BOSS WP 2.1 Meeting Sheffield Hallam University 10 – 12th January 2018

Andreas Thomann (Technical University Munich)

Barbara Eigenschenk (Technical University Munich)

Larissa Davies (Sports Industry Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University)

Maxine Gregory (Sports Industry Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University)

Professor Peter Taylor (Sports Industry Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University)

Dr Girish Ramchandani (Sports Industry Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University)

Mike McClure (Sport Northern Ireland)

Tim Goodspeed (SROI Network and external expert)


Sheffield Hallam University hosted a working group meeting of key members of the partnership including the specialist researchers, academics, practitioners and policy makers for 2 days on 10 – 12th January 2018.

Maxine Gregory welcomed the TUM and SNI staff to Sheffield Hallam and outlined the programme for the two days. The purpose of this meeting was to:

  1. Determine the key elements of social value, as evidenced by the systematic review (work package 1), for the framework development.
  2. Define social impact – adopting economic definitions of social benefits and costs, including both market and non-market effects, determining relevant benefits and costs, agreeing the scope of the framework (the outcomes which have sufficient evidence from WP1 to justify inclusion).

Tim Goodspeed kicked off the meeting by provided an overview of SROI – in terms of accounting and value.

He reminded the group that Social Return on Investment (SROI) is an approach for accounting for Social Value. He then challenged us to think about the terms social and value. Who decides what the benefits are (is it predetermined or highlighted by the participant) and who decides if it is valuable. It was agreed that “value” can be very subjective. This led to a debate on whether they can be standard or comparable? The view within members of the BOSS team was to create a standardised approach that helped to provide comparable data but it was acknowledged that this may not be possible given complexities associated with individual projects, different cultures, different sports and most importantly different people. The point would be that the process followed would be the same but the outcomes could be very different and there is no right and wrong.

Tim argued that if we don’t ask open questions about all changes then the participants may provide information about a positive or negative impact that the literature review hadn’t highlighted. He also noted that if we don’t ask about value then we don’t know how much a participant valued a particular benefit.

Maximising value can involve highlighting benefits that funders and authorities will recognise the value of, but also Identifying outcomes not in the literature or recognised by funders and authorities but that are of value to the participants. It was noted that neither the amounts of change nor values themselves are standard.

This was followed up by a presentation from Larissa Davies on the approach that SHU had taken for the investigation into the Social Return on Investment in England for Sport England. This led to a debate over the differences between doing a population piece of work and a targeted piece of work for a project or organisation. It was clear from the population level work that a number of key assumptions have to be made and these need to be clearly articulated.

Barbara Eigenschenk presented the conclusions to date from Work Package 1

Figure 1: primary country of origin of data/studies


There were 20,950 studies that came up through the searches and after removal of duplicates by TUM a total of 17,360 were then screened. Of these 133 studies were selected through an initial analysis of the title and abstract.

As can be seen from figure 1 there was a broad range of countries that the studies emanated from with the majority from USA, Australia/New Zealand, Canada and the UK.

Studies were analysed from 2002 onwards and there was definitely an increase in the number of studies from 2013 onwards – so there appears to be a growing interest in this field of work.







Figure 2:              Publication dates of studies




















There was an extensive list of benefits that were highlighted by the studies incorporating all those that the partnership had anticipated would be highlighted. The majority of studies focused on physical health benefits although a growing number identified mental health benefits

Physical health benefits

There were a very extensive list of Physical Health benefits identified including:

