing my campaign to help make sport in Wales accessible, fair, transparent and fit for purpose for everyone.

I am also bitterly disappointed to be leaving behind a team of passionate, talented and committed people, who are the lifeblood of Sport Wales, and who continue to be thwarted in the delivery of their duties by a Board and management team who, I believe, do not always have the interests of the general public front of mind.

If anyone reading this thinks that my response to the termination of my appointment is a case of ‘sour grapes’  then I can only say, watch this space and judge for yourselves, what I say and do over the coming weeks and months.

I remain, as always, committed to sport and Wales and will be doing my best to ensure that my voice, and the voice of the many people, clubs and organisations, at grass roots level, who are not receiving the support they so desperately need, and should be entitled to, are heard.

If you would like to read the Review I prepared during my time at Sport Wales, I have made the full report available below, in the public interest, and in the spirit of ensuring freedom of information.

Sport Wales Chairs Review Nov 9th 2016

21 Comments Add yours

  1. Julie Taylor says:

    Could you email me your report please so I can read it at a later date. I would like to back you up with your work to uncover the issues at Sports Wales. I also believe that grass roots sport is being overlooked .

    Like

    1. Thanks for your support Julie. Let me know your email address and I will send.

      Like

  2. Louise says:

    Well done for standing up for what you believe in as always. I will read the report. Good luck with what you do next.

    Like

    1. Thanks Louise, I appreciate the support.

      Like

  3. Like many large organisations there is a tendency for people at the top to say one thing and do another! Unfortunately because they are at the top they do not seem to be accountable to anyone!
    When is common sense going to prevail and be proactive in getting a benefit for all and not just the egos of a few.
    Well done Paul for having a pair big enough and challenging what is wrong.

    Like

    1. Thanks for your support Craig, it’s really appreciated. Watch this space for more updates on what I hope to do next.

      Like

  4. Sian says:

    The issue with physical activity is that it is very complex, with so many layers to consider to ensure that individuals find the right ingredients to help them become and stay active. An issue we have is the resource available in Wales to join up all the components – ensuring that ‘we’ are all signed up to the same thing, and accountable for delivering individuals components, would be a good start. Having more of an emphasis on the role of activity on wellbeing needs greater consideration rather than assuming everyone wants to do sport.

    Like

    1. Thanks for the comment Sian, agreed!

      Like

  5. Student says:

    Hi Paul. I wrote down these thoughts after hearing the news that your role as Chair of Sport Wales had been terminated. I wasn’t intending to share them but reading your review has made me change my mind!

    As a student close to graduating, the events of the past few months have made me start to question whether I still want to pursue a career in sport.
    To many people, choosing a career in sport is already a bizarre decision. I’ve heard no end of times that there is ‘no money to be made in sport’. The upside however is that you end up surrounded by people who are genuinely passionate about what they do. Sport really can have a positive impact on people’s lives and being a part of that is truly rewarding. But would a career in sport be as wonderful as it seems? The more experience and insight I gain, the more I question the reality of working in sport.

    Sport is often hailed as the medicine to all of society ills. Whether it’s solving the obesity crisis or combatting poverty, there is an increasing demand for the sports sector to widen its remit despite its budget simultaneously being reduced. How can this challenge be addressed? Through utilising the skills, knowledge and experience of those both inside and outside of the sector to pioneer a sport strategy that is fit for the changing demands of society. In short – innovation.

    But for that to happen, change is needed. Sticking to the current approach will continue to waste money and squander the time and energy of people who are passionate about making a difference. However recent events show that those in position of power would prefer to stick to that status quo rather than admit that considerable change is needed. The consequences of this for the sports sector as a whole are significant. But on a personal level, it is making me reconsider my future.

    When I come to graduating why would I choose an industry where those at the top have cowered when faced with the opportunity for innovation and transformation? A different path could take me to organisations such as PwC, Unilever or Deloitte where the training, mindset and opportunities for progression would be completely different – not to mention the salary! I would never claim that my decision would be a loss to the sports sector. But I’m sure there will be others who are more pioneering and innovative than me thinking exactly the same. Where does that leave the sports sector in the future?

    Like

    1. Thanks for your comment and your honesty and personal story, I really appreciate it. Real and drastic change is needed to make sure the right people are in the right jobs and to make sure funding is allocated in the most effective way. It would be a terrible shame if you and others in your position feel there is no future in the sector for you. I’ll keep you updated on this site on what I hope will happen over the coming weeks and months.

      Like

  6. Simon Vincent says:

    The day WAG chose to be “jellyfish” over the truth, they and Sport Wales lost such a great asset who would have 100% ensured the organisation went forward with honesty and integrity. Being able to put personal gains aside to empower the sporting, health and exercise needs of the whole of Wales would have been such an amazing (and rarely seen) quality, that now will sadly not happen as yet another prehistoric public run organisation slips back into its old ways of being run for the gain of “the few” at the expense of the many. Sincere best wishes going forward Paul and I have no doubt, we have not heard the last of you and the many future successes you will enjoy.

    Like

    1. Thanks for your comment and support Simon. You definitely haven’t heard the last of me :-).

      Like

  7. Chris Jones says:

    Best wishes and good luck Dr.Paul. Your excellent and innovative methodologies obviously didn’t go down too well at the higher echelons of Sport Wales. No surprise there – a difficult challenge indeed. Their loss.

