British Rowing announces findings of the internal review of its High Performance Programme

British Rowing announced today that it has completed the internal review of its High-Performance Programme (HPP) which it commenced in June 2016.

The purpose of the internal review was to ascertain the current culture of British Rowing’s HPP, consider how the culture is perceived by the elite rowers, coaches and support staff and the wider organisation, and to make recommendations to the Board of British Rowing related to the ongoing development of the programme.

Commenting on the review, Nicola Palios, British Rowing Independent Director and Chairman of the internal review Project Board said: “For the last seven months, a comprehensive review and analysis of the culture of British Rowing’s High Performance Programme has taken place. I am extremely satisfied that the review has been conducted to the very highest professional, ethical and sports governance standards. The supporting Project Team, led by Unforgiving Minute, undertook a thorough analysis of all elements of the culture of the High Performance Programme. It has left no doubt in the minds of the Project Board that the report presented to the Board of British Rowing is wide-ranging, comprehensive and robust.”

Andy Parkinson, CEO of British Rowing and a member of the Project Board added, “The internal review was a timely and valuable exercise, conducted by a group of highly respected and independent experts. It provided our committed staff and rowers, past and present, as well as UK Sport and the EIS, with the opportunity to provide comment and feedback on our successful High Performance Programme. The review has provided us with invaluable insight into how we can continue to evolve our programme and ensure that we, as the National Governing Body, can better support our staff and rowers over the next Olympic and Paralympic cycle, and beyond.”

Following the conclusion of the internal review, three main themes were recommended as areas for improvement as outlined in the Executive Summary, which can be downloaded below. British Rowing’s Board has reviewed and discussed the recommendations made in the report and unanimously agreed that all will be implemented in full.

The three themes were:

  1. Governance. In order to safeguard the success of the programme, a governance and management structure needs to be put in place to evolve the programme and minimise risk related to succession planning.
  2. Leadership and management. To create a more inclusive and innovative environment, greater trust and empowerment should be given to coaches and support staff at all levels of the HPP.
  3. Balance. To maintain a positive training environment, there is a need to address the perception of balance between the different squads on the HPP and the leadership must understand and define the limits on what is an acceptable sub-culture and what may impede other elements of the programme.

Parkinson continued, “In order to implement the recommendations, we shall establish a Working Group to agree an action plan, advise on best practice solutions, monitor implementation of the recommendations and advocate the change programme. The membership of this group will be confirmed by the Board of British Rowing at its next meeting. We will also consult, where necessary, with external experts who have the appropriate skills to support the implementation phase. It is my ambition that the majority of the recommendations will be implemented by the end of 2017.”

The Working Group will report to the Board of British Rowing on a regular basis and will begin its work as soon as its membership is confirmed.

“British Rowing strives to maintain the highest standards of integrity and transparency across our organisation. I am certain that our strong governance procedures will assist us through the implementation phase to safeguard Great Britain’s position in world rowing.” concluded Parkinson.

Download a copy of the Executive Summary here.

For any media enquiries relating to the internal review please contact Kenny Baillie, Director of Partnerships and Communications on +44 (0) 7818 576 132.