Sport Quality

The provision of quality programs and services is an essential aspiration for sport and recreation organisations at all levels in the spectrum of sport, from grass roots to elite sport. Quality is achieved when there is commitment by organisation staff and volunteers to follow a process of continual improvement.

In pursuing this objective, it helps greatly to use and understand criteria by which quality can be measured and Sport England, the peak body for community sport in England, has set a great example.

In 2002, Sport England introduced an accreditation program called 'ClubMark" that awards sport clubs for achieving and maintaining high quality in the delivery of programs and services. Click here for the full criteria introduced by Sport England for Clubmark.

The table below provides a criteria for quality based on a synopsis of the ClubMark criteria:

Criteria for Quality

(Synopsis of ClubMark criteria by Sport England)

A quality club is one that:

  • Provides opportunities for an appropriate and expected level of coaching and competition according to its national governing body (NGB) guidelines
  • Makes use of coaching resources provided by the NGB to enhance coaching programs
  • Maintains a coach-to-participant ratio that reflects NGB guidelines
  • Ensures that coaches and officials have job descriptions, appropriate qualifications and professional indemnity
  • Provides safe venues for sport participation
  • Develops and adheres to policy and procedure for child protection
  • Provides codes of practice for coaches, officials, parents and participants
  • Provides fairness of opportunity for all to participate in sport (i.e. there is no likelihood of discrimination)
  • Maintains good communication with its members
  • Provides membership and pricing appropriate for young people
  • Provides an outreach to the local community and maintains contact with local schools
  • Appoints volunteer coordinators
  • Has public liability insurance
  • Adheres to guidelines provided by its national governing body (NGB)

Achieving Quality Criteria

Achieving the above criteria, for any sport organisation, does not necessitate the expenditure of "out of the ordinary" sums of money beyond the financial means of the organisation. Larger budget items include:

These very normal expenditure items should be properly budgeted and covered by the fees and charges levied on members and participants of the club/organisation. The main item of conjecture is likely to be in regard to the outreach program. Many club committees may feel reluctant or unable to spend money on remuneration of club representatives to go out into the community and engage with schools. All other criteria are simply what clubs should normally do and many of tasks have a zero cost.

The main roadblocks that organisations might face in achieving the above quality criteria are likely to stem from:

Education is therefore a most important key to achieving quality sport and recreation delivery.


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