Last December, the five Sports Councils responsible for funding sport and physical activity across the UK published the first six-month progress report on their actions in response to the Tackling Racism and Racial Inequality in Sport (TRARIIS) review.
We know from the review that racism remains an everyday reality in sport in the UK, often causing a devastating impact on the lives and mental wellbeing of the targeted individuals and their families.
This reinforces our collective determination to promote and enable urgent systemic change to tackle racism and eradicate racial discrimination from the sporting system.
It also highlights the need for more effective measures to protect individuals who experience racism or any other kind of abuse in sport.
In our last update in December, we noted that our priority over the following six months would be to engage with our external partners on the outcomes of the TRARIIS review and the need to deliver action against our five overarching commitments relating to People, Representation, Structures and Systems, Insights and Investment.
The five Sports Councils have been meeting regularly and collaborating as a group to share and review actions we have initiated in line with those commitments.
We set out below what each Sports Council is doing in this respect and details of other activity can be found here.
In February, at our PLx conference (UK Sport’s key learning and collaboration event for funded sports in the high-performance system), we invited Ladi Ajayi from AKD Solutions to introduce the ‘Tell your story’ report (carried out as part of the TRARIIS review) and share its findings with sports.
UK Sport’s Chair, Dame Katherine Grainger, issued a call to action, urging the leaders present to understand the priority to engage with this work, take the opportunity to reimagine sport and start to lead the necessary transformational change.
In May, we launched “Sport Integrity”, a new independent and confidential disclosure and complaints service pilot for all athletes, coaches and support personnel within the high-performance sports system. This will help funded National Governing Bodies (NGBs) to uphold the highest standards of conduct in their World Class Programmes and take appropriate disciplinary action when necessary. Amongst other areas, Sport Integrity forms part of the high-performance community’s direct response to TRARIIS, following its recommendation that an independent and impartial investigatory body be established.
We set out the bespoke, tailored practical support we will be providing to help them create and implement their Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP). The DIAP is a requirement under the revised Code for Sports Governance for all organisations seeking or in receipt of significant funding from UK Sport and/or Sport England. The DIAP support on offer will additionally help organisations devise specific measurable actions in response to the TRARIIS findings.
In response to a universal staff suggestion that emerged from a series of internal TRARIIS workshops, all UK Sport employees are now required to have a mandatory personal equality, diversity and inclusion objective. Many of these comprise specific actions to support our anti-racism work, led by an internal Anti-Racism Group. A TRARIIS Implementation Group has also been formed internally to ensure delivery against the 5 commitments.
We continue to engage with members of the TRARIIS stakeholder group who remain integral to our plans supporting us to respond positively to the report’s recommendations. This stakeholder group continues to contribute to the action we are planning and already taking in response to the five themes identified as most important to overall progress.
To progress this internally we have commissioned Heather David, IRO consulting, to support the implementation of agreed approaches and actions through the introduction of a development framework to help us look at our own cultures and behaviours and ensure the solutions are owned by all Sport England colleagues.
One of the main outcomes of the development framework will be the drafting of a set of delivery principles that will inform how we embed our thinking about anti-racist practices in our planning, designing and decision making in particular around investment. Senior managers and colleagues with lead responsibility for the themes are fully engaged with this work and we will share progress at the end of September.
In June, we hosted the Closing the Gap conference and Talent: More of What Works event, where we convened a space for National Governing Bodies to engage directly with and hear first-hand from individuals with lived experience specifically around race equality. These sessions are continuing through to September, and we are working collaboratively with partners to share learning and promote good practice around inclusion and the importance of building diversity in participation and administration of the sport.
We have embedded insight and the ambition to tackling inequalities within our organisational strategy implementation, and we are currently developing research proposals focused on secondary analysis of economic datasets within the workforce. This will help us to better understand the demographic characteristics of the professional workforce and lived experiences. This is a joint piece of work commissioned with the other Sport Councils and in discussion with CIMPSA and we will use the findings to inform actions aligned to our workforce.
Working with the Welsh Government, Sport Wales has fed into an Anti-Racist Action Plan for Wales. The action plan is available here and includes commitments and responsibilities for Sport Wales through culture, heritage and sport.
Sport Wales has embarked on a new approach to investing in its national level partners, with tackling stubborn inequalities in access and participation among ethnically diverse communities for example at the centre of decision making.
The new approach utilises participation and demand data where available, from specific demographics to ensure that funding flows to where impact is needed. Our school sport survey which provides a rich vein of insight is currently live and will inform future investment.
An overhaul of our community investment grants is also nearly complete. This has been designed and informed by users of the scheme with insight also being gained from those that have not applied previously to improve accessibility and broaden reach.
We have continued to benefit from the expertise of diversity and inclusion specialist training companies such as AKD solutions and No Boundaries. This has allowed us to provide training to the leadership team at Sport Wales as well as launching an inclusive leadership programme for partners across the sector. We have facilitated inclusion sessions for our staff where they have been able to learn from the lived experiences of experts.
