We featured the story in our Daily News Summary and it generated quite a bit of coverage. It is always hard to see negative messaging around sport – particularly when highlighted by a number of specific cases. But for me these cases also reinforce the importance of good governance, which has been a key theme for us at the Sport and Recreation Alliance for some time.
Firstly, the report reinforces the importance of integrity in sport, irrespective of the role you play. It isn’t an accident that our first principle in The Principles of Good Governance for Sport and Recreation is integrity. It is the responsibility of all of us to uphold, protect and exemplify the very highest standards of integrity – with the Board upholding the highest standards by embedding values, good practice and promoting high ethical standards.
Secondly, the importance of good governance, which underpins much of the report, is widely recognised and understood by the sector. We know through our own work on the Voluntary Code for Good Governance that significant progress was already being made before there was a formal requirement for those in receipt of public funding to be compliant with A Code for Sports Governance. The fact that there has been such significant change in many organisations who aren’t in receipt of public funding demonstrates a significant sign of the willingness to change – because it is important and the right thing to do.
But at the same time, we need to remember that real change, with impact to organisations, can take time to embed. It is only when the culture of the organisation is affected can the change be long lasting. This change needs to focus just as much on how we do things, and not just what we do. We need to encourage understanding and buy-in from the entire organisation to bring about the changes required.
A high standard of governance is one of the most important factors in preparing an organisation to be fit for the future and why we are committed to making sure that the sector has the support it needs. I would encourage you, wherever your organisation is on its pathway to good governance, and irrespective of your size or complexity (or not), to use the backdrop of this debate in the media in the last couple of days to look at how The Principles of Good Governance for Sport and Recreation could help you continue to develop and protect the reputation of the sector we all care so much about.