Good Governance in Grassroots Sport Vester Voldgade 100, 2, DK-1552 Copenhagen, Denmark +45 33 29 80 26 / sbt@isca-web.org
  • WHY ORGANISATIONS SHOULD THINK ABOUT GOVERNANCE?
     At the the Good Governance in Grassroots Sport second training for top political leader in Tallinn (9-11 November 2012), we discussed with Patrick McGrattan –Belfast City Council- and asked him what were his and the City of Belfast motivations for being part of the project … and of course much more. Enjoy the read !   About PatrickPatrick, whose nickname is Paddy, has worked for Belfast City Council in their sport and Leisure team for a number of years. He is a Sports Development Officer and it is his role to work with and support community clubs in Belfast.  Why is Belfast City Council interested in being involved in the Good Governance of Grassroot Sport project?PM: "When we heard about the project, we felt that it was a fantastic opportunity to be part of for a number of reasons. Northern Ireland has operated a quality accreditation scheme (Club Mark) for grassroot sports clubs for a number of years. The aim of the scheme is to ensure that clubs are being managed safely and effectively, and maximizing the potential to get the community actively involved. The GGGS project seemed an excellent opportunity to look at how other cities and countries approached governance and to bench mark our processes and to evaluate where we can make improvements. Being involved in the project also gives our own work credibility. By demonstrating we are making every effort to keep up with international developments, we can have and communicate confidence in our own framework for good governance."  Why do you believe good governance to be important within sport?PM: "Very often, community sport relies on funding from public sector and support from public organisations such as councils. It is important for us as a council funded by government that we can justify the money spent on community sports clubs. For us to do this we need to demonstrate that the investments being made are being managed appropriately and effectively. Our quality accreditation scheme (Club Mark) provides a clear framework for clubs to operate in and makes public funding open and accountable giving funders security in their investment."  What challenges do you foresee for your organisation and the clubs that you represent?PM: "Belfast is a city with many specific challenges to overcome. It is also a city which has not had consistent support for grass root clubs, therefore one of our biggest challenges is to work across the board with all clubs and ensure they are being bought up to the Club Mark Standard. This can often be a long process as you are working with volunteers that have been performing their role for many years, and changing attitudes and values  is a long process. For our team in Belfast it is about creating short term wins for the club, to bring them on a journey. If the club are able to make short term changes and this opens up a funding opportunity or increases membership, it is easier to develop further more long term goals with them. In a time when funding opportunities are decreasing due to the financial climate, this is becoming increasingly challenging."  Has the training made you think differently about your work? And if so, how?PM: "I have enjoyed the training and a lot of the content has affirmed that we are working within a good governance framework. It has been great to look at some aspects of our work from an academic point of view as this is not something a practical Sports Development Officer gets to do. One area that the training has highlighted is that we don’t currently look at is the effectiveness of the board as a whole. We look at individual roles but not the sum total of these roles and how clubs need to ensure a balance of power on the board and effective operations as a team. This is an element I would like to take back to my work and look more closely at where we can look at this within the existing framework."  Visit the Good Governance in Grassroots Sport website 
    WHY ORGANISATIONS SHOULD THINK ABOUT GOVERNANCE?
  • GGGS: WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT?
    Saska Benedicic Tomat, Good Governance in Grassroots Sports (GGGS) Project manager, shares with us her vision and expectations for the project. Get ready to think again! Self-reflection and open-mindedness are indeed essential for leaders to be able to think and develop good governance strategies.   1. “Good governance” is a key issue in discussions when it comes to politics and financing. So questioning its impact on sport is not something to be surprised about, even though focusing on grassroots sports is not something normally done. Can you let us know how the GGGS project came about?SBT: “Funded by the European Commission Sport Unit ( under the 2011 Preparatory action in Sport projects), the Good Governance of Grassroots Sport (GGGS) project was set up in December 2011, with the aim of providing support and guidance to leaders of grassroots sport organisations.If the principles of good governance (transparency, democracy, accountability, responsibility, cooperation, representativeness and ethics) are to be well known, we have to keep in mind that Good Governance is first and foremost the process according to which organisations are led and managed. They influence how the objectives