a word from our chairman, barry chaplin
We have changed our corporate governance structure to increase boardroom accountability, enhance trust in business and ensure we are best placed to lead and serve the grassroots game in the future.
In 2019 The Football Association (FA) released the FA Code of Governance. As Sport England’s Code of Governance does for sport, The FA Code of Governance sets a governance ‘gold standard’ that is football specific.
We (West Riding FA) closely align ourselves with FA objectives and follow the FA strategic corporate vision of “For All’. Given the huge responsibility – and privilege – that we have in developing, governing, and regulating the game, we have a responsibility to ensure that our current governance model is updated to reflect the requirements of the FA Code of Governance and to ensure our business remains fit for purpose, sustainable and credible.
In doing so we will reduce risk, maximise opportunities and foster a relationship of trust and confidence amongst our stakeholders. With strong governance, we will be well positioned to ensure we thrive in the future by serving our participants in the most effective way.
Elements of the process have been challenging (and continue to be) and it has required us to look inward without bias or self-preservation. Significant consultation has taken place in 2020-2021 with all stakeholder groups, and anyone effected or influenced by any potential changes, were afforded the opportunity to contribute to the review either online or in person. This included online surveys and in person focus groups with those individuals invested in our previous corporate governance structure namely Council, District Associations, Vice and Life Vice Presidents and the Directors and online engagement sessions with broader stakeholders from Clubs, Leagues, Match Officials and Coaches.
The changes approved by the membership at the AGM in May 2022, represent a proportionate, progressive, and tactful approach to addressing risk and opportunity and, without doubt, will bring West Riding FA closer to the grassroots game at local level.
We are grateful to everyone who contributed to the review. We look forward to a positive, collaborative relationship between all members of the football family and commit to working collaboratively to pursue our overall purpose of giving everyone the opportunity to become involved in playing football in all its formats more often.
What has changed?
The Council comprising of District Association members and Life Members met 5 times/year to discuss the activities of the association. Some core business was devolved to Standing Committees.
There is no longer a Council or Standing Committees. Consultation with stakeholders will happen via 7 Working Groups that will operate on a project-by-project basis with a fluid structure and membership allowing more people to contribute more often.
The Working Groups will provide a forum for debate among stakeholders, acting as a ‘sounding board’ for the staff and providing advisory opinions to the board as and when appropriate.
The Working Groups will have some delegated responsibility from the Directors and will provide proposals for the consideration of the Directors as and when appropriate.
Council membership restricted to District Association representatives, Vice/Life Vice Presidents and a handful of other members representing leagues, West Yorkshire Schools FA and the West Riding Referees Association. In total X members represented a membership over 91,000 stakeholders.
The membership of the Working Groups shall be fluid with no term or age limits applied. Any Member and/or stakeholder can apply to be involved in a Working Group on whatever terms they agree with the Chair.
All Council Meetings and Standing Committees take place face to face.
Each Working Group shall determine their focus in line with a terms of reference and shall in turn agree the most appropriate form of consultation with stakeholders on a project-by-project basis.
No person over the age of 61 years old could be first elected to the Council.
Working Groups have no age or term limits.
Directors recruited via the West Riding FA Council.
All Director vacancies shall be subject to an open and transparent recruitment process and in line with the skills requirements as identified in the skills matrix. The skills matrix shall be reviewed and updated by the Directors annually.
All Directors shall be independent*.
Only members who serve on the West Riding FA Council were eligible for Directorships.
Directors shall be recruited via an open recruitment process. All members of the Working Groups shall be eligible to stand as a Director, as is any other individual who may or may not have a current or past affiliation with the game.
The West Riding FA Council nominated and elected Directors to the Board.
The Directors shall constitute a Nominations and Appointments Committee to manage all Director appointments, including casual vacancies.
