LTA announces landmark County Governance Framework for tennis
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The LTA, the national governing body for tennis in Britain, has today announced a new County Governance Framework, developed in collaboration with its County & Island Associations (Counties), that sees tennis aspire to the highest standards for governance in sport at a local level.
The move by the LTA and Counties to develop and introduce the new framework puts the sport in a strong position ahead of the requirement to do this by the end of the year, and means that tennis becomes one of the first sports to implement a mandatory governance code for its member associations.
The purpose of the framework is to help the LTA’s 38 County & Island Associations to align to the UK’s Code for Sport Governance and support them in optimising the way they work, such as through their operations and ways of working, financial and risk management, recruitment and inclusion and diversity. It also clearly articulates the role of Counties in helping to achieve the LTA’s vision to open up tennis in Britain to more people, and therefore its adoption allows the LTA to better support, fund and expedite delivery at a local level to help grow tennis by making it relevant, accessible, welcoming and enjoyable for anyone.
The framework is based on the Code for Sports Governance but has been adapted to maximise its relevance to tennis at a local level, and features four key principles: Purpose, Finance and Risk, People and Inclusion. Under each principle, priority focus areas have been set out which will support good practice in governance, while the LTA will also provide Counties with a full suite of guidance documents and templates to help enable the adoption of each principle.
Among the requirements of the new framework, every County Association will develop and implement their own inclusion plan which mirrors the LTA’s national inclusion strategy to ensure the sport reflects the diversity of the communities it serves, while new term limits will allow management committee members to serve for a maximum of 9 years. All counties will also be required to deliver full public reporting on their governance, structure, strategy, activities, financial position, and progress on inclusion.
County Governance Framework - Principles
The four principles of the County Governance Framework:
Principle One – Purpose
- Associations have a common purpose of delivering and supporting tennis in their local communities, aligned to the LTA Strategy. To varying degrees, they provide and enable playing, coaching and competing opportunities for players at all levels and work closely with venues, coaches, volunteers and officials to help grow the game.
Principle Two – Finance and Risk:
- Ensuring effective financial, risk and legal management helps to ensure that an Association can successfully deliver a long-term, sustainable strategic plan.
- Having an appropriately skilled and well-structured body of people who are effectively managed, motivated and recognised will encourage good decision making and support effective delivery.
- Associations play a vital role in driving an inclusive culture. Therefore, they need to represent a diverse range of backgrounds, encompassing a variety of experiences and areas of expertise in order to serve the needs of all sections of the local community.
The adoption of the new governance framework is the output of a collaborative project over the past 18 months that saw the LTA and LTA Council looking at the LTA’s responsibility to the County & Island Associations in order to help support their work. Alongside this, the project examined the role and overall purpose of the County & Island Associations, their responsibility to the LTA, their members, and the wider tennis community, and how aligning with the LTA’s strategic plan for the sport can advance grassroots tennis activity.
The delivery of the project has been led and shaped by a joint working group of LTA and County representatives, via extensive consultation with County & Island Associations throughout, working hand in hand to co-create the framework.
With the backing of the LTA Council and, following a General Meeting of LTA members this week, compliance with the new County Governance Framework has now also been made a condition of membership. The move is reflective of the shared commitment to uphold good governance standards within tennis and will mean that Counties (members) need to comply with the framework in order to remain a member of the LTA.
Scott Lloyd, LTA CEO, said: “Good governance in sport matters and tennis is no exception. It is imperative that County & Island Associations have in place appropriate governance structures and so the adoption of this framework as a mandatory requirement is a landmark moment for governance within our sport.
“Counties are at the heart of tennis in Britain and this framework will support them in embedding good governance, so they are best able to play their part in growing our sport and supporting our vision to open up tennis to many more people. As ever, we look forward to continuing to work together with Counties as one team to implement the new framework so that our sport can continue to flourish in a safe and inclusive way”.
'Working together to do what is best for our sport'
Roy Colabawalla, LTA Councillor and Tennis Development Committee workstream lead for the county governance framework project, said: “The development of this framework has been a fantastic demonstration of collaboration between the LTA and County & Island Associations, working together to do what is best for our sport. Its adoption signifies our shared commitment to good governance in tennis, and most importantly its implementation will undoubtedly make our sport better and ensure we can all continue to play out parts in opening tennis up to anyone who has an interest”.
Phil Smith, Director of Partnerships at Sport England, said: “Sport England and UK Sport developed the Code for Sports Governance in 2016 with the aim of bringing about better-run organisations in sport, particularly in areas such as safeguarding and equality, diversity and inclusion. The developments announced to the Code last year – including the need for organisations to cascade good governance by setting out, promoting and supporting the implementation of minimum standards – have been made with the intent of building on its impact to date.”
“It is therefore hugely welcome to see the LTA taking the initiative on governance standards in tennis at county level. Just as opening up sport for all is at the centre of Sport England’s work on our Uniting the Movement strategy, the LTA’s role in working with its County Associations to implement this framework will be crucial in opening tennis up for the benefit of all, as is their vision.”
Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: "Sport is a huge force for good. It brings people together to enjoy healthy competition and helps them get fit. But we need to get its governance right at a local level if we are to encourage new players, boost diversity and make people from all backgrounds feel welcome. It's great to see the LTA strengthening its work in this area and I look forward to seeing the benefits of this, from village clubs to international events."