Inside Track: edition 3

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of ‘Inside Track’ – the blog from the England Athletics Board.

Each month we’ll bring you news concerning athletics and running as well as offer our fresh take on the latest developments affecting the sport. We’ll also be using this blog as an opportunity to explain how we are working with our key stakeholders, update you on those aspects of the sport which have been considered by the Board at its last meeting and provide some further insight into each Board member, their interest in athletics and motivations for supporting the organisation.

England Athletics Board membership

We recently held our first Board meeting at which Anne Wafula Strike joined us as the member from the UK Athletics Board. At this meeting, we were delighted to approve the appointment of Board Observers Abdul Buhari (Newham and Essex Beagles) and David Franks (Thames Valley Harriers) from an extremely strong field of applications. We look forward to them joining the Board at the next meeting in March.

The Regional Council elections are now underway. From these new councils, there will be some new Chairs on the National Council and ultimately the England Athletics Board (National Council provides two Directors to the Board from its membership). Together with our advert for a new Chair at England Athletics it is heartening to see some new blood being drawn from the sport at the same time as maintaining existing experience. To those stepping down, we owe a great depth of gratitude. These appointments were underpinned and in line with our Diversity Action Plan which was shared and discussed by the Board at its July 2020 meeting. Click here to get updated version of the plan released last week.

England Athletics Strategic Plan

A major item on our agenda was our final sign-off for the new England Athletics Strategic Plan, which has been the result of robust and inclusive engagement with the sport over a long period. We would like to thank those from the athletics and running community, including our members and partners, whose thoughtful and insightful feedback has helped shape the future direction of our sport. We also extend our thanks to the Board Task & Finish group, National Council and Regional Council for their vital contributions and for playing a key role in the check and challenge process. The plan is aligned to the ‘Athletics Unified’ strategy produced by UKA and the four Home Country Athletics Federations but is specific to the role England Athletics will play. With a few minor amendments discussed at Board level, it is hoped that this document will be made publicly available to key partners, councillors, and members over the coming weeks and months. It is a detailed document sharing our priorities over the next 10 years and a summary will also be available. It will form the basis to guide our work, build partnerships and lever investment to reinvest into the sport from 2022 onwards.

In other news…

Finance

Nine months into the financial year and, principally due to the support of our clubs and members, we should be able to meet our predicted budget for the year. The revised forecast budget including, staff going on furlough, a necessary restructuring with some redundancies, the short term reduction in pay of all staff and the reduction in honorarium to Board members, supported the reduced expenditure. A first look at the projections for next year were also considered at our January meeting and before our next meeting in March a number of scenarios will be developed and discussed by our audit and assurance committee prior to coming forward to the Board for final approval.

UK Athletics

The Board discussed a paper produced by UK Athletics [UKA] on how best to take forward the issue of membership of UKAM (formerly UKMC). It was agreed at the UK AGM that the nature of the corporate membership of UKA should be considered by the sport. The Board made several observations and challenges to the paper which will be fed back to UKA.

Revised UK-wide Adult and Child Safeguarding Policies

The Board signed off these policies with some minor amendments. These policies are UK-wide documents and were produced as a recommendation arising from the Quinlan report on our policies and practices in this area.

Talent Hubs and Commonwealth Games 2022

The Board received a report on the two pilot Talent Hubs (Birmingham and Leeds) which incorporated the results of a survey of the coaches and athletes selected to attend. Despite the impact of COVID-19 restrictions over the last year, the results indicate there was value attached to these hubs. Further analysis and feedback will be sought prior to making any firm decisions beyond 2021.

An update on the 2022 Commonwealth Games and the preparation of our athletes was discussed. It was good to hear the benefits gained by increasing the number of English athletes in the pool defined as ‘elite’ allowing them to access high performance indoor facilities during this period of lockdowns and tiered restrictions.

Questions and concerns

We want ‘Inside Track’ to be used by you, the members, as an opportunity to contact us, whether you’re an athlete, runner, coach, leader, official, volunteer, competition provider, facility provider parent, carer or just someone who cares passionately about athletics and running. If you want to give a special ‘shout out’ to someone within the sport whose gone that extra mile or have a question or concern which you’d like to put to the England Athletics Board you can do so via: insidetrack@englandathletics.org


Finally, this blog will be an opportunity each month for a different England Athletics Board member to talk a bit more about their motivations for joining 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.

 Your England Athletics Board