Six weeks on from publication of its draft 39-point Action Plan, British Cycling today outlines the progress made to address the draft findings of the independent review into the culture of the World Class Programme (WCP).
Jonathan Browning, the new British Cycling chair, has been leading the governing body’s efforts to transform its governance, leadership and management, culture and behaviours, and the management of athletes’ performance and welfare.
Developments to date have focused on engendering professional and effective leadership. Of particular note was the announcement that Julie Harrington will join as CEO in May and the formal creation of an Executive Leadership Team (ELT).
Harrington’s arrival will coincide with that of Stephen Park, the new performance director, who is accompanying the Great Britain Cycling Team (GBCT) to the 2017 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Hong Kong this week.
Other improvements have centred on ensuring that a high performance culture is matched with high support for riders. A staff culture survey has been launched which has already achieved an 85% response rate and its findings will be acted on in the coming weeks.
A separate athlete survey is planned for May once riders return from Hong Kong, and will include an invitation for ex-World Class Performance Programme Athletes to contribute. The governing body, led by its new people director, Michael Chivers is also beginning to consult on the process – and desire among athletes – for athlete representation within the organisation.
Commenting on the progress, British Cycling’s chair, Jonathan Browning, said: “It is still early days but the progress we’ve made in the last few weeks has demonstrated our staff’s commitment to act quickly to implement the changes in the draft action plan that we know are required to make us a world class sports governing body. I am very encouraged by the way staff and riders are responding to these changes.
“The arrival of our new CEO Julie Harrington in May will provide continued momentum but in the meantime we are making every effort to put the welfare of riders and staff at the heart of our organisation.
“The draft action plan includes many strategic changes and work is well underway but a crucial focus for us is to accelerate what we learn from the staff and rider surveys so that we can truly begin to transform the organisation’s culture, build on what is good and improve where we have been lacking.”
Other progress has been made in the following areas:
- A new two-tier leadership structure is now operational and comprises the Executive Leadership Team (insert link) and a wider Operational Management Team.
- British Cycling has begun work on talent mapping – a ‘talent pathway’ system for identifying talent and providing structured career progression to its staff.
- Work has begun on the development of values and a British Cycling Code of Conduct.
- Athletes are no longer being charged to lodge an appeal should they wish to contest their removal from the WCP.
In the past few weeks, riders on the WCP have been guided through the process which determines membership of the elite team. This year membership has been reduced from 115 to a maximum 92 riders as a result of funding cuts, based on UK Sport’s funding criteria ahead of the Tokyo Olympiad.
The improved process included briefing parents for younger riders, one-on-one feedback from coaches based on performance data and individual rider plans, and psychological support once the decision was taken to remove individuals from the programme.
Jonathan Browning added: “At British Cycling, performance, participation and people are our top priorities. For the first time we are adding checks and balances to ensure that in the pursuit of excellence we protect against tipping over into behaviours that are inappropriate and harmful to the individual rider. The combination of new leadership team and structure, and the introduction of professional processes will ensure that we deliver on this promise.”