Blog & News from SajeImpact

18 Weeks and Counting

18 Weeks and Counting

I will be 55 in just 18 weeks time. For me life will be able to take another step into the next season in my life.

When this happens I am hoping to make greater use of this site for my musings on life and the world around! I have one big interview in May which might put these plans back a little bit (about 4 years) but either way there will be more time for travel and writing.

Stay tuned.


Seasons in Life - The Next one for Andy and Saje Impact

There are seasons to life I believe. Well it certainly feels like that as I start September 201Changes in 2018!8.

A number of Sport Board positions come to their natural end after several years of voluntary service - The Sport & Recreation Alliance , Special Olympic and CIMSPA . I want to thank everybody who has helped and supported me during the last 8 years since leaving Parliament (losing the election!) and welcoming me into the world of sport.

It has been another fascinating learning curve working with a sector I have passion for and trying to bring a fresh perspective and influence practise and policy. I will continue to do this but in different ways over the next 'season', mainly through The Sports Think Tank and through SAJEIMPACT LTD where I have generated a series of partnerships to bring the best people I have worked with to the sector - like David Slemen Sport:80 Services Limited . As always Loughborough University Loughborough University London will play a large part of what I do.

I will announce a few new NED positions too over the coming weeks.

I have always had a passion for my home county so I will be doing more economic growth work in Leicestershire through the LLEP too

Here is to the new season. Even if that includes retiring formally from Birstall RFC!

Leading Sport and Recreation through the next 80 Years

Posted: Sat, 20 Jun 2015 15:04

Leading Sport and Recreation through the next 80 Years

Leading Sport and Recreation through the next 80 Years

The Sport and Recreation Alliance is celebrating its 80th Birthday this year and we took time to celebrate this in the office this week.

As you can see from the 'Blog' below from our CEO Emma Boggis we have a great deal to be proud of in our time. As we come the AGM in July I wanted to add a few of my own very general thoughts about what I have tried to achieve in my short time as Chair.

"When I accidentally took over as Chair in 2011 the organisation was having a little identity crisis. The CCPR, as the Alliance was formally known, had been on the sports landscape for some time on its own – only accompanied by the BOA in delivering teams to the Olympics. If you get a chance to read the Jeffreys book on the history of sport in the UK you son come to realise that the rise of sports bodies and government interest is historically very recent. So by 2011 the other sports bodies on the landscape were competing for space and voice.

I also realise that whilst an organisation is right to celebrate its history and heritage it has to remain relevant for now and into the future. Many of the structures that underpin the SRA are also changing – as is the very nature of what sport and recreation in the 21st century looks like in a digital age. So I hope that our latest work "Fit for the Future" sums up what I have tried to do in my time. We have modernised our governance. We have recruited new leadership that reflects the values of the new strategy and organisation. Things that were fit for 70-90s no longer work in the changing sports environment. If we were to lead the sector in our Code of Good Governance then we had to live and breath this too. It means a skills based board to deliver the best for the sector – not a place to reward people for long service. There are better ways to do that.

However, I am also keen to make sure we keep our connections with the past. The wisdom of those who have served the CCPR and Alliance are useful reminders that Sports policy does tend to go around in circles! If you take a look at the work the CCPR was doing 80 , 50 or even 20 years ago many of the demands sound very familiar.

Finally for me the next phase of my work will be to create a simpler landscape where we have genuine collaborative leadership instead of the battle for voice and resources. Whilst I have served at the SRA I see my main work through the Sports Think Tank in the long term being a genuine neutral voice for all evidence based policy – regardless of who delivers or which agenda is being pursued. What is best for sport,PE and recreation and physical activity for all individuals is our driver – not the voice of the supply side!

I am delighted to have been serving the SRA during its 80th year. I look forward to serving another term on the Board. But I also look outside into the landscape hoping we remain relevant for another 80 by adapting and managing the innovation and changes that need to take place. No organisation deserves to exist just because it has in the past. But by being an effective voice and delivering a quality customer experience for our members I am sure we will be around in 2095 celebrating our 160th.



As the Alliance turns 80, its current Chief Executive, Emma Boggis, has looked back at the challenges facing the sector and nation at the time of its foundation back in 1935.

