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Feedback from CEO Consultation 2016

During 2016, the CEO of NISA, Jackie Sheldon, held a series of consultation meetings to listen to the views of members in relation to all of NISA’s functions, it’s performance as a National Governing Body and it’s future. The meetings were held at 5 venues and were attended by 105 members. These meetings are the first step in a series of membership meetings to seek members’ views and to involve members in NISA’s plans and policies.

These events were all linked to figure skating and the next consultation session is planned for the Short Track Speed Skating Championships in April.

There was consistency in many of the issues raised across all the meetings and these have been collated to fully reflect the comments and views of the membership, areas that the NISA Board and Management need to address and suggestions/recommendations for the future.

Many of the issues were already recognised and are being addressed and others will be included in future projects and developments.

Section 1 provides a collated summary of the points raised and Section 2 is the detailed comments made on each topic.

Section 1

1. Governance:

  • Need for more transparency and development as a “modern day” NGB.
  • Better external face.
  • More home nation funding

Board Comment:  NISA Governance is out dated and requires fundamental changes to comply with the Government’s Governance Code for UK National Governing Bodies for Sport, legal and contractual obligations relating to UK Sport funding for our World Class Performance Programme and to meet the requirements of the Home Country Sports Councils in order to obtain funding for development programmes and athletes.

2. Office

  • Better public face
  • Better human and database efficiency

Board Comment:  NISA’s Workforce Plan is being developed to better resource the office and ensure the staff have the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to deliver the full range of services and functions.

3. Commercial

  • Seek better external funding

Board Comment:  This is a crucial part of NISA’s strategy moving forward.  A new Independent Non Executive Director – Commercial has been appointed to the Board and she will work closely with the CEO to develop our commercial activities.

4. Facilities

  • Problems of cost and ice time
  • Promote best practice nationally

Board Comment:  As ice rinks are private or council facilities NISA has no control or input into their pricing strategies or management.  We are, however, going to recruit a Development Manager whose remit will include developing relationships with rink owners and operators.

5. Website

  • Needs overhaul. US & Canadian are seen as examples of good practice

Board Comment:  All NISA’s IT is being redeveloped and we will be considering the websites mentioned as well as others to utilise best practice within our own systems.

6. Participation

  • Cost of Skate UK Passport
  • Look at structure of Skate UK
  • Look at offers for different populations e.g., boys, adults etc., and adjust competitions etc., accordingly

7. Squad

  • Simply put, a talent pathway review needs to be undertaken that critically analyses current structures, camps, talent ID & talent selection.

8. Competitions

  • This area is confused and questions include  “what are the purposes of competitions current and future?”
  • Competition structure should be an integral part of the development plan and talent pathway plan, not just random events
  • First aid needs to be addressed

9. Tests

  • There needs to be a complete review, working group etc. What is the purpose of the tests in terms of grass roots development, talent selection, talent development and commercial income?
  • Parents feel they are being used as a cash cow
  • Too Generic, the test structure does not match the event structure and therefore not relevant
  • Certain skaters dominate at particular levels when they should be competing at a higher grade, this should be legislated against

10. Coach Education

  • Coach education needs a complete overhaul
  • National uniform delivery framework
  • “Map” coach development to “talent development” via camps etc.
  • Coach mentoring structure and communities of practice to assist “Coaching Journey”
  • Better resources, on-line etc.
  • Coach Licence with “Resources and Responsibilities”

Board Comment: All aspects raised in Items 6 – 10 are being reviewed as part of NISA’s strategy development and fundamental changes to tests, competitions, coach education, squads and participation will be the subjects of consultation with the relevant groups of members prior to implementation.

11. Coaching Conference

  • 3 days is too long
  • Have shorter regional events more often
  • Hold them out of holiday time
  • Be discipline specific
  • Events like this need to be targeted e.g., event for coaches of junior dance

Board Comment:  The Coaching Director is working with other coaches to develop the conference for this year and will continue to review content and moderators.

12. Judging

  • This is always a controversial area within any sport
  • Independent assessment of judges required
  • Better integration with coaches needed
  • Incentives for people to become judges or technical panel members
  • Judges need a “professional education pathway” in the same way that coaches or skaters do

Board Comment:  A system of seminars to mentor and assess judges and technical panels for promotion have been introduced starting with the judges seminar held in December 2016 and the technical panel seminar scheduled for June 2017. Referees and Technical Controllers also monitor and report on officials at events.  Consistency in judging tests will be taken forward as part of the ongoing judge education programme,

13. Safeguarding

  • NGB to integrate into Coach Licence, Club Licence, Rink Kite Star, Judge Licence etc.
  • Independent “hidden” assessment of rinks
  • Coaching Code of Conduct


Section 2


• NISA has been seen as too insular but members are beginning to see a change

•There is a need for transparency in what NISA does

• NISA must be open and engage with members

• NISA needs a better external presentation

• NISA need to open dialogue with Sport Wales and Sport Scotland to gain extra funding for skaters.

