Sport England improves understanding of where investment is needed most with Esri UK’s national data service

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Socio-demographic and socio-economic data helps reveal where interventions are needed to support less active or disadvantaged sub-populations

15 September 2021 – Sport England has announced a new ‘Local Area Insight’ tool, providing a new way of accessing a range of socio-demographic and socio-economic indicators, built using Esri UK’s InstantAtlas and national data service. Embedded within Sport England’s website, ‘Local Area Insight’ helps Sport England and the sport sector, such as National Governing Bodies for Sport, Active Partnerships and Local Authorities, to support local communities through better understanding of a place – providing the evidence base for interventions tailored to a community.

Esri UK’s InstantAtlas includes a fully managed national data service, containing over 10,000 statistical indicators obtained from 20 major providers, including ONS, Home Office and Public Health England.

Sport England recently announced its new 10-year strategy, named ‘Uniting the Movement’ and an extra £50m directed towards grassroots sport, due to the impact of Covid-19. The fundamental driver that underpins this strategy is to transform lives and communities through sport and physical activity. One of the ways Sport England will achieve this is by using high-quality data, insight and learning, which ‘Local Area Insight’ contributes towards.

Local Area Insight’s easy to use interactive reports, maps and data explorer provide the foundation for both user-types to gain a better understanding of the area and people they work with. Partners can explore key population, deprivation and health statistics to help design interventions, and applicants can use the data to provide the evidence base for grant applications; projects that can range from major stadiums to making activities COVID-secure.

For Sport England, one of the key benefits of the national data service is the ability to access a collation of managed and updated socio-demographic and socio-economic indicators that could be easily integrated with other business applications and reduce data management overheads. The organisation also wanted to be able to use the data to create new internal-facing analysis tools, including web maps, dashboards, and Power BI reports. The national data service makes this simpler and more efficient.

“One of our key objectives over the next decade is to support various under-represented population groups – including those from lower socio-economic backgrounds, older adults and people living with disabilities and long-term health conditions – with the view of encouraging them to be more active,” explained Jennifer Bufton, Senior Data Analyst at Sport England. “Sport England’s national investment strategy is driven by data, insight and knowing where these groups are – all of which helps us target our support more accurately. By integrating Esri UK’s InstantAtlas and national data service into the Sport England website, we are able to provide free-to-use resources to the sector while also ensuring we can make better decisions using data.”

“Alongside this, InstantAtlas will be key for external organisations in helping to understand their audience when applying for grants from Sport England,” Bufton continued.

Local authorities and other organisations at a regional and county level, now have easy access to interactive mapping and online custom reports, which present the data from a local to national level. Sport England will also be adding more data sources to the national data service this year, including its Active Lives Survey data – a national statistic measuring physical activity. Future plans include further integration with additional core business systems and introducing new types of users to the data resource, such as planning managers and grants managers.

“As a fully managed data service, InstantAtlas takes away the burden and expense of maintaining hundreds of national datasets for Sport England,” commented Paul Clarke, Head of Public Sector at Esri UK. “Having a single source of truth for all socio-economic data opens up new possibilities for better data sharing and collaboration, through seamless integration with other business applications, accessible on the desktop, web or mobile devices.”

The new Sport England Local Area Insights tool can be accessed here: 


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