Update - 2nd October 2023
The WRU Independent Review Panel makes a final call for evidence
The Panel for the Independent Review into the Welsh Rugby Union makes a final call for evidence.
The Independent Review Panel is extremely grateful to all those who have contributed and submitted evidence. Further evidence can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org until 5pm on Friday 6 October 2023.
Please note that the Independent Review Panel will unfortunately be unable to consider any evidence submitted after this date.
Sport Resolutions administers the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) Independent Review which is investigating allegations of sexism, misogyny, homophobia and racism, and the organisational culture and behaviours of leadership at all levels at the WRU.
The Independent Review Panel to consider the period from 2017 to the present was announced in February 2023 and consists of Dame Anne Rafferty DBE (Chair), Maggie Alphonsi MBE and Quentin Smith. Counsel to the Review is David Lawson.
More information on the Panel and the Terms of Reference are available here.
Update - 31st July 2023
An update on the Welsh Rugby Union Independent Review
Sport Resolutions administers the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) Independent Review which investigates allegations of sexism, misogyny, homophobia and racism and examines the organisational culture and behaviours of leadership at all levels at the WRU.
The Independent Review Panel to consider the period from 2017 to the present was announced in February 2023. Dame Anne Rafferty DBE chairs it, alongside Maggie Alphonsi MBE and Quentin Smith. Counsel to the Review is David Lawson.
More information on the Panel and the Term of Reference are here.
The Panel has issued an update on progress and invites individuals to submit any information they have about the subject of the Review.
1- The Panel has made good progress. First, we want to emphasise that we are still keen to hear from anyone with something to say about the Welsh Rugby Union and the subjects of the review. We have approached many people, and people have contacted us about providing information. We would really like as wide a group as possible to tell us what they think, know and have experienced. We also encourage people who want to send information anonymously, as some people have already done. All information sent to Sport Resolutions is held by them and not the Welsh Rugby Union. There is a stand-alone and confidential email address as well as an online form to send evidence. If anyone has any questions about how to submit evidence please contact email@example.com and they will help you.
2- We have met many witnesses and have written evidence from staff and players and former staff and players. We are arranging more meetings over the summer. Once the full panel was in place in March we asked the WRU for documents and we continue to work on documents and to request documents these refer to.
3- Past members of staff can speak to us and the WRU has confirmed that it will not see this as a breach of any agreement not to discuss their employment with any third party.
4- We have met a number of people who have taken a public interest in Welsh Rugby and lots of people who can give us information about particular issues which we can put together to form an overall picture.
5- We have read or listened to every report and broadcast of potentially analogous reviews, so we can see the WRU as part of a big picture, nationally and internationally. We have, of course, read the Senedd report.
6- We have heard about:
a. Welsh rugby – People have spoken about the growth of women’s rugby, the formation of the national team and the move to professional women’s rugby. We have heard about the structure of men’s and women’s club rugby and financial issues, including post-pandemic, and the balance between the community game and national teams.
b. Governance – We have heard about organisational structure and how it relates to management and culture and about past and recent changes.
c. Employment practices – We have seen the WRU’s employment policies and heard about their implementation. We have also heard about people bringing complaints and grievances and about the use of non-disclosure agreements.
d. Culture – Lots of people told us about the wider culture in rugby and in the Welsh Rugby Union, including in the community and at a professional level.
7. Of course, there has also been a mass of behind-the-scenes activity – setting up electronic systems, obtaining and reading documents and appointing investigators to help gather evidence. The experienced and skillful team at Sport Resolutions has been and is a major resource.
8. We will have in mind the forthcoming men’s World Cup in considering when to publish the final report.
Update - 5th April 2023
CALL FOR EVIDENCE
You are invited to submit any information, submissions or evidence you have to the Panel conducting the Independent Review into the culture, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, and racism within the Welsh Rugby Union.
Further information about how to do this and a form which you may use can be found here. The Independent Review Panel is grateful to the people who have already started to send information to the Review. The panel encourages contributions.
A dedicated email address has been set up: firstname.lastname@example.org. These emails go to Sport Resolutions, whose role is explained below. This email address is on the Sport Resolutions domain and access is limited to the panel secretariat who will pass submissions to the panel. If you have any questions about how to make a submission please contact Sport Resolutions on 020 7036 1966.
The Welsh Rugby Union has established an independent Panel to report on the following subjects, as set out in the terms of reference:
- The culture within the WRU
- The actions and behaviour of leadership at all levels within the WRU
- The extent to which employees feel able to voice concerns or to challenge inappropriate and discriminatory language and behaviour
- The effectiveness of the WRU’s whistleblowing policy and procedures
- WRU’s actions in response to individual complaints set out in the BBC Wales Investigates programme of 23 January 2023.
