A national plan for sport, health and wellbeing Contents

Appendix 4: Roundtable discussion with CEOs of NGBs and experts

On 9 June 2021 we held an online roundtable with CEOs of sports national governing bodies (NGBs) and sector experts. The meeting was intended to be wide-ranging and included topics such as funding and support available to NGBs, the governance and accountability of NGBs, duty of care and safeguarding responsibilities, diversity and inclusion, and promoting grassroots participation.

The attendees at the meeting were:

National governing bodies

Sector experts

Breakout group discussions

The meeting began with participants split into two breakout groups for one hour. These breakout group discussions focused on the work of NGBs promoting grassroots participation and issues relating to diversity and inclusion.

The participants in breakout group one were Martyn Allison, Adrian Christy, Natalie Justice-Dearn, and Ralf Rimmer. The participants in breakout group two were Joanna Coates, Jon Cockcroft, Tim Garfield, Nick Pink and Mark Winder.

Balance between attracting those already physically active and encouraging those who are inactive to sport

Breakout group one

Martyn Allison told the Committee that there are three core challenges in tackling physical inactivity. Firstly, there is a lot of tribalism in the sector and this means that competition often overturns collaboration. Secondly, he said, there is a lack of empathy around understanding why people do not participate. Thirdly, he told the Committee there is a leadership deficit to challenge the norms and make the case for change. Martyn said he struggled to understand why over his 40 years in the sector the participatory gap between demographic groups has failed to be tackled, despite money, strategies, plans and goals. He noted during this time the country has hosted an Olympic and Paralympic Games, had audit commission inspections and best value national performance indicators. He said there have been all the normal drivers of change during this time, but there have only been marginal shifts in the equity in participation.

Ralph Rimmer from the Rugby Football League (RFL) disagreed and told the Committee that the world has changed in that time and continues to evolve. He noted that NGBs must find ways of adapting to increase participation numbers. He also explained that though the RFL retains its focus on traditional rugby league, they also provide physical disability, learning disability, touch, tag and masters rugby league. He told the Committee that these offers make the sport more accessible and brings down barriers to engagement with the sport. He noted the importance of going out and finding your audience, often digitally, and understanding them through the digital systems that can be established. Ralph explained how the RFL set up Our League Live, which enables it to communicate directly with audiences, understand the offers they want and then work to put the offers in place.

Ralph Rimmer told the Committee that the RFL receives a commercial income at the higher end of the sport, but the funding provided by government is critical to the work they do. He told the Committee the RFL are audited on a quarterly basis through Sport England on what they have achieved, and the result of these audits may affect the next set of funding they receive.

Jane Nickerson told the Committee that Swim England’s goal is that everybody goes swimming. She noted that Swim England’s biggest challenge is facilities. Most swimming facilities are local authority facilities or privately owned and many are approaching the end of their lifespan. She said that having the right facilities within easy travelling distance with the right programmes in place is the answer to breaking down some of the barriers to people swimming. Jane noted that if people do not learn to swim when they are younger, it is unlikely they will start swimming when they are older. Jane explained that although swimming is part of the curriculum and children should leave key stage two being able to swim 25 meters, 47 per cent of children from the least affluent families leave primary school unable to. Jane told the Committee that Swim England know access to facilities and finance are barriers to participation, but Swim England are committed to better understanding the barriers of people from ethnic minorities. She told the Committee Swim England are working with their partners and holding focus groups to identify the barriers and remove them.

Natalie Justice-Dearn from Rounders England told the Committee that rounders is very much a recreational sport. Natalie noted that Rounders England does have a pathway and an England team, but that is through self-funding by athletes. She noted that most people who have been through the British education system have played rounders. Natalie told the Committee that there has been change in the last 20 years for NGBs to concentrate on keeping people active. She said that funding is typically short lived over 2–3 years, whereas behaviour change from inactive to active is a longer-term goal. She told the Committee that long-term behaviour change requires NGBs to be key players alongside the health and education departments and other organisations. Natalie also said it is also about taking time to get to know communities and to think about place-based projects. She noted that collaboration between NGBs is positive in terms of sports working together to encourage talent and support participation across sports.

Adrian Christy, former CEO of Badminton England, told the Committee that badminton is a well-funded participation sport and amongst the top 5 or 6 most participated in sports in the country. He noted that Badminton England has had a difficult time with funding after the Rio Olympics but has since had funding reinstated for their world class programme. Adrian suggested that NGBs had been slow to catch up to the digital age but are now catching up fast. He told the Committee there are a variety of examples across NGBs where the traditional rules of their sports have been adapted to attract more participants and have been able to retain them. He also noted that there are about a quarter of a million people who volunteer in this country across several sports who enable participation.

