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  4. Meeting of the Sport Wales Board meeting on 25 November 2021 at the Sport Wales National Centre

Meeting of the Sport Wales Board meeting on 25 November 2021 at the Sport Wales National Centre

Present: Pippa Britton (Vice Chair), Ashok Ahir, Ian Bancroft, Rajma Begum, Delyth Evans, Nicola Mead-Batten, Hannah Murphy, Leigh Robinson, Judi Rhys, Phil Tilley, Alison Thorne.

Staff: Brian Davies (Interim CEO), Graham Williams, Emma Wilkins, Liam Hull, Amanda Thompson (minutes), Jane Foulkes (Item 5.1), Owen Hathway (item 5.2), Clare Roberts (item 5.3).

External: Neil Welch (Welsh Government), Jac Chapman (Chair of Youth Panel)

1.    Welcome/apologies for absence

The Vice Chair welcomed all to the meeting. Apologies for absence had been received from Lawrence Conway, Dafydd Trystan Davies and Sian Dorward (Step to Non Exec). Martin Veale attended for the first hour of the meeting covering items 1 to 4.1. Phil Tilley was not present for item 7.2.

2.    Declaration of Interests

No new declarations were made.

3.    Minutes of the last meeting dated 17 September 2021

The minutes were accepted as a true and accurate record. There were no matters arising.

4.    Chair & Executive Report

4.1        Chair & Executive Report – SW(21)51

Members noted the report and discussed the following in more depth.

·         UK Sport and HCSCs met on 24 November to discuss follow-up to the TRARIIS report and to draft a joint anti-racism statement. UK Sport was also forming an independent complaints process. Sport Wales intended to ensure NGBs were listening to and acting upon lived experiences within their respective sports and to stamp out any institutional racism within the sector. Experiences of racism had been heard from cricket players in Wales which the Chair and CEO would discuss when meeting with the Chair and CEO of Cricket Wales in December.

·         The integrated annual report was discussed.  Some members felt the alignment of the strategy to the Future Generation Act goals was not sufficiently clear. The Future Generations Commissioner was content with the document however the CEO would ask to further discuss this with her. It was widely felt that Sport Wales was a leading example within the public sector. Audit Wales had completed some work already on the integration of FGA objectives and planned to carry out a full formal review to coincide with a future internal evaluation of the strategy.

·         The Chair and CEO had recently met with the new CEO of FAW. He had successfully driven through governance changes and his focus on the improvement of facilities was welcomed. As yet there was no finalised financial plan pending further discussions with the Welsh Government and FAW would hopefully draw upon its connections with FIFA and UEFA.

·         Members asked for the next update on digital transformation to include detail of which NGBs were engaging with it, or not, and to know where Sport Wales’ support was best placed.

·         Sport Wales’ governance and finance staff were assisting some NGBs with a historic VAT issue.

5.    Policy and Strategy

5.1        Business Plan Q3 report – SW(21)52

This report gave an update for 2021/22 activity and delivery against the business plan and outlined future actions developed from that work. The two business plan priority areas highlighted were:

·         Digitalisation and insight from the Community Investment Fund discovery project in collaboration with the Centre for Digital Public Services

·         Sector resilience

Discussion points:

·         Sport Wales has a unique role in bringing people together. How we engage with partners and support resilience strengthens the sector.

·         Assurance around robustness of process, avoidance of bureaucracy, accurate targeting, language, reaching new communities and those in digital poverty were discussed.

·         Members would welcome more information on WIPHAS, insight and sector trends. OH would make the latest report available to Board Members.

ACTION:          Board Members asked for further information on Community Investment Fund discovery project.

5.2        Capital Facilities – SW(21)53

This report updated the Board on progress against this financial year’s £7m capital funding programme. The report detailed plans for an in-year expression of interest (EOI) process and asked for Members’ opinions on instigating a formal panel (as a Board subgroup) to oversee the longer-term strategic planning for facilities. The report also recommended in principle support for the North Wales velodrome project.

Discussion points:

·         Hockey pitch investment: The current pitch had exceeded its lifespan and without a replacement there would be no further international hockey matches played in Cardiff. The replacement pitch would be transportable should there be any future relocation of facilities.

·         House of Sport 3: FAW had withdrawn the involvement of Futsal so was no longer a contributing partner. However, a dedicated netball facility would be beneficial, and Sport Wales would contribute the necessary £150k towards flooring and seating. Members noted that the project benefited from £1.7m private investment.

·         Cardiff BMX: The increased costs were partially Covid19-related, but also in respect of a change to the specification for run offs, banking and fencing that were required by British Cycling.  The additional 8m ramping for international competition was declined.

·         Crowdfunder: There had been good engagement with this pilot project for match funding with ‘light touch’ approach. Evaluation would be shared in due course. Crowdfunder had been chosen for the pilot only and any continuance of the scheme would require a further procurement process.

·         Every application required some measure of equality impact assessment. The higher the amount asked for, the more information was required.

·         StreetGames had been selected for a pilot project as an existing partner where financial controls were already in place and for their networks and readiness to deliver immediately. This project was being delivered in partnership with WCVA and SportsEd. Any concerns about the engagement of target communities should be discussed between the partners and such communications have been initiated, awaiting one final response.

·         Formal capital investment panel: Members felt this was not necessary as it was a predominantly operational matter, and the Board would be content with reports detailing the investment rationale and assurance that due diligence had been undertaken.

·         There was suggestion that Sport Wales should instigate a national facilities strategy for Wales and tie in international/major events with community requirements. This would have more leverage for pulling various funding streams together.

·         The CEO thanked Nicola Mead-Batten and Dafydd Trystan Davies for their input through the informal panel meetings.


·         North Wales Velodrome: Recommendation approved for in principle support.

