Patron: His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales
In working towards the Voluntary Code of Good Governance for the Sport & Recreation Sector, BPA has commissioned an independent report from Amanda Bennett, a leading national expert on sports governance. Council is publishing the BPA Governance Consultation Report to start a conversation with members about how to assure the governance of our Association meets the demands of the 21st century. This will help to build a stronger sport for the future. BPA Council is establishing a governance working party and views from members are welcome. Click on the red 'more' tab for the background.
Good governance - it's in the wind
There’s something in the wind. It’s been coming for a while. Now it’s gaining traction. It’s called ‘good governance’.
What’s it all about? It’s about making sure organisations are well run for the benefit of all their stakeholders, and that they are socially responsible. Good governance benefits everyone. But it doesn’t just happen by chance. Over time, clear principles have emerged.
Organisations vary hugely in size and purpose. Some are commercial, others are for public service, and still others - such as the BPA - are not-for-profit membership bodies, in our case to pursue a passion for the sport of skydiving.
The principles of good governance apply to every type of organisation, but it’s not a case of one size fits all. The principles have to be applied according to each organisation’s structure and purpose. The tide of good governance has reached the sport and recreation sector and it has been codified in the Voluntary Code of Good Governance, promoted by the Sport & Recreation Alliance (of which BPA is a longstanding member). The Code is supported by government and official agencies including UK Sport and all of the home countries’ sports councils.
The seven principles
The Code is a tool to help sports governing bodies, such as the BPA, to meet the high expectations of them in the 21st century. It focuses on seven principles:
1. Integrity: Acting as guardians of the sport
2. Defining and evaluating the role of the board
3. Delivery of vision, mission and purpose
4. Objectivity: Balanced, inclusive and skilled board
5. Standards, systems and controls
6. Accountability and transparency
7. Understanding and engaging with the sporting landscape.
The Code is not prescriptive. The principles it sets out are for bodies such as the BPA to apply to their own organisational development.
Already more than 80 sports and recreation bodies have signed up to the Code. The benefits are that it:
In 2012, BPA Council announced its intention to sign up to the Code. But there was work to do before signing up. Most Council meetings last year took one of the principles per meeting to explore in more depth. Council looked at how far the BPA’s current structures and procedures met best practice. It was clear we were already well along the road.
This year, we have a remainder of probably the final 20-30 per cent of the Code to examine, but this includes the most challenging aspects to do with the structure and function of the board (which is to say, BPA’s board of directors, the Council). Council has decided to engage an external independent expert as facilitator to help to explore these most challenging aspects of governance, which is likely to include some perspectives that are new to the BPA. These are likely to feature in an important conversation within the membership over the coming months or even years.
It is a path on which BPA is not short of companion travellers, as many if not now a majority other spots national governing bodies share in the same aspirations, and some have already achieved them. Just google ‘voluntary code of good governance - sport’ to get a snapshot of the response it has triggered in the sport and recreation sector. Adoption of the Code of Good Governance is already seen as a ‘quality mark’ of national governing bodies in sport, and it’s likely to become an expectation.
Doesn't our sport deserve the best?
You could argue that the opposite to good governance is bad governance - but that would be to sensationalise the case. The opposite to good governance is, in the vast majority of cases, much more prosaic. It’s the specious sense of wellbeing that can come from a laissez-faire, ‘why change?’ attitude and simply carrying on as we always have because it’s served us well (or, at least, always got us through) in the past. The opposite to good governance is doing nothing worse than looking inwards to our own sport and backwards at custom and practice, rather than outwards to other sports and what they are doing to raise their game to meet the challenges of governance in the 21st century. Doesn’t our sport deserve the best?
Calling Full BPA Members - Could your knowledge and skills help our sport in the role of a BPA Council Member? To find out more, please study the Council Member role profile. If it sounds like a role to which you might be suited, please consider standing for BPA Council 2015. See the nomination form for the procedure to follow. Nominations must be sent to reach independent election administrators Electoral Reform Services (ERS) by noon on Tuesday 4 November 2014.
Updated 17 May 2012