*The FA Code of Governance defines Independent as: A person is Independent if they are free from any close connection to the Association and if, from the perspective of an objective outsider, they would be viewed as Independent. A person may still be deemed to be Independent even If they are a member of the association and/or play the sport. Examples of a close connection include:
A: They are or have within the last 4 years been actively involved in the Associations’ affairs
B: They are or have within the last 4 years been an employee of the Association; or
C: They have close family ties with any of the Association’s Directors or senior employees
What is a Stakeholder?
Any person or groups of people who are positively or negatively impacted by the work of West Riding FA and/or The FA. In broad terms West Riding FA consider stakeholders to be club, leagues, match officials, players, coaches, competitions, spectators, club/league officials.
What do the changes mean for Stakeholders?
The changes will bring stakeholders closer to West Riding FA. Through the new structure, stakeholders can routinely seek to influence policy, process and practice through discussion and debate via a variety of methods. The Directors and staff have committed to engage with, and listen to, stakeholders on a routine basis through active, timely dialogue and improving the accessibility of information.
Essentially, every stakeholder is invited to be part of a culture of consultation and collaboration that seeks to provide tangible insight and accountability to the decision making at staff and Director level.
Will West Riding FA staff work any differently as part of the new structure?
Yes. We have introduced a new process that is intended to improve our relationship with our stakeholders and help us to deliver on the footballing needs and aspirations of clubs and leagues and their respective workforce.
Every club and league have been assigned a single point of contact at the West Riding FA who will provide support in all football development and regulatory matters.
What does the new structure aim to achieve?
- 1: Avoid duplication of advice and support given to clubs/leagues from each member of the team
- 2: Improve the consistency and clarity of information provided by West Riding FA to clubs/leagues
- 3: Minimise the response to enquiries from clubs/leagues
- 4: Help club’/leagues’ manoeuvre and navigate their responsibilities with ease
- 5: Enable a deeper understanding and appreciation of each club’s/league’s goals, needs and priorities
- 6: Promptly identify risks and/or challenges and provide support and advice quickly to minimise disruption and/or frustration
Our promise to clubs/leagues:
Your nominated point of contact will:
- 1: Be the direct, single point of contact for all the questions and needs you may have
- 2: Become familiar with the workings of the club and the ins and outs of club/league life to enable me to offer realistic and welcomed support
- 3: Check in with you monthly to see how things are going at the club/league and to identify any areas that I can offer help with
- 4: Provide training and guidance for your club league members and officials on aspects of their role (Secretary, Chair, Welfare Officer, Treasurer)
- 5: Provide training and guidance on all digital systems (Full Time, Player Registrations, Whole Game System, Match Day)
- 6: Provide real time information regarding offers, opportunities, and incentives
- 7: Provide real time information on any rule/regulation/policy updates
- 8: Provide answers to frequently asked questions
- 9: Arrange for other subject experts to provide guidance or support on specialist areas
- 10: Arrange a suitable stand in for times when I am unavailable
What we need from club/leagues:
- 1: To interact with the staff member and be honest and open about challenges and opportunities at the club/league
- 2: To agree a plan of action as to how we can support the club/league moving forward
- 3: To contact the staff member when you need any support – no matter how big or small
The staff member will make recommendations to the Board and/or the relevant working groups.
How can I get involved in the new structure?
All stakeholders are invited to be involved. The beauty of the new structure is that you can choose how you want to be involved. Essentially there are a few options:
- 1: Attend a Working Group Meeting (face to face) and/or;
- 2: Submit a topic for discussion at a Working Group via an online form and/or;
- 3: Submit a topic for discussion at a Working Group via discussion with your lead contact and/or;
- 4: Attend project specific focus groups
- 5: Contribute to online surveys which in turn will inform the discussion at Working Groups/Sub-Groups
How can I keep updated on the activities of the Working Groups?
You can keep updated with the activities of each Working Group via the WORKING GROUP PORTAL.
Here you can view the main points of discussions and/or actions agreed together with any formal proposals for consideration by the Directors.
Click here if you want to be involved