In the past 6 months, extreme incidents of racism in sport have continued to occur in the UK and globally, from grassroots to elite level. In July, a 2021 interview with former Formula 1 driver, Nelsen Piquet surfaced in which he repeatedly directed the N-word at Sir Lewis Hamilton. At the Austrian Grand Prix a month later, fans in the stands reported racial abuse. Following his claim that racism was “rife” in the RFU, Luther Burrell was deluged with messages from parents confirming that their children were also experiencing the same abuse at age-group levels. Speaking to the DCMS Committee in December, Lord Patel, who has since announced his resignation as Chair of Yorkshire Cricket Club, detailed the racist abuse he had received since stepping in to oversee the transformational change required at the club following Azeem Rafiq’s allegations.
As the five Sports Councils responsible for funding sport and physical activity in the UK, we are unwavering in our stance: racism has no place in sport and we will do all in our power to stamp racial inequality out. Yet the incidents noted above and many others that occur - and often go unreported - continue to highlight the scale of abuse, challenge and impact on individuals and sport. It also reinforces the urgency of our work to address the findings of the Tackling Racism and Racial Inequality in Sport (TRARIIS) review.
In our last update in July 2022, we reported our collective focus on gathering more comprehensive and consistent EDI data across the sporting system in the UK to ensure we have a clear and coherent baseline upon which we can monitor progress. We also reported on individual actions each Sport Council was driving to deliver the five commitments we identified following the publication of the TRARIIS review.
Our own data holdings, though improving, remain patchy. Through our engagement with our funded partners, we are gaining a clearer understanding of the difficulties in collating and analysing data, ranging from lack of capacity and the required expertise, to GDPR concerns, to inadequate tools, membership/workforce databases or reporting mechanisms. We are beginning to provide practical support, and in some cases, extra funding, to help a number of partners in this area, so that they can better understand who is represented in their organisations and allow them to address priority gaps in representation/participation in respect of athletes, workforce, volunteers and members/fanbase.
We set out below a detailed summary of activity each Sports Council has undertaken since July.
As a collective, we remain determined to continue to drive transformational change to tackle racism and racial inequality in sport and physical activity across the UK. Whilst we acknowledge the scale of change that is required – and share a concern at the pace of progress, we are also encouraged by anecdotal evidence of raised awareness and action against racism.
One of the lessons from TRARIIS was the need to co-create solutions with those communities who have experienced exclusion, abuse and discrimination when engaging with sport. We therefore hugely value the ongoing close collaboration with the TRARIIS stakeholder group, comprising some of the individuals who shared their lived experiences in the original #TellYourStory survey. We invited them to comment on our work to date:
Audrey Livingston, British triathlon coach/mentor/technical official, said:
“There is the old saying - you have to see it to be it. I like to think that by being involved with TRARIIS that the reverse of this statement is true: "you have to be it so others can see it". My input matters and makes a difference; I feel like I am being heard truly, really listened to and I am proud to be a part of change.”
Nana Badu, CEO of BADU Sports, said:
“TRARIIS has been integral in supporting the sports councils to develop a long-term approach that systemically supports black communities within sports and physical activity, to build a more equitable playing field for all.
“It’s vital for sports councils to move away from forming a risk averse mindset when working with black communities. This includes trusting grassroots organisations to lead and not be viewed as a risk, but more a vital progression towards the solution.
“This begins with ensuring that diversity of leadership in national governing bodies is not inherently tokenistic.
“To ensure the progression of tangible action, I’d like to see more leaders from the sports councils represented in these critical conversations, to ensure that our working group and TRARIIS does not become tokenistic within itself.”
Over the course of 2023, we will seek to grow public perception in order to increase the pace of progress and enhance our levels of ambition, transparency and accountability in this area, including with our partners. This includes the possibility of hosting a symposium later this year coinciding with two years since the publication of TRARIIS.
If confirmed, further details on this will be shared in due course, alongside the publication of the next progress report expected in summer 2023.
Summary of Home Country Sports Council activity | July – December 2022
Structures and Systems
In collaboration with Sport England and the TRARIIS stakeholder group, we are developing a TRARIIS race equality framework to ensure race inclusion is embedded in the design of future projects and processes.
Using the draft framework, we have reviewed our procurement policies and produced new guidelines to embed EDI (as well as sustainability) requirements into our processes to improve our supplier diversity. We are trialling the new approach, in preparation for an organisation-wide launch over the course of the 2023.