of the organisation are set and achieved, how members as well as stakeholders are involved in operations and give them a vehicle to address concerns. It also includes issues about how we can optimise the “procedures” for making decisions and how to manage performance monitoring, including risk monitoring and assessment.ISCA and its members are aware of and respect the various different levels of organisational capacity and of external obligations. We know that we need to protect the “sport market” and the political interests that are primarily a challenge for organisations which are heavily dependent on public financial support. The sports sector is diverse and includes a number of different types of organisations as well as a number of differently sized organisations. The size of an organisation as well as its cultural and historical background clearly define and influence the structures of good governance.With this project, we want to empower members of grassroots sport organisations who bear the important responsibility to govern their organisations and deliver on their objectives in a way that enhances public trust and support. With the Good Governance in Grassroots Sport (GGGS) project, organisations and partners came together to respond to the challenges of good governance while at the same time recognising the uniqueness of the sport sector. We know that with the enthusiasm, commitment and skills in the sector we can continue to improve governance in grassroots sport organisations and so contribute to making our sector the envy of the world.”  2.How do you plan to address all the dimensions related to good governance throughout the project?SBT: “Following the project kick-off meeting and a focus workshop with partners, a specialised working group worked to develop a framework which supported the collective understanding of good governance. The framework falls into three themes:•Policy•People•ProcessThese are all related to the GGGS principles defined by the project partners: Inclusiveness in the representation of interested stakeholders, Democracy ,  Accountability and Transparency in grassroots sport organisations.During the project period we will identify practices and challenges in grassroots organisations' everyday work which are related to governance, we will identify the governance landscape, work on Desk research and on a collection of good examples. We want to know what the rules and expectations in good governanceare,collecte mistakes and failures in governance we know of and find out what kind of dilemmas we have in our organisations. ISCA and its project partners have taken a balanced view by exploring and engaging across states and sectors to define how we can we create ‘a way of governing for the sector by the sector’.”  3. One of the project partners said that “Good governance is about how we play the game, not which games we are playing”. If so, then good governance should only be about defining and respecting the rules of the game. To your mind what should these rules be and to what extent can we expect to define principles and recommendations that will be suitable for all?SBT: “We do not want to define one single model of good governance. We don’t want to define rules as we don’t believe in ‘one size fits all’.We want to share and exchange knowledge about existing governance practices in grassroots sport. It is our priority to ensure that grassroots sport organisations have a shared understanding of what good governance means and that they can give each other mutual support. We also identified a need to establish good governance guidelines and, some kind of check list or quality assurance scheme.To provide an answer to this need, the GGGS project will also deliver a self-assessment tool as a self-regulatory tool.  It has a checklist format, but is not appropriate or possible for an outside organisation to use the tool to audit performance since compliance with the tool will be measured by the organisation itself. It will help leaders to think about how they govern, manage and control organisations. It is designed to help organisations to 1)illustrate a commitment to good governance, 2) achieve sustainable development (by encouraging the development of systems and processes that do not rely on individual’s knowledge which can be easily lost) and 3)develop their strategy and leadership (based on good examples from and consultation with the owners of those good examples).”  4. Thinking about the future, who should be responsible for ensuring that the rules of the games be respected and what could be the EU’s added value in this respect?SBT: “I would rather say ‘who should be responsible for good governance in the sport sector and for setting recommendations for good governance’. The answer is for me very clear: leaders of grassroots sport organisations themselves.It is important that legislators and regulators do not start to battle with organisations to control the sport sector.Grassroots sport organisations’ leaders have to preserve the integrity and independence of their sector.They can do only that if they have the right skills and tools. They need to understand and evaluate the role they play and how they can contribute to the organisation.  