It’s the principle that counts

principles ()

Hayley Foster explains why a new governance framework for sport and recreation is essential for progress. 

We are launching The Principles of Good Governance for Sport and Recreation, at our Sports Summit on 24 May.  The sport and recreation sector has been rocked recently by numerous scandals in areas such as safeguarding, doping, gambling and corruption. These scandals have brought into question the culture and integrity of the sector and its attitude to issues such as transparency and accountability. It is within this context that we decided there was a need for an updated governance framework which reflects how the sector has evolved since we first published The Voluntary Code of Good Governance in 2011 and a revised edition in 2015. The Principles will reflect the state of the sector today and provide any size and type of organisation with a practical and user friendly model of governance from which to implement best practice. 

This new resource is not designed to replace A Code for Sports Governance, published in 2016 by Sport England and UK Sport, but instead aims to provide practical advice and guidance on how to establish and maintain high governance standards within the sector. Although the principles are intended for a wide variety of organisations, they also help to provide a step-by-step guide for funded organisations who are subject to Sport England or UK Sports mandatory regulations.  

The guiding principles 

There are seven guiding principles in The Principles, quite similar to The Voluntary Code of Good Governance, but they have been refreshed and aligned to the sector today and provide a greater level of practical guidance:   

  1. Strategy: The objectives outlined in both our 2017 strategy, The Heart of an Active Nation, and the Government’s sport strategy, Sporting Future, have played a key role in helping to shape our model of governance standards. The objectives set out in both strategies are wide ranging, covering areas including; social cohesion, volunteering, and the economic value of sport. The new principles and supporting documentation reflect this and help organisations to deliver governance objectives which support these focus areas. 
  2. Practicality: The more practical a document is, the more likely it is to be implemented. The principles now include specific ‘actions’ for boards to take, along with a set of guidance notes on how these can be undertaken. 

How to take action 

If you are a current signatory of the Voluntary Code, the re-launch will not change your status, and you will be able to reaffirm your commitment to The Principles on our website in the coming weeks.  

For those organisations not currently a signatory, we’d urge you to review The Principles with your board and consider signing up. From there, a member of our governance team will be able to help assess your governance needs, and support the development of an action plan. 

To make the process easier, we also offer a wide range of tools to help support your training needs, including bespoke consultancy, workshops, webinars, and director training.  

If you would like further information about The Principles, you can email me, or call 020 7976 3900 and ask for a member of the governance team.