Evidence of need for OpenActive for children and young people

There is a need to address major inequalities in physical activity uptake among children and young people, which can lead to significant differences across wellbeing and developmental outcomes.
The government is dedicated to reaching a target to halve childhood obesity by 2030, which evidence suggests is still far off being achieved, which is largely targteing schools and local authorities.

Local authorities and aim to advance their capability and make savings from the use of digital technologies
Evidence has demonstrated that community and leisure services currently have low levels of digitisation.

Evidence demonstrates that OpenActive supports increased uptake of sport and activity services for children and young people, which in turn can support their sustainability.

For example school sport facilities operator Schools Plus achieved an increase in bookings of 18% after the uptake of OpenActive.

Ways OpenActive can be used for children and young people

Sport and activity opportunity provision for children and young people can be mapped by local authorities using the OpenActive standard. 

This would mean that the data can be reused across different contexts – and parents, young people, and new sports initiatives can make use of the data to understand what is available.

Data feeds from OpenActive can be used to generate tools to target the needs of specific groups – such as activity finders drawing from large pools of data that support teens, disabled youth, etc.

Where sports and activity services are currently struggling to stay sustainable due to low uptake, OpenActive creates a way for activity providers to have ‘free marketing’ of their opportunities to a wider audience. 

Steps to get there

New initiatives and iterations of existing initiatives that use data about children’s physical activity opportunities, such as the Holiday Activities and Food programme and Opening Schools Facilities fund, include funding and mechanisms for opening data using OpenActive.
This will ensure information about opportunities can be widely shared and marketed, which was recognised as a key need of the initiative and benefit of OpenActive an Opening Schools Facilities evaluation report in 2021.

There is a need for funding, policies and programmes of support on a policy level to encourage more providers to open up their data about sport and activity opportunities for children and young people.

Since data about community services, such as sports clubs for children, is often not digitised, there is a need to encourage community services to open their data. 

Plans to target certain types of organisations to open their data should be costed and funded appropriately. This may include encouraging the use of particular extensions to the data standard like those related to accessibility (depending on the information needs of the target group). 

Make use of open data for children and young people by creating or updating tools and services like activity finders using the OpenActive data feed.

What to do