The Voluntary Code of Good Governance – looking back to move forward

Amanda Bennett discusses the impact of the Voluntary Code of Good Governance and what needs to be done to ensure it stays relevant to the sector.

In September 2014 the Voluntary Code of Good Governance for the Sport and Recreation Sector will be three years old.

Whilst there will be plenty to celebrate about this unique sports governance framework, the Sport and Recreation Alliance just like any organisation, needs to be able to reflect in order to progress.

As Will Rogers so succinctly put it "even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."

Most organisations understand that a failure to learn and adapt will eventually result in crisis especially in the area of governance – Lord Myners’ report into the Co-operative Group is a high profile case in point.

With this in mind, the Alliance has commissioned Birkbeck College, University of London to carry out an impact assessment of the Voluntary Code.

In short, we want to know what difference has the Code made to those who have signed up. To do this we need answers to some key questions:

Are sport and recreation organisations more aware of their responsibilities and more effective as a result?

What were the main challenges faced in delivering change?

Where is the body of best practice that has been developed since 2011?

How can the Code meet the needs of the sector through 2015 and beyond?

By establishing the impact the Code has had, we can develop much more effectively develop support, tools and training for those tasked with leading sport, overseeing good governance and modernizing their organisations.

Just as important are the organisations that didn’t sign up to good governance via the Code – for what reasons did they choose not to engage? What would need to change to make the Code relevant and useful to them?

We know that for some sport and recreation bodies the Code may not have fully reflected their needs. Feedback specifically from these organisations is vital if the Voluntary Code is to be genuinely sector-wide in its impact.

The answer to these questions (and many others) will hopefully demonstrate the extent to which a single set of governance principles has guided, supported and challenged sport and recreation bodies to be better.

As well as learning from the first three years of implementation, this process will inform a refresh of the Code itself.

This will not be a re-write – the principles remain valid, realistic and relevant. However, times and the environment have changed and the Code needs to reflect these.

The Alliance is leading a 'light touch' revision so that the revised Code can be adopted with confidence by sport and recreation bodies small and large. It will be brought up to date without losing its distinctiveness.

We want to know what you think. If your organisation has signed up to the Code but you have not yet had an opportunity to tell us your thoughts please take a few minutes to give us your feedback by clicking this link –

Alternatively, if your sport or recreation body has not adopted the Code but you feel there are ways in which it could be improved to fit your needs, please click here -

For more information about either of the surveys do feel free to get in touch.

Read more blogs by Amanda.

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