We are monitoring progress against our recruitment targets and refining our recruitment processes to ensure they are fully inclusive and free from bias. A group of our ethnically diverse colleagues have received recruitment and selection training, both to enable us to field diverse interview panels and to upskill those individuals and raise their profiles across the organisation.
We appointed a Director Race Champion and created a race employee resource group to raise the visibility of and help empower our ethnically diverse staff to help us identify the barriers to equality they face in UK Sport and help drive the necessary changes to eliminate them.
We are partnering with community enterprise Badu Sports on internships, job shadowing, mentoring, knowledge transfer and other L&D opportunities and, in summer 2023, will additionally be hosting 4 interns from the 10,000 Black Interns Programme.
We have hosted black leaders from the Sports and Arts at our Anti-Racism Group and as part of our BHM celebrations to showcase Black talent and hear their personal stories to help shape our anti-racism work.
We have incorporated qualitative and quantitative questions in our partner culture health check survey around inclusion and belonging to gain greater insight into the experiences of those employed in the wider sporting sector. Our EDI Working Group is prioritising the collection of sector-wide diversity data to help us monitor progress and inform future initiatives as well as, potentially, funding decisions relating to the Los Angeles Games cycle.
Together with Sport England, we have commissioned a majority black consortium, AGS Solutions, to provide EDI consultancy to partners in receipt of substantial UK Sport and/or Sport England funding, to help them develop bespoke, robust and ambitious Diversity and Inclusion Action Plans.
Structures and Systems
We are committed to embedding best practice in race equality and creating a culture where all colleagues can champion race inclusion through their everyday operations and through corporate planning, strategy implementation and investments. This means we are placing an anti-racist lens on the implementation of our organisation activities through our new operating model. We have created a set of principles which we will help determine the right equality measures are agreed for our emerging service offers and investments. This can be as simple as measuring engagement with culturally diverse communities, agreeing to invest intentionally in specific delivery or agreeing the relevant insight required to ensure we are clear on why and how we engage with black and brown communities.
Working collaboratively with the stakeholder group, alongside UK Sport, we have engaged Sport England strategic commitment leads representing partnerships, strategy, place, HR, health, workforce, digital marketing and comms, investment management and the black staff network lead, to work with our external consultants on finalising our TRARIIS race equality framework.
People and representation
Our Diversity Inclusion Action Plan is the focus for measuring our internal progress on our equality targets and commitments. It sets out key actions for improving representation from across all protected characteristics, within our workforce. The progress on our actions is updated quarterly; reporting to our internal Equality Diversity and Inclusion Working Group (chaired by the CEO) and also to Board.
Alongside that, we are preparing the Executive/Senior Leadership Team to undertake a Race Equality code diagnostic assessment which will comprise of:
- Pre-Assessment Race Survey for senior leadership team
- A pre diagnostic document desk top review
- Comprehensive race assessment
- A final report and a Race Action Plan
The agreed Race Action Plan (RAP) will become a primary tool for change and will support the creation of realistic and timebound objectives for us to identify what is needed to comply with the emerging principles of the TRARIIS Framework.
These actions will also include specific and agreed responsibilities for key personnel across the organisation and progress on delivery will be reported back through Executive Leadership Team and to Board.
Informed equality impact assessments are key to how we can improve the way we invest; without bias and with the confidence that we will reach the very communities who often feel distanced and excluded from our investment. To move this forward we have sampled some of our own equality impact assessments from investments made in the last two years that have sought to positively impact different communities including culturally diverse people. We will share the findings to demonstrate the value that a good equality impact assessment can add in supporting fairer decisions and providing confidence that we are maximising the impact and reach of our investments on black and brown communities. To support this and other actions, we are developing an internal resource hub where colleagues can access and utilise a range of products to help increase confidence in their own abilities to have the necessary and ongoing conversations with our partners and as we identify and bring onboard new partners.
We continue to invest in organisations that align to our strategic objectives, that are led by culturally diverse community leaders and have good reach and engagement with culturally diverse communities. We will include our data and insight commitment to ensure that we can effectively measure the impact of our investments on diverse communities and share our learning externally with our partners. The number of these investments will increase over the next 12 months as we finalise our investment plans and explore new partnerships from different and new equality partners and organisations.
Creating a range of employment opportunities within our organisation has been a priority and we recently recruited 3 digital apprentices. For these roles, we evolved our recruitment approach to guarantee interviews for ethnically diverse candidates who met the essential criteria for the role, also providing drop-in sessions for candidates to understand more about the role, the organisation and the support that would be available. We have recently created an additional role for an EDI Manager within Sport Wales and have appointed to the role, with the successful applicant due to start in January. This recruitment campaign saw a much wider demographic of candidates than our usual campaigns and we have utilised the learning from that to shape our recruitment practices for the future.
