PRESENT: Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson (Chair), Pippa Britton (Vice Chair), Ashok Ahir, Ian Bancroft (Items 1-5.6), Hannah Bruce, Dafydd Davies (Items 1–5.5), Delyth Evans, Nicola Mead-Batten, Professor Leigh Robinson, Phil Tilley, Alison Thorne, Martin Veale
STAFF: Brian Davies (CEO), Graham Williams, Emma Wilkins, Jo Nicholas, Owen Lewis, James Owens, Craig Nowell, Liam Hull, Fay Benningwood, Claire Skidmore, Amanda Thompson (minutes)
EXTERNAL: Neil Welch (Welsh Government), Jac Chapman (Youth Panel), Eloise Stingemore (Step to Non Exec).
1. Welcome/apologies for absence
The Chair welcomed all to the meeting. Apologies for absence were received from Rajma Begum and Judi Rhys. Members congratulated Brian Davies on his formal appointment as CEO.
2. Declaration of interests
Nicola Mead-Batten, TLT Solicitors act as a legal advisor to Sport England.
3. Minutes of the last meeting dated 17 February 2023, action log and matters arising
The minutes of the previous meeting were accepted as a true and accurate record. Matters arising:
· Staff had given positive feedback on the new financial system.
· No formal decision had been announced regarding the Barnett Consequential with regards to funding to support the increased energy costs for swimming pools. The Welsh Government and Sport Wales continued to work on this.
4. Chair & Executive Report – SW(23)14
The following items were highlighted and discussed:
WRU Independent Review enquiry: The first two reports had not been that comprehensive but the third one was expected to have more detail about progress made. Learning from this experience would be important especially in light of the current volatile climate regarding governance, standards and ethics.
· There was concern about the capability of clubs to deal with such issues.
· The complaints process, the role of Sport Wales within this sphere and a process for staff who may uncover concerns within partner organisations or even feel discriminated against by partner organisation staff was under consideration.
· The Executive had clarified Sport Wales’ non-regulatory role with the Senedd Committee.
Principles driven approach: The panel supported by three Board members would review the final scoring shortly. There were more considerations to work through and the decision on level of investment and implementation approach would be brought back to the Board in July.
Capital Investment: An increased number of organisations were registering at EOI stage.
Teams Sports request to change the investment model: The Welsh Government’s Sports Division chaired the meeting on 5 May. All five sports have now signed their investment offers.
Commonweath Games Wales’ new Chair and CEO would meet with Sport Wales on 16 May.
Safeguarding: Awaiting DCMS issuing a strategy but there was no specific timeline for this. High amounts were spent in England on safeguarding measures but that level of resourcing was not available in Wales.
Hybrid working update: The cross-government working group looking at this matter focused more on facilities efficiency whereas Sport Wales’ priority was welling and culture. Original thoughts had changed in light of the cost of living situation and more staff returning to the office. The next staff survey would be issued over the summer. Space within SWNC had been reconfigured but not necessarily for hiring out purposes. An update was due to be brought back to the Board in September.
English Institute of Sport’s renaming to UK Sports Institute had been agreed in 2019 and no negative outcome was expected. This was a competitive market place as some NGBs preferred to go to private providers. Sport Wales welcomed being able to use other practitioners and the change helped clarify Sport Wales’ own role which had a good reputation.
Recruitment for the position of Director of Sport Systems would take place over the summer. Since the departure of the previous CEO, the two Assistant Directors had stepped up to cover the vacant role and were thanked for their contributions. LH was thanked for his work on the CEO recruitment process.
5. Policy & Strategy
5.1 Canoe Wales Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) Recognition – SW(23)15
Following the Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) tragedy in West Wales in October 2021 and the resultant Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) report, this paper made three recommendations:
(i) Confirmation that the NGB Canoe Wales is to have Stand Up Paddleboarding recognised as a discipline of Canoeing.
(ii) One-off funding support of up to £48k to Canoe Wales to aid the development of SUP safety in relation to the MAIB Report.
(iii) Confirm that the Welsh Surfing Federation is derecognised of SUP and offered support to improve its governance through a full recognition review process.
Sport Wales would review its recognition policy to ensure there was more scrutiny of risk and safety and would check whether the sport should provide more information to its participants regarding the requirements for equipment, instructors, safeguarding, safety etc.
Welsh Surfing could appeal this decision but only on the grounds of the process and not the outcome. However the review had been conducted by an independent consultant and British Surfing were aware this would be the likely recommendation. Sport Wales would support Welsh Surfing develop their capabilities to ensure surfers were safeguarded. Sport Wales would again press for Canoe Wales and Welsh Surfing to agree an MOU. The two sports in England already had in one in place and both would be working together to deliver the necessary improvements. The support to Canoe Wales would also help the sport connect with British Canoeing.
Members approved the recommendations as outlined above.