Professional Networks Quality Assurance Review : final report

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Brockett, Camilla ORCID: 0000-0003-4933-8056, Haycraft, Jade Alexandra Ziems ORCID: 0000-0002-2745-2969, Ball, Kevin ORCID: 0000-0001-5661-9388 and Aughey, Robert ORCID: 0000-0002-0285-8516 (2019) Professional Networks Quality Assurance Review : final report. Project Report. Victoria University / AIS, Melbourne, Victoria.


From the sporting field to the boardroom, Sport 2030 outlines Achieving Sporting Excellence as a strategic priority for Australia with a much broader focus than just winning gold medals. The AIS, in collaboration with National Institute Network (NIN) partners and Sport have recently developed a National High Performance Sport Strategy (NHPSS) to support the priorities and objectives of Sport2030 and provide a framework for the national high performance sport system partners. The NHPSS outlines the AIS’ role in leading and enabling a united and collaborative high performance system that supports Australian athletes to achieve international success. The AIS has been mandated to lead and deliver innovative programs that drive big-system efficiencies and support the delivery of the highest standards of quality and ethical practices in sport coaching and service delivery. Quality assurance of sports science and sports medicine (SSSM) services to nationally categorised athletes is foundational for ensuring evidence-based practices deliver valid and reliable outcomes in support of optimal athlete development and performance assessment. The role of the AIS in leading the quality assurance of national sports science sports medicine services is widely supported and reinforced by recommendations from previous reviews into the high performance system, including the Independent Review of the National Institute Network (2014). The AIS, through the National Sport Science Quality Assurance (NSSQA) program, has a long history of commitment and action to quality assured world-class athlete services. With a new national mandate to do ‘big system-level things’, now is a timely opportunity for the AIS to lead the re-imagining of quality assurance across Australia’s High Performance (HP) Professional Networks, namely the SSSM disciplines. In April 2019, Victorian University was engaged by the AIS Professional Networks Team to undertake a review to assist the ‘investigation of an effective, system-wide quality assurance framework that drives better practices that enhance the efficiency and impact of SSSM services on the performance success of Australian HP athletes’. The primary aims of this review were to: • Focus on the quality assurance (QA) of SSSM athlete testing protocols, testing equipment and practitioner competencies related to key data collection and analysis variables; • Examine and report on current QA principles and practices in key SSSM disciplines; • Investigate core themes and trends in QA processes in the National Institute Network (NIN) and sport environments; • Identify high-level system components of QA for a whole-of-HP-system; • Provide recommendations on the structure, function, roles and responsibilities, and resourcing requirements for a Professional Networks QA program. The robust methodology included a comprehensive on-line survey of SSSM practitioners (n=165), followed by 34 in-depth interviews with representatives from the NIN, National Sporting Organisations (NSOs), athletes, coaches, and private contractors. Data was analysed within and across stakeholder groups to provide a greater understanding of the nature and impact of QA standards and practices, including strengths and limitations of current QA programs and strategies. The findings from this review provide critical insights that will inform the structure and function of a new system wide interdisciplinary QA program. Key findings: • QA of athlete testing/monitoring was considered by all stakeholders as being paramount for performance. • A robust QA framework ensures valid and reliable data is captured and effective comparisons can be made across different testing venues as well as athlete progression over time. • Sports trust and rely heavily on athlete testing provided by the NIN. • SSSM practitioners were aligned in their views on the main barriers and areas for positive impact on QA of athlete testing and monitoring. It was suggested that ambiguity around data collection and reporting by practitioners (NIN and non-NIN) as well as a perceived lack of standardised protocols across disciplines could be addressed by improving practitioner competency and developing standardised testing protocols. • The current QA framework was perceived to have an excessive focus on procedures for assuring quality and compliance at the expense of investment in innovation and advancement of athlete testing/monitoring protocols and practices. There was a strong desire amongst stakeholders to establish a more open, transparent and educational QA framework that supports development and advancement of sport-based and SSSM discipline-based approaches to QA.

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Commissioned by the Australian institute of Sport

Item type Monograph (Project Report)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Health and Sport
Keywords Quality assurance, Sports science, Sports medicine, Australia, High performance athletes
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