A Code for Sports Governance – Tier 1

Good governance underpins all aspects of running a successful community organisation. From the policies and procedures in place, to the people that make decisions, the governance practices that an organisation follows will determine their long-term success and sustainability.

There are 5 key principles of good governance: structure, people, communication, standards and conduct, and policies and procedures. These principles make up the basis of ‘A Code for Sports Governance’ and are explored in more detail in our good governance webpage and animation.

A Code for Sports Governance, developed by Sport England and UK Sport, aims to drive improvement and development in governance practices across the sector and is split into three tiers. Tier 1 is usually the most appropriate to community sports clubs and groups and has been designed to ensure that models of good governance are followed, without creating additional work for those, usually volunteers, who are responsible for running an organisation.

There are 8 requirements which make up the 5 principles of Tier 1, and it’s important for community organisations to understand these. Meeting these requirements not only demonstrates good governance but is a condition of public funding bodies such as Sport England (for awards of between £10,000 - £250,000).

Information on each of the 5 principles, and 8 requirements, can be found below. Links to further guidance, support and templates have also been provided to help your organisation meet each of these. If you are unsure of any of the terminology used throughout this page follow this link to a list of definitions - A Code for Sports Governance | Sport England.

Whilst having the policies and procedures, outlined within the code, in place is a good start, ensuring these are embedded into your operations and everyday practices is important. Check out our animation which explores considerations for organisations when turning policies into practice.

Organisations shall have a clear and appropriate governance structure, led by a Board which is collectively responsible for the long-term success of the organisation and exclusively vested with the power to lead it. The Board shall be properly constituted and shall operate effectively. 

Requirement 1 - The organisation is properly constituted, has a clear purpose and, if membership-based, is inclusive and accessible. Supporting resources include:

Properly constituted:

·         Developing a constitution and code of conduct

·         Writing a constitution guidance - NCVO

·         Memorandum and articles of association - Gov

·         Guidance on legal structures

·         Choosing the right structure – charities commission

·         Choosing your legal structure – NCVO

Clear purpose:

·         Values and Culture

·         Development Plan

·         Annual Report

·         Preparing a charity annual report – Gov

·         How to write a charitable purpose - Gov

·         Business planning

Inclusive and accessible membership:

·         Exploring membership options

·         Understanding inclusivity

·         How to create an inclusive environment

·         Understanding the Equalities Act 2010

Requirement 2 - The governing committee meets regularly, and decision-making is recorded. Ways to evidence include:

Meeting regularly:

·         Effective committees

·         Effective meetings

·         Holding an AGM

·         Running virtual meetings and AGM’s

·         Running difficult meetings

Recording decisions:

·         Meetings and decision making – Sports Governance Academy

·         Making decisions as a board - NCVO

·         Charity decision making and voting - Gov

Organisations shall recruit and engage people with diversity of background, thought, independence, skills and experience to take effective decisions that further the organisation’s goals and best serve their communities, stakeholders and wider UK society. 

Requirement 3 - The organisation seeks to ensure diverse viewpoints are considered and that its decision-making groups have the skills and diversity needed to operate effectively.

Recruitment of Board/Committee members:

·         Creating diverse committees

·         Recruitment policy

·         Where to find volunteers

·         The value of engaging new volunteers

·         Reaching different audiences (under understanding different audiences)

·         Getting started with Equity diversity and inclusion - NCVO

·         How to improve your board – Getting OnBoard

Management of Board/Committee members:

·         Skills audit

·         Skills matrix

·         Succession planning

·         Breaking roles into tasks

·         Involving People in developing your strategy - NCVO

Requirement 4 - Committee members are subject to regular election and ideally should serve no more than nine years.

See requirement 1 links to governing documents for further information on terms of service.

·         Effective committees

·         Holding an AGM

·         Recruitment policy

·         Recruiting and welcoming volunteers - NCVO.

·         Trustee recruitment cycle – Reach Volunteering

Organisations shall be transparent and accountable, engaging effectively with stakeholders and nurturing internal democracy.

Requirement 5 - The organisation shares information on its governance, structure, activities, and financial position to enable stakeholders to have a good understanding of them.


·         Creating a website

·         Explore your online presence

Social Media:

·         Social media

·         Using social media

Sharing information:

·         Effective communication

·         Communicating with your people

·         Improving communications

·         Inclusive communications

·         Using inclusive language

·         Annual Report

·         Preparing a charity annual report – Gov

Organisations shall uphold high standards of integrity, promote an ethical and inclusive culture, and engage in regular and effective evaluation to drive continuous improvement. 

Requirement 6 – Conflicts of interest are recognised, managed by the Chair and recorded. At least three of the people on the governing committee are neither related to, nor cohabiting with, other committee members.

Conflicts of interest:

·         Conflicts of interest

·         Conflicts of interest – Charities commission

·         Managing conflicts of interest - NCVO

At least 3 people of the governing committee and neither related or cohabiting with other members:

·         Developing a constitution and code of conduct

·         Writing a constitution guidance - NCVO

·         Memorandum and articles of association - Gov

Organisations shall comply with all applicable laws and regulations; consider the social and environmental impact of their decisions; undertake responsible financial strategic planning; and have appropriate controls and risk management procedures. 

Requirement 7 – The organisation ensures appropriate financial procedures and practices are in place and as a minimum can evidence:

Appropriate oversight of financial planning:

·         Getting organised with your finances

·         Managing costs

·         Emergency financial planning

·         Managing reserves

·         Business planning

·         Financial management - NCVO

·         Financial procedures manual - NCVO

Financial decision-making and processing:

·         Developing a constitution and code of conduct

·         Writing a constitution guidance - NCVO

·         Memorandum and articles of association - Gov

·         Online banking

Accounts which are independently scrutinised:

·         Charity reporting and accounting – Charities Commission

·         Running a limited company: your responsibilities - GOV

·         Life of a company accounts - GOV

Requirement 8 – The organisation assesses and manages organisational risks and liabilities appropriately.

Organisational risk management:

·         Developing a risk register

·         Charities and risk management – Gov

Management of liabilities:

·         Guidance on legal structures

·         Choosing the right structure – charities commission

·         Choosing your legal structure – NCVO

·         Legal obligations of charities - NCVO

·         Creating and implementing safeguarding policies

·         Safeguarding Children and Young People – CPSU

·         Safeguarding adults – Ann Craft Trust

·         Managing health and safety

·         Running a safe sports club – Health and Safety Executive

·         Business rates

·         Tax and community organisations

·         Insurance and legal obligations of community sport

·         Insurance - NCVO

·         Volunteering law

·         The essentials of employing people

Last modified: Monday, 4 September 2023, 2:19 PM