FAQs - Background

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What is Active Places Power website and what can it be used for?

Active Places Power is a website to help those involved in providing sport provision with a series of tools to guide investment decisions and develop sport provision strategies. Primarily for Local Authorities and national governing bodies of sport it can help to build an evidence base when identifying and planning where to target interventions for facilities, clubs or other activities.

The website is underpinned by a single database that holds information on sports facilities and clubs throughout England. For more details on the data, including which facilities and clubs are within the database and how frequently the data is updated please refer to the specific FAQs.

The tools within the website have a range of capabilities from quick searches and simple reports to a series of push-button analytical tools that aim to make complex modelling techniques as user friendly and intuitive as possible. Each tool is supported with a guide and outputs can be downloaded for use in reports or local systems for further analysis.

The website should be used for:

          • A starting point for auditing existing facility provision as part of sports facility assessments and strategies

          • Benchmarking to compare existing facility provision with nearby and comparable local authorities

          • Basic assessments of the balance between the supply and demand of facilities

          • Creation of catchments for existing or proposed sports facilities to determine accessibility and profile socio, economic and demographic characteristics

The following limitations should be noted:

          • It is limited to 14 facility types with sport clubs being a pilot dataset

          • It is not possible to perform scenario tests in terms of closing or opening of facilities

          • It does not include detailed programming information and it does not include information on who uses the facilities

          • It does not include individual sports or specific activities which take place on sites

The site is password protected and users will be assigned different rights according to their needs and level of use. Again for further details on who can register to access the site please refer to the specific FAQ.


What is Be Inspired?

Be Inspired is Sport England’s consumer engagement platform.  It has 4.1 million registered users to whom Be Inspired provides information on how to get involved with sport through promoting major sport events and trumpeting opportunities to take part in sport or activity.  Registered users mainly comprise those who registered to buy tickets for London 2012. 

For a limited period the Be Inspired website had a sport and fitness finder tool, previous piloted through a Sport England pilot called spogo, but this has been withdrawn due to the underlying data becoming out of date and not being maintained.   

For more information see http://www.beinspireduk.org.  The Be Inspired project team at contacted via beinspired@sportengland.org.


What is spogo?

spogo was a lottery-funded, not-for-profit, digital service pilot designed to help the general public find sport and fitness opportunities near them. The Sport England initiative delivered by the Fitness Industry Association (FIA) now UK Active provided a simple search-led tool to help people find and book physical activities as easily as finding and booking a train ticket.

It provided a service for anyone inspired by London 2012 - or the ever-increasing growth in messaging about the need to exercise – to try a new sport and continue to encourage them. The aim being to deliver a Digital Health Legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games through increasing participation in sport and physical activity.

As of January 2015 the spogo pilot was decommissioned with the sport and fitness finder being integrated within the Be Inspired website for a limited period.  The latter has also been withdrawn due to the underlying data becoming out of date. See What is Be Inspired? for back ground information.

Alternartively see http://www.beinspireduk.org.


When was Active Places created and for what reason?

Active Places is essentially the brand name for a sports facility database. The national database was launched in 2004 and currently holds data on over 40,000 sites and 64,000 facilities for 14 different facility types (approximately 80% of where formal sport takes place), with each record being checked on an annual basis. (Counts accurate as of September 2012.)

The original business case for Active Places came from the 2002 Cabinet Office publication Game Plan. This recommended setting up a facilities database to help ensure that facility provision is planned at the national and local level, and investment is going in the right areas and not leading to duplication of provision.

Sport England was given the responsibility to establish the database. Since 2004 the data has primarily been used to provide information on where to play sport to consumers and also deliver a number of services to assist local authorities and other facility providers in the strategic planning of sports facilities. The key website built upon the database is 
a Business to Business, password protected website www.activeplacespower.com designed for Local Authorities, National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGB) and other partners to help them plan more strategically sports facility provision.


In addition to the above Sport England websites, active places data is also shared via licence agreements to other systems/websites including: Football Foundation and Football Association, CSP websites e.g. Get Active London, NHS Choices and Google Maps (local enhanced content deal).


Why was the Active Places Power website redesigned / redeveloped?

The existing Active Places Power infrastructure was beginning to near the end of its life. Change Requests to redevelop specific elements of the website based on existing technology were becoming more difficult and costly to implement.  

Redevelopment enabled a complete review of the existing site and the use of new technologies would provide  improved functionality with a more flexible system to administer.   

Following a User consultation in October 2011 to determine the features that should be retained and those that needed discarding or improving, along with new suggestions development work commenced with a first release being delivered in November 2012.