Hello and welcome to ‘Inside Track’ – a new blog from the England Athletics Board.
Here’s where, each month, we’ll bring you news concerning athletics and running as well as offer our fresh insight on the latest industry trends and developments affecting the sport we all love. We’ll also be using this blog as an opportunity to delve more deeply into certain topics from time to time as well as explain how we are working with our key stakeholders.
Future of athletics
Last week, for example, some of you will have seen the new UK-wide strategy for athletics announced by UK Athletics (UKA) and the four Home Country Athletics Federations (HCAFs). Our contribution to the strategy was shaped by engaging and consulting with members through webinars and surveys as well as utilising the organisation’s insight gained from previous years of research and discussion whilst developing our own strategy for athletics and running in England. The end result is a joint 12-year plan which will see UKA and the HCAFs making best use of the available resources, ensuring the sport is joined up and keeping the participation base broad so there is a better opportunity to unearth future talent. Fundamentally, though, this will not be possible without a strong infrastructure of clubs and volunteers, engaging competition at all levels and passionate coaches and officials. This will be the key focus for England Athletics moving forward. This UK-wide strategy was one recommendation made by Dame Sue Street following her review of UKA, published in May 2020.
In addition, all five partners have signed a framework agreement on how we’ll work together. Some of the tangible outcomes of this are:
- The formation of six working groups across participation, coaching, officiating, competition, performance and commercial. The membership and remit for these groups is currently being considered by the collective Chief Executive Officer (CEO) forum, but all will have representation from the five partners and experts from across the sport
- The proposal that each HCAF will nominate an individual onto the UKA Board. The England Athletics nomination is Peter Crawshaw who, for many years, has served as an official at all levels of the sport, from grassroots to Olympics. Until then, the HCAF Chairs have been invited to attend the UKA Board as ‘observers’, which does not involve receiving all the papers nor do the Chairs have any voting rights
- UKA have formed the Standards, Ethics and Rules Committee (SERC) which will report directly to its Board. England Athletics were asked to nominate someone, and we are delighted that Janice Kauffman, Chair of the North East Regional Council, agreed. Janice has been involved as a coach, official and administrator in athletics for the past 20 years and has much to offer in this role
- UKA have held a position on our Board since its inception, but it has not been filled since 2014. We are delighted to say that Anne Wafula Strike will take up this role in the New Year. This appointment together with our newly elected Director, Lorna Boothe, will bring considerable knowledge and experience to our Board discussions
Not part of this UK-wide collaboration but another key consideration in the Dame Sue Street Review was the need for a thorough examination of the UK Members Council (UKMC). We feel it’s essential that there’s an effective representative structure for our member clubs and bodies and will continue to contribute to the debate regarding the options for the UKMC’s structure and function. We’ll keep you posted on any developments.
We were pleased to join last month’s Council Conference which saw more than 40 councillors from across the nine Regional Councils discuss future priorities. We see the Regional Councils as an essential part of the sport that can help with our engagement with clubs and other partners. Finding ways in which we can improve our communication and engagement with our member clubs will be a big focus for us over the coming months
Questions and concerns
We want this blog to be used by you, the members, as an opportunity to contact us, whether you’re an athlete, runner, coach, official, volunteer, parent, carer or just someone who cares passionately about athletics and running. If you have a question or concern which you’d like to put to the England Athletics Board you can do so via: firstname.lastname@example.org
Celebrate unsung heroes
We’re also asking you to work with us and help celebrate the unsung heroes of athletics and running. Every month, we’ll give a special England Athletics Board ‘shout out’ to someone within the grassroots community who has been nominated by one of you for going the extra mile. Send us your suggestions via email@example.com
It’s at this point that we’d like to acknowledge the incredible role our volunteers have played in keeping athletics and running going during this difficult and challenging period. We extend this thanks to you, our members, for your patience and understanding and look forward to a return to more ‘normal’ times.
Spotlight on a Board member
Finally, this blog will be an opportunity each month for a different England Athletics Board member to talk a bit more about their motivation to join the organisation and their specific interest in athletics.
So, bookmark this page, share it with a friend, colleague or fellow member and please get in touch.
Until next month, stay safe and well.
Your England Athletics Board