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Does your club have good governance?

Good governance is the foundation of a well-run club. It enables clubs to run less risks and the ability to deliver on its vision.

A well governed club will be respected and trusted in the sport. It will;

  • have a well-functioning decision-making structure
  • have clear roles and responsibilities
  • be structured in a way that meets its needs now, and thinks ahead to the future. It will consider life both on and off the track/roads, and within the wider community
  • have a clear understanding of its organisational risks and liabilities
  • have appropriate and up to date policies and procedures

Benefits

  • Be legally compliant
  • Protect and support volunteers in their roles
  • Ensure members are accessing club activity safely, protecting them from harm, incidents and accidents.
  • Minimises club issues and conflicts
  • Gives members the confidence that the volunteers have the interests of the club at heart and are making decisions based on what’s is right for the club
  • Engage with members so they understand how the club operates and can contribute to the success 
  • Have happier members, less churn, bigger growth and perform better
  • Save time when policies or procedures need to be adopted 

Key ideas

  • Start by reviewing your club legal structure. You can access the England Athletics Legal structure guidance and seek advice through Muckle PLC.

  • The constitution is your club’s most important document, it provides the rules for your club. Ensure this is fit for purpose, up to date and agreed by your club committee.

  • Promote the role of your committee. This will raise awareness of the committee and the work they do. It’s often the unseen volunteers of the club that make things happen. This will help with future recruitment and advocacy of the committee.

  • Put annual review dates in for all club policies and procedures. Keeping these up to date will save time and ensure the club is operating efficiently.

  • Use the club standard checklist to ensure you have  the right policies and procedures in place. Put a plan in place for each club standard. Include timescales and work through them one at a time.

  • Ensure any new members (including volunteers) are provided with an induction. This induction should include information on the committee, key policies and procedures.

  • Use role descriptions for elected members. This will help volunteers understand their role and support the recruitment process.

  • Consider the committee structure and associated subgroups. Does this structure allow you to deliver what is required?  

  • Reinvigorate your club committee to bring in new skills, experience and perspectives. Be proactive in identifying new volunteers to undertake important tasks.

  • Think about succession planning.  Agree a length of service for each position and start to identify new recruits early so the committee can come to a unanimous decision.    

Questions

Yes No
Does your club have an appropriate legal structure and status that meets your current situation and is also suitable for the future?
Great. Ensure that you understand the requirements for your structure including reporting requirements.
England Athletics does not require clubs to adopt one specific legal form over another. This is a decision that falls with individual clubs as they know the most appropriate legal form for their particular circumstances. Clubs should always be mindful that the legal structure they choose should relate directly to the risk attached with the activities they engage in.
Does your club have a constitution that has been agreed by committee members and is reflective of the legal structure
Great. Make sure your constitution isn’t simply left on the shelf. Ensure it’s used to manage club matters. Don’t forget to review this annually at your AGM.
The constitution is the document that will set out how your club is governed. It’s the rules by which your club operates. Your club can’t and should not operate without one.
Does your club have key policies and procedures in place that have been recommended in Club Standards?
Great. Ensure that all club members have access to the policies and procedures.
Club Standards highlight the key policies linked to tier 1 code of good governance and legal legislation. Having these in place will ensure your members have a positive experience at your club. The club committee will be able to manage club matters appropriately.
Does your club have a committee that meets regularly and records decision making?
Hopefully you have seen the benefits of meeting regularly and keeping minutes of meetings.
Club committees can set the number of meetings per year. It’s best practice to ensure all committee meetings are documented with meeting minutes and are available for all members.
Does your club ensure diverse viewpoints are considered?
Great. Your club should be representative of your membership and local community to get a balance of opinions and ideas.
Consider how this could be achieved by recruiting a diverse committee and/or representatives from different sections of your club.
Does your club have elected members for the key roles
Great. Having an elected committee will ensure that club members get a say in who represents them and makes club decisions.
Your constitution should highlight the key roles and the process for election. Key roles are also highlighted in club standards.
Does your club share information on its governance, structure, activities and financial position to enable members to understand the club’s position?
Sharing this information will help them understand how the club operates. It’ll keep them updated and help to avoid any misunderstandings on how decisions are made.
Transparency is important for good governance. The club committee makes decisions in the best interest of the club and this needs to be visible to club members. This will help them understand how the club operates, keep them updated and avoid any misunderstandings on how decisions are made.
Does the club chair ensure conflicts of interest are recognised, managed and recorded?
Great, this will avoid problems and ensure that decisions are made in the best interests of the club.
A conflict of interest occurs when an individual's personal interests – family, friendships, financial, or social factors – could compromise a volunteer’s judgment, decisions or actions in the club. If you don’t manage conflicts of interest this can cause problems for your club. Club decisions may be invalidated and the motives of volunteers can be called into question.
At least three people on the committee are not related to, nor cohabiting with other committee members?
Great. This will help avoid problems and ensure that decisions are made in the best interest of the club.
Having more than three people on the committee that are related or cohabiting with members or volunteers could create problems for your club. Club decisions may be invalidated and the motives of volunteers can be called into question.
Your club ensures appropriate financial procedures and practices are in place and as a minimum can evidence; a) appropriate oversight of financial planning; b) financial decision making and processing is not managed by one person alone; and c) accounts that are independently scrutinised
Great. Ensuring financial practices and procedures are in place means club financial decisions are made in the best interests of the club.
It’s a risk to your club and volunteers if you don’t have the correct financial policies and procedures in place. This could cause problems by invalidating club decisions. Club decisions may be invalidated and the motives of volunteers can be called into question. Furthermore, this could open the club up to fraud and criminal activity.
Does the club understand how to assess and manage risks and liabilities
Great. A risk register that is regularly reviewed will help your club keep on top of this.
Risks and liabilities are very specific to each club, depending on how the club operates its finances and assets. A risk register sets out and assesses the risks that may directly affect the day-to-day running and sustainability of your club.

Bitesize videos

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Club Governance

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Clubmatters Principles of Good Governance

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