Breakout group two

Jon Cockcroft of Bowls England told the Committee that bowls is in a state of steady decline due to an ageing membership and failure to modernise to meet emerging demands on how people like to exercise. He said the priority is to preserve the sport, look after existing members and stem the decline. On reaching out to a wider audience he told the Committee about the Big Bowls Weekend which targets younger people and those new to bowls. He said that Bowls England would be interested in doing more events like that. He also noted that given the average age of a bowls players is 65–70 and that by 2030 there will be 20 million people in England over the age of 60, more resources should be directed towards keeping older people active. Jon said that there are a lot of bowls players who, when younger, were playing much more active sports but turned to bowls after they turned 40 or 50. He noted that transitioning to different activities is part of the lifelong journey through sport and that there are opportunities for governing bodies to collaborate more to support this.

Nick Pink from England Hockey noted that since the women’s hockey medal successes in the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games there has been a steady interest in playing hockey but, like bowls, a lot of their focus has been around retention of players. He noted that England Hockey is targeting new audiences, particularly people from wider socio-economic groups and has made diversity and inclusion a key focus for the next 4–5 years. He told the Committee that work around diversity and inclusion can help challenge perceptions that the sport is elitist and highlighted upcoming initiatives to encourage community participation, particularly in Birmingham ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Nick noted that this work will result in greater diversity in talent pathways and ultimately into the national team.

Joanna Coates, former CEO of UK Athletics, agreed that governing bodies have a responsibility to support sport journeys and to help young people transition into clubs and find the activity that is right for them. She noted that governing bodies are well placed to create new products in their sport that can appeal to new people and drive participation.

Mark Winder from Goalball UK told the Committee that young people who are visually impaired often have a poor experience of PE and that many do not get to join in PE at all, or do not have access to specialist equipment that could help them to take part, such as audible balls. He noted that Goalball UK is often attracting people who have previously been inactive and that a key element of Goalball’s success has been its ability to create a peer network for people around the country. Mark called the closure of blind schools a case of “exclusion through inclusion” because often it has meant that a visually impaired person goes from a blind school, where they might be excluded from society, into mainstream education where they may have to be taxied to and from the school which is often further away while also becoming separated from friends. He noted that this isolation can continue into adulthood and that part of what Goalball does is provide a new opportunity for blind and visually impaired people.

Tim Garfield cautioned against looking at governing bodies as if they are a homogenous group. He suggested a greater focus on the needs of end users. He noted that affordable sports that are accessible in inner city and deprived areas are likely to be very different to those available in, for example, market towns where asset-owning clubs in sports like football, cricket, rugby union and tennis can offer participation opportunities at marginal extra cost. He also noted that without governing bodies organised sport evaporates as they facilitate the structures needed for sustainable leagues and competition, coaching and officiating. He said the benefits of getting children and young people into organised sport to aid their personal development in so many ways far outweighs the costs involved. He added that NGBs are crucial to providing pathways for young people to progress as players, coaches, leaders, and volunteers.

Joanna Coates responded that the approach to retaining people may depend on where a person is in the development pathway. She noted that there is quite a bit of movement between sports for talented sportspeople and this is encouraged. She also noted that if someone is in a talent pathway and it looks like they will not reach their goal in that sport they should be signposted elsewhere and supported to transition to another sport. However, she noted at the grassroots level NGBs rely on participation rates and membership fees which creates an incentive to retain people in their sport.

Jon Cockcroft said that Bowls England has a culture of collaboration with other sports but agreed that the funding structure that distributes finite money between governing bodies creates intrinsic competition. He suggested that it would be preferable to work together to attract inactive people. He told the Committee that it is imperative that sport be part of the solution to addressing public health and tackling the associated costs of being inactive.

Prevalence of discrimination at the grassroots level and NGB actions to tackle abuse

Breakout group one

Jane Nickerson told the Committee that there is not a systemic issue with racism in swimming, either at the top end of the sport or at the grassroots level, although there is an issue with inclusivity, particularly regarding participants from ethnically diverse communities.

Jane noted barriers for underrepresented ethnic minority groups including not seeing someone who looks like you, not having the right method of getting to the pool, or cultural barriers such as not feeling comfortable in the clothes you would normally see people wearing when swimming. Jane suggested these issues need to be tackled to make swimming more inclusive and accessible. She told of the Committee these are the things Swim England are learning about and dealing with.

