Standards, systems and controls

The board needs to be conscious of the standards it should operate to, and its role in exercising approproate and effective control over the organisation.

Practical considerations:

  • Being aware of the regulatory and legal requirements for the organisation.
  • Ensuring a clear set of policies are in place and reviewed annually (such as a risk management policy).
  • Putting in place appropriate financial management controls.
  • Ensuring authority is delegated appropriately through committee structures and that checks and balances are in place to manage inappropriate use of decision making responsibilities.
  • Ensuring effective systems and processes are in place.
  • Ensuring legal obligations in relation to personal data are understood and implemented at the appropriate level within an organisation.
  • Ensuring legal obligations are understood and implemented appropriately across the organisation.
  • Ensuring adequate mechanisms are in place for participants to feed in their thoughts and be involved with the development of the organisation.
  • Rationalising sub-groups and empowering groups within the sport to work together.
  • Assessing risks relating to events.










Embedding a culture of risk identification and risk management throughout the organisation has led to a growth in confidence to explore new and innovative ideas

Jane Nickerson, Chief Operating Officer, Amateur Swimming Association










The level of control, systems and processes that need to be implemented will vary greatly depending on the size of the organisation. It is important to appreciate that where external funders need to see an organisation is ‘fit for purpose’, the system and process may be dictated in detail.

Where organisations do not receive funding they should still be exercising effective controls and systems. The important discussion point is making this relevant to your organisation.

Risk management in sport is so often thought of as liability for accidents and/or financial risks. Both types of risk are important, but a thorough risk management strategy should look strategically across the organisation at the potential risks that exist which may stop the organisation achieving its vision, mission or purpose.

For example what are the risks that may stop your organisation growing; what are the risks that may prevent your participants from becoming elite level athletes; do you have a risk associated with access to facilities?




In the current economic climate with uncertainty over funding, it is vital that the board ensures that the financial controls, processes and policies in place are robust enough to cope with increased membership scrutiny

Craig Wagstaff, Finance Director,  England Golf







The preparation of a risk management strategy and particularly a risk management matrix has assisted considerably in early identification of matters requiring attention, to prevent them becoming major issues

David Shuttleworth, Chief Executive, English Lacrosse






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