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Minutes of the Sport Wales Board on Friday 25 November 2022 held at Sport Wales National Centre

Present: Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson (Chair), Ian Bancroft, Rajma Begum, Pippa Britton (Vice Chair), Dafydd Trystan Davies, Delyth Evans, Nicola Mead-Batten, Hannah Murphy, Judi Rhys, Professor Leigh Robinson, Phil Tilley, Alison Thorne, Martin Veale.

Staff: Brian Davies (CEO), Elliot Crabtree, Jane Foulkes, Owen Hathway, Liam Hull, James Owens, Rebecca Rothwell, Amanda Thompson (minutes), Emma Wilkins, Graham Williams, Victoria Woods

Observers: Jac Chapman (Youth Panel), Neil Welch (Welsh Government)

1.   Welcome/apologies for absence

The Chair welcomed all to the meeting. Apologies for absence were received from Ashok Ahir.

2.   Declaration of Interests

Delyth Evans, recently appointed as a Governor at Coleg Gwent.

Hannah Murphy, recently appointed as Non-Executive for the Rugby Players Association

For Item 5.2 SW(22)46:

Phil Tilley for Sailing, Rowing, Cycling and Triathlon

Hannah Murphy for Cricket and Rugby

Pippa Britton for Rugby League

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson for Athletics, Kayaking, Canoeing, Rugby, Triathlon

Ian Bancroft for Football Association of Wales and sports associated with Wrexham County Council.

For Item 5.3 SW(22)47:

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson as Trustee for SLQ Sports Leaders and UK Sports Trust

Pippa Britton for previous role as Chair of Disability Sport Wales

Rajma Begum for her employment with Wales Council for Voluntary Action.

3.   Minutes of the last meeting dated 16 September 2022 and action log

The minutes were accepted as a true and accurate record.

Matters Arising:

·       Anti-Racist Wales Action Plan (ArWAP): – Sport Wales’ application was successful.

·       Marine Accident Investigation Branch: feedback from the HCSCs was well received, MAIB had delayed publishing their formal report.

·       International Network of National Sports Councils (INNSCs): No further information to add, awaiting finalised terms of reference.

·       Welsh Government’s Economy Committee report on the Cost of Living was due to be published.

4.   Chair & Executive report – SW(22)44

Safeguarding: A deep-dive session for the Board would be held in January 2023.

UK Ministry of Justice: Their investment for sport with a focus on supporting and diverting young people away from (re)offending was a welcome achievement. Sport Wales would have representation on the steering group. Delivery should include a wide spectrum of sports.

COVID-19 Inquiry – Module 3 focused on the health sector. The Executive would respond to the modules as appropriate.

National Lottery 4th Licence: An agreement in principle for Allwyn to acquire Camelot, pending DCMS approval.

UK Sport: A meeting of the CEOs and Chairs of each British NGB was held at which UK Sport outlined the challenges they were facing in relation to their remit for the next cycle. They were recognising that the focus was shifting to the wider sports remit rather than just winning medals.

Athletes Panel: A new initiative by Sport Wales for feedback on the new sport system. Welsh athletes in receipt of UK funding would be eligible. The sport system research into the opportunities for school age children to develop into high performance athletes was praised and thought of as a task into which the Athlete Panel could input.  

Capital Investment: It was suggested that Sport Wales ought to offer loans rather than grants for solar panels, though recognising that setting up a loans scheme would require additional resources. Grants were given at a lower percentage (50%) in consideration of the panels paying for themselves over time.  The initial priority was administering the Green Energy Grants scheme.

Sports Awards: BBC Cymru was focusing on their Sports Personality Of The Year and Unsung Hero only. Sport Wales was supporting smaller awards with sports content, such as Chwarae Teg.

ACTION:         GW/RE to share information for Sport Wales’ approach to supporting events.

Sport Summit December 2022: Not all speakers had yet been confirmed but content would include representation of wider EDI priorities as well as Welsh language and female participation.

5.   Policy and Strategy

5.1 School Sport Survey (SSS) – SW(22)45

A summary of the SSS results was given, highlighting how the inequality gap had increased over the past four years.  The results would be formatted into specific reports for NGBs, regional partnerships, local authorities, sports-specifics and demographics. Focus group work would continue to gain qualitative insight.  Consultants would carry out further research with selected schools for in-depth insight into teaching staff confidence in delivering sport and physical activity.

Focus group work would continue to track the impact of the pandemic, however inequality issues were more complex than just the effects of Covid19. It was heartening to see how active children proved to be more engaged with learning and this had helped combat pandemic related challenges. Volunteering had taken a downturn, and this affected the availability of some activities.

5.2 Data-Driven Investment Approach – SW(22)46

Members approved the recommended approach, noting the following points. Some adjustments correct historical legacy funding which were no longer appropriate or correctly reflective. Some smaller NGBs may need to build capacity before accessing their maximum investment entitlement. Sport Wales would offer guidance and support. In the face of cuts and for future sustainability, partners would be encouraged to share resources, work collaboratively, and use the services of other organisations who could support them. Reviewing the workforce (including grade levels) may also be advised. These topics were being raised with the NGB Chairs Forum.

ACTION: Brief Board Members on investment decisions messaging before the Sport Summit.

