Good governance helps organisations to work effectively, meet the needs of their people and be sustainable.

Governance refers to the way an organisation is run and makes decisions including:

  • The systems, processes, policies, controls and authorities they have in place.
  • How the people that lead the organisation are held to account about the direction they set and the decisions they make.

What is good governance?

There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to governance, but there are five common principles that organisations with good governance share. These are set out in Tier 1 of the ‘Code for Sports Governance’, and include:

  1. Structure
  2. People
  3. Communication
  4. Standards and conduct, and;
  5. Policies and processes.

This video introduces each of the five principles. Further links on each of these sections are available at the bottom of this page.

The video is an animation that features a range of characters who are volunteers at a club or group. The characters are a mix of genders and ages and some have visible religious backgrounds and disabilities. The characters have different, non-human skin tones such as blue and orange.

The audio consists of a male voiceover. There is a stock backing track that is not an identifiable song.

The video starts with a white slide displaying the title ‘Club Matters – Good Governance’ above the Sport England, Club Matters programme and National Lottery and Sport England logos.

The white slide breaks into jigsaw pieces as it moves off to the right of the screen. A clubhouse, trees and grass appear onscreen with 5 characters in front of them. The characters are a mix of genders and ages and wear formal and informal clothing. One character is a wheelchair user, one is an amputee and one character is wearing glasses. One is character wears a turban, and another is wearing a head covering.

The voiceover and subtitles say: A well-governed organisation is one that will be able to flourish. Good governance is about ensuring your organisation is appropriately structured and has the right people, policies and procedures in place.

On screen, the text ‘Good Governance’ is shown on a plain blue background. The text moves to the top of the screen as a basic matrix diagram is drawn underneath to represent organisational structure. The text and diagram move off the screen and are replaced with three squares which go across the screen. The left square is orange and has the outlines of three people inside it. Above the square, the word ‘People’ appears. The middle square is pink and shows two document icons within it. The word ‘Policies’ appears above the square. The third square is blue and has three moving, interlinked cogs within it. Above the square, the word ‘Procedures’ appears.

The voiceover and subtitles say: It underpins every aspect of how your organisation is run and is vital for your long-term success and sustainability.

The words ‘Success and Sustainability’ appear within a white circle in the centre of the screen. Around the circle, a white ring appears. The icons for people, policies and procedures appear in three smaller circles, coloured orange, pink and blue. They land on the ring and rotate around the central circle before disappearing from the screen.

The voiceover and subtitles say: There are five common principles of good governance.

A solid white circle appears in the centre of the screen. A ring of interlocking jigsaw pieces appear to form a multicoloured wheel around the circle as the words ‘Good Governance’ appear in the circle.

The voiceover and subtitles say: One – structure.

The wheel rotates around the circle until a green jigsaw piece reaches the top. The text ‘1. Structure’ appears on the jigsaw piece and the screen zooms into this.  

The voiceover and subtitles say: Having a clear and appropriate governance structure, led by an appropriately constituted committee responsible for your long-term success, is key to good governance.

On the screen, two windows through which trees are visible, appear on either side of a blackboard. The blackboard shows a basic matrix diagram. A table with a cover that says ‘Committee’ appears across the screen underneath the blackboard. There are 5 characters sitting behind the table. The characters are a mix of genders and ages and wear formal and informal clothing. One is wearing a turban and another is wearing a headscarf. One character is a wheelchair user and another is wearing glasses. The matrix diagram on the blackboard is replaced with the text ‘Long term success’ as the characters underneath raise their hands and give thumbs up in celebration.

The voiceover and subtitles say: This helps ensure the best decisions are made to drive your organisation’s success.

The screen clears and is replaced with a white arrow which extends from the bottom of the screen towards the text ‘Best Decisions’ at the top of the screen. A trophy appears on either side of the arrow before the screen returns to the green jigsaw piece displaying the text ‘1. Structure’.

The voiceover and subtitles say: Two - people.

The screen zooms out to show the full wheel of interlocking jigsaw pieces as it rotates one place, so that a pink jigsaw piece is now at the top. The text ‘2. People’ appears on the jigsaw piece, which the screen zooms in to.  

The voiceover and subtitles say: Your organisation aims to recruit and engage people with a diverse range of experience, skills and backgrounds to take decisions that further your goals.

Three characters are shown on the left of the screen, and they are standing outside on a grass field. There are two female characters and a male character, and they are of varying ages and wearing formal and informal dress. One is wearing a turban, another is wearing a headscarf. One of the characters is an amputee. A magnifying glass appears onscreen and moves over the characters, as a few multicoloured circles appear across the right of the screen. Three large circles appear. One contains icons of a head and lightbulb, another shows a pot containing a pencil, paintbrush and ruler with a spanner next to it and the final shows a person with a photo. The words ‘Experience’, ‘Skills’ and ‘Backgrounds’ appear above the corresponding icons.

The characters and circles disappear and are replaced with a target which has the word ‘Goals’ displayed above it. Three arrows are seen flying and then hitting the bullseye of the target.   

