Please see below answers to questions received thus far (raised by members of the TEMB and Council). This section will be updated as additional questions are received and answered during the membership consultation process.
Q1 Only one question from me about competency based Council members sitting on the TEMB. As they don’t have a portfolio, how exactly will we measure what the competency is that is required? What is it being based on?
A1 The Code stipulates that all Council members should now be appointed based upon competency. Council President will work with the Nominations Committee, reviewing the TEMBS current composition and skills.
Q2 Regarding the independent director role, I am not fully clear how, for example, Marketing & Comms role would change if it became independent. I assume they would still interact with the paid staff in that space, would receive reports from them and provide updates to the board; the only change I can see is that they would be supporting a proposal rather than proposing it themselves. Is there anything else that would change?
A2 There would be no change in the delivery of the role – the code determines Independence at the time of their appointments. Therefore, any independent who went on to hold certain other posts (such as on an ETU committee) would still be classed as an “independent” for the purpose of the Code.
Q3 For TEMB director appointments; I support the proposal but could we be specific that only three of the nominating committee need attend interviews as I would worry about the chance of getting all five together?
A3 The Nomination Committee will be in charge of organising the selection of interview panels and there is no requirement that only Nomination Committee members can be on the interview panel. This flexibility is important because of the difficulty that we have had in the past in drawing together an interview panel. The detail on this will be contained in terms of reference for the new committee.
Q4 For Council reps, I think there should be a different approach altogether. I would prefer that the roles are not restricted to council members and continue to be council appointed roles. There would be an interview process, as there is for a board member but with the President, one Council member and one independent director forming the appointment committee. The successful candidates would attend both board and council meetings and would have responsibility for membership and regions. This is something that could be phased in over a 2 or 3-year period as existing CADs move on. I would not propose that the Board chair plays a role in this process as it enables the Council to demonstrate independence.
A4 The Code suggests that we hold periodic reviews of the Council’s role etc. and of “whether it represents fairly the participant and stakeholder landscape of the sport”. This is not a requirement but we anticipate that TE will hold this type of review within the next 2-3 years. Your suggestion is the type of question that would be best considered as part of that wider review. With the amount of work that will be required to fully implement the Code (which is a much larger project than just amending the TE Regulations), it is not considered that TE has the capacity to start this review within the next 12 months.
Q5 Is it foreseen that the maximum terms of service on the council being introduced, will these cascade down regional committees?
A5 We appreciate that getting and keeping volunteers engaged with our sport is difficult and as such we do not want to burden them with lots of rules/regulations. What we would hope, is that the ethos around the Code which is cascading now to Council level, will, filter down. We are not aware of any Code deliverables which our funders are due to put on to Regional Committees at the present time. However, good governance is needed at all levels of our sport and is one of our strategies.
Q6 Could I have clarity on the position of an 'Independent Director' and the expectation of this position
A6 For the purposes of this voluntary position the person appointed should not hold any other positions in the governance structure of the International Triathlon Union, European Triathlon Union, British Triathlon Federation, Triathlon England, English Regions, English Councils, Welsh Triathlon or Triathlon Scotland.
Q7 Will this Code for Sports Governance also be mirrored in Wales, Scotland and BTF
A7 The Code relates to both BTF and TE. Wales and Scotland each have their own version of a Governance Code which they work to. The new Code for Sports Governance has been produced for England but has much overlap with Wales and Scotland. UK Sport & Sport England envisage that the three will come closer together over the years.
British Triathlon Federation is also required to be Code compliant and like Triathlon England, the BTF are well placed in terms of the Code requirements and require some small amendments but nothing radical unlike some other sports.
A8 The Code makes it very clear that funding will be at risk if the necessary changes are not adopted. For Triathlon England any restriction or retraction of funding would impact on the development of triathlon at a grassroots level including the development of GO TRI, support of clubs, development around the coaching infrastructure, the talent pathway and at the worst case, could even result in job losses.
In recent weeks both Table Tennis England and the British Mountaineering Council have both had their funding suspended having held EGM’s where they did not achieve the required 75% of positive votes in support of their changes. This has caused cashflow issues as well as potential reputational damage.
Q9 Why is this happening?
A9 Sport has professionalised vastly over the last 10 years. A high standard of governance is one of the most important factors in preparing an organisation to be fit for the future. The code is proportionate, expecting the highest standards of good governance from organisations requesting the largest public investments, including:
- Increased skills and diversity in decision making, with a target of at least 30 per cent gender diversity on boards
- Greater transparency, for example publishing more information on the structure, strategy and financial position of the organisation
- Constitutional arrangements that give boards the prime role in decision making.
