Code of Governance for Sport Q&A

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British Cycling is holding an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) on 22 July.

What is the EGM all about?

The meeting is to seek approval for structural and operational changes to enable British Cycling to comply with the government’s new Code for Sports Governance. It's a process that every sport must go through.  

Who takes part in this meeting?   

The meeting is for National Councillors appointed by Regions, Home Nations and other affiliated bodies. These are the same attendees who come together for our Annual General Meeting – otherwise known as National Council and usually held in November.

What changes are being proposed?   

In essence, the changes concern the role, size and structure of both the Board and National Council.

Is British Cycling doing this because it is worried about funding?

It is true that the government has made access to funding conditional on compliance with the Code of Governance for Sport. Loss of that funding would have very serious and wide-ranging implications for both the organisation and the sport. However, we strongly believe the changes are in the best interests of our sport because they will lead to a better run governing body and a better service for our membership and anyone involved in cycling.

Why is British Cycling being asked to do this?

This isn’t just about British Cycling – all organisations in receipt of funding from UK Sport and Sport England will be required to meet governance standards.

Is British Cycling being singled out because of the problems of the last year?

No, absolutely not. Every organisation in receipt of funding from UK Sport or Sport England will be required to meet the requirements set out in the Code of Governance for Sport.

Is British Cycling being treated differently to other national governing bodies?

In the main, no. British Cycling isn’t being asked to do anything not required of all organisations receiving comparable levels of funding apart from the recruitment of an independent chair which is an optional requirement presented by our funding partners.

What is the deadline for compliance with the Code of Governance for Sport?

The changes have to be agreed by 31 October this year.

What is the plan if the proposals fail at the 22 July EGM?

We will take account of feedback from National Councillors and review our proposals. However, it will remain the objective of the British Cycling board to secure compliance with the Code of Governance for Sport.

What does this mean for the relationship between the board and the membership?

The board and the executive of British Cycling will still be accountable to the membership. In fact, we believe the changes required by the code will lead to a better-governed organisation in which decision-making is more transparent and, by bringing in the right kind of expertise for a business of our size, a better service will be delivered to our members and anyone connected with cycling.

How will you ensure the reduction in National Council’s powers doesn’t mean the board and the executive is less accountable to the membership?

It is important to note that National Council’s control of the Memorandum and Articles of Association remains unchanged and it will continue to be a key consultative body. The role of the Federation Commission will be strengthened and extended to ensure a better connection between the board and the membership than currently exists and the Board intends to delegate authority to this Commission for certain matters.  More broadly, compliance with the Code will require British Cycling to ensure decision making is more transparent and communication on the governance of the organisation is improved.

What will the changes mean for the board?

The proposed composition of the board is:

  • Independent chair
  • Chief executive 
  • Two nominated directors (Nominated by Scottish Cycling & Welsh Cycling)
  • Four elected directors (Elected by National Council)
  • Four independent appointed directors

Note : amendments have been proposed to replace one of the independent appointed directors with a director nominated by the English Regions or, alternatively, an athlete representative director nominated by the Great Britain Cycling Team.

In addition, term limits required by the code will mean that directors can serve a maximum of three terms.

What will the changes mean for National Council?

It is a requirement that the Board should be the “ultimate decision-making authority”. This influences the process of approving the Federations Bye-laws and the appeal process around Technical Regulation changes. The structural elements of the Federation - the building blocks within the Articles of Association - will continue to be under National Council authority.

How will the changes affect the Regions of British Cycling?

The main change will be the introduction of term limits, as for the board (above), for National Councillors and a reduction in the overall delegate size of National Council.  It is also proposed that voting rights at National Council will be restricted to representative national councillors and that the Board and past presidents will be National Councillors with the right to speak but not to vote.

What will be the process for appointing independent directors?

As previously, there will be an open and transparent recruitment process in which British Cycling will seek to meet the skills requirements of the board. The recruitment process will be led and managed by the Board’s Nomination & Remuneration Committee.

What will be the process for appointing an independent chair?

As with the process for appointing independent directors there will be an open and transparent recruitment process led and managed by the Board’s Nomination & Remuneration Committee. 

Will the president still be able to attend board meetings?

The president will be invited to attend board meetings but will not have a vote.

What will be the president’s role in the new governance structure?

The president will have a role as the elected representative of the membership. They will chair General Meetings, the Federation Commission and the Hall of Fame Selection Panel and represent British Cycling on the international stage.  As a key representative of the Federation, the president will share insight, knowledge and experience with the organisation and represent its interests. The president will be an ambassador for British Cycling, play a leading role in ceremonial activity and act as a conduit for collaboration between the membership, home nations, regions, Executive Leadership Team and the Board. The president will also promote diversity development across clubs, regions and National Council and promote the inclusion and engagement of all cycling disciplines including both able-bodied and disabled riders.

How will British Cycling ensure it meets the requirements for diversity?

British Cycling is fully committed to embracing the principles of diversity in the Code of Governance for Sport – they will ensure we have an organisation which is more representative of the sport and of society. Of the protected characteristics, the Code prioritises gender with a requirement for 30% gender diversity on the board. For British Cycling, this means increasing the number of women. We have been working hard to increase the number of women and girls engaged with our sport for some time with significant success. We will be encouraging more women to stand for election to the board and, while the candidates for independent director roles will be selected on ability regardless of gender, we will look to ensure the roles are promoted in a way which encourages excellent female candidates to apply.