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Minutes of the Sport Wales Board meeting held on Friday 16 September 2022

Present: Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson (Chair) (Items 1-3), Pippa Britton (Vice Chair), Ashok Ahir, Ian Bancroft (Items 1-4), Rajma Begum, Dafydd Davies, Delyth Evans, Nicola Mead-Batten, Hannah Murphy, Judi Rhys, Professor Leigh Robinson (Items 6-10), Phil Tilley, Alison Thorne, Martin Veale  Staff: Brian Davies (CEO), Graham Williams, Emma Wilkins, Owen Hathway, Owen Lewis, Amanda Thompson (minutes). External: Neil Welch (Welsh Government)

1.    Welcome/apologies for absence

Mark of respect for the late HM Queen Elizabeth II

As one of Wales's national institutions which holds a Royal Charter, the Sport Wales Board and staff send sincerest condolences to the Royal family on the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Sport Wales will fondly remember the visits by Her Majesty to sporting events throughout Wales and the support she gave to the sporting community throughout her reign.

The Chair welcomed all to the meeting, which would be partly chaired by the Vice Chair due to the Chair having to leave early to attend the visit to Cardiff by His Majesty King Charles. Condolences were also given to the family of Eddie Butler who sadly passed away suddenly this week.

2.    Declaration of interests (if new)

·         The Chair’s term of office with the Commonwealth Sports Foundation had come to an end.

·         The Vice Chair would join the Board of the Charities Commission on 29 September.

·         Alison Thorne had taken up the position of Chair of the National Dance Company of Wales.

Item 5.1: Plas Menai Commissioned Partner – SW(22)38

At the meeting of the Sports Council of Wales Trust earlier in the day, final discussions were held before the Trustees unanimously approved the appointment of Parkwood Leisure as the preferred commissioned partner for Plas Menai. The Executive were instructed to finalise all contractual arrangements to allow the partnership to commence on 30 January 2023.

The Sport Wales Board were now being asked to consider the recommendation in its capacity as the corporate body of Sport Wales, which is separate matter to the considerations of the Sport Wales Trust.

Earlier this week the Chair and CEO met with the Deputy Minister who conferred with the First Minister. This provided an opportunity to emphasize the compelling case to take forward this partnership as well as the robust and thorough process carried out. The Deputy Minister understood why Sport Wales had taken this approach.

The partnership would be regularly monitored on outcomes, value and risk. Plas Menai would continue to have a leading role in training senior water sports instructors in Wales.

The Chair thanked the Welsh Government officials involved for their assistance and the Board’s Facilities Review Group and Sport Wales’ staff for their dedication to the review process. She was assured that Plas Menai faced a bright and sustainable future.

The Member of the Senedd for Arfon (Gwynedd) would be met with early next week, following a meeting with Plas Menai staff. The first meeting with Plas Menai’s staff would be held on Sunday 18 September and there would also be further opportunities over the coming days for staff to engage with the Chair, CEO and senior leadership.

Legal advice had been sought to ensure that there was proper and separate analysis by the Sports Council of Wales (SCW) Board (The Sports Council for Wales, registered company number RC000579 – the Company) of the differing interests of SCW and the SCW Trust in this matter. The Company owns the Plas Menai National Outdoor Centre, Caernarfon, in its capacity as the sole trustee of the Trust and which the Company operates and manages on behalf of the Trust. The Company has to date provided ongoing revenue and capital funding to allow the Plas Menai National Outdoor Centre, Caernarfon to operate. The Sports Council for Wales (Company), in approving the recommendation in this paper, is agreeing to provide revenue and capital funding as specified within the contract and lease with Parkwood Leisure Limited.

The Sport Wales Board unanimously approved the appointment of Parkwood Leisure as the commissioned partner for Plas Menai and for the Executive to finalise all partnership and contractual arrangements to allow the partnership to commence on 30 January 2023.

3.    Minutes of the last meeting dated 29 July 2022, action log and matters arising

The minutes were agreed as a true and accurate record.

Action Log:  It was agreed that actions would be clarified so nothing was missed from the log.  Matters arising:

·         A formal investment offer had been agreed with the FAW so that matter was concluded.

·         Jess Williams had been appointed to the International Working Group (IWG) on Women in Sport Steering Committee.

4.    Chair & Executive Report – SW(22)36

Members noted the report. The following was discussed:

Anti-Racist Wales Action Plan (ArWAP): An application had been made and decision awaited. This included funding for the Community Champion initiative.

Marine Accident Investigation Branch:  A meeting would be held over the coming week with the HCSC’s recognition group to look at the potential impact and issues raised by the MAIB enquiry in Stand-up Paddle Boarding (SUP).

National Lottery 4th Licence: The transition process was about to restart.

Youth Panel: A visit to Sport Scotland would be undertaken shortly to look at the structure and role of its youth panel and relationship with the YA scheme. Both the Chair of the current Youth Panel and Youth Sports Trust representative would be part of the trip. The CEO would write to the existing members of the Youth Panel to keep them engaged and informed.

