Policy and Strategic Architecture


Our aim

Lead policy, legislation and system change to support active lives, ensuring that physical activity becomes a central feature in policy and practice relating to planning, transport, health and social care, economic development, education and the environment.


We know multiple factors influence how active we can be, from where we live, work and play to our culture and relationships. This means we have to design-in and hard-wire physical activity across the whole system to systematically embed physical activity into other agendas of significance to the wider Greater Manchester strategy.
By working collaboratively across planning, transport, health and social care, economic development, education and the environment, not only can we address the key drivers of health outcomes and health inequalities, but we can also contribute to economic development and reduce the impact of climate change.

Onion diagram

What have we done?

Over the past year, GreaterSport has continued to play a key leadership and facilitator role in promoting Greater Manchester Moving ambitions, including:

  • Helping embed and strengthen support for active lives across Greater Manchester policy and strategies, and to grow a movement for movement: system mapping, identifying gaps and opportunities for culture change, system change and behaviour change
  • Highlighting the conditions that enable more people to move as part of their everyday lives and how we design these to create population level behaviour change and to close inequality gaps for the most inactive people
  • Spreading and sharing learning about the enablers for system change at a local, city-region and national level
  • Growing, diversifying and strengthening system wide influence, advocacy and engagement in active lives and sport
  • Connecting and convening spaces and conversations to grow diversity, reach and depth of relationships and understanding in priority areas, as well as a greater sense of alignment, integration and collaboration across inter-dependent agendas and sectors
  • Promoting and facilitating a co-productive approach to co-design policy and strategy with people, organisations and networks, adapting a ‘nothing about us without us’ approach
  • Listening to people and partners at a local, regional and national level
  • Supporting sense-making and translation of learning across localities
  • Building a stronger and more inclusive articulation of shared purpose, narrative and language to describe why active lives and sport matters to Greater Manchester.

Case study: GM Moving for GM recovery

Everyday movement, physical activity and sport have an important role to play in our individual and collective recovery from the pandemic. GreaterSport has helped highlight the importance of supporting people to move throughout the pandemic, and the contribution GM Moving can make to GM recovery. One way we have done this is ensuring the role, contribution and impact of GM Moving is embedded in the GM Living with Covid Resilience Plan. We also convened a GM Moving for GM Recovery conversation with 150 people from across the system, including the GM Mayor, senior leaders and grassroots representatives.

This whole system approach to GM Recovery and the inclusion of GM Moving in the plans was made possible because of the strength of understanding and relationships that exists between strategic leaders at Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership (GMHSCP), and GreaterSport in their shared commitment to GM Moving ambitions. The high levels of trust and mutual knowledge shared between senior leaders across these GM Moving partner organisations enabled us to collectively contribute to the plan with speed and efficiency. The strategic lead at GMCA established an effective and efficient process for inputting the plan and reviewing progress through quick, regular verbal updates.
These encouraged open and honest reflection and feedback.

The impact of this approach has been seen and felt in a number of ways, including:

  • Role of physical activity recognised in wider GM Recovery plans and implementation
  • ‘Buy-in’ at most senior levels of Greater Manchester and stronger advocacy for active lives and equalities
  • Increased alignment of priorities, for both the shorter and longer-term. For example, conversations around GM Recovery further highlighted the role of physical activity in improving people’s mental health
  • Further growing and strengthening connections and relationships
  • Increased understanding of GreaterSport’s role and contribution.

Further details

For more information on policy and strategic architecture within Greater Manchester please contact Hayley@gmmoving.co.uk.