Ralph Rimmer of the RLF explained rugby league is not free of racism. He told the Committee that the Black Lives Matter movement accelerated the work the RFL were doing on this issue. He informed the Committee about the focus groups the RFL held with their professional players and asked them about their experiences of racism throughout their careers and how they viewed the situation now. He said they shared “horrific” stories and that it was a humbling process. This work prompted the RFL’s Tackle It campaign which includes all protected characteristics. The RFL also established a diversity and inclusion board which maps out the actions they can take across their activity offers, and this will be audited quarterly. Ralph said racism is something to be aware of at all levels of the sport. He told the Committee that the important thing is to identify the barriers to make the sport as accessible as possible.

Adrian Christy told the Committee that he would not say that badminton does not have racism, but it is not evident to him that it does. He said Badminton England was not complacent in anyway regarding racism and noted that equality is an ongoing issue in badminton.

Natalie Justice-Dearn told the Committee that rounders is very accessible and inclusive, and Rounders England intends to build on that. She said that rounders characteristics of being cheap and not requiring a sports kit makes it more accessible. Natalie acknowledged that this does not mean that it is diverse or that everyone is playing that wants to. She highlighted the importance of looking through the lens of the communities NGBs are trying to reach. She told the Committee that Rounders England have carried out targeted work to get wider representation across their sport.

Martyn Allison said the debate on how to remove racism from sport has been ongoing for many years. Martyn told the Committee about the Sport for All policy introduced 40 years ago to tackle inclusion, but he felt this has not worked. He told the Committee about his paper, 40 years of failure: can sport and leisure bridge the empathy gap? and believes that racism is the extreme end of an empathy gap.641 He said he suspects that “very few organisations could honestly say there is no racism somewhere in their organisation”.

Ralph Rimmer disagreed with Martyn and explained that the communities NGBs are currently trying to reach are harder to reach than those 40 years ago and the world is very different today. He said that problems existed then, but they have become more sophisticated and complex. He told the Committee that the RFL carried out a report called the Rugby League Dividend which reviewed the social impact of the sport, how they reach those people and what the sport gives to underrepresented communities.642

Breakout group two

Joanna Coates told the Committee she was aware of racism in athletics and UK Athletics were seeking to address it. UK Athletics ran a ‘let’s talk about race’ initiative to open the discussion of race and racism in the athletics, and this had been a positive experience. She supported more diversity on boards, committees and working groups and suggested that NGBs need to be looking at what is happening at region and county level.

Nick Pink agreed about the need to pay attention to what is happening at the county level, and told the Committee that England Hockey is developing a plan for a diversity and inclusion working group and looking into how effective the grievance procedures is at handling complaints of behavioural issues. He said it is incumbent on NGBs to make sure that the system works at every level and that people feel supported.

Tim Garfield noted that racism and other ‘ism’s’ are endemic in society so it should not be a surprise that that it is also present in sport. He suggested that sport has massive potential to be a vehicle for tackling racism citing sports support to the Black Lives Matter movement as an example of how sport can respond and widen the debate.

Joanna Coates told the Committee that tackling racism and other forms of abuse also means working at regional and county level and working with volunteers to help them. She noted that volunteers tend to be white and middle-class and suggested that incentives and different mechanisms are needed to attract those who cannot afford to give up their time for free. Nick Pink suggested that if you get the structure and governance right you can do a lot to tackle racism and other forms of abuse.

Mark Winder noted that Goalball focuses on developing talent from within the sport for future leadership, including people who are visually impaired. He said that being a relatively new sport, Goalball has been able to develop the sport in a way that is fit and proper for society today.

Jon Cockcroft noted that improving diversity is a significant challenge for bowls. He also noted that, for disabled people, there are barriers such as the cost of specialist wheelchairs that can go on the green.

Balance between development pathways and medal success, and increasing grassroots participation

Breakout group one

Ralph Rimmer noted that the RFL receives government support to develop grassroots sport. He told the Committee the RFL engages with people at a level of the sport that suits them, and every new format of the sport helps them reach new audiences. Ralph added that the RFL have a Whole Game Board, which has representatives from all parts of the sport and aims to develop sympathetic pathways so all participants can reach the level they want to, including up to the elite level. He highlighted that this is not an easy equation and it hinges upon the quality of pathways that a sport can offer and how it can reach new participants. Ralph said the RFL is making good progress at a grassroots level with the youngest age groups and with its social offer.

