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Minutes of the Sport Wales Board held on 6 May 2022 at the Sport Wales National Centre

Present: Lawrence Conway CB (Chair), Pippa Britton (Vice Chair), Ashok Ahir, Dafydd Trystan Davies, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE DL (Chair-Elect), Nicola Mead-Batten, Hannah Murphy, Judi Rhys, Phil Tilley, Alison Thorne, Martin Veale.

Staff: Brian Davies (CEO) (Items 1-9), Graham Williams, Emma Wilkins, Liam Hull, Craig Nowell, Owen Hathway (Item 4), James Owens (Item 6.1), Joanne Nicholas (Item 9), Jane Foulkes & Susie Osborne (Item 6.2), Amanda Thompson (minutes).  External: Neil Welch (Welsh Government) Jac Chapman (Youth Panel), Sian Dorwood & Janine Dube (Step To Non Exec)

1.    Welcome/apologies for absence

The Chair welcomed all to the meeting. He welcomed the Chair-Elect who would start her appointment on 4 July. Apologies for absence were received from Ian Bancroft, Rajma Begum, Delyth Evans and Professor Leigh Robinson.

2.    Declaration of Interests

·         Nicola Mead-Batten for Item 4, did not contribute to the discussion regarding the fourth National Lottery licence as the Gambling Commission is a client of Capital Law.

·         Brian Davies (CEO) was not present for Item 10 Whyte Review.

3.    Minutes of the last meeting dated 17 February, action log and decision tracker

The minutes were accepted as a true and accurate record.  Matters arising:

·         Marine Accident Investigation Board met in the first week of May, Sport Wales attended, nothing has yet come out from that meeting. It is expected there will be impact on a number of water sports.

·         Business Plan communications plan is due to be shared with the Board.

4.    Chair & Executive Report – SW(22)13

Members noted the report and the following was added or discussed.

·         The Chair-Elect had held initial conversations with the CEO and Leadership team, plus had attended the Partner Engagement event at SWNC on 29 April. This was proving to be an effective lead-in time. More formal induction would follow and a meeting had been arranged for the Chair-Elect with the Deputy Minister.

·         UK Sport has been updating the sports sector regarding suspensions resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Whether a Ukrainian high performing athlete could join the training programmes with refugee status was being looked into, and Sport Wales was happy to facilitate this within Wales. It would be difficult for Sport Wales to proactively search out such athletes, however, it would offer support to partners where necessary. There were also examples where individuals and NGBs were raising funds and identifying equipment and training opportunities for Ukrainian refuges coming to Wales.   There has been concern that disability sport will be disproportionately affected.  If Ukrainian athletes in Wales could be identified, it may be possible to signpost them to the relevant support.

·         Fourth National Lottery Licence: When the Gambling Commission announced its preferred bidder as Allwyn earlier this year it triggered a legal challenge from Camelot (the reserve bidder) and other bidders. The case was due to go to the High Court in October and the Gambling Commission has not currently been able to move forward with transition preparations and plans for the licence.

·         Transgender Inclusion In Sport:  Correspondence had been exchanged between the Sport Cymru LGBTQ+ group and Sport Wales regarding the guidance issued following the joint HCSC collaboration on this issue. It was hoped that further dialogue between parties would explain the process undertaken and factual information that formed the basis of the guidance.

ACTION: CEO will give an update paper to Equality Diversity & Inclusion Committee meeting on 9 June 2022.

·         School Sport Survey:14,000 responses received to date which meant the survey appeared to be on track with the response level achieved in 2018.

·         The Business Plan had been shared with the Board and Welsh Government and it was also shared and explained to Partners at the engagement event on 29 April and received positive feedback.

·         Inclusive Sport System: Institute staff recently received awareness raising and training from Sunil Patel (No Boundaries) which had a positive impact on their thinking and approach to ED&I within the high-performance sporting landscape.

