Sports Governance Conference 2018

Success through governance


Thursday, 1 November 2018


Sector organisations: £250 +VAT
Non-sector organisations: £375 +VAT


ICSA, Saffron House, 6–10 Kirby Street, London EC1N 8TS 


Sports Goveranance Conference 2018 was held on 1 November 2018 at ICSA's premises at Saffron House, London.


The aim of this conference was to emphasize the importance of good governance in pursuit of lon-term success in sports.

Our speakers discussed different facets of governance and the fundamental principles that organisations must uphold in order to get it right.

Delegates benefited from insights into risk management best practice, effective financial oversight and transferable lessons in stakeholder engagement from the corporate sector. We also discussed the role of independent NEDs and the challenges the sport sector faces in attracting more diverse talent into the boardroom.


09.30 Registration, tea/coffee

Chair’s opening remarks

Craig Beeston, Policy Officer (Not-for-Profit), ICSA


Diversity in the boardroom

Having a diverse boardroom can counteract groupthink and make for more effective and efficient decision making. This can only come from having a diverse range of voices and experience on the board. However, diversity is often a buzzword that is easier said than done, and in this session we will look at the challenges of delivering on diversity, as well as how best to reach a wider pool of talent when it comes to board composition in the sport sector.

Sarah Hillary, Partner, Moore Stephens LLP


The role and recruitment of Independent NEDs

Independent non-executive directors are central to helping shape the strategic direction of the organisation. They must be effective in terms of scrutiny, challenge and decision making, and must also play an important role on committees. As such, it is imperative to recruit the right people, requiring robust processes for recruitment, induction and training. Here, we will ask what these processes should look like and discuss how independent NEDs can be most effective on the board.

Karen Moorhouse, Director of Operations and Legal, The Rugby Football League

11.30 Networking tea and coffee break

Stakeholder engagement

Where boards take the time to strengthen engagement with their stakeholders it not only builds trust and confidence, but also allows for better decision making. Considering the Sports Governance Code requirement for sporting bodies to develop effective engagement strategies, we will draw on the Stakeholder Voice in Board Decision Making report from ICSA and the Investment Association to at innovative approaches to engagement adopted by corporate sector organisations, assessing which areas can be replicated in the sport.

Peter Swabey FCIS, Policy & Research Director, ICSA


Is your board getting the right information?

The quality of decisions made by the board are directly related to the quality of the information they have available to them, and in sport this is often impacted by the size and resources of the organisation. Looking at the ICSA and Board Intelligence guidance on Effective Board Reporting, delegates will discuss how best to improve the quality of the information received by the board and the role of governance professionals in board information management.

Chris Hodge, Policy Advisor, ICSA
Tom Robins, Commercial Director, Board Intelligence


Networking lunch


Effective financial oversight

Regardless of the amount of money you have to operate with, effective financial oversight is paramount to knowing where money is coming from, where it’s going and that there is no misappropriation of funds. Here, we discuss the role of the audit committee in ensuring transparent oversight and financial reporting, especially with money that comes from the public purse.

Tom Wilson, Partner, Haysmacintyre



In recent years we have seen a number of cases of safeguarding, bullying and unacceptable behaviour in sport brought into the limelight, but often only after those that are speaking out have left their respective sporting bodies. Being able to speak up without fear of reprisal is fundamental in creating an open and transparent culture within sport, one that protects its participants. In this session we will look at best practice in creating effective whistleblowing procedures, and will also look at the best means of support for those speaking up. 

Francesca West, Chief Executive, Protect


Closing Keynote

Tim Hollingsworth OBE, CEO, British Paralympic Association


Final remarks and close of conference

*This is a draft programme and may be subject to change


Craig Beeston, Policy Officer (Not-for-Profit), ICSA

Craig is a Policy Officer at ICSA where he works on the not-for-profit sector, focusing on the Institute’s work on sports governance. He researches and produces guidance on aspects of governance in sports organisations and contributes to the Institute’s output on a range of related topics.

Prior to ICSA, Craig carried out published research into the methodology of international rankings of public service delivery for the ESRC and into blame management strategies employed by office-holders in times of crisis on a project funded by the Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation at the LSE. He also worked for a number of years in research roles in the public sector.

Chris Hodge, Policy Advisor, ICSA

For ten years until 2014 Chris was Director of Corporate Governance at the UK’s Financial Reporting Council. He was responsible for developing and promoting the UK Corporate Governance Code, one of the earliest and most influential codes for companies. The practices that he introduced include board effectiveness reviews and public reporting on the management of significant risks. Chris was also responsible for introducing the first national stewardship code for investors in the UK in 2010.

More recently Chris has been the FRC’s Strategy Director. In this capacity he was responsible for developing the FRC’s overall strategy for 2016-19 and overseeing and co-ordinating its external communications, public affairs and international influencing activities. Chris established the European Corporate Governance Codes Network and served as chair for eight years until 2015. The Network shares information and good practice among the bodies responsible for codes in 28 European countries, and its advice is regularly sought by the European Commission when developing its proposals for European level regulation. In his personal capacity Chris has worked with bodies such as the European Commission, OECD and World Bank in advisory roles, and is a regular presenter and moderator at international conferences.

