News story

Voluntary code of good governance for sports bodies

Sport Minister welcomes Sport and Recreation Alliance report

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A new voluntary code developed by the sports sector demonstrating a commitment to create, improve and maintain the best possible governance structures was today backed by the Sport and Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson.

“The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will present a once in a life time opportunity to change people’s attitude to sport and get more people active,” said Mr Robertson. ”This code will help make sure that sports have the best possible governance structures in place to meet the challenges and opportunities of the coming year. I want our governing bodies to have an appropriate level of both sport specific expertise and independent governance challenges and I look forward to hearing how they are taking forward the Code’s principles over the coming months.”

The new voluntary code, published by the Sport and Recreation Alliance has been designed to help sporting and recreational bodies aspire to and maintain good governance and assist those in senior management positions to run their organisations more efficiently. The code has identified key principles to achieving good governance, and covers areas such as:

  • Accountability and transparency
  • Recommended Board size with the right balance of skills and experience
  • Independence on Boards and the desire for greater appreciation of diversity

Brigid Simmonds OBE, chair, Sport and Recreation Alliance said: “The key characteristic of this Code is that it is authored by sport, for sport. It’s a project that the Sport and Recreation Alliance has supported but which has been led by its members - governing bodies. That’s because sports want to be more accountable and more transparent so that participants better understand what they are doing. Some UK sports bodies can already boast some of the best standards of governance in the world but the Code can help every organisation reach those standards.”

Ensuring high standards

In addition to this report, DCMS continues to work with through its sponsored bodies Sport England and UK Sport and support its core-funded sporting bodies through a formal governance assurance programme that include an annual self-assessment, supported by an onsite audit of these bodies at least every three years. This is an important part of the Government’s strategy for sport at elite and community level as National Governing Bodies look to improve their governance, to help meet the requirements of their members, and be able to demonstrate to the tax-payer that they are delivering with the public money they receive.

UK Sport CEO, Liz Nicholl, said: “As investors in high performance sport, we recognise the importance of sound governance at all levels for the future success of national governing bodies and their athletes. This work undertaken by the Sport and Recreation Alliance, encouraging sports to take responsibility for good governance, is welcome and complements the other good work currently underway in this area. UK Sport continues to work closely with not just the SRA but also the home country sports councils and NGBs to support and guide high standards of governance across all of the Olympic and Paralympic sports we invest in.”

Sport England’s Chair, Richard Lewis, said: “We regard good governance as critical to the ongoing success of national governing bodies of sport. We continue to work closely with all of our funded sports to help them to develop their governance structures, through our investments, support tools and through active performance management. The new voluntary code is a welcome addition to the support available to sporting and recreational bodies.”

Further information

Published 13 December 2011