Chair - Sport England

Body: Sport England
Appointing Department: Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Sector: Culture, Media & Sport
Location: Board meetings will take place in London, Loughborough or virtually. Other meetings and events can take place anywhere in the country. Some foreign travel may also be necessary.
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: £40,000
Time Requirements: The time commitment is expected to be up to 2 days per week, to include, chairing Board and other sub-committee meetings, attending meetings with Ministers and senior officials of government departments and sports and physical activity bodies, and attending events and conferences linked to Sport England’s programmes and work. Sport England Board meetings take place every 6-8 weeks. The Chair of Sport England is also appointed to the Board of UK Sport (Government’s lead agency for elite sport) which meets roughly every 2 months.


An announcement has been made on the outcome of this appointment.

The Culture Secretary has announced the appointment of Chris Boardman MBE as the new Chair of Sport England

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    21/12/2020 at 12:00

  • Panel Sift

    w/c 18 January

  • Final Interview Date

    04 March and 11 March

  • Announcement

    30/06/2021 at 00:00


Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport wishes to appoint an exceptional person to the Chair of Sport England, the government’s arms-length body which has responsibility for supporting and promoting grassroots sport and physical activity in England.

Applications are encouraged from all sections of the community to help ensure that the Sport England board is representative of the diverse society it serves.

Sport England is a government-funded Non-Departmental Public Body and National Lottery distributor. It is responsible for supporting, growing and advocating for grassroots sport and physical activity in England in line with its statutory objectives as set out in its Royal Charter. Its vision is to ensure that everyone, regardless of their age, background or level of ability feels able to engage in sport and physical activity and it takes its strategic lead from the government’s sport and physical activity strategy Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation.

The Chair will be responsible for overseeing the final stages of implementation of Sport England’s current Towards an Active Nation strategy (2017-2021), and the final stages of development and roll-out of its new strategy for 2021-2025, in close collaboration with the Deputy Chair, Chief Executive, and Executive Team.

Person Specification

Essential Criteria

All candidates must have (and will need to demonstrate in their application) the following essential criteria:

  • A proven track record of strategic leadership in sport, business or public service;
  • Knowledge of and interest in sport, including a demonstrable involvement in its governance or delivery;
  • Excellent communication and presentational skills, and an inclusive leadership style that commands respect through genuine collaboration and partnership;
  • Strong external stakeholder management skills, able to build relationships at all levels;
  • A passion for, and commitment to improving the life chances of those from more disadvantaged backgrounds through sport and activity;
  • A commitment to the Prime Minister’s priority in helping adults and children to live healthier lives, following the publication of ‘Tackling obesity: government strategy’ and the launch of the ‘Better Health’ campaign;
  • A commitment to evidence-based practice and the ability to take a critical view of innovations and provide informed challenge and drive value.

 Desirable Criteria

  •       Understanding of how to engage and partner with commercial organisations;
  •       Experience of systems / transformative change programmes would be helpful.

Additional Information

Sport England as an organisation

Sport England has a relatively new and well-regarded CEO, Tim Hollingsworth, who was previously CEO of the Paralympics Association. Sport England employs around 250 staff, who work across the UK, in two main office locations in London and Loughborough, although many are home/ regionally based.

Sport England is regarded as a well performing organisation, with high levels of staff engagement, and strong cultural values which were developed with staff, and have high levels of staff buy in. These values are:

We are Collaborative: One team, committed to delivering together and working with others to make a difference to people’s lives.

We are Ambitious: Determined in pursuit of our goals, prioritising work and partnerships that will most advance our mission, help us succeed and make a positive impact on the nation.

We are Inclusive: Harnessing our collective strength and respecting difference to create the conditions for everyone to engage and to excel.

We are Innovative: Curious, optimistic and relentless, we question established ways of working and learn from each other and from our experiences.

The Sport England Board

The Chair leads a main Board which will consist of a Deputy Chair and up to 10 other members appointed by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The post-holder, in close collaboration with the Deputy Chair and Chief Executive, will be responsible for:

 Overseeing delivery of Sport England’s objectives within the policy and resources framework agreed with DCMS Ministers. Specifically, this includes:

  • Completing the delivery and implementation of Sport England’s 2017-21 Towards an Active Nation strategy to ensure that everyone regardless of their age, background or level of ability feels able to engage in sport and physical activity.
  • Rolling out and successfully implementing a new 2021-25 strategy for the organisation, that builds on learning and insight from the 2017-21 strategy, and robust feedback from the sector, to focus on the strategic interventions that will drive the most significant impact on national physical activity levels and reduce long standing inequalities in the sector.
  • Supporting the sport and physical activity sector to keep the nation active, and to ensure that it has the necessary resilience to continue to thrive, in response to, and during the recovery from, the Covid-19 outbreak. 
  • Ensuring that the organisation develops and maintains a robust evaluation framework that allows it to understand the impact it is having on the nation’s physical activity levels as a direct result of its programmes of work and investments.
  • Working alongside DCMS on delivery outcomes and forging partnerships and relationships with other government departments – notably, DfT, DHSC, DfE, MHCLG and Defra – to ensure that sport and physical activity is delivering across a range of government objectives.
  • Proactively seeking out partnerships with new and innovative organisations that have the ability to bring new thinking and investment to drive up physical activity levels.
  • Ensuring Sport England takes maximum advantage of the opportunity to partner with new and innovative organisations and start-ups that have the ability to support interventions that can deliver step-changes in national physical activity levels.
  • Representing the organisation to a wide range of interested parties at a national and international level (assistance will be offered to ensure anyone with disabilities could attend meetings). This will include building an effective personal working relationship with DCMS Ministers and the Department.
  • Ensuring that Sport England complies with statutory or administrative requirements accompanying the public funding it receives (currently, approximately £100 million of Exchequer funding and £200 million of Lottery funding each year).
  • Ensuring that Sport England observes the highest standards of corporate governance at all times and operates within the limits of its delegated authority agreed with DCMS as per Sport England’s Management Agreement, and in line with standards set through, for example, HMT’s Managing Public Money.

Disability Confident

We guarantee to interview anyone with a disability whose application meets the minimum criteria for the role. By ‘minimum criteria,’ we mean that you must provide evidence in your application, which demonstrates that you meet the level of competence required under each of the essential criteria.

If you want to apply under this scheme, simply state this in the covering email or letter when submitting your application.

Reasonable adjustments

If you would like a confidential discussion regarding any reasonable adjustments during the process, please also indicate this in the covering email or letter.  

 About DCMS

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) helps to drive growth, enrich lives, and promote Britain abroad.

We protect and promote our cultural and artistic heritage and help businesses and communities to grow by investing in innovation and highlighting Britain as a fantastic place to visit. We help to give the UK a unique advantage on the global stage, striving for economic success.

DCMS is a ministerial department, supported by 45 agencies and public bodies.

If you are not completely satisfied

We aim to process all applications as quickly as possible and to treat all applicants with courtesy. If you have any complaints about the way your application has been handled, please contact

Supporting information

This process is regulated by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ (OCPA‘s) Code of Practice. All applicants are expected to have adhered to the Seven Principles of Public Life. 

Eligibility Criteria 

You cannot be considered for a public appointment if:

  • you become bankrupt or make an arrangement with a creditor
  • your estate has been sequestrated in Scotland or you enter into a debt arrangement programme under Part 1 of the Debt Arrangement and Attachment (Scotland) Act 2002 (asp 17) as the debtor or have, under Scots law, granted a trust deed for creditors;
  • you are disqualified from acting as a company director under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986;
  • you have been convicted of a criminal offence, the conviction not being spent for the purposes of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (c. 53);
  • you become subject to a debt relief order or a bankruptcy restrictions order;
  • you fail to declare any conflict of interest.

Conflicts of Interest and Due Diligence

If you have any interests that might be relevant to the work of Sport England, and which could lead to a real or perceived conflict of interest if you were to be appointed, please provide details in your application. If you have queries about this and would like to discuss further please contact the Public Appointments Team.

Given the nature of public appointments, it is important that those appointed as members of public bodies maintain the confidence of Parliament and the public. If there are any issues in your personal or professional history that could, if you were appointed, be misconstrued, cause embarrassment, or cause public confidence in the appointment to be jeopardised, it is important that you bring them to the attention of the Advisory Assessment Panel and provide details of the issue(s) in your application. In considering whether you wish to declare any issues, you should also reflect on any public statements you have made, including through social media.

As part of our due diligence checks we will consider anything in the public domain related to your conduct or professional capacity. This will include us undertaking searches of previous public statements and social media, blogs or any other publicly available information. This information may be made available to the Advisory Assessment Panel and they may wish to explore issues with you should you be invited to interview. The information may also be shared with ministers and the Cabinet Office.

How to Apply

To apply, please send:

  • a CV of not more than two sides of A4
  • a supporting statement of not more than three sides of A4, providing examples and setting out how you meet the criteria
  • the Diversity Monitoring Form concerning your personal information and political activity and
  • the Declaration of Conflicts of Interests Form.

Completed applications should be emailed to: Please put ‘Sport England Chair’ in the Subject line.

If you have any questions about the appointments process, please contact Phil Hodges, Campaign Manager at DCMS ( 0207 211 2898). 

If you would like to speak about the role itself, please contact Anna Deignan, Head of DCMS Sport Team (Email: Tel: 07710 760673)

Final Sport England Chair Role Spec
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