At its July meeting, the Bowls England Board reviewed the amended Rules and Regulations and approved a number of revisions, which reflected policy changes that have been approved by the Board. These amendments applied to the terms of the appointments for the Performance Director and International Team Managers to better align with the four-year Commonwealth Games cycle. A significant change precipitated by Covid was to the timings of affiliation fees, which have now been adjusted, and agreement that the late affiliation process should be included in the Rules and Regulations. It was also decided that the regulations should include UKAD Anti-Doping Rules, which is a requirement for all National Governing Bodies. Prior to general publication, the amendments to the Rules and Regulations have been circulated to County Associations. Click here to view the updated Rules and Regulations.
The Board also reflected on this year’s Bowls Big Weekend event that took place across Friday 27th May and Sunday 29th May. The complexity of the sign-up process that clubs undertook prior to the event was highlighted as an area for improvement, and feedback included that better signage was needed at events to attract new people. Elsewhere it was felt that one condensed event by a club would have a better impact on uptake compared to multiple events across the three day period. Overall, however, after a thorough discussion, the Board was happy with the attendance at Bowls’ Big Weekend, the publicity generated and resolved that the event should continue in 2023.
The Chief Executive, Jon Cockcroft, provided a report to the Board on 2022 affiliation numbers. The data has shown a 1% growth since the end of last season, and a forecast of overall growth for the year of 3-4% if late affiliations are consistent with 2021. This is positive, given the sport has been in decline by 2-3% since 2007, but it is difficult to assess whether this growth will be maintained given the sport is still recovering from the impact of Covid. The Board discussed the county variations with some counties showing growth of 11%, whereas others have lost members. It was concluded that a working party will be formed to assess affiliation fees in the short term, given they have not changed since 2007 and costs are rising, and review the affiliation model.
Development of player pathways were also discussed by the Board and it was agreed that the Performance Director should be invited to a future Board Meeting to report on the Commonwealth Games programme. This came after the strategic importance of a player pathway was stressed and the evolution of events such as the Junior Talent ID Day.
Following a proposal from the previous Board Meeting, it was agreed to progress a Board-County Buddy System initiative. An update on the former Minister for Sport visit to Victoria Park ahead of Birmingham 2022 was also given. Nigel Huddleston met with representatives of the Board on the day in early July to discuss the inspiring impact of the Games.
The full minutes can be found by clicking here.