It is a great privilege to be leading an organisation that can trace its roots back over 80 years and reaching such a significant landmark offers the perfect opportunity to reflect a little on the achievements of the organisation since its formation back in June 1935 as well as look back at the challenges of the past compared to those we face today.

In 1936, a mere year into the Alliance's (or the CCRPT as it was then) existence, the British Medical Association published a report that detailed that 79% of the population between 14 and 40 took no form of regular physical exercise. In the last few weeks a similar report from the British Heart Foundation found that 44% of the population does no moderate form of physical exercise. Even 80 years apart, there is still work to be done to promote and raise a healthy, active nation.

To mark the 21st Birthday of the CCPR in 1956, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, in his role as our President, delivered a televised message titled "Active Leisure" to the nation which was watched by an estimated 9.5 million people. In it he covered a range of topics and listed four main problems stopping the nation being active:

1. Lack of indoor and outdoor facilities
2. Lack of full-time and part-time coaches
3. Lack of knowledge of what people could do in their leisure time
4. How to get people started and to overcome the shyness of beginners

He then went on to address these problems with reference the role the CCPR was playing to help remedy them. Included in his comments were themes covering outdoor recreation, grassroots sport, movement and dance and international competition.

In his address His Royal Highness also said "All I am concerned about is that people should not be forced to do nothing because there is no opportunity for them to do something in their leisure time". I feel well placed to say that, with over 320 members of the Alliance representing a huge variety of sports and recreations, there has never been more choice for people to get active. But we also know that as a population we are increasingly time poor and face competing demands, so in order to provide the opportunity and access we all want to see, we collectively have to work harder than ever.

Similar challenges also remain around facilities, coaching and funding and we are continuing to work hard to ensure these issues are addressed through work like our five-step plan to a more active population and the consultation on developing a strategy for the outdoors.

As an organisation the Alliance has gone through inevitable periods of change over the last 80 years, from having numerous regional offices and three national centres, to becoming a centralised body. Throughout all these changes our core mission remains the same, to help the sector be the best it can be and, as a result, develop a physically active and ambitious nation.

When I spoke at an event last year not long after I was appointed as CEO, which focussed on increasing female representation on Boards, I said I was delighted not to be the first woman to lead the Alliance. Today I would invite you have a look at the development of the Alliance as penned by its founder, Phyllis Colson, back in 1956 as well the words from HRH The Duke of Edinburgh at the end of this piece. It provides a fascinating insight into the challenges facing the sector at the time and also inspires us – and I hope you – to keep striving to create a better future.

See more at:

Tags: CCPR, Recreation, SRA, Sport

Tributes to Kennedy and Collins

Posted: Sat, 06 Jun 2015 10:19

It is not often that the death of public figures creates such glowing tributes but the loss of two figures this week have done just that.

Charles Kennedy

Anybody who knew or met Charles Kennedy quite rightly recognised the generosity and warmth of politicians from across the political spectrum speak of his warmth and wit. He was of course a skilled politician by personality not by machine politics and perhaps that is why he stood out in an increasingly bland Commons. I cannot claim to have been close to Charles but on the time we spoke or just bumped into each other in the Commons it was Charles the person who always shone through. Nobody underestimates the personal battles he had with alcohol which sadly seems to be the cause of his untimely death. Although he had lost his seat in the great SNP surge I am sure he was not about to be lost to politics.

The tribute pad by Alistair Campbell has widely been praised for its warmth. Alistair Campbell

Jerry Collins

In rugby circles the giant Jerry Collins was known not just for his great play as a NZ All Black but became even better known perhaps for him tuning out for Barnstaple 2nd XV when he was staying in the SW on a pro longed holiday. It reminded rugby folk of the golden era when rugby was still one big family. Nobody is too big not to turn out for the 2nds! It seems he was with mutual friends – the Tuialagi brothers- just an hour before his untimely death. Again from the warmth of the tributes pouring out for him and his wife another of the rare 'gentlemen giants' has been lost to rugby this time.

I think this lovely write up on the BBC website says it all. Jerry Collins remembered.

Although I never met the guy, from what I have seen and from those who I know were friends his loss leaves a big hole for so many as well as a personal tragedy for the immediate family.

For both my heart and prayers go out to two people who have had a positive impact on the world around them and brought joy to others. We live in a world that needs more characters like these.

