Quality at the heart of competition between recreation providers
By ISCA Secretary General Jacob Schouenborg
The need and demand for recreational sport and physical activity programs has never been greater. The same goes for the supply side. Offers of recreational sport and physical activity initiatives for citizens are not only coming from the traditional recreational sport sector. Today a huge range of providers from both the profit and the non-profit sectors are offering training programs, classes and events.
From the non-profit sector’s point of view, we would claim that there are quite a lot of differences in the objectives and missions of a non-profit organisation offering programs, classes and events to citizens, compared to private businesses or public institutions providing similar services. The non-profit sector’s offers are often provided with idealistic perspectives to contribute to citizens’ wellbeing – at affordable prices and with a “co-creation” ethic in mind.
But low cost is not the most important and convincing element for the citizens that engage in physical activity programs today. In a market rich with offers, the quality of the programs is becoming a key factor for the citizens and thereby the providers – regardless of whether the provider is a private for-profit company, a public institution or the idealistic non-profit sector. This calls for securing and validating quality, also among non-profit organisations, as a defining feature of their programmes.
Over the last 5-7 years, ISCA has discovered an increasing trend for physical activity promotion initiatives to seek validation and recognition for their activities. This has led to a number of regional and national attempts at awarding various quality labels recognising aspects such as the competence of staff or trainers, internal processes and the delivering organisations themselves.
The true potential in validation processes, however, lies in the capacity building that organisations can achieve. The quality of a program should be the result of a quality building process and continuous follow-up and further quality enhancement.
This will ensure citizens have access to quality physical activity programs at affordable prices provided by non-profit organisations.
This is why ISCA is launching MOVE Quality, which is aiming to identify initiatives for hard-to-reach populations, build the capacity of the organisations delivering them and reward their achievements with a Quality Mark.