The full terms of reference are here. The Independent Review was commissioned in February to consider the period from 2017 to the present: emerging evidence may prompt the Panel to adapt the timeframe.
The Independent Review Panel comprises:
- Dame Anne Rafferty DBE PC is chair of the Panel. Dame Anne was a Court of Appeal judge for 9 years after a career as a barrister and 11 years as a High Court Judge.
- Maggie Alphonsi MBE played rugby for Saracens and won 74 caps for England. She was inducted into the Rugby Hall of Fame in November 2016 and is now a sports commentator and works with businesses on leadership and high performance.
- Quentin Smith was Chair of Sale Sharks, Chair of Premiership Rugby and a director of the Rugby World Cup 2015. He has been a partner of two major law firms and chairs two senior committees in professional football.
The Panel are assisted by David Lawson, a barrister with experience in public enquiries.
Further details about the Independent Review
Sport Resolutions will administer the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) Independent Review which will investigate allegations of sexism, misogyny, homophobia and racism and examine the organisational culture and behaviours of leadership at all levels at the WRU.
The independent review panel will be chaired by SR panel member and former Court of Appeal judge Dame Anne Rafferty DBE PC. She will be joined by former international rugby union player Maggie Alphonsi MBE and SR panel member and mediator Quentin Smith. Public lawyer David Lawson of Serjeant’s Inn will act as Counsel to the Inquiry.
A Commissioning Advisory Group (CAG) has also been established to support the Review, comprising of Henry Englehardt as a representative from the WRU and Emma Wilkins as a representative from Sport Wales. Louise Reilly, a sport-specialist barrister, will act as a third independent member nominated by Sport Resolutions. The role of the CAG is to monitor progress and consider and reflect on the Terms of Reference in response to emerging findings of the Panel.
The independent review began on February 13, and will consider the period from 2017 to the present, however emerging evidence may prompt the Chair to adapt the timeframe.
For individuals who wish to contribute to and/or engage with the Review, they are able to contact the Sport Resolutions administrative team via the dedicated email address of email@example.com.
The Terms of Reference can be found here and via the related documents tab on the right-hand side.
Independent Panel Members Biographies
Dame Anne Rafferty DBE PC (Chair)
Dame Anne Rafferty practised in criminal law until she became a Queen’s Bench Division High Court judge in 2000. She was the first female Chair of the Criminal Bar Association (1995-1997), chaired the Judicial College (2014 – 2020) and was Vice Chair of the Judicial Appointments Commission (2017 – 2020). She served as a Lady Justice of Appeal between 2011 and 2020. In 2014 she was appointed Chancellor of the University of Sheffield. She conducted the Highgate School Inquiry in 2021-22. She is the Inspector in the Iraq Fatality Investigations, appointed by the MoD to consider the circumstances surrounding deaths in Iraq involving British military.
Maggie Alphonsi MBE (Panel Member)
Maggie Alphonsi MBE played rugby for Saracens and England. She won 74 caps, including being part of a winning Rugby World Cup team. She was inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame in November 2016. Was the first women to be awarded the Rugby Union Writers' Pat Marshall Award in 2010. She is a well-known sports commentator and works with a number of charities and businesses in employability, mental wellness and education. She frequently speaks on business skills, leadership and high performance. Maggie has also previously sat on various boards, committees and advisory groups within sport.
Quentin Smith (Panel Member)
Quentin Smith has been an independent mediator since 2007and is listed in the top band for Mediators in Chambers Legal Guide and Legal 500. He was Chair of Sale Sharks Rugby Union Club (2000 – 2010) and then Chair of Premiership Rugby (2010 – 2016). He was alternate Chair of the Professional Game Board and a Director of England Rugby 2015 Limited which delivered the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.
Quentin currently chairs The Football Association's Exceptions Panel (from 2015) and is Chair of the Professional Football Negotiating and Consultative Committee, comprising the English Football League, the Premier League, the Professional Footballers' Association and The Football Association (from 2019). He is the Chair of Wooden Spoon, the children's charity of rugby (from 2017).
Quentin was a solicitor and partner in two major law firms, specialising in commercial/insurance litigation, professional negligence and mediation (1985 - 2007). He was Head of the Safety, Health and Environment Unit and Chair of the Sports Business Group.
David Lawson (Counsel to the Inquiry)
David is a public lawyer at Serjeants’ Inn Chambers. He has represented participants in a number of public inquiries, including the Infected Blood Inquiry and The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse as well as working on a number of private inquiries. His regulatory work includes all areas of public services as well as educational and sports bodies. He regularly acts in judicial review claims and medical ethical cases.