Sport England’s Strategic Outcomes Planning Guidance: how KKP is using it to help local authorities develop better projects and deliver improved results

Andrew Fawkes explains the background to this process and how it can enable local authorities to plot a course for physical activity and sport through choppy waters.


Knight, Kavanagh and Page (KKP) has now delivered six Strategic Outcomes Planning Guidance (SOPG) diagnostic reports in the last year and is about to commence on a comparable equity impact assessment in Tameside and another, which will be considering the issues in a Welsh context, for Bridgend. Application of this guidance, and the associated research and consultation, is definitely helping these authorities to articulate the connections and contributions of sport and physical activity to their wider objectives.

The SOPG is essentially a four-step guide which enables the development of an effective case for investment in physical activity and sport. Its four headline themes are:

  • develop shared local strategic outcomes for your place
  • understand your community and your place
  • identify how the outcomes can be delivered sustainably
  • secure investment commitment to outcome delivery.

Sport England’s new 10-year strategy, Uniting the Movement, places tackling inequality (which has been exacerbated by the Covid pandemic) at the heart of its approach. This reinforces the need for local authorities to work collaboratively across their own key services and with external agencies to articulate a clear role for physical activity and sport in the delivery of broader local and corporate outcomes.

In the light of the financial and operational strain that Covid-19 continues to cause on health, mental health, adult social care and education services, the themes of sustainable recovery and local authority understanding of the positive mental and physical health impact of built leisure assets and related services to local communities are central to this work.

KKP’s role in the process is to assess, gauge and articulate the evidence presented by council staff, health professionals, community practitioners and local authority elected members with regard to the often significant public health challenges faced. Many councils are, for example, trying to work out how to tackle the often very significant gaps in healthy life expectancy between key local neighbourhoods.

Evidence gathered via consultation is supplemented by analysis of strategic documents, such as the authority’s local plan, health and wellbeing strategy or sport/leisure facilities strategy, to provide a rounded assessment of the point the council has reached on its journey along the SOPG path.

In terms of what ‘good’ looks like, we have found that the insight provided by external partners, such as housing associations, public health practitioners and social prescribers, often delivers the best insight into the extent to which a place either meets the requirements of the SOPG guidance or where there are gaps. Rossendale Connected is an excellent example of the type of community response to the pandemic that has provided telling insight to the SOPG process.

Not every local authority can approach the four-step process in a linear fashion, especially given the current volatile environment and the fact that they have essentially been in crisis mode over the past 12 months.

However, our diagnosis can, for example, confirm the findings of a pre-existing built facility strategy that clearly sets out where new-build leisure provision should be placed while at the same time pointing out that further insight is needed to help specify exactly what type of physical activity will be preferred by local residents as they emerge from a lengthy period of restrictions.

What makes KKP the best option for advising a local authority on the SOPG journey? A key strength is the emphasis placed on, and the effort applied to, the consultation phase. This is allied to the depth of experience and expertise within our team.

In addition, all our work emphasises the high value of interpersonal conversations with stakeholders and key officers. This is analysed alongside the collection and analysis of all available data to create a complete project picture. Presentation is then underpinned by illustrative and informative maps generated by our sector-leading GIS team.

There is little doubt that the SOPG process is having a positive impact by assisting local authorities to adopt a clear, strategic and sustainable approach to investment in sport and physical activity facilities and services.


Andrew Fawkes is a principal consultant at KKP.


Rossendale Connected: http://rossendaleconnected.org/

NEWS RELEASE: KKP maintains ISO 9001 certification record


ISSUE DATE: 9 March 2021

KKP maintains ISO 9001 certification record
15 successive years of quality assurance for sport and leisure sector’s leading consultancy practice


KKP has confirmed its 15th successive year of ISO 9001 certification. Announcement of the award comes after a short, Covid 19-related delay in the award’s operations and represents an unbroken record of success for the sport and leisure sector’s longest-established consultancy practice.

The latest ISO 9001 certification reflects KKP’s commitment to excellence and the merits of the company’s associated support structures, with ISO assessors describing KKP’s project management process as “excellent… premier league standard”.

David McHendry, KKP managing director, commented: “We were delighted to receive confirmation of the latest certification. It reflects the high levels of effort put in by every member of our team. KKP has always put commitment to quality at the centre of its approach. Quality draws upon a wide range of skills and behaviours but we believe attitude, communication and a commitment to achieving the best for our clients are the foundations upon which it is built.”

McHendry continued: “KKP first acquired ISO 9001 quality certification for project management, systems and delivery in 2007. We have been successfully reassessed every year since. ISO drives continual review and improvement across all work areas, subjecting us to regular interrogation and oversight by expert external assessors. Ultimately, however, the quality of our operation is judged by our clients. This has been the basis of KKP’s approach for more than 30 years and it continues to drive what we do.”

This renewed ISO 9001 certification follows KKP’s Cyber Essentials accreditation in January this year. It is another aspect of the company’s commitment to offering the highest possible quality of service to clients.

Notes for editors

  • David McHendry and John Eady are available for interview. Please contact KKP via (0)161 764 7040 or email mail@kkp.co.uk
  • Full details of KKP, including its projects and clients, are available at www.kkp.co.uk
  • ISO is an independent, non-governmental international organisation with a membership of 165 national standards bodies.
  • ISO 9001 sets out the criteria for a quality management system and is the only standard in the family of quality management standards that can be certified. ISO 9001 is based on seven quality management principles: customer focus; leadership; engagement of people; process approach; improvement; evidence-based decision-making; and relationship management.
  • Cyber Essentials is a government-backed scheme to help organisations guard the organisation and their clients against cyber attacks.