Sports Governance Workshop

Assessing the culture of sport

11 May 2018 | 8.30am – 12.45pm | ICSA, Saffron House, London


Following a number of high profile reports into bullying and athlete welfare in sport, this Sports Governance Workshop looked at the key questions around culture in the sector. This half day workshop assessed the current state of culture in sport, and offered an in-depth look at the best practice for measuring and managing culture. Delegates took away learning from other sectors, and discussed how to practically apply them in their organisation, as well as focusing on what the future of governance in sport will look like. We brought together insights from a number of experts, providing a broad range of perspectives and drew on experiences from both in and beyond sport.


08.30 Registration, tea and coffee

Chair’s opening remarks

Louise Thomson FCIS, Head of Policy (Not for Profit), ICSA


Measuring and managing organisational culture

It is easy for organisations to claim they have a great culture, one of excellence, inclusivity and shared values, but how do you know for sure? We have seen a number of high-profile governance failures in sport which have not just derided the supposed values of the organisation but have negatively impacted the sports themselves. Here, as ICSA launch a report on organisational culture in sport, we will discuss the key findings and look at which conclusions, if any, are unique to the sector.

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


Case study: sport in the spotlight

Cases involving perceived failures of governance in sporting bodies have gained both prominent media and political attention. Using real life case studies we will look at what happens when questions are asked of the culture of sport, the governance implications of operating under intense media scrutiny and the impact this has on stakeholders. 

Dr Geoff Walters, Senior Lecturer in Management and Director of Birkbeck Sport Business Centre, Birkbeck, University of London

Dr Richard Tacon, Lecturer in Management, Birkbeck, University of London


Managing reputational risk

It takes a lifetime to build a good reputation, but you can lose it in a minute. Negative publicity is a significant threat to any organisation and therefore an important concern of the board. Here, we address the importance of building risk management into governance frameworks and how to appropriately allocate resources.

Anthony Fitzsimmons, Chairman, Reputability LLP




Lessons from other sectors

Self-evaluation can be a useful tool, but there is greater benefit in learning from the approach of others. In this session we will look at how organisations in the corporate and charity sectors have reacted under scrutiny and how they have sought to improve their own governance, as well as the lessons sport can take from them.

Radojka Miljevic, Partner, Campbell Tickell


The challenge of changing organisational culture

As the Peter Drucker saying goes, “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. The culture of an organisation can become deeply embedded over time and reforming it is no easy task. Here, we will assess some of the forces that drive behaviour and the challenge of trying to change the status quo.

Rowland Jack, Founder, I Trust Sport


Continuing on from compliance

You have achieved compliance with the Code for Sports Governance, so now what? In this session Sport England will discuss what comes next for sporting bodies in terms of continued compliance and the benefits that the Code hopes to bring to organisations in the sector.

Joy Johnston, Governance Manager, Sport England

Lynsey Tweddle, Head of Corporate Governance, Sport England


Maintaining integrity in sport

Allegations of bullying, the introduction of the Code for Sports Governance and the Duty of Care Review have made it clear that sport cannot rest on its laurels. There is more to be done, not just through codes and reviews, but through shifts in culture and behaviour. In this session our speaker discusses the role that sporting bodies have to play in maintaining integrity in the sector.

Michele Verroken, Founding Director, Sporting Integrity


Final remarks and close of workshop

*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.

Anthony Fitzsimmons, Chairman, Reputability LLP

After reading engineering at Cambridge, Anthony Fitzsimmons became a solicitor specialising in international liability and insurance law. He spent decades in a firm specialised in handling major disasters nationally and worldwide. He refined strategies to manage the legal fallout from crises whilst minimising reputational damage to clients. He advised major brands in the wake of severe adverse events.

Following his retirement from the law, Anthony founded Reputability LLP ( of which he is Chairman. Anthony is a co-author of ‘Roads to Ruin’, the seminal Cass Business School report on corporate failure for Airmic and, with the late Derek Atkins, of "Rethinking Reputational Risk: How to Manage the Risks that can Ruin Your Business, Your Reputation and You". Anthony is a specialist in reputational risk and its organisational and behavioural drivers, as well as in related areas of board governance. Described as a "major-league blogger", he is a regular speaker and participant in seminars in the field.

Rowland Jack, Founder, I Trust Sport

Rowland founded sports governance consultancy I Trust Sport ( in 2013. The company is dedicated to improving international sports governance through collaboration, working with International Federations, institutions, sponsors and individuals. Recent client work includes conducting comprehensive governance reviews of sports federations, both Olympic and non-Olympic.

In 2015-16 Rowland was employed by UK Sport, helping to develop the new Code for Sports Governance.

Before taking on his role as a sports governance consultant he worked in sports marketing and communications for more than 10 years in several countries, including at six editions of the Olympic Games, summer and winter. He has previous experience with an International Federation and started his career at Sport England.

