At its first meeting of 2023, the Board of Bowls England looked ahead to an important year, in line with the organisation’s Fit for the Future strategy.
A paper was drafted for the Board’s consideration in relation to the business of the upcoming Annual General Meeting. It contained the Board’s position and proposition for 2023 National Championships and Competitions, specifically, for the ratification of the current plans announced on 1st December, together with commentary on the propositions from Bowls Dorset and Worcestershire Bowling Association. The paper also included commentary on the proposed affiliation fee increase. Following discussion and some suggested alterations, the Board approved the paper, which has subsequently been circulated to County Associations alongside the AGM Agenda. A copy can be seen here.
For the longer term, the Board was delighted by the level of interest in the Competition Working Party. It was requested that the group reviews the entry criteria for the women’s team events and identifies how we can encourage more women to have the confidence to play competitively. In addition, the working party will be considering the option of open competitions rather than gender based.
The Performance Team have developed its plans for the 2023 season, with the World Championships in Australia being the highpoint of the year. The Home Nations have released plans for the 2023 Senior and Junior Internationals. Scotland will be hosting the Senior Internationals in 2023, with Bowls England having offered to deliver the event at Victoria Park in 2024.
It was noted that a review of the sport had been held by the Child Protection in Sport Unit. The preliminary report was discussed by the Board alongside the current initiatives to encourage all clubs to register their safeguarding officers. It was resolved that Bowls England going forward investigate a training course for National and County Volunteers.
The Board commented on the success of the Bowls England GrantFinder which has directly helped clubs secure £134,797 in funding.
The Board discussed feedback for the County Conference, and it was resolved to continue the event for next year. The informal meal on the Friday evening received good feedback.
Looking ahead to the Annual Awards in February, particular focus was given to the County of the Year category, which highlighted the extent to which County Associations were engaging with national programmes. It was agreed that we would explore this further through our ongoing relationship building work with counties.
Following discussion, it was resolved that the Champions Dinner should return to the Hilton in Coventry on Saturday 25th November 2023 with a priority booking window to be offered to prize winners.
Bowls England recently met with the BDA in response to the recommendations to amend the BDA articles allowing other National Governing Bodies (English Short Mat Bowling Assoication and British Crown Green Bowling Association) to join the BDA at Board Level. After discussion and understanding of the assurances made by the BDA Chair, the Board resolved to agree to the proposal given the reassurances that have been made.
An update was provided following meetings with Warwick District Council in relation to the planned closure of Riverside House, Bowls England’s Head Office. Discussions are taking place about alternatives and beginning to scope out other premises for the Bowls England Head Office.
World Bowls have drafted a new strategy to frame their work over the coming years and they have asked the member nations for feedback. Bowls England will ask World Bowls to approach the Commonwealth Games Federation to best align their strategy with future Games, particularly focusing on opportunities and risks for the 2026 and 2030 tournaments.
The Presidential Team recently met the Chair and Director of Governance with regards to Presidential Uniform and the Immediate Past President Position. A paper was presented that looked at both topics alongside the business wide implications. Following discussion, it was resolved that the position of Immediate Past President be removed from 2023 onwards. The current President is already aware and fully supports the proposal for 2023, as well as an amendment to uniform requirements.
A separate session on Monday 30th January was held to review the 2021/22 draft accounts. The deficit for financial year ended 30th September 2022 was better than anticipated. Bowls England has capitalised fixed assets such as Bowls Bash and the Pop-Up Bowls kit, transferring spend from the profit and loss to the balance sheet. Club Loans had been discussed by the Board previously with the threshold being increased from £600k to £650k. It was resolved to minute and record officially that the threshold had been increased to this limit.
You can find the minutes of the Board’s January 2023 meeting here.