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When making decisions on Scottish Governing Body (SGB) investment, we ensure that our decision making process recognises that the relationship between performance, development and good governance is fully integrated strategically and operationally and the decisions are based on robust integrated plans that have a clear focus on agreed outcomes. Click to view our investment principles.
In line with developments at a UK level, where and Sport England have produced a Code for Sports Governance, sportscotland has developed the SGB Governance Framework. This sets out twelve core principles which will ensure consistency with our Investment Principles encouraging SGBs to improve their governance.
sportscotland boardroom” and “on the pitch”, through direct investment and a comprehensive package of support which will allow them to move closer to developing a world class sporting system at all levels in Scotland.
What is governance?
The idea of corporate governance first came into being in the 1930’s and since then there have been a number of reports discussing the merits and shortfalls of corporate governance.
In 1992, the landmark ‘Cadbury Report’ was produced after a series of high profile private sector cases involving financial reporting irregularities. This report described corporate governance as “the system by which organisations are directed and controlled” and offered a series of recommendations including the roles and responsibilities of the Chair and Chief Executive, transparency of financial reporting and the need for good internal controls.
The public sector has had its own journey defining and redefining corporate governance. In 1995, the Committee on Standards in Public Life (the Nolan Committee) identified seven principles of conduct underpinning public life “for the benefit of those who serve the public in any way” and recommended that public bodies should draw up codes of conduct incorporating these principles.
The Scottish Executive took the Nolan Committee recommendations one step further with the introduction of the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000. They identified nine key principles underpinning public life in Scotland, which determine the key behaviors of public bodies, their board members and officers, (see Appendix for further details).
The 2014 International Framework: Good Governance in the Public Sector states “governance comprises the arrangements put in place to ensure that the intended outcomes for stakeholders are defined and achieved.” This Framework aims to encourage more effective public sector governance and better governed and managed public sector entities.
Governance in sport
The focus on improved sports governance was heightened in the 1990s following a significant increase in public funding of sports bodies, particularly with the arrival of National Lottery in 1994.
As sport was increasingly being seen to be able to support delivery of a range of wider policy objectives, good governance procedures were adopted by UK Sport and the Home Country Sports Councils. For the first time governing bodies were required to produce detailed business plans with clear measurable targets and they were also encouraged to professionalise their structures. This work continues today.
sportscotland, as a publicly funded body, has a high degree of accountability and is required to have high standards of governance. Similarly, sportscotland expects all the organisations it invests in to be ‘fit for purpose’, well organised and well structured bodies, that make efficient and effective use of resources at their disposal.
In 2013 sportscotland and colleagues across the UK agreed to adhere to a shared set of principles for good governance in sport. In December 2021 this code was revised and in May 2022 sportscotland refreshed their governance framework to update some links. sportscotland has convened a working group to do a full review considering changes to the code and to modernise the document.
Achieving good governance in sport: a governance framework
The overarching aim of the governance framework is “to enhance governance in Scottish Governing Bodies of Sport (SGBs) ensuring they are well led; robust and legally compliant; and are effective and efficient in their operations, fostering strong partnerships. SGBs will be investment ready, positioned for growth and best placed to deliver outcomes for the sport. They will provide real results and return on investment to their members, sportscotland and other strategic partners”.
Implementation of the Framework will deliver good governance through improvements in three areas within SGBs: WELL LED; ROBUST ORGANISATIONS with STRONG NETWORKS.
Each of the principles from the framework will link
to one of the three areas.
Good governance in sport: Supporting our SGBs
The following diagram illustrates our approach to supporting our SGBs:
To develop a world class sporting system at all levels in Scotland will require all partners to aspire to be world class organisations. This includes their leadership, governance and management, constantly striving for continuous improvement. sportscotland will encourage and support SGBs on this journey.
For SGBs achieving good governance through implementing the framework is complimented by the sportscotland SGB Support Programme, which incorporates the Development Audit, Expert Resource, Learning & Development Programme, Strategic Support, Child Wellbeing and Protection in Sport and Equality offers amongst others. For more information about the full SGB Generic Support.
The twelve principles of good governance for SGBs in Scotland
The twelve principles of good governance are below;