• The NISA database is currently not fit for purpose

• There is concern regarding how up to date NISA policies are. The CEO explained that by May NISA must meet the Preliminary Standards for Equality.

•The CEO also explained the very most for NISA to move forward and become a credible modern governing body in accordance with Government’s Policy Oct 2016


• NISA has no public outlook

• Office organisation of tests is not good enough

• Need effective electronic entry system

• Office staff need to be able to answer basic technical questions

• The NISA database is currently not fit for purpose


• Skating needs a better public face

• NISA needs more merchandising

• More national media for our skaters to enable more funding for our squad members

• NISA needs to source funding for grass roots

• Parents feel that they are cash cows with regards to test


• There is a problem with the cost and availability of rinks

• The increasing popularity of ice hockey has put pressure on ice time

• There should be a system of good practice across all the rinks and clubs, and NISA needs a bigger say in this

• All rinks should run the same Skate Programmes and courses

• There should be quality assurance of coach education in the rinks and also rink managers need to know needs of skaters at different stages


•  Summary: Website needs improving; USFA & Canadian Websites are good examples

• Needs to be more up to date and interactive with clubs. FAQs section

• Governance policies need to be on website, once they have been ratified

• NISA progress statement on website

• “Training” area containing programmes, coaching footage, judging criteria etc.

• Information on tests, rule changes etc., needs to be up to date and better communicated

• Can NISA produce a beginner’s guide to things like competitions and costume rules


• There is a general feeling that the Skate UK passport and registration booklet is very expensive. Price of Licence Fee for Beginner Coaches

• Skate UK to be slightly restructured so we get a smoother transition through the levels

• NISA membership should include Passport or vice versa

• New skaters should be offered “associate membership”

• When children receive Grade book they should get a mini info booklet about all the discipline in skating. 

• Boys in sport need to be promoted

• More opportunities for children with disabilities or other disadvantages to take part

• To run toddler/penguin clubs

• Do another DOI. Bring back figures. Allow skaters to perform – skaters are now focussed on points we need more emphasis on artistic/theatrical.  This is also what inspires the public.

• Not focus on just the elite. More opportunities for lower level skaters to perform or to compete, this encourages children to want to skate more. Have a route/pathway for skaters who don’t want to do British Competitive route- NISA Cup etc. Problem of BNA/B dropping down to compete against L4/5 skaters is not ideal

• Adults reduce minimum age as we are losing a huge number of skaters aged 16 that do not want to compete against young children in beginner categories and have no other options. This is a familiar drop out age in all sports

• More competitions organised (or money to clubs to run events) and encourage and develop Adult Skating /courses. Opens do not include adults – they are desperate for more events to take part in.  Age eligibility / older skaters need opportunities this is being curtailed by BNA / BNB

• Make professional coaching more accessible to children who cannot afford to pay for lessons

• Need to attract more volunteers


• Skate UK to be slightly restructured so we get a smoother transition through the levels.

• New Skate UK structure for fast tracking talent

• Grass roots talent identification with a focus on physiological attributes. Talent scout days – try out days need to continue to happen and be organised. Need to create pathway for development of young talented skaters

• Need centres of excellence for talented skaters: specific technical coaching. NISA should create regional talent pods – for development of coaches and skaters

• Development squad is too large. Dates for squad selection are not conducive for progress of skaters. Selection criteria are not clear. Information from NISA is unclear

• Need International development camps

• Solo dance skaters are restricted by age and have the squad removed from them at the age of 15

• Dance criteria – can it be looked at?

• Squad on and off ice camps


• Need a stronger NISA competition framework including Home Nation inter club/regional skate electric/NISA cup events

• Recreational/interclub events involving all disciplines need to be promoted to gain better cross discipline/age links

• At the moment most competitions are not announced until 6 weeks before with the skater not being confirmed to have a place until 2 weeks before.  This means that those who work or who live abroad find it very difficult or impossible to take part

• Judge interaction (at above) and seminars to learn what judges are looking for e.g., similar to the one delivered at the Program Component Seminars

• Adult international event- can we hold one or add onto existing Championships to make it one - OBI was very successful

• Can there be more transparency regarding entries e.g., some comps fill events some just take first x number of entries?

• Patch ice must be structured

• More on ice activity monitoring / feedback

• BNA Split by age was great at IJS Sheffield / why not for BNB?