Tags: Charles Kennedy, Jerry Collins

Saje Impact to work with Sporting Equals

Posted: Sat, 06 Jun 2015 10:12

Saje Impact to work with Sporting Equals

Saje Impact to work with Sporting Equals

Saje Impact announces a new partnership programme with Sporting Equals

"Sporting Equals exists to actively promote greater involvement by all communities that are disengaged especially the black and minority ethnic population in sport and physical activity. We are the primary driver and funding channel for national and regional programmes in this field.

We work closely with both the providers of sporting opportunities (national governing bodies, local authorities and agencies, sports organisations) and the users of sporting opportunities (community and faith groups, local clubs, charities and individuals). We also have strong links with NHS agencies and other organisations addressing health inequalities in society.

Our mission is to make a sustainable difference to the inclusion of all under-represented communities in sport and physical activity, so as to improve the long-term opportunities and health outcomes of those communities.

"Sporting Equals and Saje Impact are delighted to be working together" said Andy Reed. " We are already supporting British Asian Rugby Association and we believe there will be some synergies here. My own background in Leicester and Loughborough have always made me aware of the barriers that still exist for BAME communities in accessing sporting opportunities. My anecdotal experience is backed up be the APS figures regularly.

We will help Sporting Equals promote their work to policy makers, and to commercial partners.

Tags: BAME, sporting equals

Reed Joins CIMSPA Board

Posted: Fri, 05 Jun 2015 16:47

Reed Joins CIMSPA Board

Reed Joins CIMSPA Board

Two senior industry professionals have been appointed to the CIMSPA board of trustees.

Andy Reed OBE, chair of the Sport & Recreation Alliance, and Nick Masson, sales director of Bigwave Media, will join CIMSPA's board with immediate effect. The appointments increase the number of trustees from eight to 10.

Appointed for the period of one year, the new board members will help the chartered institute deliver its vision of professionalising the sector's workforce.

"I'm delighted to welcome Andy and Nick to the CIMSPA board. They are both highly talented professionals and together bring a mix of skills and expertise that will make a huge contribution to our work," said Dave Stalker, chair of CIMSPA.

Awarded the OBE in 2012 for services to sport and the community, Andy was an MP for Loughborough for 13 years, serving as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Kate Hoey while she was Sports Minister. He is director of his own company SajeImpact Ltd, offering advice and consultancy to sport bodies, national governing bodies and social enterprises; and is also director of The Sports Think Tank.

As sales director of leading full service marketing agency, Bigwave Media, Nick has immense experience in the leisure industry working in both the public and private sectors. He has a reputation for growing the commercial side of business as well as focussing on service quality and delivery. He is also passionate about sport and in particular badminton. He is club chairman and head of performance at Queens Badminton club, a premier Badminton England club, and chairman of Exeter Performance Centre. Voted Male Devon Coach of the Year in 2003, Nick regularly works with top ranking players in the country.

"I am delighted to be joining CIMSPA at such an important time in its development. I hope I am able to bring some additional skills and perspective to the board and learn from my fellow trustees. I am determined our wider sector embraces the opportunity CIMSPA offers and we can promote the work to encourage growth in membership," said Andy Reed.

Nick Masson said: "I am honoured to take up the position on the board of CIMSPA and am particularly excited about the prospect of contributing to the marketing and sports elements of CIMSPA's work. It's an important time for the organisation to position itself at the heart of our fantastic industry and working with my fellow trustees I hope that I can help achieve this."


Tags: Andy Reed, Cimspa

Sarah is looking to make a new Impact!

Posted: Fri, 05 Jun 2015 16:39

Sarah is looking to make a new Impact!

Sarah is looking to make a new Impact!

The name 'Sajeimpact' was created to reflect Sarah, Andy, James, & Emily's impact on the world. You could be mistaken for thinking that Sajeimpact has turned into 'Ajeimpact' over the last couple of years! It has certainly felt like it from my point of view when a full blown ME relapse struck me down in September 2013. It felt as though I had aged several decades! Not only did this put a stop to my active involvement as a joint director of Sajeimpact, but with all aspects of life that I loved: sport, socialising, volunteering. I recorded a lot of my journey as honestly as I could on my personal blog: and for a good 18 months that was as visible as I could be!