That’s why it is important to provide to top political leaders with training and development scheme to ensure they are adequately informed and confident in their roles.The added value from the EU in this respect is very high since it can offer room to look at how various organisations, cities and countries have approached governance as well as opportunities for organisations and leaders to benchmark their processes and evaluate where they can make improvements.The GGGS Education Programme – a special Framework of Curriculum Themes and Content for Top Political Leaders from Grassroots Sport Organisations – developed during the GGGS project will have long-lasting impactand extend beyond the project’s lifespan. It might even be a framework for action for the EU in this field.It is in fact designed to be flexible and simple. The education programme is not a prescriptive approach to governance and as such does not provide a detailed breakdown or a checklist of what is needed. In fact each organisation is different; what may be appropriate for one organisation in terms of the culture of good governance may not work in a different organisation. Therefore the programme rather provides input into the GGGS principles of good governance recognised by the GGGS project partners as well as practical considerations that grassroots sport organisations may wish to consider.It includes three training workshops that are connected to the four GGGS principles and falls into three main topics/areas:-Focus on policy  - Developing leadership by understanding context-Focus on people - Developing leadership by building capacity-Focus on process - Developing leadership through monitoring compliance.This framework will allow the participants to go through the various dimensions of good governance and has already been proven to increase their awareness on the topic.”
    GGGS: WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT?
  • FROM EUROVOLNET TO GGGS
    The life expectancy and the value of grassroots sports organisations rely on two main pillars: volunteers and good governance.This is the message from Jean Camy, University Lyon 1 (France), who has been involved in the management of several European sport-related organisations and has been taking part in the most recent two EU-funded projects run by ISCA.He shares with us his expertise and lets us know why it is so crucial to clearly establish the roles and responsibilities for the board, management, staff and volunteers, and how this is all connected to good governance. Why do we consider his input as priceless? Prof. Jean Camy has not only contributed as a sociologist observing and analysing sport activities and organisations for forty years, as a “specialist” in human resource management in sport organisations but he also has strong practical experience of governancehaving  chaired several French and European non-profit sport-related organisations. A mix of expertise, skills and competencies that simply bring us to the next level! Enjoy the read!    1. You have been a guest expert at the Good Governance in Grassroots Sports’ second training course for top political leaders in Tallinn this November. Can you share with us your thoughts about what good governance is or should be?JC: “It is a difficult question that would require a long answer. But I would like to highlight one very special thing that is of utmost important to me.When thinking about good governance we should not focus too heavily on procedures.  Good governance is first and foremost about a way of being, organising and thinking.Of course we do need procedures and tools for good governance to be implemented but they should be seen as a way of working and not a goal in themselves. They should in fine serve the goal and vision of the organisation. The vision or mission should remain the most important things for an organisation – its compass, its “raison d’être”.  2. Indeed how can we ensure that organisations do not lose their “raison d’être” and to what extend it is linked to good governance?JC: “As far as I see, sport for all organisations are ad hoc ones, which means that they stem from the need and interest of their members.So we should accept the idea that organisations have a life cycle and keep in mind that when the members’ interest disappears they should die.Good governance is all about finding a good balance. It is the task of board members to ensure that organisations are driven by a mission and not by the needs and wishes of the staff employed there.This should secure the specificity of sport and the peculiarity of sport for all.” 3.What do you believe are the other tasks of the board? How can we ensure that the roles and responsibilities for the board, management, staff and volunteers are clearly defined?JC: “It is in fact crucial to realise that when thinking good governance we need to keep in mind that in any organisation there is a division of labour process... then the question is: is this division of labour in fact really clear? This requires organisations to consider whether responsibilities and roles have been formalised.I always advise using Mintzberg’s model of organisation to clearly define the role and responsibilities.Sport organisations need to make sure they coordinate activities and tasks but also that the way and style of coordination is understood by everybody and is relevant.I would finally add that “Associations are ‘mission led’ organisations” (Mintzberg). This very specific situation clearly highlights the reason why we cannot use models from other sectors which have been the reference for most of the management science! We have to leave with the contradiction that arises from this statement and from the division of labour.”  