We are exploring new partnerships (such as with the Black Swimming Association and Crowd Funder) so that we can make an impact in the communities where it is needed where we have traditionally struggled to reach. This is an area in which we recognise that we still need to do more.
To underline our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion, sportscotland created a new internal post specifically aimed at driving this forward. Recruitment of an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager is currently underway with an appointment expected this summer.
We are developing a partnership with Sporting Equals – the first time we have worked with the organisation – to develop specific, practical actions which respond to the TRARIIS recommendations. The partnership will focus on making a positive impact in tackling race inequality through building trust, capacity, and capability within the sport system in Scotland, empowering communities to deliver change and strengthening research and communications.
We invested into Scottish Kabaddi for the sponsorship of two teams: Glasgow and Edinburgh. We have worked with the organisation to promote the finals of the UK tournament held in Glasgow and covered the event in Sport First, our online digital news hub, Inside Track, our internal newsletter and On Track to raise the profile with our staff and networks.
We invested in the Scottish National Diversity Conference and Diversity Awards. We will be the lead sponsor for the Sport Award at the awards later this year. Three members of staff and two from our partners, Scottish Sport Futures, were able to attend the conference as part of the EDI L&D.
We invested into the Scottish Ethnic Minority Sports Association (SEMSA). We were headline sponsor of its annual awards dinner for the first time and the event was attended by our CEO and senior staff. We also worked with SEMSA to raise the profile of the event.
sportscotland is working in partnership with Cricket Scotland, and leading anti-racism campaign group, Running Out Racism, on a national campaign aimed at encouraging those involved in the sport at a grassroots level to take a stand against racism, discrimination and inequalities.
As part of the #CallItOut campaign, thousands of bat stickers have been sent to all five of Scotland’s regional cricket associations. Regional associations are being asked to distribute these to their clubs and members and to promote the campaign using #CallItOut on social media channels.
The campaign went live on Friday 17 June and will run across the cricket season with each regional association asked for their support. They will also be asked to identify clubs/programmes that that can be used as case studies showcasing good practice in relation to inclusion and diversity.
Sport Northern Ireland
Sport NI has continued to engage with joint TRARIIS work with the other sports councils and has inputted to the Insight and Evaluation leads collective response.
A new Culture and Integrity Team has been established in Sport NI, with staff recruitment taking place over recent months. The remit of this team will include the review of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) policies in supported organisations and general capacity building through the provision of useful resources. Sport NI is also engaging with the sports sector on the feasibility of operating a small grants programme in-year to 'smaller' recognised governing bodies for sports, not currently in receipt of other Sport NI investment, to address gaps in the EDI area, promote EDI activities and generally to raise their governance levels to better support a wider range of participants and communities.
We have established a Diversity Panel to represent and hear the lived experiences, views and creative ideas of under-represented groups in Northern Ireland. The panel will inform and enhance the work of Sport NI to influence positive change in sport and to improve the sporting system for everyone. We have been engaging with local ethnic minority sports organisations to gain insight, support their objectives and to promote Sport NI initiatives like the annual SportMaker awards which recognise the outstanding contribution of coaches, officials and volunteers to sport in Northern Ireland.
Further work on reviewing internal policies has been delayed due to the organisational restructure but staff across a range of teams have been engaging with a number of sports councils collaborative groups, in addition to TRARIIS, to shape things and share good practice. This preliminary work will allow more rapid progress when the internal work commences.
The five Sports Councils will continue to be transparent about the activities and progress we are making, so that we can be held publicly accountable for delivery.
Whilst collectively we have a number of initiatives underway to progress our commitments, it is too early to determine what meaningful difference our activity is making to people from ethnically diverse communities who engage or want to engage in sport in every capacity. This will be a major focus for us going forward, as we work with our staff and partners and assess the impact we are making.
Partly in response to the brave testimony of Azeem Rafiq and other athletes who have been hugely courageous to speak up about the discrimination and abuse they have suffered, we are seeing greater scrutiny of sports organisations with respect to representation and diversity of experience on Boards and in senior leadership teams. We remain determined to ensure that our funded bodies have clear plans and are accountable to deliver diversity of representation across their whole organisation.
In support of that ambition, the five Sports Councils are focussing collectively on gathering more comprehensive and consistent EDI data across the sporting system in the UK to ensure we have a clear and coherent baseline upon which we can monitor progress; and are separately exploring how we can diversify recruitment into our own workforces.
We will continue to advocate for universal, sustainable cultural change. We will ensure that we and all our partners commit fully to doing everything possible to root out racism in their sport and ensure that it is truly inclusive and welcoming of everyone.
Brian Davies, Acting CEO Sport Wales
Stewart Harris, CEO sportscotland
Tim Hollingsworth, CEO Sport England
Antoinette McKeown, CEO Sport Northern Ireland
Sally Munday, CEO UK Sport
Next date for the TRARIIS update report: December 2022