Working with the Welsh Government, Sport Wales has fed into an Anti-Racist Action Plan for Wales. The action plan is available here and includes commitments and responsibilities for Sport Wales through culture, heritage and sport. Additional funding has been secured to develop an organisation and sector wide training programme tackling race inequalities. The funding will also provide for a community champion approach supporting engagement with bespoke groups from ethnically diverse communities with a particular aim of increasing their representation amongst our community funded groups.
We have continued to benefit from the expertise of diversity and inclusion specialist training companies such as AKD Solutions and No Boundaries. This has allowed us to provide training to the leadership team at Sport Wales as well as launching an inclusive leadership programme for partners across the sector. Building on this, the people development team has developed the Positive Action in Leadership programme which aims to engage individuals from an ethnically diverse background into a bespoke programme of leadership development. This includes individuals already employed in the sports sector as well as those seeking employment in the sports sector. Sport Wales is working with individuals who have expressed an interest in the programme to co-create content that is specific to individual needs in collaboration with AKD Solutions. The programme will launch early 2023.
We are exploring new partnerships (such as with the Black Swimming Association (BSA) and Crowd Funder) so that we can make an impact in the communities where it is needed where we have traditionally struggled to reach. This is an area in which we recognise that we still need to do more. AKD Solutions have been working with community leaders to broaden our understanding of and connections with ethnically diverse organisations. The aim of this work is to build networks and ensure that Sport Wales develops an understanding of and the ability to serve these communities’ needs far better than we have been able to in the past. The BSA Wales community delivery programme manager has been in role since the summer and is working across Wales to link up key stakeholders, communities and groups to identify and understand user needs. This has led to work with partners who can provide water safety and wider aquatic opportunities across Wales.
Sport Wales has conducted research and gathered insight to understand the current landscape of volunteering in Wales with a specific focus on creating inclusive environments for volunteers. The research has identified key themes which will form the content of a learning series for the sport sector in Wales. Workshops will engage partners to consider recruitment, culture and retention through the lens of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Delivery is planned for early 2023.
We have provided monthly learning opportunities for staff through sessions led by external facilitators and subject matter experts.
Sport Wales has embarked on a new approach to investing in its national level partners, with tackling stubborn inequalities in access and participation, including among ethnically diverse communities, at the centre of decision making. The new approach utilises participation and demand data, from specific demographics to ensure that funding flows to where impact is needed. Our school sport survey which provides a rich vein of insight has returned new data that underpins the investment strategy, targeting funding to those partners who have the biggest size and scope to impact on ethnically diverse communities. The School Sport Survey insight has also provided bespoke data on race in sport, across participation and demand, which is provided to partners and the public to implement actionable change.
We are overhauling our investment approach into national partners. The new approach will see investment prioritised into partners that can deliver and support an equal, diverse and inclusive Sport sector in Wales, tied to an approach to accountability that will make clear the impact and the difference the investment is making. An overhaul of our community investment grants is nearly complete. This has been designed and informed by users of the scheme with insight also being gained from those that have not applied previously to improve accessibility and broaden reach. Procurement of the new system has been completed and the accessibility changes developed in conjunction with user research are being implemented. Concurrently, a discovery phase piece of work is being undertaken with Sport Wales’s partner network to better develop the role they can play in supporting diverse applications to our funding.
Structures and Systems
We have set up a cross-organisational working group, with representation from UK-wide race discrimination charity Sporting Equals, which will produce specific, practical actions which respond to the TRARIIS recommendations.
We have also announced a new partnership with Sporting Equals as part of our ongoing commitment to tackling race inequality in sport and physical activity. The three-year strategic partnership will focus on five key areas:
- Building trust and capability within the sport system in Scotland to make a positive impact in tackling race inequality and champion anti-racism behaviours and practices.
- Delivering and sharing sector-leading research and insight, that explores diverse, challenging topics in sport, physical activity, health, race, and governance.
- Advocating for ethnically diverse communities when it comes to sport and physical activity
- Influencing the public, media and political agenda through a powerful and collaborative communication plan.
- Empowering and working in partnership with communities to lead and deliver change for themselves.
With leadership from our EDI Manager, we are also continuing to design and develop relevant programmes, such as inclusive leadership programmes.