4. The board does indeed have a key role to play in developing an approach to good governance. Yet what is the key to ensure that its members can work effectively together as a team? What are the important personal qualities and interpersonal skills of board members when it comes to good governance?JC: “I like the concept developed by Kalzenbach and Smith regarding high performance teams/boards.To my mind, the key dimension is shared leadership. We should forget about the idea of THE charismatic leader and give each one his/her place. A good leader is someone who is able to create an environment where everybody is able to play a part. He should consider positively the diversity of statutes and interests of people. Indeed, in boards such as in life, diversity brings richness not only complication!”  5. How do you see the role of ISCA and EU in the promotion of good governance?JC: “Well for me the role of the European Union should be to identify well-structured organisations with a strong dissemination potential. In times of financial crisis, we cannot allow ourselves to throw good money after bad: it’s not enough to identify some guidelines and good practices, we also have to ensure that as many people and organisations as possible are aware of them. Furthermore, having this broad network also means that you are able to build upon cultural diversity but also ensure the outcomes are understandable and receivable by many.In that sense, I do believe that ISCA can play a major role because of its network and ability to spread the word but also since the philosophy behind the GGGS project is a holistic and comprehensive one stating that thinking about governance implies taking into account different cultural, historical and organisational background.”  6. Finally, how do you see the future of sport? What can we expect for the next generation of volunteers?JC: “It is common knowledge that sport is currently undergoing a trend towards professionalisation. As a consequence, it is considered more and more as a business.I believe this change in the representation of sport is a major threat. When the old generation of traditional volunteers “retire”, who will be willing to volunteer in a professionalised, sometimes commercially-oriente, sport organisation?We need to work hard on differentiating the multiple dimensions of sport. I am convinced that sport has to present itself as a unique system but yet also to make sure the different approaches inside the system are clearly defined.I would advise promoting small volunteer-based clubs as role models for the future of sport for all. I imagine a lot more decentralised systems for sport for all characterised by federations and umbrella organisations as services and guidelines providers and very autonomous small, local-rooted clubs.To my mind, if federations keep promoting the professionalisation of organisations, the sport sector will lose its volunteers. There will always be volunteers in our society but they will move away from the sector if nothing changes in our approach.”
    FROM EUROVOLNET TO GGGS
  • GGGS DILLEMMAS AND CHALLENGES
     Defining and implementing a good governance is a long journey, one of those that require engagement, commitment and long term thinking and leadership, one of those you will never find a map or GPS to follow but one of those for which it is priceless to get a compass.Indeed governance is a multidimensional and complex issue involving many key areas to think about: policy, people and process. Furthermore, the specific nature of grassroots sport means we need models of good governance that are relevant for our organisations and for our sector! Here are some of the dilemmas and challenges we have been identifying together with GGGS partners and participants during the trainings.   Respect the Democracy and accountability principles  DEFINING THE OBJECTIVES OF THE ORGANISATION“When thinking about good governance we shall not focus too heavily on procedures.  Good governance has most and foremost to deal with a way of being, organizing and thinking! Procedures and tools should be seen as a mean of and not a purpose in itself! They should in fine serve the goal and vision of the organisation. The vision/mission should remain the most important things for an organisation, its compass, its ‘raison d’être’.”Jean Camy, University of Lyon, France “We as a board need to define how to drive a common goal and set a common direction”.Dorte With, DGI, Denmark  ENSURING BALANCE OF POWER“Ensuring a balance of power is a crucial way to legitimate the organisation. Our challenge as organisations is therefore to establish a shared power between elected members but also between elected and staff member”Jean-Claude Arnaud, member of ISCA Executive Committee. “We don’t currently look at is the effectiveness of the board as a whole. We look at individual roles but not the sum total of these roles and how clubs need to ensure a balance of power on the board and effective operations as a team.”Patrick McGrattan – Belfast City Council, United Kingdom.
    GGGS DILLEMMAS AND CHALLENGES
  • GOOD GOVERNANCE IN GRASSROOTS SPORT
