Developing a Community of Leaders

leadership in action community tennis coach

Exploring with Sport England, what a leadership community might be

The Sport England Uniting the Movement strategy presented a vision to transform lives and communities through collaborative system change across the sport and physical activity landscape. 

System leadership was identified as one of strategy’s five catalysts for change. 

In Sport England’s Implementation Plan (Years 2-4) they set an intention to grow and develop a system leadership community made up of a diverse network of system leaders. 

During 2023, Sport England commissioned Miova and Proper Active (strategic research consultancy) to support with a programme of sector wide engagement to scope and co-design a plan to bring the leadership community to life. 

Together we explored:

  • The need for a leadership community and create its definition. 
  • Understanding what the leadership development landscape looks like for key audiences, including existing best practice. 
  • Sport England’s role in supporting the development of a diverse network of leaders, volunteers, and paid staff. 
  • Areas for greatest impact for Sport England’s investment and partnership. 

Recognising that an effective leadership community would best be realised through collaboration, with all system partners playing a part, it was essential to reach as wide an audience as possible. We engaged with 198 individuals – 67 female and 73 male; 83 different organisations; and 28 individuals who work with under-represented audiences (many supported diverse groups covering a range of intersectional identities). 

Our approach involved:

  • Desk research – reviewing evidence on existing leadership offer, and examining wider system leadership programmes 
  • Design & refine engagement approach – developing key areas for exploration, and test and refine approach.  
  • Early phase, exploration – 15 open discussions with stakeholders, and organic generation of ideas, examples, and challenges 
  • Later phase, test and build – 5 further open discussions to play back emerging themes, and refine and expand our understanding and approach 
  • Targeted engagement – identifying gaps in audience and insight, and delivering 9 targeted discussions with under-represented groups.  

We curated a report that gives clear information and insight about what we heard, including tangible and actionable recommendations, that respond to the points of exploration. This has been submitted to Sport England for internal review to help shape their next steps and decisions regarding their commitment to grow and develop a diverse community of system leaders.

More of our work

The aim of this project was to establish a sustainable approach where co-production is at the heart of how Wakefield services work with communities.