Last September I tentatively embarked on a new venture; a 10 month discipleship course called Ignite. It was a full day a week which seemed an ambitious ask at the time but by God's grace, I got through. It's been quite an adventure and life changing year! Ignite has been the only thing I've committed to this year and I couldn't have chosen anything better to put my limited energies to.

During the year new foundations have be laid and it has been a continuous challenge that I have relished. It has unearthed qualities that I didn't know I had and I now know myself better than I've ever done before. I've discovered that ambition is not a big driving force for me but passion is!

My initial ambition after becoming ill was to get back to fitness, sport and exercise as soon as possible, but none of these are great friends with ME! It has made my contribution to Sajeimpact difficult as exercise and exertion exacerbate my symptoms so I'm hardly the best endorser!

I've discovered that my real passion is for people. I get energised from being with people and what stirs me most is valuing and including those that society would sometimes prefer to ignore; the poor, the hungry, the homeless, those in prison, the disabled. I had discovered this in theory but it was cemented in during a week's mission to Spain with Ignite. Spending time with people who were scavenging snails to survive, and walking the streets in the red light district with 'girls' aged into their 60's could have been a very depressing situation, but alongside the team, we were offering real, life changing hope. My greatest desire is for people to see themselves the way that God sees them. Love is certainly a powerful weapon!

The course has brought huge benefits to me personally, but as it draws to an end, it's still unclear how it will affect my contribution to Sajeimpact. However, I've grown accustomed to being challenged and pushed out of my comfort zone this year, so I'm ready for a new challenge!

Health is much improved but still limited. However, I'm definitely re-Ignited to add my Impact, whatever that may be. I don't know what the final destination is yet but at least Ignite has helped reset my compass and hopefully it won't be too long before I start a new chapter with Sajeimpact.

I would also like to record my sincere thanks to Andy for his unwavering support throughout my painstakingly slow recovery.

Tags: Ignite, Sarah Reed, faith

Reed Speaks to Radio Leicester on FIFA & Blatter

Posted: Wed, 03 Jun 2015 09:48

Reed Speaks to Radio Leicester on FIFA & Blatter

Reed Speaks on Blatter

Andy Reed has been on Radio Leicester again this week speaking up for Sports who feel tainted by FIFA revelations of alleged corruption. Speaking as Chair of Leicestershire Sport Andy Reed was keen to promote the role of volunteers as the genuine face of sport

Andy said "Sport is not FIFA and FIFA is not all sport. Here in Leicester and Leicestershire we have thousands of sports volunteers who deliver sport on a voluntary basis. This is a far cry from the revelations we have seen at FIFA this week and the resignation of Sepp Blatter.

Andy can be found here on Radio Leicester:

Tags: Blatter, Fifa, Lrs, Radio Leicester

Build Activity into Our Daily Lives

Posted: Tue, 26 May 2015 13:53

Build Activity into Our Daily Lives

Build Activity into Our Daily Lives

Andy Reed spoke to Premier Christian radio today after a report suggested obesity is linked to living next to noisy roads!

The story is linked below. Andy said

"I am always pleased to talk about these issues. These reports and headlines can leave people confused about what they can and can't do. First we need the distinction between the issue of Obesity and the lack of physical activity. Whilst there is some links they are two separate issues.

"The causes of people becoming obese are mixed and varied. There is no single reason that explains every situation. It is increasingly difficult to avoid in a society of plenty, and with poor choices being put in front of us every day by the Food Industry. I am convinced that one day we will look upon Big Food as we do the Tobacco industry."

I do believe that as Christians we have a responsibility to look after our bodies the best we can. This means for me our diet, physical activity, sleep, water and a healthy work/life balance to maintain our stress levels. These are a virtuous circle. When all of these things are balanced we can have a healthy & productive life. I know these are not possible for all people at all stages in their lives, so we need to help each other to achieve these goals.


By Hannah Tooley

A Christian sports leader says people can increase their levels of physical activity in lots of different ways.

Andy Reed made the comment after new research from the British Medical Journal found that living near a main road can cause people to gain weight.

The study into noise pollution also found that living under a flight path doubles the risk of obesity.

Mr Reed, from Christian sports thinktank Saje Impact, told Premier: "Don't be daunted, you don't have to rush off and join a gym, but just build up that level of physical activity so that everything becomes comfortable and just make it part of our daily lives."