     Top political leaders of Grassroots sport organisations would like to know how different organisations develop strategic goals and direction. How the board of the organisation monitors the performance of the organisation to ensure it achieves these strategic goals, have effective systems in place, complies with its legal and regulatory obligations.They would like to know about how to ensure that the board acts in the best interests of the organisation as a whole, demonstrating transparency, accountability and responsibility to its members.Does your organisation have dilemmas about good governance in grassroots sport? There are all questions that are addressed and discussed among Top Political leaders of Grassroots Sport organisations. GGGS project partners, who are participating in the special Education program for Top Political leaders from Grassroots sport organisations.Find more about the program here: http://www.goodgovsport.eu/educationmodul  After the first GGGS Training in Italy in September, they will meet again in Tallinn from 9 to 11 November and discuss one of the project general topics connected to the GGGS Principles defined and design by GGGS Project partners:•“Focus on people - Developing leadership by building capacity in grassroots sport associations”This general topic is connected to two Governance principles “Accountability and Democracy in grassroots sport organizations” and has three subtopics:-Leadership Quality and Skills-Guiding Values-Organizational Learning 
    GOOD GOVERNANCE IN GRASSROOTS SPORT
WHY ORGANISATIONS SHOULD THINK ABOUT GOVERNANCE?
 At the the Good Governance in Grassroots Sport second training for top political leader in Tallinn (9-11 November 2012), we discussed with Patrick McGrattan –Belfast City Council- and asked him what were his and the City of Belfast motivations for being part of the project … and of course much more. Enjoy the read !   About PatrickPatrick, whose nickname is Paddy, has worked for Belfast City Council in their sport and Leisure team for a number of years. He is a Sports Development Officer and it is his role to work with and support community clubs in Belfast.  Why is Belfast City Council interested in being involved in the Good Governance of Grassroot Sport project?PM: "When we heard about the project, we felt that it was a fantastic opportunity to be part of for a number of reasons. Northern Ireland has operated a quality accreditation scheme (Club Mark) for grassroot sports clubs for a number of years. The aim of the scheme is to ensure that clubs are being managed safely and effectively, and maximizing the potential to get the community actively involved. The GGGS project seemed an excellent opportunity to look at how other cities and countries approached governance and to bench mark our processes and to evaluate where we can make improvements. Being involved in the project also gives our own work credibility. By demonstrating we are making every effort to keep up with international developments, we can have and communicate confidence in our own framework for good governance."  Why do you believe good governance to be important within sport?PM: "Very often, community sport relies on funding from public sector and support from public organisations such as councils. It is important for us as a council funded by government that we can justify the money spent on community sports clubs. For us to do this we need to demonstrate that the investments being made are being managed appropriately and effectively. Our quality accreditation scheme (Club Mark) provides a clear framework for clubs to operate in and makes public funding open and accountable giving funders security in their investment."  What challenges do you foresee for your organisation and the clubs that you represent?PM: "Belfast is a city with many specific challenges to overcome. It is also a city which has not had consistent support for grass root clubs, therefore one of our biggest challenges is to work across the board with all clubs and ensure they are being bought up to the Club Mark Standard. This can often be a long process as you are working with volunteers that have been performing their role for many years, and changing attitudes and values  is a long process. For our team in Belfast it is about creating short term wins for the club, to bring them on a journey. If the club are able to make short term changes and this opens up a funding opportunity or increases membership, it is easier to develop further more long term goals with them. In a time when funding opportunities are decreasing due to the financial climate, this is becoming increasingly challenging."  Has the training made you think differently about your work? And if so, how?PM: "I have enjoyed the training and a lot of the content has affirmed that we are working within a good governance framework. It has been great to look at some aspects of our work from an academic point of view as this is not something a practical Sports Development Officer gets to do. One area that the training has highlighted is that we don’t currently look at is the effectiveness of the board as a whole. We look at individual roles but not the sum total of these roles and how clubs need to ensure a balance of power on the board and effective operations as a team. This is an element I would like to take back to my work and look more closely at where we can look at this within the existing framework."  Visit the Good Governance in Grassroots Sport website 
 