  • increased physical fitness
  • decreased obesity and risk of obesity
  • increased V02 max
  • decreased resting heart rate
  • improved hormone regulation and other metabolic adaptations,
  • improved cardiovascular function and reduction in the risk of coronary artery disease
  • Lower blood pressure/ reduced risk of high blood pressure
  • Reduced risk of stroke
  • lower risk of cancer:
  • reduced risk of diabetes
  • reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease
  • reduced risk of dementia
  • positive effects on physiometric amd somatometric health markers
  • low injury rate, (except for airborne sports: higher rate of serious spinal and pelvic injuries)
  • low mortality risk
  • reduced risk of all-cause mortality
  • extended life expectancy/ increased life-span
  • increased physical quality of life
  • better overall health perceptions
  • healthy ageing (balance, physical performance and mobility)
  • healthcare cost savings,
  • sun exposure can prevent multiple sclerosis
  • time spent outdoors reduces the onset and progression of myopia
  • positive effect on 25OHD level (vitamin D status) in elderly


Further detail on these health benefits will be expounded through the newsletter on the overall work of Work package 1.

Mental health benefits

  • better/improved mental health status, reduce risk for mental illness/poor mental health, protective effects for poor emotional outlook
  • higher quality of life and overall wellbeing / increased life satisfaction
  • ability to assert personal control and increased sensitivity to one’s own well-being
  • subjective increase in psychological health and wellbeing
  • improved affective states; increased positive affect, decreases in negative affect
  • decrease in:
    • (social) anxiety
    • tension, protective effects for tension
    • confusion
    • anger
    • depression
    • rumination
    • total mood disturbance
    • calmness, decreased feelings of calmness (negative)
  • increase in:
    • resilience
    • happiness
    • feelings of revitalization and positive engagement
    • improved mood
    • self-esteem,
    • self-efficacy
    • social effectiveness
    • self-confidence
  • lower perceived stress, (better) restoration from stress and symptoms of headaches, better coping strategies in stressful situations, better stress management
  • increase in emotional passive coping
  • Improved self-concept, positive, short-term effects
  • positive feelings such as pleasure and enjoyment, meditation, and independence, flow experience
  • experiences of comfort (physical, social, psychological and visual)
  • physical and psychological restoration for people living in cities
  • Active and happy ageing
  • Improved positive engagement, revitalization, tranquillity and mood in elderly


Linked to mental well-being there were a number of studies that highlighted the therapeutic benefits associated with outdoor sports including:

  • therapeutic treatment for people with mental health problems/ suffering from mental illness
  • supplement to existing clinically treatments for individuals with major depressive disorder
  • benefits in social development and self-confidence for children with disabilities
  • rehabilitation, better self-concept and better self-perception of persons with disabilities after acute injuries
  • benefits in psychological health and well-being in veterans
  • psychosocial resource for recovery of serious injury in veterans
  • therapeutic approach for individuals with MS
  • Therapy for individuals suffering from ADHD (children and in general)
  • therapeutic low-cost, non-drug treatment for ADHD patients
  • treatment for ADHD students
  • therapeutic treatment for autism
  • inclusion and therapy for adolescents, children and youth in foster care institutions, youth at risk and for those with disabilities
  • therapeutic approach for individuals suffering from dementia
  • rehabilitation of drug addicts
  • other special forms of therapy and benefits (e.g. hippotherapy: euphoria, relaxation and positive results                 through contact with horses)

It was clear that there is a strong connectivity between physical and mental health (especially in overall wellbeing and life satisfaction).