"Probably there's an element of truth in many of these [reports], there isn't one single cause for this obesity epidemic that we're currently suffering in this country, there are a whole series of reasons."

Listen to Premier's Hannah Tooley speak to Andy Reed here:

Listen to Andy Reed on Premier Radio

Tags: Physical Activity, Premier Radio

Sport & Recreation Alliance Blog

Posted: Sat, 16 May 2015 09:42

Sport & Recreation Alliance Blog

Sport & Recreation Alliance Blog

Sport and Recreation Alliance Chair, Andy Reed, blogs about the inevitable pace of change and how the sport and recreation sector can look to adapt and evolve to it in the future.

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. (John F Kennedy)

We live in an ever changing world. Standing still in the face of the new challenges is never an option. I am sure Tesco looked on amused at the decline of Woolworths only a few years ago, only to find themselves in deep trouble over the last 12 months as the consumer market shifted beneath their feet. Even the most ambitious and successful are vulnerable if they don't anticipate and move with the times.

I see a large part of our work at the Sport and Recreation Alliance to be thought leaders and guardians of our sector. We want to inform and allow busy NGBs and volunteers to look into the future and prepare for whatever new challenge is coming our way.

As we head to our annual Sports Summit we have created a themed day to help the sector identify and prepare to become fit for the future. We have a programme of speakers and workshops in place to get us thinking about some of the following themes and how to adapt to an ever changing socio-political landscape:

• Funding
• Technology
• Public and mental health
• Governance
• Commercialisation

We need to learn how to manage innovation and embrace it. All too often I get the impression we are suspicious of new entrants and technology and look to control too many aspects of our work. In the recent past the disrupters have brought with them great new products that have attracted new people to sport and recreation and provided opportunities for us to grow. We need to learn to work with disrupters and embrace them to our cause.

The whole of our society is changing and whilst we all get to an age where it is easier to look back to some golden era (that probably never really existed!) we need to accept that each generation has a different norm to the previous. I try my hardest to be digitally savvy, but I will always be a digital immigrant not a digital native. I layer digital on top of my world whereas digital natives know no other way. This digital age is already with us and we have no time to wait for a different future.

It is why we were keen to work with the Future Foundation – trying to get ahead of these challenges rather than always playing catch-up. Insight has become the latest trend and this is really useful for the here and now, but we hope we can also give you the tools to plan ahead.

But we can't just study these changes heading our way – we need to manage and react to them. Societal challenges like individualism or the 'quantified-self' do pose challenges for team sports. So how do we re-create community in a different way? Is online enough? What can be done to increase participation in a connected world?

Of course almost no discussion about the future is possible without talking about money and funding. I wrote a year ago that we need to think differently about public funding for sport and why we might need to think again about what is funded and how it is distributed. I am sure we will want to make the case for a continuation of our existing models – but we should be preparing at the same time for a different future.

There are likely to be changes ahead in funding as the new government looks at budgets and how it funds sports. I know there are cycles to this emphasis but increasingly it will not be sport for its own sake, but rather as part of a connected public health agenda that looks at tackling physical inactivity and understanding the benefits of physical activity for mental health.

We will need to think more broadly about who we need to work with across the health and physical activity agenda to ensure that sport is seen and used as tool for development.

The tectonic plates of change have been moving for some time. A mixed economy of delivery, technology, individualism, a health and wellbeing agenda, and emphasis on physical activity have all entailed a drift from inflexible team sports. The continuation of changes in government funding and the continuity of 'austerity' especially in local government where the bulk of the sport development spend actually happens have also had an impact.

This evolutionary change requires our collective response and new thinking. Despite perhaps taking the deepest cuts, I see innovation in local government in the delivery of sport and recreation in some of the best local authorities. We need to share this best practice. Indeed, collaboration with central and local government is at the core of our Ministers' To Do List and is something to consider in an era where more power in local government is seen as a viable option.

The biggest challenge facing us however, is how quickly we can adapt to these changes. It is not an option to stand still and wait for some good times to emerge at the end. It is also impossible to go through change, emerge at the other end and think we can now sit back. Change is constant – it is just the pace that changes and that is happening faster all the time!

Whilst we will never be as agile as some of the best innovators, as we proudly rely on millions of volunteers to provide our service offer, we can and must think like them! There are things business can learn from the best sports but we should never be afraid to look at what we can learn from business. I am fortunate that for my day job I work in this arena daily and it is truly exciting to be involved.

