Now is a crucial time for ice skating in the UK, with big changes proposed to strengthen our association, improve opportunities to grow the sport and offer more to members.
This year the government implemented a new initiative which has been developed and implemented by UK Sport and Sport England; a new code for Sports Governance. It is mandatory for all winter sports to comply with the code by December 31st 2017.
We have made our Articles of Association (the set of rules which govern how we run), compliant with the new code, which has been designed to ‘further nurture the growing culture of good governance already seen’ in sport as a whole.
Changes to the articles can only be passed by members through a democratic voting process, and we have now called an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) to be held at the British Figure Skating Championships 2nd December at 7:15pm, where the new Articles will be presented again.
We recognise that we could have offered better support to membership through the last voting process in the build-up to the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in August, and we have reviewed member feedback carefully since.
In order to offer the best guidance, NISA has formed an independent EGM Focus Group. The ad hoc group will assist the board in the lead up to the EGM in December, delivering and strengthening new ideas to engage better with membership.
The Focus Group is short term, and has been designed to review feedback of members, help promote and co-ordinate changes and be a contact for different groups such as clubs, coaches, judges and officials etc.
The current group is made up of members: Full NISA members Darryl Jones and Richard Lambert, NISA Coach Tony Barron, Founder and Chair of Inclusive Skating Margarita Sweeney Baird, Ice skating Independent Governance Working Group (ISIGWG) Lead, NISA PR Officer Bethany Bishop, Lead Safeguarding Officer Michelle Draper, CEO Jackie Sheldon and Group Lead Development Director David Hartley, with input and help from Governance Consultant Simon Le Fevre.
Margarita commented: “Inclusive Skating is delighted to welcome the implementation of effective corporate governance in the proposed articles.
“If the proposals are passed then these articles will also give our young 16 and 17 year old skaters a vote for the first time. Parents and guardians will also be able to vote on behalf of children and those who lack capacity.”
The first initial meeting was held early this month on the 12th of October, where the group discussed plans to better address concerns and communicate efficiently with membership.
As well as strengthening a plan which will see much clearer breakdowns of change and what it means, the group also agreed upon two new proposals to put to the NISA Board, for inclusion in the new Articles of Association.
The EGM Focus Group proposed that the voting age of 18 to be lowered to 16, and to incorporate a parental and guardian vote, wherein members under the age of 16 or members without the capacity to vote can be represented by a nominated parent or guardian.
This addresses concerns collected as part of the NISA AGM survey, where many parents and guardians expressed the need to have a say in their children’s sport.
The second proposal was to create an Engagement Committee – this will follow the pattern of the Technical Committees and will be made up of cross selection of members, to communicate the voice of members. It is also suggested that this will support embedding of policies and procedures, improve our engagement strategy and address concerns and needs of members.
David Hartley, NISA Development Director and Lead of the EGM Focus Group, said: “The EGM Focus Group has been created to reinforce NISA’s support to members throughout this very important period for the sport, and I am delighted to report the group have made a very strong start.
“At the first meeting the group agreed on two proposals to put the NISA board: to change voting criteria and create a platform for membership on a strategic level through a new committee.
“A further update on these proposals and more detail will follow soon, but to have plans like these in the pipeline is exceptionally positive - contributing to the listening culture we are working to establish here at NISA.
“The EGM Focus Group has been developed to offer a mix of skills and perceptions, so that we can analyse new plans and ideas to produce strong, concise content which is relevant, clear and interesting to our members.
“This is an exciting but challenging time for the organisation, and it is so important for everyone involved in the sport to understand how these changes will affect and benefit them. We are determined to offer the best support and guidance possible this time around.”
The EGM Focus Group will continue to assist in the delivery of clear explanations and clean platforms to find information, addressing concerns and answering queries.
The group is currently working to help implement a revitalised communications strategy and develop upon new plans. This includes a brand new mini-site where members will be able to find meaningful information about the changes and how it will affect everyone in the sport. The site is due to launch in November 2017.
The group will continue to meet regularly in the build-up to the EGM in December, keeping in touch via email to check and contribute to new content.
Individuals who have an interest in volunteering their time and experience to join the EGM Focus Group are welcome to do so.
Please email Bethany Bishop for more information and to express your interest in joining the group.