Scope & methodology
The Inquiry set out to examine how events can help build happy, thriving and connected communities, with a remit to:
- Gather evidence to better understand the impact of events, and specifically how events help deliver: social, emotional and physical wellbeing; financial wellbeing and sustainable local economies, and social connections between people of different backgrounds and between individuals and institutions.
- Develop workable ideas and recommendations to maximise the positive impacts that events can bring to individuals, communities and wider society
- Inform and influence policymakers as well as those involved in the planning and delivery of future events.
The Inquiry panel was made up of 25 members, from diverse backgrounds and representing areas across the UK. It was chaired by Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, founder of Helpforce and founding Chair at The Marshall Institute for Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship at the London School of Economics. Each member contributed their skills and knowledge and will help to ensure that the recommendations reach policy makers and event organisers. Full details of the Inquiry members are included in the appendix. Spirit of 2012 staff acted as the Inquiry’s secretariat.
The Inquiry’s work began in September 2021 and spanned 15 months. During this time, the Inquiry:
- Held four hearings to take evidence from experts. A final sitting of the Inquiry discussed the content of the report and its recommendations;
- Issued an open call for written evidence;
- Organised five stakeholder meetings, held in Belfast, Birmingham, Glasgow, London and Newcastle. A further online stakeholder meeting was held for participants based in Wales. The Inquiry also held a stakeholder meeting that looked at the links between events and environmental sustainability. Organisations represented at the stakeholder meetings included councils, cultural and sports organisations, academic experts, business and civil society organisations;
- Facilitated 14 focus groups, 13 online and one in person, with 123 members of the public, recruited by a specialist agency. Apart from the groups where participants had specific social or demographic characteristics, such as one group which focused on disabled people, those who took part were selected to give a mix of age cohorts, social grade and ethnicities. Each focus group covered people’s perceptions about the impact of cultural, sporting, commemorative and community events. Different focus groups also examined specific themes which included the London 2012 Games legacy, the role of events in encouraging volunteering, greater physical activity or social connection.
- Commissioned three nationally representative surveys:
- A survey with a weighted sample of 2,073 UK adults carried out by ICM between 24 and 27 September 2021. This survey explored volunteering and the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Its findings were used to launch the Inquiry;
- A survey with a weighted sample of 2,018 UK adults carried out by Focaldata between 6 and 7 June 2022, immediately after the Platinum Jubilee weekend. This survey looked at participation in Platinum Jubilee activities and the capacity of different events to bridge divides and bring people together;
- A survey with a weighted sample of 2,350 UK adults carried out by Walnut and ICM between 5 and 11 August 2022. This survey covered the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, attitudes to disabled people, the London 2012 Paralympic Legacy and the Inquiry’s proposals;
6. Commissioned two expert reports which had the status of independent evidence to the Inquiry. The Institute for Public Policy Research was asked to review literature on the economic impacts of events. British Future drew on the Platinum Jubilee weekend polling described above and looked at how events can bridge social divides and bring communities together. The Inquiry decided to only consider events that are open to the public, including paying spectators. A review of national and local calendars suggests that events can be categorised as cultural, sporting, commemorative or local and community. We have included all four categories within the Inquiry’s remit, looking at both large-scale or national events as well as those that take place at a local or community level.