·         Capital investment panel: Members were in favour of a Board sub-group for Strategic Capital Investments if agreeable to the Chair.

·         Further discussion was due with the Welsh Government to determine its position.

5.3        Active Education update – SW(21)54

This report gave an update on progress made since the previous Board meeting in September. Members praised the progress that was taking place.  The Children’s Commissioner, who held fortnightly meetings with the Minister for Education, was fully supportive of this area of work.

5.4        Recognition of GB Powerlifting Federation – SW(21)55

This report made recommendations on the application for recognition from the National Governing Body of GB Powerlifting Federation Limited, trading as British Powerlifting.  The application was assessed and agreed by Sport England as the NGB is based in England and agreed by the UK Recognition panel.  Powerlifting was currently a discipline of weightlifting and governed by British Weightlifting in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland and Weightlifting Wales in Wales.  As agreed with British Weightlifting, Paralympic Powerlifting would remain under the governance of British Weightlifting.  Welsh Weightlifting support the recommendations from UKRP.  Members approved the recommendation for recognition.

6.    Youth Panel

6.1        Youth Panel report

Board Members thanked the Youth Panel Chair for his presentation and comprehensive report.

The Panel had met on 9 November and discussed:

·         School Sport Survey with Sport Wales’ Insight staff: Youth Panel advised on the approach, language and terminology to be used which had been very helpful to the Insight team.  They also looked at ways in which they could champion the survey and ensure the voice of children and young people was reflected.

·         New Curriculum – Youth Panel believed there was a lack of time allocated for PE and would like to see a wider range of activities offered​ during the school day and put forward a range of ideas and changed approaches.

·         Community Focussed Schools ​– Youth Panel would like to see opportunities that reflect the needs of the community (person centred approach) 

·         Training opportunities for the personal development of Youth Panel members (akin to the Young Ambassadors Leadership programme) would be welcomed.

Discussion points:

·         Board Members would be interested to know if Youth Panel members were able to make an impact at their college or school governance level, or if they needed support to enable this.

·         Board Members would be willing to mentor Youth Panel members if this would help their personal development.

·         Sport Wales should widen the voice of the Youth Panel so their impact also reached the Children’s Commissioner and Minister of Education so as to influence national programmes.

·         Is the Youth Panel aware of previous moves (previously reported to the Board by the Young Ambassador Steering Group) to create an app to capture volunteering?

·         Mixed gender PE and sport delivery, though an interesting idea, would not be an option for some girls and young women so there would be a risk of exclusion.

·         Future learning from Youth Panel ideas, if they can be implemented, may also be useful to improve adult sports and leisure delivery.

The CEO added he had attended the Young Ambassadors National Conference recently which had been very professionally organised.

7.    Board Groups & Standing Committees

7.1        Summary of SubGroup Meetings – SW(21)56

Members noted the report. Minutes of the various meetings could be accessed quickly by using the Decision Tracker.  Hywel Tudor had recently been appointed as an Independent Member of the Audit & Risk Assurance Committee.

7.2        Sport Wales Facilities Review Group (FRG) report - SW(21)57

The report detailed the further work that had been carried out with PCS Union and reported on the legal advice received which would feed into the development of the procurement documentation. The outcome of both these meant that the timescale would need to be revised. Interested parties would be kept informed through release of a general statement. The CEO thanked the FRG Members and staff for their continued support. Board Members approved the revised timescale.

7.3        Diversity Group report – SW(21)58

This report asked the Board to consider changing the Diversity Group to a standing group with revised terms of reference. The Board were also asked to discuss options to increase organisational EDI staffing capacity and to discuss the approach to partner EDI capability.

·         It was suggested to cross-reference with the Chair’s original briefing that preceded the group’s formation and to check alignment with the Welsh Government’s priority concerns.

·         The Diversity Group would set the strategy and lead on scrutiny which was a positive change.

·         There was enough capacity within existing roles to create an EDI unit but less confidence about identifying additional resources to fund new role(s).

·         Investigate whether there may be additional funding available aligning with the Welsh Government’s Race Equality Action Plan.

Members approved the change to the group becoming a standing committee of the Board and to be renamed the Equality Diversity & Inclusion Committee (EDIC). Members approved the revised terms of reference and the remit to review EDI internally and EDI capability within partners.

ACTION:      The Executive to work up more detail on leading and resourcing EDI internally and to support the wider sector.

8.    Finance & Risk

8.1        Finance 2021/22 April-October report – SW(21)59

This report and accompanying management accounts provided a summary of the financial position of Sport Wales for the seven months ended 31 October 2021. The figures were based on draft internal management accounts and excluded adjustments for statutory reporting requirements.  Members briefly discussed the Lottery income and noted the report.

8.2        Risk Appetite – SW(21)60

This report outlined the risk management arrangements in place at Sport Wales and sought the Board’s approval of an updated risk appetite.  The Chair of the Audit & Risk Assurance Committee had given input into the report. There were three high level points to note:

·         The arrangements and risk appetite were based on best practice.

·         The rating reflected the upper limit of where the Board wanted to be, for example a previous rating of 3-4 was now represented by the upper level of 4. This prevented ambiguity.

·         The approach achieved a balance between taking a higher level of risk to be innovative and achieve a wider reach and a lower level of risk as the custodian of public finance.

The risk register was briefly discussed. Members approved the risk appetite with one change for reputational risk to be increased from cautious to open.

ACTION:         A paper for a longer-term future office working environment to be brought to the Board’s next meeting in February.

9.    Any Other Business

No other items of business were raised.

10. Dates of the next meetings

17 February, 13 May, 15 July, 16 September, 25 November 2022

The minutes were approved at the Sport Wales Board meeting on 17 February 2022..