 
 
 
 

“Grassroots sport is focused on opportunities, encouragement and  participation in the community ..."

Read more >>>.

 

"Grassroots sport covers all sport disciplines practiced by non-professionals ..."

Read more >>>.

 

"Good governance is characterized by a high degree of openness, transparency, accountability and democracy."

Read more >>>.

 

"We believe in grassroots sport as a way of personal growth."

Read more >>>.

 

"Political leaders in sport have to believe in the essential values, knowledge of the sports world, personal abilities and ideas."

Read more >>>.

 

The GGGS  project is receiving support from the European Commission, Education and Culture DG, under the “2011 Preparatory Action in the Field of Sport”.

 

Good Governance in Grassroots Sport project (GGGS)  is a transnational project that increases organizational capacity for good governance by focusing on transparency and accountability, particularly at the grassroots sport association level.

Read more >>

Transparency is chosen as it should be a defining feature of grassroots sport NGO management, given the public purposes these NGOs serve and the high degree of interdependence vis-à-vis Public Authorities. It is also the key focus of the European Council Work Plan on Sport from May 2011 when it comes to good governance.

Read more >>

Designing and implementing a sustainable, state-of-the-art European non-formal education for “Good Governance in Grassroots Sport”, targeting organizational top leaders, and based on the results from the above mentioned evidence- and knowledge base.

Read more >>

The project will develop and deliver a unique education programme targeted specifically for grassroots sport and with a combination of high-level experts (Council of Europe, University of Cassino,Transparency International, City Mayors), site visits, and peer-lead learning.

Read more >>

The primary target group of GGGS are managers, politicians and leaders of national and European level sport organisations, from project partners and beyond. As actors of change, they will reach out to other stakeholders and facilitate the improvement of conditions and possibilities for the ultimate target group.

Read more >>

You may find out about GGGS results chrt, by clicking here >>

You may find out about GGGS timetable by clicking here >>

Download the project description documentRead more >>

Download the GGGS Administrative Handbook. Read more >>

GGGS - Presentation

Activities

GGGS Workshop in Cyprus

 Two weeks after the GGGS training organised in Tallinn for top political leaders, GGGS partner organisations gathered in Cyprus for the second workshop of the project.Held from 29th November to 2nd D...

GGGS Training 2

 Second GGGS Training (out of 3) was held in Tallinn in Estonia, 9. – 11.11.2012, hosted by 2 GGGS project partners: Estonian Sports Association JOUD and City of Parnu. Training 2 had its own general ...

GGGS Training 1

 First GGGS Training (out of 3) was held in Casaleccio Di Reno in Italy, 14. – 16.9.2012, hosted by 3 GGGS project partners: Municipality Casaleccio di Reno, MASI Sport Club and UISP from Italy.  Trai...

GGGS Trainings for Top political leaders

Designing and implementing a sustainable, state-of-the-art European non-formal education for “Good Governance in Grassroots Sport”, project is targeting organizational top leaders. The project will de...

GGGS Workshop Copenhagen

The Workshop gave time and space for further discussion between GGGS Partners to improve the coordination in good governance cross Europe. The workshop was an opportunity to discuss principles in gove...

GGGS Kick off meeting

Good Governance in Grassroots Sports project kick off meeting in Ljubljana. 21 project partners from 13 different countries met for the first time in the project period in Ljubljana at the end of Janu...