ACTION: The Executive to report back at the Board’s next meeting in November.

International Network of National Sports Councils (INNSC): This was an exciting prospect reflecting the common outlooks on a shared vision and issues internationally.

ACTION:  The Executive would bring this back to the Board at its next meeting in November once the project had been properly shaped, to include details of how sport in Wales would gain from it.

Cost of Living Crisis: Internal discussion had already begun on the impact of the looming crisis, and what could be done to control energy usage and the burden on staff facing increasing costs with home working. Sport Wales was taking part in joint public sector meetings initiated by the Welsh Government’s new Chief Operating Officer and Head of HR. The Board was pleased to hear that SWNC had previously entered into a long-term energy supply agreement ending in 2025/26. Plas Menai would benefit from the newly completed heating system installation.

Sport Summit on 8 December: This had been initiated following the success of Sport Wales’ partner engagement seminar in April. Sport Wales staff led on the organisation of the event with Welsh Government officials represented on the steering group. It would be an opportunity to focus partners on sport and physical activity within disadvantaged areas, the cost of living challenges, creating a more sustainable sector and following up on the ‘one public service’ ethos (the Welsh Government’s report to be circulated when available).

Commonwealth Games Birmingham 2022: The Board warmly congratulated all the athletes and support staff involved in Team Wales, following superb all-round performances.

5.    Policy & Strategy (For Decision)

5.1 Recognition of Kickboxing WAKO-GB – SW(22)40

This paper made recommendations on the application for recognition from the National Governing Body WAKO-GB for the recognition of Kickboxing as a sport.  Members approved the recommendation with the caveat that an adequate provision for safeguarding in Wales was applied.

6.    Policy & Strategy (For Discussion)

6.1 Business Plan 2022/23 Five Month Report – SW(22)37

This paper updated the Board on the year-to-date activity and delivery against the business plan (July and August 2022). The following was discussed:

Citbag: This resource had been used by a growing number of teaching staff but due to their busy workloads at the start of the new academic year only minimal feedback had been received and more would be sought. The Minister of Education and department have promoted it.

Environmental Sustainability:

ACTION: Executive to consider further how best to deliver this subject, whether a focused deep dive session or a paper to the next meeting in November.

Digital Apprenticeships: The change to guaranteeing interviews for candidates with protected characteristics who met the essential criteria plus holding flexible drop-in sessions worked well and brought a good response from a diverse range of candidates.  The protected characteristics reflected the areas of under-representation within the Sport Wales workforce. It was suggested that a further improvement would be to ask whether candidates needed assistance to attend interviews which could include relevant reimbursement of travel expenses.

Sport Partnerships: With the establishment of a network of Sport Partnerships it was proposed that no direct investment would be given to individual local authorities beyond 2025.  Positive progress on the development of Sport Partnerships was reported at the last Project Board meeting, and further engagement at CEO level was planned for the Gwent area.

DCMS Concussion in Sport Committee: Hannah Murphy was involved with the working group and Sport Wales has representation on the medical group. When or how Sport Wales or the sector in Wales might be involved had yet to be determined with the Welsh Government. NW had chased DCMS on this matter and would investigate further.

6.2 Senedd Culture Committee report response – SW(22)39

NW thanked the Insight Policy & Public Affairs team for their assistance in responding to the report which would help officials frame their recommendations to the Deputy Minister.

7.    Finance & Risk

7.1 Finance 2022/23 Month 5 report 

The Board was asked to note that a pay award of 2% was originally incorporated into the budget for the year, however this would be looked at again in light of the cost of living crisis. Awarding a higher amount would have implications on other parts of the budget. This issue was being discussed at the public sector joint group. For every percentage increase the impact was circa £80k (£30K Lottery £50K Exchequer). It was likely that any increase would have to be found from existing resources.

There was interest in asking further questions on areas of the budget outside of this meeting which the Vice Chair suggested should then be circulated to all Board Members.

ACTION: EW/RJ to revise format of the paper as information in pie chart not sufficiently clear.

7.2   Corporate Risk Register update

The Risk Management and Assurance Group (RMAG) considered the Corporate Risk Register on 10 June and this was reviewed by the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee on 15 July 2022.  New risks had been added in response to the rising cost of living and to recognise cyber security as a distinct risk. There was discussion around the risks relating to the current situation in Ukraine and Russia.

RMAG was trialling a new way of working to build peer review into its risk management arrangements. The first peer review took place in June 2022 between Finance and the Sport Wales National Centre and was found to be most useful so the process would now be extended to a second peer group.  

8.    Board Groups & Standing Committees

8.1 Summary of Sub Groups

Members noted the report. No issues were raised.

9.    Any Other Business

It was suggested that Board meetings be recorded on Teams in case of lost internet connection.

10.Date of next meeting: 25 November 2022

Dates in 2023: 17 February, 12 May, 7 July, 22 September 2023, 24 November 2023.

The minutes were approved at the Board’s meeting on 25 November 2022