Education and life-long learning benefits

  • enhanced understanding of ourselves, human beings and our relationship to the environment
  • (intra) personal development (physical, mental, emotional, social, cognitive, behavioural and spiritual aspects of selves)
  • Interpersonal, social development
    • communication, enhanced personal and social communication skills
    • positive effects on personal and social responsibility
    • increase of social interaction
    • shared identity and deeper interpersonal relationships
    • social group development, group cohesion
  • pedagogical development (responsibility, respect, teamwork, and trust)
  • Cognitive aspects
    • improvements in cognition (complex working memory span task), cognitive function and less cognitive decline
    • intellectual flexibility, problem solving skills
    • academic learning improvements, efficacy, attitudes, and motivations
    • (positive effects on student recruitment (by Universities), retention, and satisfaction)
    • restoring attention
    • positive changes in brain structure, function, and connectivity
    • protective effects of physical activity according to successful ageing (cognitive domains)
  • Environmental awareness, attitudes and behaviour
    • increased connectedness to nature
    • environmental awareness, sensitivity and stewardship
    • pro-environmental attitudes and environmental responsible behavior, attitudinal changes in ecological and environmental concerns (short- and long-term)
    • better social behaviour and higher moral judgements
    • tool for environmental education, motivating and attractive method for teaching sustainability
    • placed-based education approach to promote sustainability
  • Re-engagement of disengaged or at risk young people
    • positive impact on youth development especially on behaviour and attendance
    • improved self-esteem of disengaged or at risk young people
    • increase in sense of purpose for learning and motivation to study
    • positive effects on development of social relationships and social networking skills
    • positive effects on general self-concept
  • Inclusion and therapy for vulnerable, at-risk young people (children and youth in foster care institutions)
    • intra and interpersonal, social and emotional development (
    • healthy lifestyle promotion
    • improved effort and perseverance, problem-solving, time management
    • decrease in behavioural problems


Active Citizenship

There were less studies that highlighted active citizenship but those that did highlighted the following benefits:

  • developing volunteering
  • social integration and inclusion
    • increase social inclusion among children
    • inclusion of people with high functioning autism
    • inclusion of individuals with physical disabilities
    • inclusion of people with mental disabilities
  • reintegration of youth at risk into society


Crime Reduction and anti-social Behaviour

  • increase of prosocial behaviour
  • improved behaviour and habitus of adults having drug problems or other social exclusion risks
  • vital strength and a higher will to live
  • enhanced feeling of their body and discovering the pleasure of achievement
  • habitus from team work and group development for motivation and self-resilience
  • nature as an environment for an intense contact with one’s self
  • potential to prevent delinquency in youth
  • reduced recidivism the tendency of a convicted criminal to reoffend
  • lower rates of smoking and substance misuse


Given the level of benefits accrued from Outdoor Sports the working group decided to walk to lunch (3 miles away) to ensure that we also benefited from being active in nature

Discussion on Work Package 2

There was much debate in the working group about the issue of capturing the inputs (costs) which can be done through the satellite accounts or through standard economic modelling. This was followed by some discussion around the issue of developing the empirical values for the social benefits. It was agreed however that the primary purpose of the BOSS project is to capture the value of the social benefits. Therefore the toolkit will focus on the methodology to do this, but guidance will be provided on how to do calculate the costs accurately but the focus must be on generating the social value.

Level of rigour

There was significant discussion on ensuring that any projects examined will have a sound level of rigour. It was agreed that we want to get the highest levels of rigour possible within the resources available. Linked to this the sampling needs to be set at the correct levels.

While the methodology created will be freely available it is recognised that the process will be fairly challenging and complicated and it is likely that project leaders will need significant support to be able to deliver it.


Key statements that were agreed upon at the end of the working group meeting

  1. The process should enable the organisation undertaking the intervention to show the benefits created in empirical terms to a key funder or managing stakeholder but should also have data on what has worked well and allows them to develop their programmes/projects to effect more good.
  2. Rigour is achieved within resource constraints by ensuring process, guidance, support for primary research, individual literature searching, theories of change, survey processes, sampling decisions, question design, analysis/quantitative/black box procedures and check and challenge by project partners and SHU staff.
  3. It was discussed that the resources available means that the project should focus on social value calculations as a complementary add on to economic valuations (e.g. satellite accounts; economic impacts). It allows the option of input calculation through which SROI return ratio can be estimated but this may be not the primary purpose of the exercise. The project will provide guidance on this.
  4. It was agreed that there would be value in examining an options approach of providing a staged process which allows the user to adopt an increasingly rigorous approach from basic through to more challenging and rigorous.
  5. It was agreed that there would be value in having a pilot project (likely to be NI) that allows the methodology to be applied early before the main testing phase. However, this cannot displace or delay the main testing through Work package 3.