Forum 8 - December 2013

Forum 8 - December 2013

The 8th Officials’ Forum was once again held at Alexander Stadium, Birmingham, on 1 December 2013 and was attended by 40 officials. The theme was ‘Effective Officials’ Secretaries’ and the aim was to make the day as interactive as possible for attendees with cross-discipline breakout groups and opportunities for feedback and question and answer sessions.

This was a great opportunity for County Officials’ Secretaries nationwide to come together and network with their counterparts, sharing best practice, discussing challenges and to put ideas forward to assist everyone. It will also help shape how we can offer specific support to the role through close working relationships moving forward beyond 2013. We are working to develop a reciprocal relationship between England Athletics and the COfSecs to ensure that both parties benefit from an infrastructure that supports and helps each other. It has been felt that there can be a lack of understanding of the full impact the COfSec’s role has on the County and its relationship with England Athletics. The day was structured around the topics ‘Education’, and ‘The role of the County Officials’ Secretary’.

The groups discussed issues that arose and reported back to the rest of the delegates, and action plans were drawn up to try to address them. The Education discussions centred around the management of officials, retaining, progressing and mentoring officials. The Education Coordinators for each area were introduced and took part in the groups and discussion to help determine how Level 1 and Level 2 courses may be organised in ways that will be attractive to potent - ial new officials, and how to support those who have attended courses, so that they do go on to obtain their Official’s licence. There was also time for a question and answer session on the Trinity Database.

Education - key issues / priorities

  • Tutors: It was felt that the list of tutors is overdue for revision so that the appropriate available tutors for the courses can be found more easily. It was also felt that there is no standard policy across the UK regarding accredited H&S Tutors. A published list of tutors needs to be made available to COfSecs. It would be helpful to communicate to COfSecs and tutors what happens with completed feedback forms.
  • Course material: Course resources at all levels need revisiting/updating, with the Health & Safety material course resource a priority. Communication (to tutors) of changes to course resources on discs needs improve - ment: there has been an uneven cascade of changes (e.g. the recent integration of H&S with the Introduction to Judging). A paper to accompany new course resources showing these changes would be helpful.
  • Course delivery: Signs of a more flexible approach to course delivery were applauded. Timetabling of classroom sessions to allow practical instruction was felt to be clearly best practice.
  • Post-course follow up / ‘conversion rate’: It was felt that Trinity can be a barrier for some COfSecs. It is essential that COfSecs are always notified as to course attendee details, currently there are varying practices. There was general concern that accountability for post-course followup is unclear: the best examples seem to come where a Network / County can work with clubs; perhaps these procedures can be investigated and compared.  

Actions required

  • Resolve with Paula Gowing apparently anomalous situation across different parts of UK re which tutors can teach H&S module. More pragmatic approach needed. Conclusions to be communicated to England Education Co-Ordinators.
  • England Education Co-Ordinators to review Tutor lists with COfSecs, identifying inactive tutors. Updated lists to be made available to COfSecs.
  • Process for review of Tutor / course feedback forms to be reviewed / clarified.
  • H&S content to be reviewed / updated. (Paula advised updated materials will shortly be available in any case)
  • Future changes to course content on discs to be clearly highlighted in separate note, to be e mailed to all active tutors at the same time.
  • Consistent approach across all England Areas re provision of course attendees to COfSecs (Data Protection issues to be checked / clarified / resolved) communicated
  • Provision of management information re post-course conversion rates to be explored, to highlight good / less good areas, including instances where EA has funded course attendance via Networks. Sample reports to be circulated to COfSecs for comment.

Role of the COfSec - key issues / priorities

  • Role of COfSec main document: This was generally accepted, with a few minor changes. On balance, it is felt that potential COfSecs should have a clear and realistic view of what the ‘job’ entails before taking it on. The role of COfSecs to communicate National Strategy locally is only possible if there is effective communication. It was recognised that the document is focussed on Track & Field and that there is a need to ensure that Endurance is also covered. There may be some potential in exploring ‘job share’ possibilities (e.g. two COfSecs in neighbouring counties have joint responsibility for both counties).
  • Data protection standards / Code of Conduct: While the document may seem rigid at first reading, the general consensus was that it is better to know where we stand to ensure a consistent approach. Some detailed tweaking of wording is needed. See also comments under Trinity below.

Action required

  • Final changes to main Role of COfSec document to be incorporated and document issued as final draft to all December Forum attendees (or all COfSecs?).
  • Final version of main Role of COfSec document to be posted on EA website, with highlighting on news section, and “push e mail to all COfSecs. Follow up article in “For the Record”
  • Regular information cascade from England Council level to all COfSecs, so that they are aware of developments in National Strategy insofar as it may impact officials.
  • Suggested changes in wording of Data Protection document to be submitted to / agreed with Lee Dakin
  • Final version of Data Protection document to be e mailed to all COfSecs and County Chairs
  • Further practical advice to be given to all COfSecs regarding encryption of Laptops / other portable media, including if necessary providing or meeting costs of encrypted memory sticks.

Trinity - key issues / priorities

  • Data protection: Areas that people wanted to be considered were raised with Lee Dakin, who agreed to consider and amend as appropriate.
  • Data quality: All recognised the need to encourage officials to log on and check / update their personal details, and the need to find some incentive for them to do so. Linking to the DBS renewal process may help. Lee Dakin demonstrated the updated personal portal.
  • System functionality / design: Several key issues identified as priorities, including:
    • Long standing DBS / CRB expiries: many of these officials are now inactive.
    • Officials who have attended a Level 2 course (and thus gained H&S accreditation), but not yet gained Level 2a licence, should appear in the ‘Trainee’ category, not the ‘Qualified’ category.
    • Officials formerly holding a Level 2 Licence who did not attend a health and safety course before June 30th 2013 should now be shown as Assistant Officials, however the ‘Export’ function still shows them as Level 2. This will need amending.

Action required

  • Officials to be moved to inactive list after 6 month period has elapsed from date of DBS / CRB expiry. Process to include:
    •    Monthly “purging” to take place at the end of each month (first one to be end-December or end-January).
    •    Each official impacted will be sent an e mail (or letter if no e mail address held), reminding them that their official’s licence is no longer valid until such time as they renew their DBS and that they have been moved to the inactive list until that is addressed.
  • All COfSecs to be advised of start of this new process
  • Only officials who hold / have held an official’s licence (including Level 1) to be included in Qualified officials filter. Level 2 course attendees (including those who have attended H&S) who have not yet gained their licence to be shown as Trainees.
  • All COfSecs to be kept apprised of developments regarding progression of potential online DBS renewal.