Tue, July 06, 2021

Changes made to strengthen Code for Sports Governance

Changes made to strengthen Code for Sports Governance

Sport England and UK Sport have announced changes to the Code for Sports Governance which aims to increase diversity on Boards and senior leadership teams.

The Code for Sports Governance was launched in 2016 by Sport England and UK Sport to drive improvement across all areas of governance. The Code has been applied to over 4,000 organisations who receive government or National Lottery funding from either organisation.

In July 2020, Sport England and UK Sport announced that the Code for Sports Governance was to go undergo formal review to look at areas where it would benefit from further development, including around equality, diversity and inclusion.

This review highlighted that many improvements have been made in the sports governance since 2016, as well as a number of areas where more improvements can be made.

Following the conclusion of the review, Sport England and UK Sport has now confirmed a number of changes:

Diversity and inclusion action plan

  • Each relevant partner, including national governing bodies, will be required to agree a diversity and inclusion action plan (DIAP) with Sport England and UK Sport.
  • The plans are expected to be ambitious and robust and set out clearly how partners will work to improve diversity and inclusion across their whole organisation – not just at board level.
  • The annual publication of DIAPs will deliver greater transparency about progress, allowing the public celebration of success but also highlighting where there are gaps and where some organisations fall behind.
  • Organisations will be supported to set benchmarks if relevant in specific areas and will be expected to publish their first plans by the end of summer 2022, with meaningful progress made within two years.
  • Sport England and UK Sport will secure additional support to help develop and monitor DIAPs. If a sustained lack of commitment or progress is not evident, this will be deemed non-compliant and withdrawal of funding will be actively considered.

Welfare and safety in sport

  • To help strengthen welfare and safety in sport, organisations will be required to appoint a Director to take a lead in this area.
  • This requirement follows other major work on this issue, including investing to support organisations with their own safeguarding work, and the expansion of the Safeguarding Case Management Service to help more organisations access expert support.

Good governance standards

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

Impact on stakeholders, the environment and wider society

  • 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. This might be in relation to transport or procurement policies, or how facilities are developed, for example.

Sport England Chief Executive Tim Hollingsworth said: "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.

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."

UK Sport chief Executive Sally Munday said: "The review is a clear demonstration of the amount of positive change that can be made to drive good governance in sport, and that diversity of thought around board tables leads to better run organisations.

The review has presented some clear next steps and we look forward to working with our partners and stakeholders to keep pushing up the standards of how high-performance sport is led and managed and to ensure our high-performance community is truly inclusive"

Please click here to read the new and revised requirements of the code. 


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