British Rowing Statement

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In the summer of 2020 various complaints about the governance and administration of Chester le Street Amateur Rowing Club (CLSARC) were received by British Rowing.

The Board of British Rowing was of the view that the matter required further investigation and referred the matter to British Rowing’s independent Disciplinary & Grievance Panel, which was asked to appoint a panel from its members to carry out a broad-based investigation into the governance and other issues that had arisen at the Club with particular reference to complaints made by current or former club members received on or before 31 October 2020.

The Investigation Panel reported to the Board in November 2021 and made a number of recommendations. The Board accepted all the Investigation Panel’s findings and recommendations. The recommendations of the Investigation Panel are set out below.

N.B. The Investigation Panel (IP) is not a decision-making body. It can only recommend action to British Rowing as the governing body of the sport.

Recommendations

1.      The findings of the IP set out in the Report are troubling. The IP has considered how best its findings can be taken on board and translated into positive action by the club, bearing in mind that this is a small amateur sports club.

2.      The IP thus recommends that CLSARC should be disaffiliated from BR, but such disaffiliation should be suspended until 30 April 2022 in order to allow the club time to consider both the contents and recommendations of this report and to take action to remedy the deficiencies in its governance and administration identified here. Such suspension is conditional on:

a)     The club appointing a welfare officer with appropriate skills and experience as set out in the Report.
b)     Such club welfare officer should attend a safeguarding course (such as that organised by NSPCC) if the welfare officer has not previously attended such a course or does not have relevant skills and experience.
c)      The club should publish on its website a welfare and safeguarding policy in accordance with the model used by British Rowing.
d)     The club to appoint committee members for day to day running of the club who are not also trustees.
e)     The club to publish on its website the minutes of trustee meetings within 7 days of such meeting taking place.
f)       The club to publish on its website the minutes of committee meetings within 7 days of such meeting taking place.
g)      British Rowing should monitor the progress of the club towards fulfilment of these conditions.
h)     BR should publish on its website the recommendations of the Investigation Panel. The IP does not recommend that its detailed findings should be published.

3.      The IP is mindful of the impact of disaffiliation and does not make that recommendation lightly but, for too long now, the club has displayed problems both to its own members and to the outside world. When confronted with these problems, the club has taken a negative stance instead of engaging with the issues raised. The IP has provided examples of this negative behaviour in the Report.

4.      The Investigation Panel accordingly reports to British Rowing.

British Rowing will continue to liaise with the Club to monitor the progress made towards fulfilment of the recommendations and conditions, and to report progress to the Board. British Rowing will not comment further in relation to this matter at this time.

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