The voiceover and subtitles say: Constructive and inclusive debate leads to good decision-making and helps create trust with internal and external partners.

The target disappears from the screen and a male and female character appear in the middle of the screen. They are talking to each other, and two speech bubbles appear above their heads. The speech bubbles disappear and are replaced with a large icon of two hands around a heart behind the characters. Two more characters appear, one on each side of the existing characters, one is wearing a headscarf and the other a turban. The screen then returns to the pink jigsaw puzzle displaying the text ‘2. People’.

The voiceover and subtitles say: Three – communication.

The screen zooms out to show the full wheel of interlocking jigsaw pieces again as it rotates one place, so that an orange jigsaw piece is now at the top. The text ‘3. Communication’ appears on the jigsaw piece, which the screen zooms in to. 

The voiceover and subtitles say: Effectively engaging with partners will help to shape your organisation’s governance and strategy, so being transparent and accountable is important.

Two male characters appear in the middle of the screen shaking hands. They move to the left of the screen. On the right, an icon of a person appears towards the top of the screen. Next to it, a document with the title ‘Governance’ appears. Underneath, a document with the title ‘Strategy’ and some tick boxes appears. The icons and characters move offscreen and are replaced with the text ‘Transparent and Accountable’.

The voiceover and subtitles say: Transparency about what your organisation is trying to do, how it’s doing it, and with what results, empowers your partners by giving them the information they need.

The words ‘transparent and accountable’ disappear from the screen and a male and female character appear. The male character is holding a document with the title ‘Plan’. The two characters move offscreen and are replaced with a male character in the centre of the screen with three question mark icons around him. The question marks disappear. A trophy appears on the left of the character, whilst a pot with coins falling into it appears on the right.

The character and icons disappear and are replaced with a group of 6 characters in the centre of the screen. One character is a wheelchair user and one is wearing glasses. The characters are a mix of genders and ages and wear formal and informal clothing. The word ‘Empowers’ appears above them. The screen returns to the orange jigsaw puzzle displaying the text ‘3. Communication’.

The voiceover and subtitles say: Four – standards and conduct.

The screen zooms out to show the full wheel of jigsaw pieces as it rotates one place, so that a dark pink jigsaw piece is now at the top. The text ‘4. Standards and Conduct’ appears on the jigsaw piece, which the screen zooms in to. 

The voiceover and subtitles say: Your organisation values high standards of integrity, promotes an ethical and inclusive culture, and engages in regular, effective evaluation to drive continuous improvement.

Two male characters and one female character appears onscreen. One of the male characters is a wheelchair user. The text ‘High Standards’ appears above them. The characters disappear to the right of the screen. Two  hexagons appear on either side of the screen. In the left hexagon, two male characters are shaking hands and the word ‘Integrity’ is shown underneath. In the right hexagon four characters are shown, one of which is a wheelchair user, one is wearing a turban and another is wearing glasses. The words ‘Ethical and Inclusive’ are shown underneath. The screen clears and a female character wearing a headscarf appears onscreen. She gestures to a whiteboard on a stand behind her, which displays the word ‘Evaluation’.

The voiceover and subtitles say: Constantly seeking to improve helps you to quickly respond to new challenges and opportunities.

A bar-graph appears onscreen. A small bar is shown in the left of the graph, with a taller bar in the middle and a taller arrow on the right. The words ‘Constantly Seeking to Improve’ appear to the right of the graph. The arrow extends from the bottom of the graph upwards to the top of the screen as the graph and text disappear. The head of the arrow stays at the bottom of the screen as two hexagons displaying exclamation marks appear on either side of the screen. Above the arrow, a third hexagon displaying a lightbulb appears before the screen returns to the dark pink jigsaw puzzle displaying the text ‘4. Standards and Conduct’.

The voiceover and subtitles say: Five – policies and procedures.

The screen zooms out to show the full interlocking wheel of coloured jigsaw pieces as it rotates one place, so that a blue jigsaw piece is now at the top. The text ‘5. Policies and Procedures’ appears on the jigsaw piece, which the screen zooms in to. 

The voiceover and subtitles say: Well-governed organisations will comply with all applicable laws and regulations, consider the social and environmental impact of decisions,

6 characters are shown to the right of the screen. One character is a wheelchair user, one is wearing a turban and another is wearing glasses. The characters are a mix of genders and ages and wear formal and informal clothing. On the left of the screen, a clipboard displaying a document titled ‘Laws and Regulations’ appears. It is then signed in red at the bottom. They then move off the screen.

The words ‘Social and Environmental Impact’ appear and are displayed across the top of the screen. Underneath, a male and female character are shown on either side of a rotating globe, showing a map of the world. The male character is wearing a turban and the female is wearing glasses.

The voiceover and subtitles say: undertake responsible financial strategic planning and have appropriate controls and risk management procedures.

The words ‘Financial Strategic Planning’ appear at the top of the screen. Underneath, two documents title ‘Financial’ and ‘Planning’ respectively appear on either side of a calculator. A magnifying glass appears and moves across to highlight the two titles on the documents. These then disappear from the screen.

