Project Scope

In July 2014, the ukactive Research Institute undertook a process to identify ‘good’ and ‘promising’ practice from a broad range of physical activity providers in local communities in England.  The project was accomplished in partnership with The National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine (NCSEM) in Sheffield on behalf of Public Health England.

The wealth of information collected will provide a valuable insight into the strength of the evidence base for the effectiveness of physical activity programmes currently being run in England.


An open call was issued to all organisations, groups and individuals undertaking work that is actively contributing to increasing levels of physical activity in England.

The Nesta Standards of Evidence were used as a benchmark for rating programmes based on factors such as evidence of positive impact, evaluation outcomes and scalability.


A total of 952 survey responses were submitted making it one of the largest surveys of physical activity programmes in England ever carried out. Programmes submitted were wide ranging in terms of activities offered, delivery settings, participation rates and target populations.


The project findings can be viewed in the Public Health England publication ‘Identifying what works for local physical inactivity interventions’ .  The document represents a marked step forward from the All Party Commission recommendations.  For the first time, it provides tangible evidence of the strengths and weaknesses of the sector in respect to the richness of interventions and variable levels of monitoring and evaluation.

Read the report “Identifying what works for local physical inactivity interventions” published by Public Health England.