THRIVE: Sustainable sports

We want more sports to have the capability, workforce and leadership capacity to develop and run successful sport programs.

In order to achieve Australia’s Winning Edge targets and participation outcomes under Play.Sport.Australia., we need sports to be effective organisations. To enable this, the ASC is focused on supporting

the network that supplies sport through improving governance, leadership and business systems of NSOs. This includes the implementation of the Mandatory Sports Governance Principles (MSGP) and the provision of support for coaching and officiating, product development and workforce capability.

Our objective is for sports to be strategic, well-governed and financially sound, including less reliance on government funding. We aim for NSOs to have the right people, structure and systems in place to achieve high performance and participation outcomes and deliver the sport opportunities that Australians want.

By providing leadership to build capability and sustainability across the sector, the Thrive pillar is a key component of the ASC’s delivery of PBS Program Objective C, improving the sustainability of sports. PBS Program Objective C contributes to the ASC’s PBS Outcome 1.

Our approach

In 2016–17 the ASC has continued to focus on the delivery of commercialisation and capability projects and the implementation of the Mandatory Sports Governance Principles, working with NSOs and state and territory departments of sport and recreation to support and monitor progress. In addition, the ASC has progressed work to enable long term monitoring of the organisational capability of NSOs through the development of Sport.Scan, an organisational development tool.

Key activity areas include:

  • continuing to help sporting bodies improve their governance and drive alignment through national, state and territory levels
  • delivering sector initiatives to optimise coach, official and leader talent and support sports to develop workforce strategies
  • assisting sports to develop relevant products and identify commercial opportunities to improve their financial sustainability
  • helping sports develop their digital capability to ensure they are connecting with their customers effectively and utilising technology to support growth and innovation
  • evolving the Play by the Rules resources to help deliver safe, fair and inclusive sporting environments.

Our success is measured by how well sports are meeting the MSGP and the long-term improvement in the organisational capability and financial sustainability of NSOs, including increasing diverse commercial revenue streams.

Our results

Table 8: ASC performance against Thrive deliverables
DeliverableResultSupporting statement
Baselines  established across the four components of the organisational development tool.1AchievedThe ASC has engaged all of the top  23 NSOs and baseline data has been assessed through Sport.Scan.
90 per cent of targeted NSOs demonstrated satisfactory progress towards compliance with  the MSGP.2Significant Progress87 per cent of targeted NSOs have progressed towards compliance with the MSGP. Three NSOs regressed against the MGSP, two sports had not maintained board evaluations and one sport changed their key management personnel  remuneration disclosure.
  1. Source: ASC Corporate Plan 2016–20, page 28
  2. Source: Portfolio Budget Statements 2016–17, program objective C

During 2016–17 the ASC launched Sport.Scan, an organisational development tool. Sport.Scan is a resource which is designed to measure and track improvements in the organisational capability of NSOs. Sport.Scan assessments were included as part of the 2016 ASPR process with 23 NSOs completing the initial assessment. This assessment will be repeated annually, allowing the ASC to measure the impact of its capability work through Sport.Scan.

In 2016–17 the ASC continued to support best practice governance across the sector and increased the number of sports required to demonstrate compliance against the MSGP to 23. Of the 23 NSOs that were assessed against the MSGP, 87 per cent demonstrated satisfactory progress towards compliance. In 2016 the Sports Governance and Business Capability (SGBC)

branch used feedback from NSOs to simplify and streamline the assessment process. The review of the process resulted in a more tailored assessment and an overall reduction of red tape on the NSOs.

The inaugural Commercially Sustainable Sport Forum was hosted in December 2016. NSO CEOs and Commercial Managers from 35 NSOs attended the forum at the MCG. The forum provided sports with the tools, resources and networks to generate sustainable commercial revenue.

Attendees were also provided with a copy of Generating Commercial Revenue — the sustainable approach on the day, which was then made available to all sports via the Commercially Sustainable Sport Hub in the Clearinghouse. The hub was created as a central space for NSOs to access all relevant commercial information and includes content open to all NSOs and some locked down specific to each sport.

The ASC continued to reform community coaching and officiating in the sector. New guidelines and resources were released to provide NSO personnel with tools to develop contemporary coaching/officiating frameworks and training programs. This was supported by a series of workshops attended by 30 NSOs to assist in finalising their new frameworks.

On the back of research showing a need for guided experiential learning as an integral part of all coach/official training, the ASC collaborated with cricket, football, gymnastics, hockey, netball, rugby league and the Gold Coast City Council (GCCC) on Coach Developer pilots. On a small scale, these pilots proved the concepts, showing improved coach quality, player enjoyment, parental support and pointed to increased coach retention. Cricket and football have already expanded the pilots, while gymnastics and netball have incorporated new techniques into their coaching frameworks. The ASC is assisting hockey, the NRL and the GCCC with future plans.

The Community Coaching General Principles online course reached 150,000 enrolments, while the companion Community Officiating General Principles online course was updated, with a launch intended for mid-August 2017.

The Sports Governance and Business Capability team continued to work on strategic projects with NSOs to build their business capability. A major project was undertaken with Hockey Australia (HA) to redesign its current National League (Australian Hockey League) to adopt a format and brand which puts the fans first and creates growth opportunities for commercial investors, event organisers and greater exposure for the sport of hockey in Australia. A project team, led by the SGBC team, in partnership with HA, worked together utilising a user-centred design approach combined with quantitative market research and financial modelling to deliver a business model for a new product and approach that is commercially viable and sustainable. The final product will use exciting game modifications, new team brands, fan experiences and targeted marketing to deliver hockey in a new way.

The ASC continues to ensure that sport is a safe environment for all those involved, particularly those most vulnerable including children. In late 2016 the ASC worked with the Australian Childhood Foundation to conduct organisational readiness assessments with 43 participating NSOs to establish baseline information about their current child protection policies, procedures, and their operational capacity to protect children from abuse and exploitation. Each participating NSO was provided with a personalised report identifying strengths, challenges and risks for the NSO and recommendations. The data from these individual reports was then collated to inform a sport sector National Benchmarking Report which included a series of recommendations and actions for the strategy’s implementation in 2017–18 and beyond.