Commissaires and referees from the north and midlands regions congregated in Manchester at the National Cycling Centre and at the Hilton Hotel in Leicester over the weekend for the first two of their annual four event conferences.
With attendances increasing each year and with over 240 booked on so far, the formula is proving to be popular and bodes well for the remaining events.
This year sees a strong workshop-based format with the morning featuring one compulsory session on risk management and a choice of one of two sessions in either managing parents and conflict or the commissaire pathway.
There is a mix of cycling disciplines within the groups and attendees have been able to network with their peers in other areas of cycling. It has led to some stimulating discussion so far.
“The morning sessions gave a very interesting overview and lots of good ideas, with a good involvement from attendees,” was one of the comments made on the morning workshops.
The afternoon sessions featured discipline-specific workshops enabling some in depth discussions to take place and also allowed for rule and regulation updates prior to the start of the new season. Each discipline took a slightly different approach with BMX, mountain bike and cyclo-cross covering various topics and highlighting good practice.
The track group focused on bike measurement and scenarios provoking lots of discussion and allowing for experienced commissaires to pass on their knowledge, providing a chance for less experienced commissaires to learn.
Cycle speedway brought all their referees together at Leicester to discuss rule changes along with arising issues and developments from last season. Finally, the road workshop saw commissaires discuss a range of scenarios; all derived from real life situations, in races across levels ranging from local circuit events to national road races.
Chairman of the commissaire and referees commission Colin Docker said: “It was great to see officials from all disciplines comparing experiences and contributing in the shared sessions as well as some in depth discussion in the discipline specific afternoon groups.
“The challenge as always with annual conferences is to keep the format both fresh and relevant. The changes for the 2014 conferences have been received in a very positive way by the delegates.
“The discussions in some of the discipline specific sessions have shown where commissaires have areas of concern, and this will help inform the work of the commission in 2014. After the Imber Court (London) finale the commission will begin the process of planning the 2015 conferences, starting with a review of this year’s delegate feedback.
“We would welcome any input from commissaires and referees, whether they were able to attend or not, be it analytical or anecdotal, that could possibly be discussion points for 2015 conferences.
"I have no doubt some of the matters raised will find their way into the next editions of Commissaire Matters as points of interest and best practice.”
The conferences move to Bristol on the 1 March with the finale the following day at Imber Court, London.
All the feedback and suggestions from the conferences will be noted and will help to further shape the direction of the officials education programme in terms of discipline specific issues, commissaire communication, education and support.