Jane Nickerson told the Committee there is significant grassroots participation in aquatics, and around 300 participants are on the elite level talent pathways. She said that it is about providing opportunities so “some will achieve ‘greatness’ and others will achieve their greatness by having fun and enjoying activity”.

Adrian Christy told the Committee that medal success does not happen without grassroots participation. He noted that the more people participating in sport, the greater the chances of developing young athletes and producing medallists. He said that “by delivering medallists it becomes a virtuous circle as more people talk about the sport, more people become engaged with your sport and more people want to try your sport”. Adrian told the Committee that following the 2016 Rio Olympics, in London alone there was a 245 per cent increase in the number of people that played badminton. He said that Badminton England has 25 players on their world class programme and 1 million people play badminton regularly. He said he did not “think it is a case of either or, one absolutely needs the other to thrive”.

Role of top athletes as influencers to boost grassroots participation

Breakout group one

Adrian Christy told the Committee that he thought elite athletes can have an impact, but Badminton England has some way to go in utilising them. He said their top athletes do large amounts of work in local communities, schools and sports centres, helping to reward and thank volunteers and coaches. Adrian thinks this role is part of the responsibility of being an athlete. He told the Committee that Badminton England’s athletes are travelling for 40 weeks of the year and therefore is it a matter of resources to utilise elite athletes to boost participation.

Ralph Rimmer noted that the RFL has an ambassadors programme which applies to their men’s, women’s, wheelchair and physical disability rugby league. The ambassadors are well known names in the sport, and athletes receive media training to support them. Ralph said the goal was to engage new audiences and show the values of the sport.

Jane Nickerson told the Committee that elite athletes can make a difference when used in the right way, but boosting grassroots participation is a blend of different approaches. Jane shared several examples of how different influencers can affect different age groups:

Natalie Justice-Dearn told the Committee the use of elite athletes works and it is key to choose the right athletes. She noted it is important to give athletes the right support and training. She highlighted that elite athletes are away training, so it goes beyond physical appearances to digital platforms. Natalie told the Committee that the Lionesses and the Youth Sport Trust do this successfully.

Breakout group 2

Nick Pink of England Hockey noted that elite athletes can make great role models and advocates for sport and they also have the ability to reach a large audience on wider social issues.

Mark Winder noted that in Goalball the higher performers are very accessible as role models. He noted that the elite players celebrate disability and show others what can be achieved for people who are blind or visually impaired.

Tim Garfield noted that things have changed over the last 10 years and it is right that much more attention is given to developing athletes in the round and not only their sport performance, and that athletes themselves are becoming much more aware of their wider social responsibilities.

Joanna Coates, former CEO of UK Athletics, told the Committee that all NGBs are passionate about getting the maximum number of people involved in sport and that there is increasing recognition that having only a certain demographic running sport is not the best way to achieve that. Nick Pink added that members, volunteers and others are demanding change and that NGBs need to be responsive. He also noted that this shift is evidence in the new strategies published by Sports England and UK Sport.

Plenary discussion

Following the breakout group discussions, a plenary discussion with all participants took place covering topics including collaboration between NGBs and schools, the sport and recreation landscape, funding and support available to NGBs, and duty of care and safeguarding.

Collaboration between schools and NGBs

Ralf Rimmer of the RFL explained that he had put forward the case for an extension of the school day in a meeting with Government Ministers, with this additional time dedicated to school sport. Ralf Rimmer said that this would provide a further opportunity for school pupils to utilise school sports facilities and increase the chances of embedding habits around physical activity.

Adrian Christy, former CEO of Badminton England, said that “we are reaping what we are sowing” with children leaving school unable to swim or properly coordinate themselves, leading to disengagement with sport and physical activity in adulthood. Joanna Coates, former CEO of UK Athletics, said that increasing physical activity rates in schools is critical to the success of any national sport policy framework. She also said that this includes ensuring that young people have a positive experience in school sport and they have opportunities to take part in various sports within the school setting, avoiding sport opportunities becoming exclusive to those children who can rely on parents or guardians to facilitate sport opportunities outside of school.

Nick Pink of England Hockey noted that “a clear, coherent national plan for school sport is absolutely fundamental”. He told the Committee that England Hockey “knew how to interact” with primary and secondary schools through the School Sport Partnership network in the early 2000s but it had become more difficult for NGBs to forge links with schools since the decline of School Sport Partnerships since 2011. Nick said there is an opportunity in the post-COVID recovery to galvanise physical activity through a national plan for sport and recreation underpinned by a school sports strategy which should include better training for primary school teachers to deliver sport and recreation lessons and physical literacy, and making PE a core subject. The strategy could also embed opportunities for NGBs to work with schools to provide talent pathways for children.

