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Revised Code for Sports Governance published

The Code, and associated documents, are produced in conjunction with UK Sport and come following a review launched last year.

7th December 2021

Today we, alongside UK Sport, have published the full revised Code for Sports Governance that we announced earlier this year.

Among the changes announced in July was the need for bodies in receipt of substantial public funding from either us or UK Sport to have a detailed and ambitious Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP).

Both we and UK Sport will work with our funded partners to help them understand the changes and timeframes expected for producing and publishing the DIAPs, as well as implementing all other requirements in the Code.

A man passes a rugby ball to a teammate during a training session

Should members of our funded partner organisations have any questions, we’d encourage you to get in touch with us by emailing, or contacting relevant leads at UK Sport or Sport England.

Alongside the 2021 Code, we’ve also published a separate booklet for Tier 1 - the minimum level of mandatory governance requirements as part of the Code - containing guidance and support tools specific to that Tier, and a diversity audit report following Perrett Laver’s survey of Sport England/UK Sport-funded organisations that began in 2018.

More about the documents can be read below, while our chief executive Tim Hollingsworth has welcomed their publication at a time in which sports governance is in the spotlight. 

"While we’re proud of the very positive impact the Code has had since 2016," he said.

"Recent events have once again highlighted the areas in which the many bodies and organisations in receipt of public funding must improve the way they are run and how they can influence their wider membership and structures.

"This is especially crucial in areas such as safeguarding and equality, diversity, and inclusion,   

"So it’s important and timely to be publishing all final documents today, following the review of the Code earlier this year.

"As co-owners of the Code, Sport England and UK Sport now look forward to engaging our partners on the new requirements to make sport organisations as robust and transparent as possible." 

A Code for Sports Governance – 2021

As well as focusing on areas for development and best practice in governance, the review of the Code drew on internal insights, external consultation and experiences learned in the years since its launch in 2016, to inform the changes. 

For Tier 3-funded organisations (ie. organisations in receipt of more than £1 million in funding from UK Sport or Sport England), these changes include:

  • Welfare and safety: each organisation’s board will be required to appoint one of its directors to take a lead in this area.

    • This requirement follows other major work on this issue, including investing to support organisations with their own safeguarding work, and the expansion of the Safeguarding Case Management Service to help more organisations access expert support.
  • Organisations will now be asked to cascade good governance by setting out, promoting and supporting the implementation of minimum good governance standards throughout an organisation’s operations (e.g. internal structures and at regional/county level). Examples of such to date include The Football Association’s Code of Governance for County Football Associations, a regional code which sets a high precedent and aims to upskill those running the grassroots game.
  • Recognising the increasing importance of environmental and social factors to business, and responding to feedback from the extensive consultation exercise conducted as part of the review, the Code will require boards to factor responsibilities towards the environment and wider society into their decisions and actions.
  • All organisations will need to have a plan for its people to be reviewed on at least on annual basis.

Read more about the Code and download the document

Tier 1 Booklet

Tier 1 represents the minimum level of mandatory governance requirements as part of the Code.

The Requirements in this Tier seek to ensure the protection of public funding through good governance processes, while not creating a disproportionate administrative burden.

Examples of a Tier 1 organisation include local community groups, projects and clubs.

We and UK Sport will generally categorise an investment as Tier 1 if:

  • It’s granted on a one-off basis (for example, for a specific project which has a finite life); and
  • the total amount of funding is typically between £10k and £250k.

All organisations seeking funding of more than £10k will therefore need to meet at least the basic governance Requirements of Tier 1, with these set out clearly in this brand-new resource for Tier 1 organisations, which includes guidance and support tools.

Read more about the booklet and download it

Perrett Laver Board Diversity Audit

Following the first Leadership Audit conducted in 2018, once again in 2020 board members in organisations funded by us or UK Sport were asked to complete a survey.

Available to download below, the latest Audit captures data related to gender, ethnicity, disability, LGBT+, sexuality and educational background.

Alongside ongoing work with funded bodies to develop individual Diversity and Inclusion Action Plans, we and UK Sport are aiming to complete independent leadership audits across funded partners on at least a biennial basis.

Find out more about the Code and download the documents.

A Code for Sports Governance

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