• Opportunities to gain score need to be available limited – due to club restrictions this is unfair to all skaters. IJS moving date – to early after rule / criteria change

• Can all skaters have screening sessions – at IJS Sheffield / or prior to IJS Sheffield

• Adult Simulation camp – was really enjoyed/appreciated why was it a one-time deal?


• Parents feel that they are cash cows with regards to tests

• Charging less for passport to make it more accessible to new skater.  More information of those that have completed the Skate UK course who don’t understand NISA and tests

• Test structure needs to be changed

• Too many tests especially at the bottom end

• Huge gap between advanced novice and Junior

• Too Generic, the test structure does not match the event structure and therefore not relevant

• There needs to be multiple test pathways required- competitive / adult / recreational. Can they not test to the skate categories i.e., beginner/pre novice/BNA/BNB/ADV Nov/JUN/SEN

• In other countries they don’t have any Pairs tests.  I know that tests are an important way of funding NISA but if there was an easier way e.g., Pairs development session 3 or 4 times on years for pairs or people interested in taking part in Pairs?

• Adult test structure needs overhauling to allow e.g., older gentlemen to gain success, i.e., separate adult pathway. Can adults have competitive tests for the adult pathway, relative to their skating levels not the generic system? Can we insist upon a maximum score in competition 3 times then they have to move up in both the Adult Structure and in the generic structure to stop “pot hunting?” In IJS competition there should be a limit to how many “seasons” a skater can compete at “beginner” level. More consistency with the increase in competitive test scores and encourages moving skaters up who consistently achieve scores and don’t move up

• Allow skaters to perform – skaters are now focussed on points; we need more emphasis on artistic/theatrical.  This is also what inspires the public.  To go back to the days of T & D we need to put on a show

• Lots of issues re timing of tests for Solo Dance

• Criteria and announcements need to be clearer

• The dance test structure needs updating. It doesn’t fall in line with the competition standard.  Also the free dance has very little elements required even though they are marked on them now IJS is in place

• Issued earlier this year which helped greatly

• Test sessions – judges need to have the same understanding and pass level

• Issue regarding 2017 compulsory dance Willow Waltz is too advanced for the level that has been given it

• Change level 2 programme length to 2 minutes.  To get 4 jumps, 2 spins and steps in is really difficult unless you race through the programme

• Making the test structure for Ice Dance the same/similar to the competitive ones. E.g., level one, only requirement is a step sequence, but skaters are getting marked on elements as per competitive when it isn’t a requirement

• Field Moves still a difference between Free Judges and Dance Judges

• To bridge the gap from gold passport to level 1 field moves. The gap is huge and I feel that we need more criteria to keep pupils interest in between gold passport and level 1

• Putting a score on the skating skills component in competitions and remove field move testing.  As long as the skater achieved the level given them the level across the board

• We have been told the Field Moves are going to be restructured. How is this going to be done? Coaches could voice an opinion and have some input. We need to touch on higher levels of field moves.

• Something on building step sequences for different levels simple

• The re-jig of Skate UK elements isn’t perfect.  Why would you remove learning to stop backwards? At our rink we book to full numbers and usually one coach per grade – we don’t have the spare bodies or time to cover other elements that are vital.  Old Skate UK had the FO/FI curves in the same level as FI3’s, now you teach the 3 turns in grade 5 and 6 then grade 7 you teach how to push, skate and control the edge

• Making it mandatory for all students to do free, dance skills (Field Moves) up until a certain level, the kids have a wide spread knowledge and understanding in every discipline. And all coaches are fully booked = no competition= Better skaters and happy coaches all getting along creating a lovely work environment for EVERYONE!


• Coach education needs to be improved

• Having coached abroad for the last 12 years and gain in comparison I would like to see lower level categories programme lengths longer. There seems to be no space for the technical elements and programme components development.  Coaching levels 1-2 no difference in requirements so why is there a difference in what they are able to do. Level 2 coaching exam is far too easy

• Change the way coaches can develop e.g., become a higher level coach.  Dependent on what involvement you have as a coach should reflect how you can be credited e.g., develop within Skate UK or if you became a technical specialist etc., it should be reflected within your coaching

• There needs to be uniformity to coach education. No current criteria for coach development. Education for coaches needs to have a skills mind set

• Use the knowledge we have as within the skating community there is enough knowledge to heal and create coach education curriculum and test structures that are relevant

• NISA should create regional talent pods – for development of coaches and skaters

• Mandatory coaching structure in all rinks! Coaching structure, coaches should have a system to work together. So the “competition” between skating coaches is eliminated!  And the kids benefit from the strength the club has as a team! Coaches sharing students’ far different disciplines

