Whole Council Conference 2014

Whole Council Conference 2014

The second annual England Whole Council Conference took place on Saturday October 11th 2014 at Birmingham University.

The slides used by each speaker or group of speakers can be found at the bottom of this page, alongside the agenda for the day and the notes taken during breakout discussions on Coaching, Officiating, Competition and Endurance.

Kelly Sotherton

One speaker, the Olympic medalist heptathlete Kelly Sotherton, did not use a powerpoint presentation. Kelly gave a 15-minute speech on the impact that volunteer coaches, officials and team managers had had on her career as an elite athlete, alongside the challenges that she had identified as she begins to work as volunteer coach and team manager herself. Kelly stated that the need to engage athletes, both elite and club-level, in coach and officials education, is of particular importance.

She noted that following her retirement, while her club had asked her to coach and act as team manager, she had not been encouraged by the NGB to complete coach education courses and felt that offering a package of coaching and officials’ education to athletes nearing the end of their careers would be a positive step.
Panel Discussion
All speakers who had presented during the first session formed a panel and answered questions from the floor. Janice Kaufman, Edwin Bellamy, Andy Ward, Maureen Bullen and Tim Cock were among those councillors to ask questions. 
The key themes to emerge from the discussion were two fold. 
1. As a sport, there needs to be a greater effort made to engage younger volunteers, especially by incentivising younger people to coach, officiate and otherwise assist with clubs. One suggestion was to offer reduced registration fees to those youngsters willing to officiate or volunteer.
2. There is an overriding problem with access to data. Some councillors related how in previous years they had been able to produce hard-copy lists of officials, their favoured disciplines and their contact details. These were used to ascertain availability for meetings. It was felt that, while England Athletics were in possession of the relevant information (including geographical location) about officials, coaches and other groups, access to the data was difficult to secure and the ability to use it was limited.
Wendy Sly noted that any communications strategy requires careful consideration and that messages can become diluted if communications are sent too frequently or when they overlap with other messages from similar organisations.
Agenda, Slides and Notes: