At its third meeting of 2023; the Board of Bowls England continued its discussion and analysis of progress and plans for the year, in line with the organisation’s Fit for the Future strategy.
The February management accounts and supporting paper had been circulated ahead of the meeting. The profit and loss is currently on track with no major variances.
Chairman David Tucker reflected on the recent AGM and the vote of confidence provided during the voting process. Digital reach of the Annual Report was its highest to date and it was questioned what can be done in the future to reach more of the membership.
With Competition Entries having recently closed, an update was provided on the Competition Working Party. It was resolved that National Finals will not exceed 18 days in future years. Bowls England were aware that figures had been released via social media of the number of Competition Entrant numbers. Exploring trends would be covered in the remit of the Competition Working Party and that a survey would be undertaken on both Competitions and Championships. Given the emerging breadth of the project, it was also resolved that the party will be asked for a view on timescales, to be brought back to the next Board Meeting.
The Board was advised that the proposed October deadline for the Affiliation Working Party was deemed to be challenging at this stage. The plan going forward is to undertake a process of research and consultation before developing a draft proposal. It was noted, given that the affiliation fee had just increased, that extra time could be provided to the group if needed. The work of the Governance Working Party had been paused, but would be restarting again and an action plan put in place, alongside other Working Parties.
The Board was encouraged by a 15% increase in clubs registering safeguarding officers since the last meeting. Some clubs were commenting that as they had no youth or junior players, they did not need Safeguarding Officers. In the past 12 months, only two of the 53 cases directly involved junior bowls. It was noted that education to clubs was ongoing in the form of the Bulletin and County Updates.
On the topic of International Performance, following the successful Performance Summit last November, it was explained that progress has slowed since the Performance Director stepped back from the role for the time being. A further update will be provided at the next meeting. British Isles planning was moving forward, and streaming options are being explored. The Board resolved to not put in a bid for hosting the World Champion of Champions, as at this stage efforts should be concentrated on the hosting of World Bowls 2027.
A discussion took place on the position of World Bowls Regional Director. It was resolved that Board would think of suggestions of who would be best to be represented at World and European level in the future and provide options back at the next meeting.
A proposal had been drafted which featured the development of Victoria Park as a National Venue. The objective is for Victoria Park to be a beacon of all that is good about our sport and that all bowls clubs should benefit by having the HQ in the area.
With regards Bowls England’s office location, the board were informed that the company has been asked to leave Riverside House this summer. Discussions were ongoing with regards to other potential locations. It was resolved that the staff team must be happy with the new office accommodation.
Over the past few years, Bowls England and Warwick District Council have been in discussions regarding the future venue at Victoria Park and the development of bowls in the region. With the initial agreement coming to a close, personnel changes in both businesses and the closure of Riverside House, it is a pertinent time to explore our partnership and look forward to its next phase.
A discussion took place regarding facility stock. It was noted that there was growing pressure on local councils to manage their costs. Currently there is limited data on greens and facilities, with little funding compared to many sports. The lack of an audit left us with no visibility of the risk of closing greens and the quality of the greens that are remaining. It was resolved that a proposition be drafted for council-owned greens to use both Bowls Bash and PlayBowls to aide the future sustainability of the clubs.
A paper was outlined, detailing proposed Honours Nominations and Bereavement Process. The Bereavement Process was approved, noting that Counties would be advised and continue in their role of providing relevant details to Bowls England. Discussion took place on the proposed honours’ nomination process. It was resolved that a Nomination Committee be established.
The Chief Executive advised that discussions had taken place with various governance companies in regards to Board Evaluations. It was resolved that the appointment of James Wurr as an Independent Director will be communicated with the membership, as well as Jo Doust’s appointment as our Anti-Doping Board Representative.
For the full minutes from the March meeting, please click here