Governance in Europe: What's the Alliance up to?

Mikkel Larsen, our governance administrator at the Sport and Recreation Alliance – the umbrella organisation for sport and recreation, provides some insight into the world of European governance.

Photo-of-Mikkel-LarsenSome of you may have emailed me or my colleague Joy Tottman a few weeks ago and received an out of office reply. This wasn’t because we made exotic holiday plans filled with sun, sea and tropical drinks – we were involved in something even more exciting – taking our governance work to Europe.

Okay, even governance 'keen beans' like us know that a sunny holiday is more fun, but we still got up to some very exciting things.

Should anyone reading this blog be acquainted with either me or Joy, the lynchpins of what we modestly like to call 'Governance HQ', you would not be surprised to find that the term ‘world domination’ is used frequently.

The first step in our global governance domination plan was to aquire funding from the European Commission Preparatory Action Fund to create a European equivalent to the Voluntary Code of Good Governance – the Sport and Recreation Alliance’s ground-breaking initiative designed to enable sport and recreation organisations to aspire to and maintain good governance.

The plan was first initiated in January, where the wheels had been set in Better Boards, Stronger Sport european governance initiative logomotion to develop the Better Boards, Stronger Sport project. It was now time to meet our European brothers face-to-face in what we both hoped to be a sunny Warsaw!

Poland turned out to be less sunny than expected, but living in the UK we know how to use this to our benefit, and quickly moved our European partners in the Polish Ministry of Sport and Tourism inside out of the rain to knuckle down into some good ol’ fashioned governance work.

For the past few months, the Sport and Recreation Alliance’s friends at Birkbeck College, University of London have helped us gather ideas for a European consultation and prepared a snappy 96-page report with proposals to work through with our European partners.

The consultation asked federations from across Europe about the ten features of good governance, which came as a result of an initial project meeting in London. Over the two days we worked through them one by one, allowing for occasional meals to keep up the spirit and to ensure fresh thoughts.

The success of the meeting was immense – the features are now confirmed and partners have been sent home in search of case studies that will help us in our quest towards good governance for all. Following the meeting, the Sport and Recreation Alliance has been tasked with preparing a template model and coordinating who is collecting what case study.

"Better Boards, Stronger Sport will  be a document that supports federations
through the process of implementing good governance"

It was great meeting our partners again, I’m in no doubt that we have managed to get a great group of people together – and meeting up has more benefits than just working on Better Boards, Stronger Sport alone.

In the group we had people that all live and breathe sport and, like us, love to discuss sport governance. Ideas and experiences were shared and discussed whenever we had a chance and despite the fact sport in Europe is organised slightly differently to what we are used to in the UK, we were really able to learn from each other.

As we move forward from the meeting in Warsaw, we are looking to develop the the Better Boards, Stronger Sport project within the Alliance, which will expand much further on the Code of Good Governance.

The project will support the federations through the process of implementing good governance, with information and toolkits to help them implement every process and list how other sport and recreation organisations have put the features of Better Boards, Stronger Sport into practice.

In September we are off to Tallinn where each of our partners will present their individual case studies and as a collective we will sift through them to pick the clearest examples of good governance.

If you want more information about the Better Boards, Stronger Sport project you can email the Sport and Recreation Alliance governance team or have a look at the Better Boards, Stronger Sport section of the website.

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