Pale Male and Stale

18 Weeks and Counting

18 Weeks and Counting

I will be 55 in just 18 weeks time. For me life will be able to take another step into the next season in my life.

When this happens I am hoping to make greater use of this site for my musings on life and the world around! I have one big interview in May which might put these plans back a little bit (about 4 years) but either way there will be more time for travel and writing.

Stay tuned.


Seasons in Life - The Next one for Andy and Saje Impact

There are seasons to life I believe. Well it certainly feels like that as I start September 201Changes in 2018!8.

A number of Sport Board positions come to their natural end after several years of voluntary service - The Sport & Recreation Alliance , Special Olympic and CIMSPA . I want to thank everybody who has helped and supported me during the last 8 years since leaving Parliament (losing the election!) and welcoming me into the world of sport.

It has been another fascinating learning curve working with a sector I have passion for and trying to bring a fresh perspective and influence practise and policy. I will continue to do this but in different ways over the next 'season', mainly through The Sports Think Tank and through SAJEIMPACT LTD where I have generated a series of partnerships to bring the best people I have worked with to the sector - like David Slemen Sport:80 Services Limited . As always Loughborough University Loughborough University London will play a large part of what I do.

I will announce a few new NED positions too over the coming weeks.

I have always had a passion for my home county so I will be doing more economic growth work in Leicestershire through the LLEP too

Here is to the new season. Even if that includes retiring formally from Birstall RFC!

Pale Male and Stale

Posted: Sun, 21 May 2017 17:10

Pale Male and Stale

Pale Male and Stale

There are so many challenges hitting the sports sector at the moment it's difficult to keep up with one issue per month in this column! However, there is one that I am hoping will dominate Board discussions this year is governance – specifically diversity on Boards.

Sport England & UK Sport quite rightly have highlighted improved governance as a key component of improving the sports landscape and long term sustainability.

I have been on this journey since I first arrived inside sport in the 90s. At that stage, there was always a focus on the FA and the FA Council membership. It became the focus for poor governance. I was at a Select Committee hearing in December and again the dominant feature was the battle ahead between DCMS, SE and the FA over the future of the Council and its members.

But much more importantly this is much more than about the FA and RFU and other NGBS councils – even if these dominate the news agenda. Much more seriously these high-profile organisations highlight the bigger issue of lack of diversity on our Boards and senior leadership across the sector. to be fair this is not just sport problem – it is wider in society and other charities but we do seem to be even further behind.

I have been fortunate to be working with Sporting Equals for the last 18 months and specifically on their LeaderBoard project.

Sporting Equals LeaderBoard research launched in December showed that just 1% of NGB Chairs were from a BAME community with a similar proportion of CEOs. At Board level the figure is just 4%. To be honest this is disgraceful.

Loughborough University have also been covering this issue in football and coaching where we find a similarly low 4% figure – despite over 30% of players in the Premiership from BAME community

When I do talks on sport governance and Boards there is a tendency for people to want to talk about gender targets and quotas as though these are the only issues.

As Chris Grant said at the launch event sport has had to work hard to create enough barriers to keep the number so low!

Did you know that the BAME community makes up 13-14% of the population and APS shows participation rates at 17% amongst the BAME community?

We need to understand the country we live in. I was taken aback by a senior civil servant who thought 4% was about the right proportion v the number of people in parts of the country where there is little immigration believing BAME is 30-40% of the UK population. Surely if we are going to be insight led in future we should know and understand the communities where we live and who we want to serve.

And you haven't generated diversity if your BAME candidates just simply reflect many of the same cultural norms as their white colleagues. Our user base in sport is diverse. Why aren't our boards and leadership?

Fortunately, the LeaderBoard will provide help and guidance about overcoming many of the simple barriers… but don't fool yourselves that the talent is lacking. Other sectors like banking, law, and accounting where skill sets are high have levels of representation at 25% and above!

There shouldn't be a need to carry out this research to highlight the problem. We should all walk into a meeting, event or management team and recognise something is wrong when we see lots of people who all look and sound like ourselves staring back.

When trump used the excuse about 'locker room' banter we all dismissed it. But is there too much of an element of truth in what he said if we are being honest with ourselves. I know I live in the PC political world for much of my time and admit to being quite shocked at things I hear openly expressed in the sport and leisure world.

Frankly unless our Board rooms start to reflect the diversity of our population it is right we are not being publicly funded. We need to stop the group think and open ourselves up to new and fresh ideas and perspectives.


Tags: Leaderboard, Sport England, Sporting Equals

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