Local authority sport services under the UK coalition government: retention, revision or curtailment?

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In the context of significant reductions to local government finance since the election of a coalition government in 2010, this paper examines the impact on sport services. In particular, the research focuses on change to policy, governance and modes of service delivery. The findings are extracted from research conducted by the author for the Association of Public Service Excellence (APSE) that consists of a national survey (n = 95) and interviews with senior officers (n = 55). Findings signal the acceleration of an established trend away from a direct provision of services, within the ‘ensuring’ council framework, towards outsourcing services via a ‘commissioning’ council framework. Within the coalition government's Big Society agenda, the research also found that a small number of council sport services are adapting to financial pressures by adopting a ‘cooperative’ council framework for service delivery. The paper discusses the wider consequences of political and financial change for sport services in a rapidly changing model of the welfare state.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-369
JournalInternational Journal of Sport Policy and Politics
Issue number3
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Aug 2013


  • sport services
  • coalition government
  • local government finance
  • Big Society
  • the ensuring council
  • organizational frameworks


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