Triathlon has been a long-time supporter of good governance and being a relatively young and modern sport, we have automatically been constituted in a more appropriate, governance friendly manner.
It has been well documented in the press and media where some sports have struggled with the evolution of good governance. This can have an impact not only on funding but the culture and ethos of the organisation.
Q10 Does this mean Triathlon has bad governance?
A10 No, absolutely not. Every organisation in receipt of funding from UK Sport or Sport England is required to meet the requirements set out in the Code of Governance for Sport. Triathlon has a good reputation for good governance and we take this very seriously. All governing bodies in receipt of funding must take part in an annual assurance process. This process can be via:
- Onsite governance audit by an external audit firm appointed by and acting on behalf of our funders Sport England and UK Sport,
- Online self-assurance where we must provide written confirmation and supporting evidence to back up our structure, processes, procedures and transparency. This is then reviewed by an external audit firm appointed by and acting on behalf of our funders Sport England and UK Sport
- Offline self-assurance reflective of the online process but whereby the TEMB and Council have sight to review, question and challenge the results.
Triathlon work hard to ensure good relationships with our funders, always striving to develop and push forward in our governance assurances and has in the past been asked several times to talk about good governance to fellow sporting organisations.
Q11 How will this affect my Club?
A 11 Assuming that the changes are approved at the AGM, there should be no immediate day-to-day impact on clubs, members or our sport in general, with our public funding remaining in place. In the longer term, the objective of the Code is to make our governance structure and procedures more robust and the changes to the Regulations are an essential part of that. This should reduce the risk that our sport will, in the future, suffer from the types of governance failures that have adversely affected other sports in the past.
Q12 How can you ensure the reduction in the TE Councils powers doesn’t mean the TEMB and the Executive team are less accountable to its members?
A12 It is important to note that while the formal powers of the Council are being changed, it’s role in holding the TEMB to account on behalf of members will remain. It is arguable that the theoretical basis of the governance structure will change to some extent, but we feel that in practice the influence of the Council will not be diluted by the changes and may even improve as a result of being more specific about the role of the Council in formation of policy. The Code does not require us to make any changes to the way that members may propose resolutions or matters for discussion at our AGM and those parts of the Regulations will remain unchanged.
Q13 As a member, does this mean I have less say in how Triathlon is run?
A13 Absolutely not. As a member, you have access to your Regional Committee (which is appointed by members in your Region). Each Regional Committee has a representative on the Triathlon England Council. The Council will remain an important and influential part of our governance structure.
Q14 How will Triathlon England ensure it meets the requirements for diversity?
Q14 The Code asks organisations to demonstrate a strong and public commitment to progressing towards achieving gender parity and greater diversity generally on its Board, including, but not limited to, Black, Asian, minority ethnic (BAME) diversity, and disability. Triathlon England is fully committed to embracing the principles of diversity in the Code.
We are making great progress in the area of gender diversity. We are pleased that prior to the launch of the Code last year, Triathlon England (and British Triathlon) had already put forward resolutions for the 2016 AGM to update our regulations to define a minimum requirement of 30% gender diversity on the board. This resolution was passed on the 12th November 2016. At the present time (August 2017) our Board male to female ratio is 60:40, whilst our council male to female ratio is 64:36.
Earlier this year we scooped a national award in recognition of its approach to increasing female participation and raising the profile of women in triathlon. The Women’s Sport Trust hosted their #BeAGameChanger Awards with winners across 12 categories being announced for their outstanding contribution to women’s sport.
We were delighted to win the National Governing Body of the Year highlighting our work in promoting women’s participation.
Whilst we are making progress on gender, we do recognise that as a sport we are further behind in engaging with our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) and disability community. Under the Code we are required to have a Diversity Action Plan in place by the end of October. We have a number of activities currently taking place which will help us to develop this. We are also working with Sport Equals. Sporting Equals exists to actively promote greater involvement in sport and physical activity by disadvantaged communities particularly the BAME population. They are the national partner of Sport England and advisors to the Department of Culture Media and Sport.
As a recognition of the challenge we face in engaging people from BAME communities we have embarked on a process of consultation. We want to further understand the real and perceived barriers in taking part in Triathlon, alongside finding out what measures we can put in place to address this. We recognise this will not change overnight but we aim to develop interventions that will have a positive impact on making Triathlon more attractive and appealing to people from all communities.
If you have any questions, not covered above, please email firstname.lastname@example.org