UK Sport and British Cycling update on Independent Review progress

Published 2 March 2017

UK Sport

UK Sport and British Cycling have today outlined the next steps that are being taken as part of the independent review into the culture of British Cycling’s World Class Programme.                   

UK Sport and British Cycling commissioned the independent review last April. The review, chaired by Annamarie Phelps, was reaching its conclusion by the end of November 2016 and a draft report was provided to UK Sport and British Cycling at the end of December 2016.

UK Sport and British Cycling had intended to publish the findings and key recommendations of the review in February 2017. The report and its findings are of great strategic importance to both British Cycling and UK Sport and both organisations are keen to publish as much of the report as possible as well as their respective action plans to address the recommendations.

Following legal advice, the independent panel has been required to take some further, final but necessary, steps in order to protect those who have willingly given evidence to the review and to ensure that others are not deterred from contributing to any future reviews of this nature.

UK Sport and British Cycling are acutely aware of the public interest in the review and are working to ensure the report and its findings can be published in as open and transparent way as possible, as soon as possible.‎

In the meantime, both organisations have been taking on board the high levels themes from the initial findings of the review, in order to learn lessons to inform the continuous improvement of both British Cycling’s World Class Programme and the high performance system as a whole.

On 1 March at Manchester’s National Cycling Centre, the home of British Cycling’s World Class Programme, Jonathan Browning, chair of British Cycling and Liz Nicholl, chief executive of UK Sport, met with staff and riders to update them on the positive actions that they would start to experience as a result of the emerging lessons learned from commissioning the review.

Jonathan Browning, chair of British Cycling, said:

“British Cycling is widely recognised as having achieved remarkable success in not only in winning bike races, but also in bringing many new people into the world of cycling for both sport and recreation.

“Our sport could not have achieved this without the dedication of our talented staff and athletes, and we are committed to implementing the recommendations of the independent review in full to ensure we can provide the best possible environment in which they can continue to flourish.

“The failures within our World Class Programme occurred at a time when our sport and indeed the wider UK high performance system were undergoing rapid transformation in terms of realising unprecedented medal success on the world stage.

“Inevitably such a transformation requires frequent adjustment and evolution of governance, policies, procedures and operating practices. We are very grateful to the independent panel and everyone who contributed to the review for helping us better understand the improvements we need to make and we are fully embracing this opportunity.

“British Cycling’s action plan, while still in draft form, consists of four themes: athlete development; our culture and behaviours; overall governance; and our management and operations.

“Athlete development has been and will continue to be the key to our success at the highest level. I am committed to the principle that for our elite success to be sustainable, we must become leaders for the sector in terms of the way our riders are supported as they join our programmes, as they progress through them and, whatever they have achieved on the way, as they leave. I want to see our ex-athletes saying ‘that’s a programme I would like to see my younger sister or brother go through’.

“Our cultures and behaviours must be a focus for the whole organisation and we will work with staff, riders and volunteers to develop a set of common values and behaviours by which the whole of British Cycling will live.

“Under the governance strand sit changes to board structure and, more widely, our adherence to the new code for sport governance. This is not about complying to protect funding, this is about running and leading our organisation in a way that is consistent with our ambition to be a world class governing body and a great place to work.

“On our management and operations, we are already seeing good progress. We have just implemented a new leadership system, we have announced our new performance director and we expect to be able to announce our new CEO shortly.

“Performance or personal development is not a choice great organisations ask people to make, they help people do both - that’s where British Cycling is headed.”

Liz Nicholl, UK Sport CEO, said:

“In the 21 years since UK Sport was established we have seen a complete transformation in our high performance system, and British Cycling has been among, if not the, standard bearer for that success. Our athletes have inspired the nation, and never more so than they did last summer in Rio where history was made by Team GB and ParalympicsGB.

“While the independent review into British Cycling’s World Class Programme is yet to be concluded the work to date has identified valuable lessons, not only for British cycling, but also some that we as leaders of the system can implement across all our funded sports.

“The people in our system are our greatest asset. We believe that by fully embracing the emerging findings and recommendations of this review, and the implementation of our recently launched Code of Governance for Sport, our system will continue to go from strength to strength, and will continue to be revered the world over.” 

In response to the emerging findings and recommendations of the independent review, UK Sport and British Cycling are already working on implementing detailed action plans.

The actions include but are not limited to:

British Cycling:

  • Through consultation with riders, develop best-in-class mechanisms for athlete representation and engagement.
  • ‘Whole life’ development opportunities for every rider and improvements to the support given to riders who leave the world class programme.
  • Conduct a staff, rider and volunteer surveys to inform a refreshed set of values, behaviours and leadership principles that the whole of British Cycling will live by and define and embed the ‘One British Cycling’ concept.
  • An updated and reinforced code of conduct.
  • Implement and embed a talent-focused approach throughout British Cycling, enhancing the professional development of staff, riders and volunteers.
  • Review procedures around complaints reporting and handling.
  • Develop the Board to improve its governance to conform to the requirements of the new Code for Sports Governance.
  • Embed the new Leadership and Operational Management Team structure to deliver more coherent and consistent leadership and management under the concept of ‘one British Cycling’.
  • Review and improve the management structure of the World Class Programme;

UK Sport:

  • Provide the new leadership of British Cycling with more intensive support and advice through a period of change;
  • Review our funding agreement and our approach to case management of sports to ensure more clarity of responsibilities and accountabilities;
  • Develop and implement a new cultural “health check” across all funded sports in the Tokyo cycle;
  • Renew our focus on inductions and people development programmes, placing more emphasis on the importance of culture, duty of care, leadership, management and communication;
  • Refocus the existing system wide athlete and staff insights surveys. 

View full list of action points here.

View timeline in higher definition here.

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