At its recent meeting held virtually on 12 January 2022, Bowls England’s Board discussed plans in place to maximize on the opportunity of Birmingham 2022. In his Operational Update, Chief Executive Jon Cockcroft shared progress on the Bowls Big Weekend, for which affiliated clubs can now register, the 2022 Celebration Match schedule and the tender process for a digital partner for the Play and Play Platform.
A specialist agency called Yellow Panther, based in Royal Leamington Spa, will be working the Bowls England team to create a platform for affiliated clubs to be able to promote rink hire. If any affiliate club wants to be part of the programme of activity for 2022, it is advised to nominate a Birmingham 2022 Activator to be the point of contact.
The Bowls England board gave its approval to two papers. Firstly it approved Bowls England’s Clean Sport Education Strategy and Implementation Plan. This strategy is a requirement of UK Anti-Doping and it an important part of ensuring there is a level playing field in bowls competition.
The strategy identifies that our primary focus will be on those players and staff who form our performance squad, from which our representatives at World Bowls Championships, European Championships and Home Nations events are selected. Wider education on anti-doping will be provided to other players and officials across our sport.
Secondly the Terms of Reference for a piece of work that will be conducted by the Management and Audit Committee were approved. The Board has resolved for MAR to work with County Associations to review governance across our sport and the role of County Associations in delivering our strategy for our sport. Building on the work of the Governance Working Party, and in light of requirements from Sport England for good governance to permeate throughout a sport’s component parts, MAR will engage and consult with counties over the coming months.
There are two vacancies on the MAR committee for this project, which will be led by Senior Independent Director Anna Molony. The Board would like to thank Steven Walker, who has chaired the MAR committee in recent years, for his contribution.
The Bowls England board also convened on 25 January 2022 to approve the Audited Accounts. Whilst a loss of £48,467 has been recorded, the Board was very pleased with the outcome as the original budget forecast a loss of £325,539.
The improved position, as detailed in the Annual Report, was the result of better than expected affiliation income and a number of savings including administrative costs, international bowls and Birmingham 2022 activation.
The audited finances was shared alongside a review of the year at our AGM in Leicester, which took place on Saturday 19th February.
At the same meeting the board approved revised safeguarding policies – adults at risk and children. These had been developed by the BDA and are intended to be adopted across the codes.
We will be working closely with the BDA over the coming months and years to develop and deliver an education programme to support clubs create a safe environment for our sport to operate. We urge clubs to digest these policies and engage with Bowls England around this education so we can make a step change in creating a culture in our sport which recognizes the importance of safeguarding.