·         UK Sport’s Sport integrity initiative: Targeted at high performance sport issues only, CrimeStoppers has been contracted to act as the first point of contact for calls before referral either to the relevant NGB or on to Sport Resolutions.  Sport Wales officers feel that engagement and discussion is required with UKSport to ascertain the effectiveness in Wales and any potential for expansion to cover wider issues.

·         Rajma Begum had recently been tagged into social media comments regarding racism in sport. The CEO met with Rajma to discuss how this was impacting her. The advice for any Board member is similar situations is to pass these onto both him and the Communications team should they feel the need. No Board member should feel personally responsible for responding on social media on behalf of Sport Wales. Although official responses can sometimes be viewed as being too clinical, staff had to act cautiously and often an issue was more complex or needed a more nuanced response than was possible on social media platforms. It is hoped that training with NGB social media staff will also cover such issues.

5.    Youth Panel

Members thanked JC for his report. Youth Panel members had discussed their experience on the Panel to date and all been given the opportunity to serve two years. The Panel was looking at how to build relationships with priority stakeholders. The Young Ambassador programme had recently been reviewed by consultants Ngatahi Sport and a working group was to be created to discuss the review findings and prioritise recommendations. As part of this, the Panel were keen to recruit young people for their wider and diverse skill sets rather than focus on just sports participants and also to create more roles for alumni.  Board Members felt the alumni in particular would be a large amount of work and Sport Wales would have to consider what support it might be able to give. More thought also had to be given to the Youth Panel’s role overall as a voice of young people in Wales.

6.    Policy & Strategy

6.1        Partner Investment Approach – NGB Transitioning – SW(22)14

This report gave the financial transitioning process for the relevant National Governing Bodies (NGBs) for the period 2023 to 2026.  The proposed partner preferences would be accommodated under existing financial arrangements with the following implementation plan:

·         Partners receiving less funding: 5% reduction 2023-24, further 20% reduction 2024-25 and final 75% reduction 2025-26.

·         Partners with increased funding: 33.3% per year over the next 3 years (with exception of two sports not yet meeting the capability framework who would need further staff support).

Discussion points:

·         Some NGBs were making significant changes to meet the transition whilst others were resistant, hoping that it would not be applied or reverted following the School Sport Survey or through political pressure.

·         Some Members felt that change was not happening quickly enough, however Sport Wales had listened to the NGBs as promised and this was reflected within the transition plans.

·         Some felt this area of work was in a good place, given the past two years of pandemic.

·         There was concern that those with less funding could make cuts in the wrong areas. However, any investment offered is identified against agreed priorities.

·         The next update to the Board would be given in November.

6.2        Partner Investment Approach – Other Partners Transitioning – SW(22)15

This report gave the proposed approach to investment for the non-data driven partners for 2023/2024.

The challenge has been how best to distribute existing investment to non-data driven partners and what should the decision-making process be to support this. The approach taken used a service design model – discover, define, develop and deliver. To go with this staff have developed a principles-based framework based on three key principles of promoting equality, expertise and ways of workings. During May and June the model would undergo internal testing and refinement. In July the Board would be given details of the final model to approve, then it would be rolled out to partners, as described in the report.

There was discussion around finding a suitable fit for partners with multiple types of delivery, the reasoning behind the percentage allocations for weighting, how the principles would be evaluated, how success would be recognised and rewarded, what type of data collection may help improvement and whether the overall approach might be more challenging for smaller organisations.

ACTION:   Executive to ask three Board members to help on an informal basis with the shaping of the model in preparation for approval at the next meeting in July.

6.3        Legal Title for the National Centres – SW(22)16

It was noted that this matter would be considered at the next meeting of the Sport Council of Wales Trust (SCW Trust). Good progress had been made in understanding the legal title and the evidence that supports the current view that Sport Wales had always held the National Centres on Trust. This position had been strengthened by correspondence with the Charity Commission going back to 2009 which recorded that when SWNC was transferred from the CCPR (Central Council for Physical Recreation) in 1972 that it must have been transferred to SCW Trust in order for it to have been a legal transfer. Loosemores had also confirmed that it was common practice for the Legal Title to state it was Sports Council for Wales without reference to the fact that it was Sports Council for Wales in its capacity as the SCW Trust.  In order to make the Legal Title more accurate it was being proposed that a supplemental declaration of trust be put in place.  This would consist of a form of wording to the legal title that would align with the Charity Act.  Both the Sport Wales Board and the SCW Trust were now being asked to separately approve this supplemental declaration of trust.  The priority would be given to the legal title for Plas Menai. 