Our colleagues at the Youth Sports Trust have also been looking at the future in a great piece of work called The Class of 2035 – again it worth looking at the resources available. If we think our current children are digital natives, this highlights what we may be competing with in 20 years!

So I truly I hope we can help our sector to respond to and embrace the changes taking place around us and ensure that we are able to raise the heartbeat of the nation and create an active sport loving country again.

For more information about our Sports Summit and to book tickets, click here.

Read more from Andy.

Tags: S&RA, Sports Summit 2015

SajeImpact Signs Up with Dissident

Posted: Wed, 13 May 2015 23:16

SajeImpact Signs Up with Dissident

SajeImpact Signs Up with Dissident

Dissident, the integrated marketing communications consultancy, has signed an affiliate agreement with former MP, Andy Reed OBE, Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Department of Culture Media and Sport during the last Labour government and architect of the party's 2010 Sports Manifesto. Reed's other roles include Professor of Sport Policy & Development at Liverpool John Moores University and Chair of the Sport and Recreation Alliance. The agreement is intended to further develop Dissident's capabilities and connections within the sports, health and well-being sectors.

Dissident co-founder, Martin Thomas was formerly a non-executive director of Sport England and is currently on the board of Commonwealth Games England. His fellow co-founder, James Thellusson, has been a non-executive at The Sports Think Tank and has advised Premiership Rugby on its corporate and public affairs strategy for over a decade. In addition to Premiership Rugby, Dissident's clients include SportsCoach UK. The consultancy is also working with a number of sporting bodies on business strategy, brand planning and the adoption of new technology.

Talking about the thinking behind the agreement with Reed, James Thellusson described how: 'We think there are three big change drivers about to hit sports organisations and those corporations involved in sport: pressure on state sports funding, the greater use of new technology (especially social media) and the growing importance of delivering social outcomes through the power of grassroots sport. Andy's network and understanding both of Government and the sports and health agenda is a perfect foil for our own marketing and communications expertise and will help us and our clients navigate this changing world.'

Andy Reed, says that 'Whoever forms the next government, the pressure on national and local budgets will mean that national governing bodies will have to change strategy, prove better value and build more effective relationships to continue to gain funding. In addition, participation will cease to be the sole goal of sports based funding and this will create opportunities for corporations and corporate affairs leaders to make more of their sports based investments against political and social goals.'

Andy Reed OBE
Formerly the MP for Loughborough (between 1997-2010), Andy has a strong association with Sport Policy having served as a PPS to Sports Ministers and advisor to various Ministers and Sports bodies. He introduced the 10 Minute Rule Bill paving the way for the Treasury CASC scheme for Community and Amateur Clubs & was responsible to the Prime Minister for the Labour Party 2010 sports manifesto.
He now Chairs the Sport and Recreation Alliance – the umbrella body for the 320 National governing bodies and associations of sport as well as his local County Sports partnership. He also sits on the Boards of Special Olympics GB, British Basketball League Foundation and Sports Chaplaincy UK. He is also a Member of the RFU Rugby World Cup Legacy Group for his region.

In 2012 Andy was awarded the OBE for services to Sport and the Community in Leicestershire, after Chairing the 2012 Olympic Leicestershire Legacy Group.

In 2012 he helped launch the new International Sports Management MBA at Loughborough University Business School and teaches around the world on Sport Policy and development. He was made a visiting professor of Sport Policy and Development in 2014 at Liverpool John Moores University.

Dissident is a marketing communications consultancy that helps organisations and business leaders deal with a world in which the status quo is unsustainable, orthodox thinking is no longer sufficient and digital disruption demands new solutions.

Founded by award-winning advertising and communications experts Martin Thomas and James Thellusson -and supported by a wide network of fellow dissidents – the consultancy works with a range of private, public and third sector organisations on business and marketing strategy, digital and social media strategy, executive training, media and communications strategy and campaigning.

Tags: Dissident, Sajeimpact

Radio 4 Today Programme - Life After Parliament

Posted: Mon, 11 May 2015 15:11

Radio 4 Today Programme - Life After Parliament

Radio 4 Today Programme - Life After Parliament

Andy Reed this week spoke to the Radio 4 Today programme about life after parliament.


