chapter  3
25 Pages

Local authorities and disability sport development

The previous chapter examined the emergence and development of disability sport in Britain and focused, in particular, on the significant role played by the British Sports Association for the Disabled (BSAD), the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS), and various disability sport organizations (DSOs) in the provision of sport for disabled people. In addition to these organizations, local authorities are also among a number of other key providers of opportunities for disabled people to engage in sport and physical activity. It is particularly notable, however, that whilst the important role of local authorities in providing facilities and promoting involvement in sport among so-called under-participating groups (especially young people, older people and ethnic minority groups) has been widely acknowledged (e.g. Houlihan and White, 2002), we currently know very little about how local authorities seek to meet the needs of disabled people in this regard. The central objective of this chapter is, therefore, to begin to address this hiatus by providing a brief overview of the development of sport policy and its impact on local authority disability sports development in Britain. Since it is not possible to examine all of the complexities involved in the changing organization and delivery of disability sport provision at local authority level, we shall begin to explore the role played by local authorities in the delivery of recreational sporting opportunities for disabled people by drawing on three local authority case studies. These case studies are intended to provide a ‘snapshot’ of current locally delivered disability sports development and to demonstrate the existence of widespread differential practice in the local provision of sport for disabled people.