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A Code for Sports Governance

Organisations seeking public funding for sport and physical activity must meet gold standards of governance considered to be among the most advanced in the world

A Code for Sports Governance sets out the levels of transparency, accountability and financial integrity that are required from those who ask for government and National Lottery funding.

The code has three tiers and will apply to any organisation seeking funding from us or UK Sport, regardless of size and sector, including national governing bodies of sport, clubs, charities and local authorities.

It’s 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% 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.
A group of lacrosse players shaking hands after a game.

The code isn’t a barrier to organisations obtaining public funding. Indeed, many of the requirements build on things already being done within the sector.

It also includes clear guidance to help organisations meet the requirements and raise standards. We'll support organisations to achieve the standards.

Review

In July 2020, we announced the code would undergo an immediate joint review, looking at areas where it would benefit from further development – including around equality, diversity and inclusion.

As well as focusing on areas for development, the general review is also looking at other elements of the code and using experiences learned in the years since its launch to influence potential changes.

Lastly, the code is being checked against governance best practice from other sectors, recognising that thinking may have moved on since its publication in 2017.

Final consultation

As of November 2020, in partnership with UK Sport, we were in the final stages of consultation regarding developments to the code and aim to announce these developments early in 2021.

As part of the consultation process, we sought thoughts and input from partners working with us and UK Sport, as well as those who weren’t partners but had significant experience within the field of governance, particularly those working within equality, diversity and inclusion.

We collated these thoughts via a survey and they'll be used to inform the review.

If you have any questions please contact codereview@sportengland.org.

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