In this study the authors sought a better understanding of the development and functioning of local sport policy, from the perspective of local sport managers (LSMs). They studied LSMs’ perspectives on recent changes in sport policy, and how these relate to changes in the environment (from a socio-ecological perspective), alongside LSMs’ actual practices, policy values and personal beliefs regarding effective sport policy and social impact.
For this purpose the authors conducted nine semi-structured interviews with LSMs from different municipalities in the Netherlands.
They conclude that the day-to-day work of LSMs was indeed influenced by developments in the broader environment (particularly, austerity measures, organizational restructuring and changed national policies and related discourses). However, the focus of LSMs’ activities remained on ensuring a good sport facility infrastructure, as a necessary precondition to utilize the instrumental value of sport. The LSMs expressed a belief in the goodness of sport and tried to ‘sell’ this to other departments. Yet, they exhibited little critical reflection on (preconditions for) effective sport policy and the need for policy monitoring and evaluation.