The following was approved;

a)    Execute a supplemental declaration of trust, clarifying that the properties are held on trust and that they have been held in trust from when they were first acquired by Sport Wales (appendix II of paper SW(22)16).

b)    The supplemental declaration of trust to state ‘No disposition by the proprietor of the registered estate to which section 117-121 or section 124 of the Charities Act 2011 applies is to be registered unless the instrument contains a certificate complying with section 122(3) or section 125(2) of that Act as appropriate’

c)    Sport Wales should then voluntarily apply to HM Land Registry to enter a relevant restriction on the registered titles as described above and the sample RX1 form in appendix III of paper SW(22)16.

d)    A copy of the trustee’s resolutions to be sent to the Charity Commission, together with a statement of the Company’s reasons for passing them and a certified copy of the duly executed supplemental declaration of trust once received from HM Land Registry.

6.4        Governance Arrangements for the SCW Trust – SW(22)17

Additional governance arrangements for SCW Trust were discussed, as shown in the report. Loosemores had found two issues to be addressed, firstly the need to have clear distinct roles between the Sport Wales Board and the SWC Trust, and secondly with regards to the Charity Commission’s requirements to see how differing interests are managed and whether the set-up is in the best interests of the SCW Trust and meeting its objectives. Current procedures were already in place to manage these issues and additional measures were set out in the report to further strengthen governance procedures.

The independent membership mentioned in original documentation were in reference to a committee that no longer existed. Independent membership was not relevant to SCW Trust going forward. Members approved the recommendation and next steps, which GW and EW would action.

6.5        Sport Wales National Centre Future Facilities – SW(22)18

This report gave an update on the development of the Strategic Outline Case (SOC) Stage 1. It’s purpose was to make the case for change, demonstrate the strategic fit with Welsh Government’s and Sport Wales’ strategic plans and outcomes, and identify (at a high level) the options, value for money, affordability and achievability. This would all be subject to more detailed analysis within the Outline Business Case (OBC) developed at Stage 2.  Members agreed with the feedback from the Facilities Review Group being incorporated into the next steps to add to the emerging framework.

Discussion points:

·         A discussion had yet to be held around what the term community provision meant as the core purpose was shaped, given that public leisure provision has been much improved since the time when SWNC was built.

·         Cardiff Council had confirmed they would continue to work with Sport Wales with a Cardiff-specific focus only. There were potential synergies with the plans being developed by Glamorgan Cricket.

·         Discussion would be held with the Welsh Government before the next Board meeting.

7.    Finance and Risk Management

7.1        Finance report 2021/22 – SW(22)19

Members noted the draft financial position as of 31 March 2022 and no issues were raised.

7.2        Corporate Risk Register – SW(22)20

Members noted the report and no issues were raised other than to ask for a change to the pie chart/graph format.

8.    Board Groups and Standing Committees

8.1        Summary of Committee and Sub Group meetings

Members noted the report and no issues were raised.

8.2        Audit & Risk Assurance Committee – Corporate Governance Manual

Members approved the Corporate Governance Manual, asking that the wording for use of other email be changed to ‘confidential data’ rather than just ‘data’.

9.    Commonwealth Games – Team Wales

A presentation with Q&A was presented by Helen Phillips and Chris Jenkins.

10.Whyte Review

An update was provided to the Board and noted, no issues were discussed.

11.Any other business

Members of the Board and Executive thanked the Chair for his dedication and commitment to Sport Wales over the past five years.

The minutes were approved by the Board at its meeting on 29 July 2022.