• Coaches need to be encouraged to work in teams as all coaches have different talents and strengths to produce better skaters

• Support network for coaches. More support for newly qualified coaches to keep progressing and leaning.  Lower level field moves, skate UK, maybe mentor continues. There needs to be a stronger relationship formed between junior and senior coaches

• More on and off ice stuff (CPD)

• Coach development sessions need to be done midweek

• Have an official online communication forum (Facebook?) for coaches to share info on

• Voluntary recognition/reward programme for young adults/older skaters to assist with coaching – not formal qualification but something for them to do and develop

• Coaches booked on the programme for level 2 Sk8UK before the role changed, should be allowed to qualify for full level 2 with level 6 field moves as opposed to full level 6

• NISA badges/pin badges etc., for coaches to wear

• A clear way for coaches to co-coach in an open forum and to have access to choreographers, TS etc

• More information and access to IJS rules and regulations and opportunity for coaches to become an ATS or TS

• Judges and coaches to share best practice. More integration between coaches and judges at higher levels e.g., after tests, competitions, more screenings

• Older / long standing coaches are afraid to speak out due to past events and feel that they have heard it all before

• Believe that the association would be strengthened if there was a more meticulous code of conduct regarding coaches. As well as child protection matters I feel more could be done to ensure parity of provision / professionalism and technical knowledge in line with other professions this could include a more rigorous enforcement of accountability


• Safeguarding needs to be monitored more closely maybe undercover safe guarding officer to see lessons etc., to see what occurs at some rinks

• Having support for coaches as well as safeguarding children

• Make a quiz/test for coaches for safeguarding

• Believe that the Association would be strengthened if there was a more meticulous code of conduct regarding coaches. As well as child protection matters I feel more could be done to ensure parity of provision / professionalism and technical knowledge in line with other professions this could include a more rigorous enforcement of accountability

Coaching Conference:

• Cheaper conference fees for volunteers/level1/level 2 Skate UK qualified coaches

• Change the requirements for the conference depending on how many hours you teach/what pupils e.g. 3 hours teaching level ½ for instance compared to level 9/10

• More features at conference that are aimed at new coaches and at beginner skate UK level 1-6 – how to set up as a new coach, business and technical side of it

• Host the conference in different regions e.g., Scotland/England or offer more conferences to attend

• More education in between the coaches’ conference every 3 years

• Could the convention be moved closer to London area?

• Make the seminar more affordable or make it one day a year.  As with loss of lessons and hotel it is working out nearly £1000.  Also if you have any problems at home, 3 days is a nightmare

• Make the seminar more affordable or make it one day per year as it cost so much and also we lose so much in lessons

• Make an alternative seminar in Scotland – travelling 7 hours is not easy – we also have to consider our costs when travelling so far

• Cost of seminar. More choice of IJS compulsory seminars

• Giving credit to coaches who independently travel to seminars and reconsider whether or not they need to come to the 3-day event

• Move coaches’ conference away from holidays (August). Why do you always run conference during school holidays and there is only one option per year?

• Make seminars cheaper and shorter

• Consider what moderators you have at conference and how they can be used to deliver office presentations as well as on ice

• Make the seminars more specific to sport i.e., figure, synchro and dance, solo and couples. People would take so much more out of something specified to them

• Bring presenters that the coaches will benefit from.  Ask coaches which areas they would like/need help

• Components Seminar amazing – can an Elements seminar one be held / Skaters then said this type of thing would really benefit them


• I feel that there is no consistency within the judging across a single competition the ISU produce clear guidelines and I suggest that Judges and Technical Specialists are constantly moderated and assessed to ensure a consistent and fair standard

• T/S Judges and NISA should be more willing to help skaters and coaches with screening sessions in order for GB to compete at a higher level

• We need to encourage participation in judging/tech etc. Often NISA doesn’t remunerate technical panels if they attend events with skaters they coach.  Club opens do make expenses available in these cases. There needs to be some draw for ‘new judges’ to get involved – otherwise we won’t have new judges coming through

• A DVD of how judges would like to see the field moves skater to pass rather than a video created in 2007 with errors.  A clip of a pass and a fail on each number could be handy.  All judges have their own opinion on each number how they wanted it to be skated

• Judges in rinks for some but not for all

• Judges speak to skaters (interests) in a respectful way.  Some can belittle when they (the skater) hasn’t done it as well as they wish and get spoken to as if they are trying to get away with not doing it well.  Some skaters have come away even from a test they have passed and feel flat!

• Personal involvement of judges with coaches and their pupils, should this be allowed? Clear guidelines needed