Joy Johnston, Governance Manager, Sport England

Joy Johnston is currently Governance Manager at Sport England, Chief Referee for the Ice Hockey UK Referee Section, a Referee Supervisor and Instructor for the International Ice Hockey Federation and a Board Director for Ice Hockey UK and the English Ice Hockey Association. She has previously held non-executive board level roles at Parkour UK, the London Youth Games and Baseball Softball UK.

Before moving to Sport England, Joy was Head of Governance and Quality at the EFL Trust where she was responsible for governance, risk management and strategic planning. She managed the delivery of the EFL Trust’s strategic and operational plans alongside being the national governance contact for 72 community club trusts.

Prior to joining the EFL Trust, Joy was Governance Manager at UK Sport. Her role was to work with a portfolio of funded National Governing Bodies to ensure that UK Sport's grant award processes reflected their obligation to further develop world class standards of governance in sport.

Between 2010 and 2013 she was Governance and Compliance Officer at the Sport and Recreation Alliance. In this role, Joy wrote the Voluntary Code of Good Governance for the Sport and Recreation Sector and established the Sport and Recreation Alliance Governance Stakeholder Group.

Radojka Miljevic, Partner, Campbell Tickell

Dr Radojka Miljevic is a Partner at Campbell Tickell and has been with the company for over 11 years. She has over twenty years of management and research experience across a number of sectors and particular expertise in governance, strategy, research and facilitation.

She has co-authored a code of governance, the governance standard for a regulatory framework, a book of governance problem cases and handbooks for Board members. Among her clients have been a range of Sport-England funded organisations, as well as regulators in other sectors, including the Welsh Government and the Charity Commission.

Dr Richard Tacon, Lecturer in Management, Birkbeck, University of London

Richard Tacon is a Lecturer in Management at Birkbeck, University of London. His research interests are in sport governance, social capital, sport policy, sociology of sport and organisational ethnography.

His research has appeared in various journals, including Sociology, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, European Sport Management Quarterly and the International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics. He teaches postgraduate courses on Sport Policy and Development, Sport in Society and Qualitative Research Methods and is Co-Director of the Birkbeck Sport Business Centre.

Louise Thomson FCIS, Head of Policy (Not for Profit), ICSA

Louise is Head of Policy (Not-for-Profit) at ICSA. Louise has worked at ICSA since 2001 where she is responsible for promoting, supporting, representing and developing the profession within the not-for-profit and public sectors. She has produced codes of governance for not-for-profit organisations and NHS clinical commissioning groups, research documents in NHS governance, guidance notes and best practice guides relating to governance, compliance and administration, and highlighting the pivotal role the company secretary plays in any organisation.

Louise has 20 years experience of working in, and with, charitable and NHS organisations and has gathered valuable insight into the governance challenges facing boardrooms as a charity trustee, school governor and pension trustee.

Lynsey Tweddle, Head of Corporate Governance, Sport England

Lynsey leads the corporate governance team at Sport England, and in this role she co-authored the Code for Sports Governance along with UK Sport. Prior to this she has served as Head of the BBC’s Executive Unit and has also been an Assistant Director of Governance for an NHS Trust.

Michele Verroken, Founding Director, Sporting Integrity

Michele Verroken is Founding Director of Sporting Integrity, the international sports consultancy specialising in integrity and governance innovation. Clients include Professional Sports (Golf, E-Sports), International and National Sports Federations as well as athletes, medical, media and law professionals. Initially a teacher and lecturer in human and sports sciences before taking a management role at The Sports Council in 1987, later UK Sport. Sports Minister Colin Moynihan and Sebastian Coe appointed her to create the UK’s first Independent Anti-Doping Programme. Michele served as Director of Ethics and Anti-Doping at UK Sport for twenty years. Michele advised the Football Association and Professional Footballers Association on the introduction of in and out of competition anti-doping programmes, including illicit, recreational drugs testing and education. Continuing to innovate, as part of the E-sports Integrity Coalition, Michele has introduced drug testing to E-sports and developed the Clean MMA programme for the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation.

Dr Geoff Walters, Senior Lecturer in Management and Director of Birkbeck Sport Business Centre, Birkbeck, University of London

Geoff Walters is Senior Lecturer in Management and Head of the Management department at Birkbeck, University of London. His research focuses on organisational governance, specifically in the non-profit sporting context. He is interested in the role of the board and draws on process based methodology to help understand how boards function.

His research has appeared in leading journals including Non-Profit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Business History, Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, and European Sport Management Quarterly. He teaches postgraduate courses on Sport Governance and the role of the board, as well as a course on Sport Events. He is also Co-Director of the Birkbeck Sport Business Centre.

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