David Stalker: The importance of a Chartered Institute

This week you may have seen the announcement from the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) that I will be conducting a business review of the organisation, in order to prepare its new governance structure as required by its new Charter, due to be ratified by its members in late 2013. Although in the early stages of the review (I started yesterday) I can confirm the following:

  • I am leading a three month performance review of the Institute which will include both a review of its current operations and also a full consultation with the Institute’s members and stakeholders
  • During the three months I will also hold an executive capacity within the Institute and, where necessary, I will be supported by my team at ukactive
  • My involvement and the support of ukactive will be completely re-evaluated after 3 months, with no commitment to continue beyond that point
  • As part of the consultation exercise I will be hosting a consultation event at the ukactive Flame Conference on the 3rd July at Telford International Venues. The half day consultation event will be both in the morning and repeated in the afternoon when I will outline the steps taken thus far and then invite views from those in attendance, I will circulate some further information  on this tomorrow
  • At the end of the three months (week commencing September 23rd 2013) the team and I will be producing a draft business plan for Trustees which could be ratified later in the year at the Annual General Meeting

In this post I would like to emphasise two things: the importance of your support during the review; and the importance of the Chartered Institute.

Let me start with the importance of the sector’s support. The Chartered Institute has officially existed since January 2011 as the professional body for the UK’s sport and physical activity sector. It was formed through the merger of two bodies, The Institute for Sport and Recreation Management (ISRM) and the Institute of Sport, Parks and Leisure (ISPAL).

It is fair to say that since it gained Chartered Status in January 2012 the Institute has struggled to establish a sustainable future for itself. As with many membership organisations it has struggled during challenging economic times, and was at times not helped by the confusion created through the merger.

The Institute has considered an outsourcing exercise in which it tried to identify a partner or series of partners that could support the Institute. Unfortunately, however, this did not yield a positive result. The Institute also collaborated with Sport England but has not secured its long term future, hence the review.

That said a quick scan of various sector forums will demonstrate that there is a high level of interest and strength of feeling for the Institute, for instance the LinkedIn group includes over 3000 contributors and draws significant debates from CEO, Consultants, Marketing Directors and Managers. For the Institute (and the review) to be successful we need to tap into these groups and forum and secure the input of the entire sector.

Given the previous false starts we cannot afford to waste time re-tracing the Institute’s past, rather in order to develop the Institute that the sector deserves we need the core components to tell us what they want. I realise that we will not be able to deliver everything on day 1 but we can make a start.

This brings me to the importance of the Institute.

I have been in the sector for over 20 years during which time I have seen a demonstrable increase in the professionalism of the sector including the development of REPs and more recently the Code of Practice. In my view, these improvements culminated in 2012 when the Privy Council offered Chartered Status to the then Institute. As proud as I was to see the physical activity sector receive this accreditation I would be equally embarrassed to see the Institute fail and can confirm that it would negatively impact everyone in the sector’s goals and ambitions.

A successful and thriving Institute has the potential to provide a clear career pathway for the sector, directly from personal trainer or sports coach to CEO which is a career map we currently lack.

Additionally, management is an identified skills gap within the leisure sector. Managers represent 23% of the sectors total workforce and have a high level of required skills yet only 64% of managers hold the minimum required level of qualifications (Sector Skills Assessment 2011). In 2011, employers within the Leisure sector highlighted managerial staff as by far the most common role needing to up-skill, mentioned by 44% of those with up-skilling needs. These are challenges that ukactive members and the sector at large are facing on a daily basis, and the Chartered Institute has the potential to supply a solution.

A successful thriving institute can solve a challenge facing many members and in doing so make all of our jobs easier, whilst the sector would struggle to recover from the failure of the Institute. So for me, the Institute deserves our support and I look forward to working with the sector throughout the review. Please pay close attention to our various communications and this blog as I will frequently post updates on our approach and progress.

Posted in: David Stalker, education


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