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- 17 December 2013 00:00
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County Sports Partnership Network (CSPN) Chairman Richard Saunders says that the major challenge of the network moving forwards is to remain unique and autonomous.
Saunders says that the real strength of the CSPs across England is that they all have a unique and independent role in their own particular geographical area and warned it is vital that this is not lost.
"I think the main contribution of the CSPN has been establishing the CSPs as unique bodies with individual identities who all subscribe to consistent and common goals,” Saunders told Community Sport Network.
"I think the main challenge of the CSPN now is to remain true to the fact that we are unique and that we are autonomous.
"If the CSPs become just another piece of a jigsaw, then we will lose a lot of our unique offer.
"The CSPs achieve fantastic results through their unparalleled knowledge of their own area and through established relationships with local key policy and decision-makers.
"It is important to make sure others understand this feature of CSPs - from Government right through to the local partners.
"If others continue see the CSPs as independent and appreciate how local relationships can help other organisations connect locally then we can continue to add value and will have a major impact across the sporting landscape.”
Saunders is also currently the CEO of GreaterSport – the CSP for Greater Manchester – but will be retiring from that particular role early next year.
Saunders says it is important that his successor has strong management and leadership skills to ensure that the Greater Manchester Sports Partnership retains its role as a leading CSP.
Retiring as GreaterSport CEO next year is something I had planned to do for some time,” he said.
"I have been discussing this with our Board and it is something I am very comfortable with following a long period in the role.
It is partly a time-balance issue given that I am currently GreaterSport CEO as well as the Chairman of the CSPN.
GreaterSport is in a strong position with a healthy turnover which will rise to over £2 million and a staff of around 20 people so the new CEO will obviously need to have strong management skills to oversee what is now a large independent company and a registered charity.
"They will need to understand how to deal with complex issues such as working across 10 Local Authorities and they will need to consistently deliver against the targets and expectations of partners and funders.
"But perhaps even more importantly than that, they will need real vision and strong leadership skills in order to take people with them.
"I will do all I can to help with the transition and then I will happily step aside to leave them to make their own mark.
"What is certain is that whoever comes in has a fantastic team in place and a phenomenal opportunity to make a real difference and to build on the reputation of a strong, nationally recognised organisation.”
To read the full Q&A with Richard Saunders, Click Here