Role of local authorities

Martyn Allison noted that the provision of public facilities had become increasingly commercialised, particularly over the last decade, and this has had the effect of “increasing efficiency but squeezing some people out” with the most deprived unable to afford the use of public facilities. Martyn Allison noted that if local government is to play a successful role in health improvement and tackle health inequalities, this issue will need to be addressed. Adrian Christy noted the decline in affordable opportunities for young people to discover sport due to the decline in public leisure facilities. Adrian Christy added that access to “good facilities, good coaches, great volunteers, and a healthy sustainable club network” is required for a successful national plan for sport.

Martyn Allison said that making leisure statutory would “not make a great deal of difference” and spending priorities remain a political choice for local authorities. Martyn Allison said that if the sport and recreation sector is to promote health, national government need to ensure that physical activity can be embedded within integrated care systems at the local level and there should be new partnerships around health and wellbeing at a local level. Martyn Allison added that these are policy areas where many councils will want to invest because health outcomes remain a priority for communities and local government but the sector will need to consider how it can better tackle health inequalities amongst the most deprived communities which the sector is not currently reaching.

Role of sport in promoting healthy lifestyles

Tim Garfield highlighted the importance of understanding the distinction between physical activity and sport in public policy, noting that less is spent on sport each year from central government than by the NHS in one day. Tim Garfield said that as a result, sport currently plays an understated role in tackling broader health inequalities. Tim Garfield also argued that money is being re-directed away from mainstream sport “to shore up” the lack of money invested in encouraging physical activity as a preventative measure within the overall healthcare system. Tim Garfield further argued that it does not make economic sense to redirect and refocus sport investment towards health outcomes whilst weakening the role of sport in facilitating regular and sustained physical activity levels. Tim argued that the current approach increases the risk of higher levels of inactivity within the overall population given the evidence of serious decline of physical education and sport within schools.

Jane Nickerson of Swim England stated that swimming saves the NHS £357 million each year across six health conditions. She suggested that there should be established mechanisms within the health sector to refer people to use swimming pools routinely to support health conditions. Jane Nickerson noted that this requires work across various departments including DHSC and DfE, and the maintenance of existing swimming facilities.

Central and Sport England funding for NGBs

Natalie Justice-Dearn of Rounders England suggested better collaboration across different sectors, including the health sector and education sector, so that the sectors are not in competition with one another for funding whilst attempting to achieve the same outcomes. This could lead to better delivery of sport and recreation opportunities and increase physical activity rates.

Nick Pink of England Hockey noted that there is significant competition between NGBs to get funding. He suggested that measures including social impact, retention and economic impact could be used to allocate funding across sports as opposed to the current key consideration of participation rates. He also suggested other considerations alongside participation rates for the allocation of funding, including the demographics of those taking part in particular sports and community impact.

Jon Cockcroft questioned whether funding is directed to sports which are attractive and easily accessible to the public. He also questioned why sports that generate significant commercial revenues and could potentially be self-sufficient receive public funding. Joanna Coates cautioned that this could lead to sports without leagues to increase their membership fees, making some sports more financially exclusive.

Adrian Christy noted that the sector has been “bounced between different short-term initiatives” that have destabilised the way sports are funded. However, he noted that “we are seeing a much better and much fairer system” in regard to the UK Sport strategy, with more sports and athletes receiving more funding. Adrian also noted that some of that funding is filtering down to the grassroots.

Governance and accountability of NGBs

Adrian Christy said that the introduction of the Code for Sports Governance in 2016 had been “hugely valuable to modernizing the governance of governing bodies”. Adrian Christy noted that Badminton England have changed their articles of governance twice to “reflect the journey that we [Badminton England] have been on” in recent years. However, Adrian warned against complacency and noted that there are still sports that could do more to reflect the diversity of those who play their sports on senior boards and in senior management teams.

Ralf Rimmer similarly noted that the sector had “moved on a great deal” since the introduction of the Code for Sports Governance. He noted that the RFL is ensuring that it is pushing for standards set by the 2016 Code to be adopted across all levels of the sport. In regard to its 36 professional clubs, Ralf said that the RFL can use its distribution of its funding so that if some clubs are not prepared to implement standards established by the RFL and the Code for Sports Governance, it could withhold funding to those clubs.