Sarah Hillary, Partner, Moore Stephens LLP

Sarah leads the governance, risk and assurance department within Moore Stephens LLP. She has over 25 years’ professional experience gained across a range of sectors including sport, government, international business, real estate, insurance and not-for-profit. Sarah has specialist expertise of governance in the sport sector developed over 15 years.
She has a thorough understanding of the complexity of the governance challenges facing the board and senior management of sports organisations and the benefits of employing good governance to meet stakeholder expectations including those of public funders. In addition, she has undertaken a number of governance consultancy projects including a review of conflict of interest which was published and considered as part of the work of the 10th Nolan Committee.

Karen Moorhouse, Director of Operations and Legal, The Rugby Football League

Karen is the Rugby Football League’s Director of Operations and Legal with overall responsibility for all regulatory matters across the whole of the Game including Salary Cap and Player Registrations, Facility Standards, Safeguarding, Medical, On Field and Off Field Disciplinary matters and Player Welfare. In addition, Karen is a Director of the Rugby Football League and the Company Secretary.

Karen joined the Rugby Football League in 2008 as Compliance Manager. In 2009 she became Head of Legal and then in 2014 assumed her current role. Whilst Head of Legal, Karen was also on the Project Board of the Rugby League World Cup 2013.

In April 2018 Karen was appointed on to the Board of the Rugby League World Cup 2021 in the position of Non-Executive Director.

Karen is a qualified solicitor having read law at Cambridge University graduating with a First Class Degree (whilst also gaining a Blue for Rowing). Karen completed her solicitor training contract at Magic Circle law firm Linklaters: subsequently qualifying into the Banking Department.

In 2005 Karen joined The Football Association as an In House Lawyer with responsibility for a range of sponsorship, commercial and other legal matters.

Tom Robins, Commercial Director, Board Intelligence

As Commercial Director Tom looks after all of Board Intelligence’s Client Engagements and Customer Team. He has over 15 years’ experience working in both the public and private sectors with large and small boards, and is passionate about helping boards make better decisions. Tom has led many fast growing businesses and before joining Board Intelligence his focus was on data driven decision making and operational performance improvement. Tom was part of the joint team, working closely with ICSA, to create new guidance for members using Board Intelligence’s experience of working with over 10,000 Directors a month on our Board Intelligence platform.

Peter Swabey FCIS, Policy & Research Director, ICSA

Peter Swabey is Policy and Research Director at ICSA. He is responsible for developing ICSA’s profile to members, regulators, policymakers, employers and other stakeholders by delivering thought leadership and lobbying campaigns aligned to ICSA strategy and promoting strong governance as the vital ingredient for success in organisations. Peter joined ICSA in 2013 and has almost 30 years’ industry experience.
Prior to ICSA, Peter was at Equiniti where he was Company Secretary and Industry Leadership Director; he was also a Director of Equiniti David Venus, Equiniti’s Company Secretarial Services provider. Peter is a member of the ICSA Company Secretary’s Forum, the CBI Companies Committee, the QCA Corporate Governance Expert Group and the Shareholder Voting Working Group, as well as being an Alternate Member of the Takeover Panel and a past Chairman of the ICSA Registrars Group. A history graduate, and Fellow of ICSA, Peter is a regular speaker at industry conferences and events, with an industry-wide reputation as an expert on shareholder and corporate governance matters.

Francesca West, Chief Executive, Protect

Francesca is the Chief Executive of Protect. She joined the organisation in May 2007 as an advisor and has extensive experience advising whistleblowers. Francesca has also supported, via Protect’s training and consultancy services, a wide range of organisations from small charities to multi-national companies. Francesca has also held posts as Legal Officer, Director of Policy and Deputy CEO.
Francesca was called to the Bar in 2005 and cross-qualified as a solicitor in 2011. She has an LLM in Human Rights and Public Law and a BA in Law and Politics. Prior to joining Protect, Francesca worked in a variety of compliance teams in the financial services sector, from boutique investment banks to large retail banks. Francesca also worked in Trinidad and Tobago for the Centre for Capital Punishment Studies carrying out capital case work on behalf of the London Panel of Solicitors and is a ratified experienced employment representative at the Free Representation Unit.

Tom Wilson, Partner, haysmacintyre

Tom is a partner at accountancy firm haysmacintyre having worked his way up from a new graduate within the firm. He currently heads up the sports team.
Tom has over ten years’ experience working with various sports entities and businesses including national governing bodies, international federations and sports charities. He is audit engagement partner for many of his clients and also assists clients within the sector with complex projects such as internal audit reviews, advising on financial oversight and governance advice.
His current clients include Swim England, British Canoeing, British Triathlon Federation, British Judo, British Fencing, and Commonwealth Games Federation amongst others.
He has a wealth of knowledge regarding the sector and is responsible for organising and speaking at haysmacintyre’s finance special interest group. Topics cover a wide range of financial reporting, tax and general sector challenges well as the production and presentation of the annual NGB benchmarking survey.
Tom is also on the ICAEW’s Sport, Media and Entertainment committee.


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ISBN 9781860727672 | Published June 2019

Academy Governance Checklists is our new easy-to-use guide to key areas of academy trust administration and regulatory compliance. Using a clear step-by-step approach, taking you through common terminology, procedures and good practice it will provide an invaluable guide to help you through your everyday tasks. 

The A-Z guide covers:

  • Compliance requirements for the Department for Education and the Education and Skills Funding Agency
  • Charitable and company law requirements as they relate to academy trusts
  • Good practice guidance in relation to academy trust governance

Each checklist includes an introduction and explanation, identifies the key points to consider and where relevant sets out the procedure in a series of straightforward steps. It is an invaluable and essential resource for anyone involved in the day-to-day running of an academy trust.

Download a free extract from this title.

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