Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) is everyone’s responsibility, especially given the industry’s ambition to broaden its reach and benefit more people to this end, UK Active is inviting operators to engage with its new inclusion self-assessment tool.
The tool – called Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Fitness, leisure and Sport – has the dual purpose of advising operators on how they can become more inclusive, while also providing intelligence for the creation of a new national insight report, which will be published in March 2024.
All data used in the report will be anonymised, to ensure confidentiality for operators, while data submitted to the survey portal is also held securely and not made public.
Use of the tool involves operators answering 40 questions on current practice in areas such as governance, leadership, data, insight, programming, provisions and partnerships and workforce and training. Instant scores are then created through the weighting and ranking of criteria to show the level of inclusivity being achieved, while signposts are given to steer operators towards improvements in their EDI processes and practices.
UK Active's strategic lead for EDI, Timothy Mathias, says there has already been a very good level of acceptance and completion rates in the soft launch phase of the new tool.
Mathias says the physical activity sector plays an "essential role in narrowing the disparities and inequalities faced by people today, whatever their age, ability, or background and enabling access, while enjoyment and participation in the sector starts with the experiences users have and the commitment the sector makes to furthering meaningful change."
For the sector to grow services must be inclusive, he says: “We want the health, social and wellbeing benefits of an active lifestyle to be felt across the entire population and this tool gives us the perfect opportunity to understand what more can be done to make our sector as accessible and inclusive as possible.”
A new, free Sport England initiative, the Quest Foundation Review (QFR), has seen 284 local authority leisure facilities across England mystery shopped during the last 12 months, to measure how well they deal with people with the kind of inequalities that mean they struggle to access physical activity opportunities.
The QFR found there’s a long way to go to achieve a satisfactory standard when it comes to engaging with hard-to-reach groups, particularly when they make telephone enquiries.
Scores out of 100 achieved by the sector in 2023 were as follows:
Culturally diverse: 17
English as a second language: 24
Long-term health conditions: 25
People with disabilities: 33