Jane Nickerson said the Code for Sports Governance was “incredibly helpful” and Swim England used the Code as an opportunity to make changes within the organisation including increasing diversity of its board. Jane said that if an NGB is not working towards achieving standards set out in the Code then they should be financially penalised. However, Jane Nickerson said that if an NGB is making demonstrable efforts in attempting to meet the standards of the Code, then it may require further support or guidance rather than financial sanctions.

Mark Winder of Goalball UK noted that it took “an awful lot of work with a small team” for Goalball UK to meet the standards set out in the Code for Sports Governance. Mark suggested that diversity targets on boards should include those from lower socio-economic backgrounds and those with disabilities.

Duty of care and safeguarding

Joanna Coates noted that because of increasing diversity resulting from the targets set by the Code for Sports Governance and improving governance standards, athletes are more willing to come forward to raise duty of care and safeguarding issues than in the past. She added that it may be positive sign that more cases are emerging and this may reflect the increased willingness and confidence of athletes to raise concerns.

Similarly, Jane Nickerson told the Committee that she felt athletes are more confident in coming forward to report bullying and safeguarding issues today as established procedures are in place. She said these processes demonstrate that Swim England “will listen and try and do something about it”. Natalie Justice-Dearn also said that having procedures and processes in place will provide athletes confidence that they will be listened to.

Jane Nickerson noted that there are cases that do not meet the threshold for a full internal investigation or do not fit within the internal complaints system but remain of concern. She provided the example of what some athletes may see as “tough coaching” but others see as bullying and noted that these cases are more difficult to adjudicate. Jane Nickerson said centralised support including resources would be helpful in dealing with such cases.

Nick Pink and Ralf Rimmer suggested that the distinction between safeguarding children and vulnerable adults should be made clearer as it requires different skillsets within NGBs to uphold safeguarding standards for these groups.

Adrian Christy argued that currently the sector cares “more about what someone sticks in their arm than we do about someone protecting a child” and described safeguarding mechanisms across the sector as “a mess”, adding that the sector should be “ashamed”. Adrian Christy said that he believed there should be a UKAD-style central body for safeguarding which can ensure that the sector implements consistent standards and can report safeguarding incidents which are then properly investigated by an independent body. Adrian Christy suggested that NGBs should report known safeguarding issues to this body in the same way that doping allegations currently are to UKAD.

Joanna Coates suggested that there should be an independent body that investigates reports relating to duty of care and safeguarding, and this body should investigate reports across all ages. She said that NGBs have a role to play and an independent body could triage cases, with cases that do not meet a certain threshold referred back to the NGBs for investigation whilst the most serious cases are investigated by the independent body. Joanna Coates also recommended an independent hotline which could be used by athletes and participants to report concerns.

Nick Pink noted that there have been cases of safeguarding incidents involving individuals who had positions of responsibility across a number of sports, and suggested that better sharing of information and reporting across the sector could flag those individuals to stop them obtaining opportunities to abuse participants in other sports. Adrian Christy similarly noted that there is no system in place that allows the sector to flag an individual who is known to have presented a safeguarding risk in other sports.

Resourcing in relation to safeguarding

Joanna Coates highlighted that some NGBs are not sufficiently resourced to deal with all safeguarding complaints and noted high legal costs that NGBs can face in relation to complaints. Joanna Coates suggested that cases which may end up in the courts should be investigated by the proposed independent body.

Nick Pink noted that resourcing duty of care and safeguarding within NGBs can be challenging as they are not granted public funding for this purpose and therefore NGBs have to find funding through membership fees and commercial activity. He recommended that central funding be made available to NGBs for safeguarding purposes.

Ralf Rimmer of the RFL, Natalie Justice-Dearn of Rounders England and Adrian Christy of Badminton England also noted the lack of resources some NGBs have to uphold safeguarding standards and consistently deal with incidents. Natalie Justice-Dearn said that additional resources could be made available to raise awareness of good practice at club level and to raise standards of coaching and volunteering. Natalie added that support and guidance could be provided by an independent body that was responsible for upholding safeguarding standards.

641 Martyn Allison, ‘40 years of failure: can sport and leisure bridge the empathy gap?’, The Leisure Review (September 2018): http://www.theleisurereview.co.uk/articles18/allison_empathy.html

642 Rugby Football League and Manchester Metropolitan University, The Rugby League Dividend
(July 2019): http://secure.rugby-league.com/ign_docs/Economic%20and%20Social%20Impact%20Report%20v2%20OUTPUT.pdf [accessed 18 November 2021]

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