Introduction to Club Standards
England Athletics have produced a set of Club Standards in line with legal legislation and Sport England’s code of sports governance (Tier 1) to help clubs understand what they should have in place for good governance and duty of care:
- Good governance is the foundation of a well-run club. It protects the club’s values and reputation whilst looking after the club’s funds and people. It also holds those responsible accountable for the club’s actions and decisions. It’s represented by the structures, rules, policies and practices in operation in a club.
- ‘Duty of care’ is a common law that applies to all individuals and organisations. Clubs have a duty of care towards their members and are responsible for ensuring all club activity is safe. Everyone has a role to play in keeping others safe. All club members should know what to do if they have any concerns.
To aid clubs, England Athletics have created a Club Standards checklist on myAthletics portal. Clubs will be prompted to review this at the point of affiliation and can update throughout the year.
Having the standards in place will help clubs to:
- 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
- Give their members the confidence that the volunteers have the interests of the club at heart and are making decisions based on what is right for the club
- Engage with their 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
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.
Ensure all committee members understand how Club Standards can benefit your club.
Work through each club standard one by one. You might want to create an action plan and delegate to club committee members to complete. The committee must agree to any new policies or procedures and decisions must be documented in your committee meeting minutes.
Use the myAthletics portal Club Standards checklist at the start of the affiliation year to review Club Standards.
- Club Standard 1: Does your club have a constitution that is fit for purpose, reflective of the legal structure and agreed by the committee?
Great. Ensure your constitution is used to manage club matters. Don’t forget to put in an annual review, as part of your AGM.
The constitution is the key document that sets out how your club is governed. It’s the rules by which you operate. Your club cannot and should not operate without one.
- Club Standard 2: Does your club have elected committee members for the key roles? These include club chair, treasurer, secretary, membership secretary, welfare officer and DBS verifier. At least three of the people on the committee should be unrelated or not cohabiting.
Great. 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.
- Club Standard 3: Does your club have a Grievance and Disciplinary policy?
Great. We hope you don’t have many club disputes, but if you do, you are prepared and know how to deal with this.
We hope that you don’t have many club disputes to deal with, but if you do, the committee will be responsible for managing this. Having a policy will ensure you know how to manage this.
- Club Standard 4: Does your club have a privacy notice in line with (General Data Protection Regulation) ?
Great. This will ensure you are compliant with GDPR and all your members know how their data is managed and stored.
Clubs must have a privacy notice in place and ensure members are aware of how their data will be processed. This will ensure the club remains compliant with current data protection legislation.
- Club Standard 5: Does your club have an inclusion policy?
Great. This will help your club be compliant with the equality act (2010). Don’t forget to back this up with actions and behaviours to ensure that all your club members feel welcome and have a positive experience at your club.
It’s important that your club members feel welcomed and valued. Inclusion creates a sense of belonging. It ensures that everyone feels comfortable and confident to be themselves and to take part in a way that suits them. Creating a proactive inclusion policy will help achieve this.
- Club Standard 6a) Has your club signed and agreed to implement the club safeguarding code of conduct?
Great! Keeping everyone in the sport safe is so important. It’s the club’s responsibility to lead on this. If club members feel safe, they’re more likely to have a positive experience at your club. Key parts of the code include ensuring all members have signed a code of conduct, trained welfare officers are appointed and coaches and leaders are licensed.
The club committee is responsible for the duty of care of all members. Not having a safeguarding code of conduct is a risk to both volunteers and members. Key parts of the code include ensuring all members have signed a code of conduct, trained welfare officers are appointed and coaches and leaders are licensed.
- Club Standards 6b) Has your club allocated a Lead Welfare Officer that is appropriately trained?
Great, every club should have a lead welfare officer who have completed the online safeguarding module, a DBS check and either the Time to Listen (if the club has any u18s) or Adult Welfare Course (for clubs with over 18s only).
Not having a lead welfare officer presents a risk to your club and its members. Advertise the vacant opportunity to your membership, you might find you have someone within your club who has a background in safeguarding.
- Club Standards 6c) Does your club have appropriately qualified and licensed coaches and leaders at the level relevant to your membership base and activities?
Great, having qualified and licensed coaches and leaders will aid your club members having a positive safe experience at your club. You can check license status on myAthletics portal.
It is a risk to your club and your members if you are operating without unqualifed/unlicensed coaches and leaders. The license ensures that coaches and leaders have completed the training to give them the knowledge and skills to coach athletics and running. A licensed coach will also have a valid DBS meaning they are suitable to work with children, young people and adults at risk.
- Club Standard 7: Does your club have a health and safety policy and associated risk assessments?
Great. Your committee should understand their responsibility to keep club activity safe. Your members will thank you as they will feel safe and able to enjoy a positive experience in your club.
Clubs are responsible for providing a duty of care to their members. It’s important for club members to feel safe during club activities. A health and safety policy and risk assessments can help mitigate and manage risk. Ensure everyone understands this.
Why do we have to complete the club checklist before we affiliate?
The checklist is a tool to help clubs understand and implement the minimum standards required for good governance and duty of care. The start of an affiliation year is a good opportunity to review your club’s governance and ensure you are fit for purpose with all the relevant standards in place (See question on what do England Athletics do with this data). We recognise that not all clubs will have all of the standards in place for the start of the affiliation year but we request that clubs go through the checklist and click ‘Submit Changes’ to give an indication of where they are currently up to in the process of completing the club standards before they pay their club affiliation.
Our club doesn't have all the standards in place does this mean we cant affiliate?
One of the terms and conditions for clubs to affiliate to England Athletics is ‘agree to implement and uphold the club standards.’ Clubs are required to complete the checklist as part of the affiliation process, however they do not need to have all standards in place. It is recognised that some clubs will be working towards these, therefore they can update the checklist throughout the year as they work through each standard. Before you can start processing your payments for the affiliation year you just need to click ‘Submit changes’ at the bottom of the club standards checklist so that we have a record of your club completing the checklist.
How do we complete the club standards checklist?
he Club Standards checklist can be accessed via the club management area of the myAthletics portal. We would recommend that club committees work through the club standards checklist together, taking each standard at a time. Clubs can make updates to the checklist at any time during the course of the year and all clubs will be prompted to check theif information is up to date as part of the new affiliation year checks.
Can we update the checklist once we have affiliated?
Yes, the checklist is there to help your club so you can update as and when you need to. You will be prompted each year in the lead up to the affiliation year to declare the information is up to date. Hopefully this is a good reminder for your club and helps you keep on top of the standards.
Our club currently doesn't meet any or some of the standards. How can England Athletics help us?
England Athletics recommend all clubs actively work towards club standards. As an affiliated club you can access Club Hub where you can filter club standards to access all the content and templates that will help your club. We would encourage you to work through each standard one by one, you might want to create an action plan and delegate to different club committee members to complete. Remember it’s important that the committee agrees to the new policies and procedures and it’s documented in your committee meeting minutes.
Why do we have to upload our policies and procedures?
For some of the standards as well as declaring that you have the policies in place you will need to upload the relevant documents. This will hopefully help you in keeping all key policies in one place and will aid new committee members when there is a change.
England Athletics will also be able to access the policies easily if and when a club requires support.
We are a virtual club; do we still need to complete Club Standards?
Yes, all clubs who affiliate to England Athletics should complete club standards as you still have a legal responsibility for Governance and Duty of Care.