Northern Athletics and England Athletics Officials Development Programme

Northern Athletics and England Athletics are pleased to announce a new initiative to recruit, develop and support officials in the North of England.

Northern Athletics’ remit includes the delivery of high-quality championship competition across all disciplines in the North, while England Athletics has a strategic objective to increase the number of athletics volunteers, including licensed officials, across the country.

Both organisations are therefore committed to the recruitment, retention and development of track and field and endurance officials at all levels to enable good quality competition to continue and thrive.

To this end a project group, chaired by Steve Gaines, a member of the Northern Athletics Board and comprising of fellow Northern Athletics Board members, experienced officials from across the North and England Athletics staff, was established in April 2019 to identify ways in which both Northern Athletics and England Athletics could collaborate in order to identify the main barriers to progress and to build on the best practice that already exists.

England Athletics will contribute funding to enable the project group to develop although it will continue to rely on the goodwill of committed volunteers from Northern Athletics. It is hoped that the results of any success will not only benefit the North but where good practice is identified then that would be available for adoption in other areas nationwide should they wish to do so.

The project has so far identified the following actions and objectives:

  • Co-ordinate and support clubs and counties with good practice and resources to help with recruitment of officials
  • Integrate the information systems used by the Tri-Regional officials and the data used and maintained by County Official secretaries, to enable accurate data to be available.
  • Work to ensure that training courses are targeted, available and suitably flexible to meet local needs
  • Appoint mentors to support newly qualified Level 1 & 2 officials and to ensure that they get directed towards suitable meetings to work with established officials to train and develop them.
  • Consider supplying newly qualified officials with the issue of a basic “toolkit” which covers the essentials needed for them to be effective in their role.
  • Organise and support an effective Development pathway route for those who show high levels of commitment & competence.

In addition to the above aims and actions the following Technology project strands are to be pursued:-

Technology 1: Design and prove a system for meeting management for example network and data transfer between Registration, Seeding , Start, Photo Finish & Results.

Technology 2: Testing of Electronic start system (Northern Athletics has already agreed to fund the supply of this) to ensure compatibility with above system.

Technology 3: Design of a system to transfer files from the photo finish system directly to results and display.

Technology 4: Review Photo Finish officials training module. | Design Photo Finish technician training module. | Deliver pilot Technician course and resource of technician roles.

Technology 5: Design & prove connection to EDM systems for field results transfer.

Technology 6: User assurance and proving / sharing of Official’s Portal (as per the pilot system in the Midlands).

Technology 7: Introduction of an App and bar code scan of Officials at meetings - grade verification for active official’s attendance.

Those who are currently part of the project will use their best endeavours to try to ensure there is a practical and effective result to the work that is being done and one hopefully which has far reaching benefit long term.

We will always welcome comments and suggestions on this project and they can be forwarded to Judith Temperton or Nichola Skedgel at the Northern Athletics office.