Further information relating to proposed England Athletics Council Reforms

Job Descriptions & Terms of Reference for proposed Regional Forum and Council Structure now available.

Ahead of the General Meeting on 30.1.19 to vote on the proposed reforms* to the England Athletics (EA) Council structure, job descriptions are now available (18.1.19) for the new Regional Forum (currently councils) and National Council roles.  These documents have been shared, discussed and directly informed by the EA National Council.

Whilst these job descriptions do not form a part of the General Meeting on 30th, it was felt that this might be helpful information to prospective club candidates ahead of the election process to the regional structure going public from 1st February onwards.

Chris Jones, CEO at England Athletics, says: “The elections to the proposed new Regional Forums are a vitally important component of this structure. We want to encourage not only gender balance on Regional Forums but also participation from underrepresented groups to reflect the wider membership of the sport. This could of course be achieved through either the election or co-option route.

“We are a broad sport with most of the growth in athletics and running during the last decade coming from the off-track community, particularly women and girls and over 30-year olds. Track and Field is enjoyed by roughly 40,000 people largely under the age of 20 and we are a para sport. It is our ambition that our governance structures reflect, as much as possible, the demographic of our participant base.

“Of course, some existing regional councils have done some excellent work in this respect, but we want this to be standard practice hence we are issuing guidelines as part of the Terms of Reference for Regional Forums and National Council to give these proposals the best chance of success irrespective of who is in place to lead such structures.

“We also want to help make it substantially easier for individuals to stand for election. The election process has been changed to reduce the number of supporting member clubs required to endorse a nomination from three to one. By sharing the job descriptions ahead of the General Meeting, we hope that more of our members will review the reforms with a view to encouraging people to put themselves forward for election to help shape our sport in the future.”

The number of elected positions to Regional Forums (currently councils) is unaffected and remains between three to seven positions on each Forum. The number of co-opted members to Forums (currently councils) is also unchanged and must be fewer than the number of elected members.

The yearlong+ Council review process confirmed that there was a general misunderstanding as to the roles and responsibilities of the council system.  Based on the findings of our consultation, the main aim of this review is to evolve the established system to enable a clear, circular and comprehensive communications flow from clubs to the EA Board via the National Council and in making it easier for a more diverse representation of our membership to get involved. It should be noted that at the most recent National Council meeting all but one of the Regional Chairs reiterated their support of the changes to the articles.

A new requirement at election nomination stage is the completion of a Fit and Proper Person self-declaration statement. This is being introduced to provide a basic level of assurance that those individuals representing the membership, and so holding responsible positions in the EA governance structure, are suitable to do so, particularly from a safeguarding and child protection perspective. It in essence addresses those areas which would be covered by an Enhanced DBS check. Many of those individuals putting themselves forward to serve on our Forum structure will already, as UKA licensed coaches or officials, have an Enhanced DBS check with UKA / EA,  and they will need simply to refer to that on the form. These procedures will also be applied in respect of existing Regional Council members.

As referenced in other communication, the timing of this general meeting is being driven solely by the demands of the upcoming election process – although we believe that there is also much to be said for getting on and implementing the proposed changes so that we do not unnecessarily delay the benefits they bring in terms of both improved consultation and communication and of ensuring a wider and more diverse involvement in the election process.

In summary, we believe that these changes will encourage a larger number of members to become involved in the process with greater and more diverse participation from those involved across the whole sport.  This will enable us to build on the current structure in a constructive and logical way that will rapidly provide a clearer and more engaged and coherent voice for the EA membership and, in turn, a sport that is better positioned to meet its members’ needs.

*The proposed reforms require amendments to the company’s Articles of Association and will be voted on by member clubs at a General Meeting to be held at 7pm at Holborn Bars on 30.1.19 in London, EC1N 2SW. For any formally designated Club Secretaries, Chairs and Club Officers unable to attend in person, a proxy vote can be formally completed and submitted.