Since the RYA Board was formed in 2011 the sporting landscape has changed dramatically. All organisations seeking public funding for sport and physical activity must now meet new gold standards of governance, considered to be among the most advanced in the world.
The new Code for Sports Governance sets out the levels of transparency, accountability and financial integrity that are required from those who ask for Government and National Lottery funding. It seeks to ensure high governance standards because of the significant public investment being made.
To meet the requirements of the Code, an extensive review by the RYA Board and Council has resulted in a number of proposed constitutional changes and a special resolution on the agenda of the AGM (24 November 2017) which seeks the Members' approval of new Articles of Association. These changes are consistent with what is happening in other funded sports' governing bodies in the UK.
RYA Council has already approved the Articles and has also approved a revised set of Board Regulations, which sets out in detail how the Board will operate and how directors will be recruited and appointed. The revised Board Regulations will become operational if and when the proposed new Articles of Association are approved by the Members.
In addition to the changes to the way directors of the Board are recruited and appointed, the requirement to consult with members and stakeholders will be enshrined in the Articles. The RYA already engages with members and stakeholders on multiple levels: nationally, regionally, by boating discipline, and by expertise. The intention is to build on this to create a first class engagement strategy.
What will change?
Essentially the role of the RYA Council will change and Council will no longer appoint directors. The role of the Board as the ultimate decision making body will be clarified.
Following the changes and a transition period the Board will ordinarily comprise 9 directors:
Three “Nominated Directors” will be appointed by the Members
Three “Independent Directors” will be appointed by the Board
The Chairman will be appointed by the Board
The CEO will be a director by virtue of his/her office
The Finance Director will be a director by virtue of his/her office
The Board has taken the opportunity to update the provisions relating to the number of members required to convene a general meeting and to simplify the voting process so that each individual Member will have one vote and each organisation Member will have one vote per £100 of affiliation fee.
Engaging with members
Jeanette Hopkins, RYA Director of External Affairs, said: “One of the significant drivers for the proposed changes is the need to comply with the Sports Governance Code. Funding from UK Sport and Sport England contributes considerably to our performance pathways as well as our Sailability programmes and a large part of our vital sport development activity.
“For many years we have been embracing good corporate governance with open recruitment for Directors, based on competency, and our Association already meets the majority of the Code. The new Articles will see minor adjustments to our governance, in line with the direction we were already committed to.
“At the same time these changes provide the impetus and motivation to improve upon our existing members and stake holder engagement strategy and thereby increase our relevance and value to members, affiliates and stakeholders.
“The RYA continues to recognise the very large contribution made by Members on a voluntary basis to the Association. This will not change. We will remain a membership organisation that strives to maintain and promote safe and responsible recreational boating.”
For more information on the upcoming changes, visit http://www.rya.org.uk/about-us/governance/constitution/Pages/constitution.aspx.