We are using the Minority Ethnic Recruitment Toolkit developed by the Scottish Government and are continuing to engage with the Race Equality Network and CEMVO Scotland (Council for Ethnic Minority Voluntary Organisations) to diversify representation in our recruitment process. We are separately developing allyship resources and incorporating them into our EDI Toolbox and other EDI development opportunities for the system.
We are continuing to support Cricket Scotland following the recent independent review into racism in Scottish cricket and have provided additional financial support to help progress the recruitment of a specialist HR function and to support them to review and update policies, procedures, job descriptions and employment contracts with an anti-racism and EDI lens. Further funding has been provided to progress the appointment of an EDI Manager.
We will look to providing development, mentoring, networking and shadowing opportunities for ethnically diverse communities in sport through Sporting Equals' Leaderboard Academy.
Following on from the independent review into racism in Scottish cricket, we are supporting Cricket Scotland on board composition and offering this support wider to all SGBs.
Following a recent recruitment exercise, supported by sportscotland, Cricket Scotland have appointed a new chair and two independent Non-Executive Directors. Current Board members are 50% from ethnically diverse communities.
We are drawing on the TRARIIS findings to input into our Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) process as a key piece of evidence/research.
We have shared results from the Equality Profile of Talented Athletes report with SGBs to facilitate discussions on the demographic makeup of the cohort of talented athletes.
We have set up a short-term working group to equality impact assess our sport facilities investment. The TRARIIS research will be a key component of the equality evidence review, informing how we progress this work. We continue to progress our more targeted and customised approach to supporting local partners to drive EDI and reduce inequalities in sport and physical activity.
In recent months we have invited local authorities to develop proposals to take a more targeted and connected approach to driving inclusion locally in Active Schools and/Community Sport Hubs. The aim of this work is to reduce inequalities in sport and physical activity. Plans are also being developed to create targeted investment opportunities that support ethnically diverse communities at a local level.
Sport Northern Ireland
EDI Policy Review
Sport NI commissioned a review of the EDI Policy and / or Statements for a sample of 31 funded governing bodies.
The purpose was to offer robust feedback to identify improvements that can be made to existing EDI policies, as well providing best practice guidance and resources to address these. The review aimed to support each governing body on their journey of inclusion and to help them publicly demonstrate their commitment to understanding and including diverse communities, workforce, volunteers and club members.
A desktop review of the EDI Policy and / or Statement of 31 governing bodies was carried out. Good practice and areas for improvement were identified, as well as highlighting specific issues and recommendations to enhance EDI policy. This was done by considering:
- Inclusive and plain language;
- Tone and style;
- Legal responsibilities and acknowledgements;
- Accessibility and support;
- Change control and quality control;
- Visible commitment;
- Cultural awareness; and
- Monitoring and review.
The relevant legislation was also considered, with due regard to requirements for Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and UK.
Individual EDI policy playback reports are being provided to each reviewed sport – an Executive summary report summarising the main areas of good practice and key themes for opportunities to improve EDI. These reviews will provide further understanding of how Sport NI can continue to engage and support governing bodies in this area.
Good practice identified:
- Level of commitment of the governing bodies.
- Having existing policies.
- Consideration of different stakeholder groups.
Themes for improvement:
- Structure and content of policies.
- Reference to legislation, reference to protected characteristics, examples of discrimination.
- Responsibilities for leadership / management, staff and stakeholders including members, partners, sports participants and spectators.
- Monitoring and review of policy and implementation.
- Accessibility to stakeholders.
Wider EDI support resources will be made accessible on the Sport NI Website, to include:
- Designing your own EDI Policy: Draft Template
- Inclusive Online Presentations
- Accessibility Guidance
- Content Do’s and Don’ts
- Designing inclusive content for a range of audiences, to include;
- ‘Screen Users’
- ‘Low Vision’
- ‘Autistic Spectrum’
- ‘Physical or Motor Disabilities’
- ‘Deaf or hard of hearing’
Sport NI will bring the 31 reviewed governing bodies together in February 2023 as part of an online forum – to consider common themes of the review and to engage sports further around EDI good practice.
Internal Sport NI consideration and new programme
Sport NI remains focused on the need to promote, embed and reinforce inclusivity and
wellbeing across the Sport Sector. Its new Lottery investment programme will emphasise this and the requirement for intentional inclusivity. Sport NI intends to request more detailed breakdown of sports’ memberships over the period of investment, in order to demonstrate the impact of the investment from an EDI aspect.
In preparation for this, Sport NI is taking legal advice on ‘what’ can be asked and how best to do so. This will also apply to Sport NI itself and taking a similar analysis and review of our own workforce.