A decision has been taken by the RYA Board of Directors to create a new English Regional Forum (ERF) to further enhance its effective engagement with its 112,000 members and many valued stakeholders.

As part of the RYA’s move towards a governance structure that can meet the future needs of the Association, the Board has carried out a review of RYA Council and has recognised that the existing RYA Regional Volunteer Teams have common stakeholders, and provide the RYA with important geographical representation. They also engage successfully with multiple stakeholders such as clubs and classes at the annual Regional Affiliates Conferences and with multiple other stakeholders in a myriad of ways.

The new English Regional Forum will therefore include members of each RYA Regional Volunteer Team, consisting of two or three volunteers from each region including youth representation. It will also include regional staff and contractors, as well as relevant national staff.

Gold standard engagement

The creation of such a forum makes the position of the English regions clear with regard to the other Home Countries and places England on a par with them. The confluence of existing English regional talent with those in the Home Countries provides the regions with the opportunity not only to learn from each other, but representation at the Home Country Conference will also provide the ERF with the chance to also learn from RYA Scotland, RYA Northern Ireland and RYA Cymru Wales.

The forum provides an opportunity to interact with not only the RYA Chair and Chief Executive but also the key staff and volunteers in equivalent posts from the Home Countries, as well as other senior development and performance staff from the Home Countries and the RYA nationally. With the Association’s new gold standard engagement strategy now being implemented and following full consultation with Council members, the decision has been taken to disband the RYA Council.

Connecting and listening

Sarah Treseder, RYA Chief Executive, said: “Over the past few years, the RYA has successfully steered through some important advances in our governance. Constitutional changes have ensured our required compliance with the Code for Sports Governance and enshrined the requirement to consult with members and stakeholders in our Articles of Association.

“We’ve always made engagement a priority; from hosting events to facilitating webinars and workshops, recognising and rewarding our volunteers, and carrying out consultations and regular surveys. The introduction of a new English Regional Forum is a key part of our gold standard engagement strategy, which outlines how we communicate, connect and listen to our members and key stakeholders.”

Increasing diversity

As with all groups and forums within the RYA, the Board is keen to continue to see greater diversity and for the Regional Volunteer Teams to be more representative; thus including more Sailability groups, training centres and younger participants in the electorate and membership.

With this in mind, the new ERF will consider the type, location and timing of their gatherings and will consider using technology to avoid physical meetings at times or on days that might not suit younger members. The Forum will hold its first meeting on 20 March 2019 at the British Olympic Association in London.