The words ‘Controls and Risk Management Procedures’ then appear across the top of the screen. Underneath, a dial with the title ‘risk’ in the middle shows a hand moving from ‘high’ to ‘low’.

The voiceover and subtitles say: As well as mitigating risk, this enhances the trust of your partners and boosts your organisation’s reputation.

The heads and shoulders of two male and one female character appear onscreen. One character is wearing a turban and another is wearing glasses. A hexagon displaying a smiling face icon appears above each character before the screen returns to the blue jigsaw puzzle displaying the text ‘5. Policies and Procedures’.

The voiceover and subtitles say: To find out more about good governance and how to embed these five principles into your organisation, visit the Club Matters website and go to the Governance section.

The screen zooms out to show the full wheel of interlocking jigsaw pieces, with all of the five principles still shown in text.

The screen fades to a male character, sitting at a desk using a computer. The screen zooms in to the computer screen, which shows the Club Matters programme logo and the multicoloured wheel underneath a button displaying the word ‘Governance’. Along the top of the computer screen, the website address www.sportenglandclubmatters.com/governance/ is displayed. A mouse icon appears on the computer screen and moves to click on the ‘Governance’ button. The screen then changes to white and displays the Club Matters logo above the National Lottery and Sport England logos and the Club Matters website address, www.sportenglandclubmatters.com.


Who is responsible for governance?

Every organisation is governed in a slightly different way. How your organisation might be governed depends on the legal and management structures you have in place.

Governance is usually the responsibility of:

  • Board members and trustees.
  • Committee members.
  • Senior volunteers or staff.
  • Professional advisors such as an accountant or bookkeeper.

However, achieving good governance requires the input of everyone involved in running your organisation and delivering its activities.

What are the benefits of having good governance?

There are lots of benefits of having good governance, including:

  • Creating a welcoming and inclusive offer that meets people’s needs.
  • Meeting your legal responsibilities.
  • Having robust and reliable systems, processes, and policies in place.
  • Managing and controlling risks.
  • Making confident, timely, good decisions and effectively implementing them.
  • Improving your efficiency, giving you more time to focus on additional priorities.
  • Making the best use of available resources.
  • Having open and transparent decision making and reporting processes.
  • Improving the confidence of your people and investors.

Good governance can also help you meet funding requirements. ‘A Code for Sports Governance’, from Sport England and UK Sport, provides guidance for organisations of all sizes and is a condition of funding for any organisation in receipt of funding from Sport England or UK Sport. Typically community sports clubs and groups would need to meet the requirements set out in Tier 1 of the Code as a minimum to receive funding from Sport England.

Exploring the five principles and getting more information

It’s important for your organisation to have a clear and appropriate governance structure which is led by a formally constituted decision-making body, like a Board or Committee. This body should take responsibility for governance and have the power and authority to lead your organisation effectively. The structure of an organisation and its decision-making processes are usually set out in a governing document such as a Constitution or Articles of Association.

Having the right structure provides a solid foundation for development, growth, and sustainability. It ensures that you can make decisions in the best interests of your organisation and its people, in line with your values. It also gives confidence to internal and external stakeholders that the organisation is well run and trustworthy. For more information on finding the right structure for you, click here.  

Having people with a diverse range of experience, skills and backgrounds involved in your organisation leads to more effective decision-making. By encouraging independence and diversity of thought, and creating constructive and open debate, organisations can make better decisions that will help them achieve their goals.

Recruiting and engaging a diverse range of people also helps to ensure your organisation understands and can cater for the needs of different groups from within your local community. For more on effective recruitment, click here. You can also visit our ‘Reaching different audiences’ section, which explores how you can create an inclusive environment and engage people from a range of backgrounds.

It’s important to be clear about why your organisation exists, what its aims or goals are, how it is managed and how it is performing. Communicating this demonstrates transparency and accountability which is important to internal and external stakeholders.

Taking time to understand and respond to the needs and views of stakeholders is important. It can help your organisation shape its strategy and development and ensure stakeholders feel involved, valued, listened to, and supported.

Developing and sustaining open, two-way communication empowers stakeholders by giving them the information they need. It can also help you to promote internal democracy and gives extra confidence to brand new stakeholders, potential partners, and investors. For more on communicating with a range of audiences, click here.

It is important that governance practices are supported by your organisation’s culture and values, and a commitment to continuous improvement.

By having high standards of integrity and regularly evaluating performance, your organisation can drive improvement and increase your ability to react to issues and opportunities quickly. Having the right values embedded into your culture and conduct also helps to build trust and improve your reputation, relationships, and ability to attract and protect public investment.

It’s important for organisations to have appropriate plans, policies and processes in place to ensure that they:

  • Understand and comply with all relevant laws and regulations.
  • Manage and control risk.
  • Effectively plan and manage their finances.

Having the right measures in place will help to protect your organisation and its operations, financial security and sustainability. Mitigating against issues and risks also helps to build trust and ensure you can continue to offer a safe, positive experience to everyone involved. To visit our section on different policies and procedures you might need to have in place, click here. You can also find out more about financial management here.



Last modified: Friday, 7 January 2022, 4:11 PM