5.3 Non Data-Driven Investment Approach – SW(22)47

Members approved the recommended approach, noting the following points:

·       Not to rely on definitions that will differ widely and won’t stand up to challenge.

·       The scoring would be principles-driven and weighted to reflect a range of impacts. The process included independent scoring and had flexibility to react to future growth.

·       The integrity of the model was beyond reproach as it was robust and would tackle inequality. Members were assured that due diligence had been thorough.

·       There were a couple of outlying beneficiaries, and any new partners would need to meet the principles. Black Swimming Association was recently funded for a targeted project but was not a revenue partner. Disability Sport Wales did not receive funding through Sport North Wales.

ACTION:         More detail required for Disability Sport Wales to see the areas where investment is best served. For the investment related papers at the next meeting in February.

5.4 Business Plan Month 8 Report – SW(22)48

Members noted the report on Business Plan activity over the past eight months.

·       A rag rating may be added, depending on what emerges from the suggested KPI list awaiting Welsh Government’s agreement.

·       There was concern about some local authority resistance to the Sport Partnerships. The Sport Partnerships Project Board would look at this in more detail at their next meeting.

5.5 Business Plan Approach – SW(22)49

Members noted the report which focused on the key Business Plan priorities.

·       A rag rating may be added, as described above.

·       Sport Wales could lead the health and wellbeing partnership and aim for project-specific achievements but was not able to monitor the nation’s health overall. Though there were local successes to celebrate, it continued to be challenging to get the health sector overall to recognise the benefits of physical activity.

5.6 Youth Panel – SW(22)50

Jac Chapman reported back from the visit to Sport Scotland, where a Youth Panel has been established and considerable resources go into maintaining it. Sport Scotland did not have a version of the Young Ambassador Scheme. He felt the Youth Panel set up by Sport Wales had suffered a false start and the Board needed to clarify its purpose.

Feedback points:

·       Give more thought to which directorates would use the Youth Panel and how.

·       Make joining the panel more attractive by offering rewards such as learning, mentoring and networking opportunities.

·       A panel comprising the most engaged young athletes in Wales duplicated the Young Ambassadors. A panel of more diverse young people from wider society would be preferable with a common purpose for young people to join it.  

·       Use the Panel as an advisory panel with a standing item on the Board’s agenda for their input and allocate a budget for them to use to engage young people from deprived communities.

·       A focus group comprising Board members and Young Ambassadors could consider the purpose of the panel over the coming year.

·       Steer the Young Ambassador alumni to organisations where they can take part in youth panels.

·       Investigate what other public sector organisations are doing to capture youth views.

Some Board Members thought the Young Ambassador scheme negated the need for a Youth Panel and the idea should be revisited from scratch. Sport Wales should consider possibly partnering with other organisations who already had Youth Panels. The Young Ambassador scheme involved children and young adults from a very broad range of backgrounds.

ACTION:       CEO to discuss this with the Childrens Commissioner for her view and bring this back for further discussion at the next Board meeting in February.

5.7 Daily Active – SW(22)51

Work had been done to set out the ambition for Daily Active and to ensure the proposals were framed on the new Curriculum for Wales, as well as complementing existing initiatives such as the Welsh Network of Healthy Schools to provide a holistic package of support to help schools promote pupil health and wellbeing. There were clear definitions of what Sport Wales could do and what others were responsible for.

6.   Finance & Risk

6.1 Finance 2022/23 Month 7 report (SW(22)52

The report gave an update on Welsh Government funding incorporating cost pressures, opportunities and forecast. Regular budget reviews were held with the Leadership team to identify any underspends or cost pressures. The new finance system, Advanced Financials, a cloud-based system, was currently being built and tested with a go-live date scheduled for February 2023.

6.2 Counter Fraud Strategy – SW(22)53

Following the Audit & Risk Assurance Committee’s Effectiveness Review, a recommendation was identified to review the Government Functional Standard for Fraud (13) published in August 2021 and identify any gaps in the Sport Wales counter fraud arrangements.The review identified one area of improvement, namely the development of a Counter Fraud strategy, and this had now been drafted along with an action plan.  The Audit & Risk Assurance Committee had reviewed the documents at its last meeting in September.

Sport Wales received regular intel from the Welsh Government and had recently signed up to NCC systems for cyber security. Members asked what ‘family’ this strategy sits within and to check its content does not conflict with anything else within that group. It was also suggested that there be explicit mention of the new partner investment model.

7.   Board Groups & Standing Committees

7.1 Summary of Sub Groups

For Item 3.5, it was noted that the signing of the contract with Parkwood Leisure was re-scheduled from 24 November to 8 December 2022. The formal TYPE consultation process began with Plas Menai’s staff on 25 November. This was expected to be a non-controversial process as all terms and conditions were protected. Parkwood Leisure had agreed to formally recognise the PCS Union and would match the cost of living pay award given to Sport Wales staff on an ongoing basis.

A query was raised as to whether the Facilities Review Group should be considered for Standing Committee status.

ACTION:         The Chair to review the status of all the sub groups and committees. Timescale to be advised.

8.   Any Other Business

No issues were raised.

9.   Dates of next meetings in 2023

17 February, 12 May, 7 July, 22 September, 24 November 2023

The minutes were approved at the Board’s meeting on 17 February 2023