Sport England makes governance code changes to boost diversity and athlete welfare

7th July, 2021 9:31 am

Sport England and UK Sport have updated the Code for Sports Governance ©Sport EnglandSport England and UK Sport have announced changes to the Code for Sports Governance which will aim to increase diversity on their Boards and senior leadership teams, as well as across the wider organisations.

The Code for Sports Governance was launched in 2016, with more than 4,000 organisations receiving Government or National Lottery funding to apply measures.

Sport England says the requirement for funded bodies to drive greater diversity on their Boards has led to female representation on the Boards complying with the Code and rising to 44 per cent.

Representation of people from black, Asian and other ethnically diverse backgrounds has reportedly risen from four to 13 per cent, while the percentage of people with a declared disability on Boards has increased from three to 13 per cent since 2015.

Sport England and UK Sport say further progress is still required, with the organisations supporting a diversity and inclusion action plan.

Now other organisations will be required to agree a Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan with Sport England and UK Sport, which will need to be “ambitious and robust”.

The plan would explain how partners will work to improve diversity and inclusion across their whole organisation, not just at Board level.

Organisations will be supported to set benchmarks if relevant in specific areas.

Plans are expected to be published by the end of summer 2022, with meaningful progress required within two years.

Should there be a sustained lack of commitment or a lack of progress, organisations could be found non-compliant and withdrawal of funding will be considered.

“We are incredibly proud of the impact the Code for Sports Governance has had since 2016, and the way it has been adopted as a vehicle for meaningful and positive change,” said Tim Hollingsworth, Sport England chief executive.

“The changes announced today build on this momentum.

“We are confident that the new requirements – and the focus in particular on the impact of ambitious Diversity and Inclusion Action Plans – will be welcomed and embraced.

“It is a further step towards greater diversity of background, experience and understanding of sport and activity environments having a seat at the table at the very top of sporting organisations.”

Sport England says there will be targeted support to assist with monitoring and delivering progress and is extending a partnership with Perrett Laver by a further year.

This programme works to identify and develop a network of senior, experienced candidates from a range of backgrounds, including women, people from black, Asian and other ethnically diverse backgrounds, disabled people and LGBT+ people.

The programme has supported 37 appointments made to sports Boards, with Sport England saying 65 per cent of which have been from black, Asian and other ethnically diverse backgrounds.

A total of 73 per cent of which have been female, with eight per cent having been people with a declared disability.

Sport England says the partnership is being supported by £450,000 ($620,000/€525,000) from the organisation and UK Sport, while a pilot has been set up to improve diversity at regional and local level.

The updated Code for Sports Governance will also focus on welfare and safety in sport, good governance standard, and the impact on stakeholders, the environment and wider society.

Sport England says organisations will be required to appoint a director to lead efforts in strengthening welfare and safety in sport, with the requirement following other major works on this issue.

This included investing to support organisations with their own safeguarding work, and the expansion of the safeguarding case-management service.

Organisations will now be asked to implement and promote good governance standards, including with respect to diversity and inclusion, throughout their wider operations.

The Code will require Boards to factor impact on stakeholders, the environment and wider society into their decisions and the actions implemented by their organisation.

Sport England says this could be in relation to transport or procurement policies, or how facilities are developed.

 

Source: Sport England makes governance changes to boost diversity and athlete welfare (insidethegames.biz) July 2021

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