The Government are committed to delivering a real sporting legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games and to creating a world-class organisational structure for sport. Today, I would like to update the House on progress with the reorganisation of UK Sport and Sport England which we have been considering as part of the Government’s package of public body reforms.
The project board, chaired by Sir Keith Mills, identified a number of significant strategic and operational benefits from closer working, including a shared approach to sports governance and talent management, as well as a programme leading to co-location and shared services by 2014. Much progress has been made with these reforms in 2012. In view of this, and the challenges associated with merging a UK-wide organisation with an England only body, I have concluded that we will retain UK Sport and Sport England as two separate entities with a shared reform agenda. To maintain momentum, and ensure that the two organisations deliver the economic and strategic benefits intended from the merger, we intend to conduct a joint review of both organisations in 2014-15, as part of the Government’s rolling programme of reviews of non-departmental public bodies. They will also be asked to co-locate, share significantly more back office services and align their strategies. With this approach, I am confident that both organisations will be able to reduce their administrative costs over this spending review period and that we can deliver the strategic benefits of closer working between the two organisations with immediate effect. This fits logically within the context of the Government’s public bodies reform programme which will reduce the number of public bodies by a third, and it directly contributes to improvements in accountability and transparency, and will cut out waste and duplication from the system. It will also contribute to Government-wide reductions of over £2.6 billion in the administration costs of public bodies over the spending review period.