As the dust settles after the general election, many men and women who once trod the corridors of power as Members of Parliament are facing up to life after defeat.

No longer able to influence the policies and laws of their country, these former members of the House of Commons now have to find something else to occupy their time.

But what's it like after losing your parliamentary seat? What are the personal and professional implications of being voted out of public office?

Former Labour MP for Watford Claire Ward told BBC Radio 4's Today programme there was a sense of bereavement at losing her seat in 2010 after 13 years in Westminster.

"Being an MP is very much a way of life," she says. "It's all-consuming, there's no escape from it, no matter what time of the day, where you are, any time of the year.

"From that point of view, you recognise that it's going to be a huge change, not just to your working life but to every aspect of it.

"Something that you feel very strongly about, and is part of you, to lose in that way is very much like a bereavement."

Claire Ward in 2005Claire Ward, seen in her days as Watford's MP, says adjusting to ex-Westminster life is difficultElection ballot papersWithin these ballot papers lies the employment fate of nervous men and women

Ms Ward is now chairman of Pharmacy Voice, the trade association for community pharmacies.

She talks of those failed parliamentary candidates who can't help but wonder whether certain people they see on their constituency's streets, who pledged support, actually voted for them.

She also talks of the "heartbreaking" act of having to give redundancy notices to staff members, whose fortunes are intertwined with that of their boss's.

After finding out that all that knocking on doors, distributing leaflets and promising policies did not generate enough boxes being ticked next to their name, any newly-unemployed former public servant can find a sympathetic ear through theAssociation of Former Members of Parliament.

Among several activities it organises is an outreach programme for former MPs to speak at universities, academies, schools and voluntary groups, helping to keep them busy – and, surely for some, keep their profile up in the local community should they fancy another go come the next by-election.

Financially, there is help available for those ex-MPs going through this drastic change of fortune.

According to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, the expenses watchdog, departing MPs are entitled to a resettlement allowance, equivalent to a month's salary for each year of service, capped at 6 months, or £33,500.

They are also able to claim a winding up allowance of up to £57,000 for former London MPs, and up to £53,000 for those who represented a constituency outside of the capital.

This is for such costs as terminating staff contracts, ending leases on offices, and furniture removals. This allowance is open to all MPs and is not related to length of service.

Vince CableNewly-unemployed Vince Cable making a speech after losing his Twickenham seatAndy ReedAndy Reed has carved out a life for himself at Loughborough University, "among other things"

Andy Reed was Labour MP for Loughborough from 1997 to 2010, and is now programme director of the international sports management MBA at Loughborough University.

He says it was particularly "brutal" losing his seat because politics is "a way of life, not a job".

"You literally walk home from the town hall at four or five o'clock in the morning unemployed, and virtually everything that you knew, your emails, is shut down, locked out.

"You're given a brief opportunity over the weekend to go clear your Westminster office, which is probably the last thing you want to do after a gruelling six-week campaign."

Mr Reed says he has received messages over the last few days, suggesting he put himself forward as the new leader of the Labour party, following Ed Miliband's resignation.

"People do actually genuinely believe you just go into opposition by still being in the constituency. They don't quite understand you are fully unemployed."

Houses of ParliamentFor many, the House of Commons is now just a place where they used to workLouise MenschLouise Mensch has urged ex-MPs to look after their mental health after their public service ends

Louise Mensch was Conservative MP for Corby from 2010 until she resigned her post in 2012.

She has written a blog post for those out of a job following this year's election, in which she urges ex-MPs to look after their mental health, saying they may be prone to depression.

"For the first year after resigning I thought I was cracking up.

"No wonder how much I talked to myself, was sensible and got on with life, my subconscious had other ideas; I had a Parliament-related dream almost every night for a year. It was pretty awful."

She suggests a "magic bullet of exercise, fresh air and green spaces" as a way to combat the shock of not having a constituency to run.

"One of the easiest wins, most in your own control, and implementable instantly, is to get on the scales and then go build a better, stronger, healthier body," she says.


Podcast of Radio 4 Today Programme:

Tags: Loughborough, Radio 4, Today

  • Sports Think Tank
    Green and Gold
    Vote Andy Reed (Archive)
    Loughborough University
  • ciS
  • World Vision UK
  • Sporting Equals
  • Asian Sports Fdn