We believe that a high standard of governance is one of the most important factors in preparing any type of sports organisation to be fit for the future.
The approaching deadline for compliance with tier 3 of A Code for Sports Governance at the end of October provides an opportunity to reflect on why good governance is relevant to all sports organisations.
If your organisation is small, in the process of launching, or run entirely by volunteers, you might think that it will be extremely difficult to comply with the Code. In addition, you might feel that it isn’t worth the effort given it won’t dictate whether you receive funding.
That’s where you are wrong. If your organisation is well run, has a clear mission and vision with strong leadership and an effective board, you will be a far more attractive proposition to public funders and commercial partners.
It’s not as hard as you think
Tackling governance can appear overwhelming. In this situation, The Principles of Good Governance for Sport and Recreation can be a useful tool to help breakdown governance into simple and easy to action items.
And even if you have appropriate structures, policies and procedures in place, you will still face challenges. However, you can always turn your obstacles to opportunities while implementing good governance:
· Limited time and resources
If only your organisation had more time and resources, much more could be done, including implementing good governance. However, a smaller size has its advantages. You will spot areas for improvement faster. A small organisation is more agile; your board is smaller, you have fewer (if any) sub-committees, so introducing change is less complicated.
· It’s not useful for my organisation
There’s no doubt that the fundamental components of good governance are universal and are equally important to a local club or a national governing body (NGB). Good governance shouldn’t be about blindly ticking items off a checklist, instead it should be at the heart of your organisation’s culture.
· My organisation is not ready
The sooner you start, the easier it will be. Implementing changes later is much harder, even more so if you are a big organisation. Neither the Code nor the Principles aim to restrict you or limit your autonomy. It’s about encouraging your organisation to structure itself in an effective way and become fit for the future. This Skateboard England case study explaining the process of setting up the organisation from scratch is a perfect example of how applying good governance can help you identify, measure and address problems from the outset.
Everyone benefits when the governance of sport becomes excellent
Governance is all about long-term sustainability, whether you are a community club or an NGB. It’s an ongoing process during which you can constantly improve the functioning of your organisation and attract investment, increase membership and foster public support.