    Like

    1. Thanks Chris, I haven’t given up yet and will keep you posted on this site.

      Like

  8. studentundergrad says:

    Hi Paul. I wrote down these thoughts after hearing the news that your role as Chair of Sport Wales had been terminated. I wasn’t intending to share them but reading your review has made me change my mind!

    As a student close to graduating, the events of the past few months have made me start to question whether I still want to pursue a career in sport.

    To many people, choosing a career in sport is already a bizarre decision. I’ve heard no end of times that there is ‘no money to be made in sport’. The upside however is that you end up surrounded by people who are genuinely passionate about what they do. Sport really can have a positive impact on people’s lives and being a part of that is truly rewarding. But would a career in sport be as wonderful as it seems? The more experience and insight I gain, the more I question the reality of working in sport.

    Sport is often hailed as the medicine to all of society ills. Whether it’s solving the obesity crisis or combatting poverty, there is an increasing demand for the sports sector to widen its remit despite its budget simultaneously being reduced. How can this challenge be addressed? Through utilising the skills, knowledge and experience of those both inside and outside of the sector to pioneer a sport strategy that is fit for the changing demands of society. In short – innovation.

    But for that to happen, change is needed. Sticking to the current approach will continue to waste money and squander the time and energy of people who are passionate about making a difference. However recent events show that those in position of power would prefer to stick to that status quo rather than admit that considerable change is needed. The consequences of this for the sports sector as a whole are significant. But on a personal level, it is making me reconsider my future.

    When I come to graduating why would I choose an industry where those at the top have cowered when faced with the opportunity for innovation and transformation? A different path could take me to organisations such as PwC, Unilever or Deloitte where the training, mindset and opportunities for progression would be completely different – not to mention the salary! I would never claim that my decision would be a loss to the sports sector. But I’m sure there will be others who are more pioneering and innovative than me thinking exactly the same. Where does that leave the sports sector in the future?

    Like

  9. Kath says:

    If a job needs doing it needs doing well and if you ask for something then be sure you’re prepared to accept the consequences of your actions.
    Good luck to you Paul. Welsh sports need all the help they can get.
    Kath

    Like

    1. Thanks Kath, your support is really appreciated.

      Like

  10. Alan Williams says:

    Keep fighting Paul with you all the way

    Like

  11. Vicky Evans says:

    Having been involved in the sector leading PESS programme and PLPS programmes pretty much since inception, I have had the opportunity to work with teachers and leaders in schools throughout South Wales. I have helped shape curriculum initiatives in all strands of the current NC, and supported successful roll out in schools in the wider region for 12 years. I know only too well that PE, Physical Activity and Physical Literacy will only improve in our schools as long as a group of teachers who remain ahead of the ‘political game’ and who are committed to exploring holistic practical pedagogy. Not only that they have to fight for every PE lesson in their school to survive against the rising tide of Lit/Num and book scrutinies that exist.

    Classroom teachers (especially in primary) have the potential to influence our young generation and they need to be supported so they can bring practical opportunities to life and offer a ‘multi-sports’ and creative curriculum. Staying in touch with best practise, new ideas and collaborative working to ensure the best is shared and impact increased.

    The current cohort of such individuals is strong in areas, and patchy where funding ceased to be prioritised. But even this momentum gained by this group of committed professionals will not be sustainable as they will inevitably move on and gain promotion (because their approaches work). I am fearful that until Health and Well Being becomes a key component of our curriculum and is measured not just by ‘wellbeing surveys’ and ‘pupil voice’ activities that the great impact of the last 12 years plus of PE schools improvement will gradually fade away. Improving the physical activity offer and provision of health and wellbeing of our children can change the future for these children and must be made a priority.

    Teachers in classrooms need inspiring resources, inspiring training events that lead the way in sharing holistic pedagogical approaches that actually link as many aspects of the NC as appropriate but more importantly it needs to become a priority for all senior leaders.

    I hope you can continue to influence this important debate Paul, you inspired me some years ago with your leadership approaches and integrity. Keep going, on behalf of the teachers.

    Like

    1. I couldn’t agree more, and thank you for your feedback and comments.

      I feel without real buy-in from the Education Minister, working in partnership with Rebecca Evans AM, we will never really change the huge issues current in Education and an inactive Wales.

      Sport Wales use the strapline ‘Every Child Hooked on Sport’ which simply doesn’t work, as it has no specific driver or buy-in to tackle this difficult and complex issue. The focus should include ‘Every child physically active’ rather than just a reference to sport, but that’s just an issue of mine.

      Over the years, working in Sport and with Head Teachers, Physical Activity and Physical Literacy teams throughout Wales, this to me should be an easy win, creating real importance and a secure place within the curriculum, and providing the resources to support that.

      We know that children who are healthy, active and happy achieve greater results and not just in education, but in life as well, with increased confidence leading to less mental health issues and generally a happier outlook.

      We need Sport Wales to stop using stats that glorify child participation in sport, that hide the growing problem of inactivity and childhood obesity.

      The nonsense of stating that 48% of children play sport, is damaging and doesn’t recognise or deal with the fact that we have large numbers of inactive children, and that we must do more to rectify this.

      Thank you again for your feedback and support.
      Paul

      Like

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