8th May 2019

Update from the Chair

Dear Members, 

The board had the privilege of holding the March meeting in the grounds of the iconic Stoke Mandeville hospital alongside the Girls and Boys U16 National Cup quarter and semi-finals. The board looked forward to considering safeguarding further, approving the 2019-20 budget proposal and progressing the review of governance.

Please find below some more details on what we discussed, and I look forward to seeing you at the National Cup Finals on Saturday in Derby, where we will be holding the May Board meeting. 


The board received training from the Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) and discussed implementation of the new England Handball Safeguarding Standard. The framework of Duty of Care, and distinction between Safeguarding and Child Protection was clearly explained in the training session and information to help directors understand the role of the board and the expectations of funded bodies who have achieved Advanced Standard for Safeguarding status was given. Directors were reminded of statutory requirements on safeguarding laid down in the Code for Sports Governance and of the resources available on Sport England’s “Club Matters” website. The benefits of the “Clubmark” accreditation scheme were highlighted. 

Directors were tested on their safeguarding knowledge and informed of the National Framework for Safeguarding and Protecting Children. Directors received guidance and updates on legislation, advice for developing “Standards for Safeguarding & Protecting Children in Sport” and information on how to maintain standards through a “Sports Safeguarding Framework.”  Key safeguarding considerations at events were examined, the Sport’s Event Management tool developed by CPSU was recommended and free NSPCC safeguarding resources highlighted.  

In the Safeguarding agenda item the board considered the implementation of the new England Handball Safeguarding Standard. Consistency between policy, procedure, operational practice and key documents all featured in further examination of the standard. The importance of reporting, data collection and feedback was stressed. Communicating back to clubs the follow-up actions from the standard was highlighted as a priority. The board reflected on the training received and the CEO was asked to refine the evidence capture document. 

2019-20 Budget

Workforce development, strategy appraisal, review of risk ratings, bid preparation for future funding application plus the priority items of safeguarding, stakeholder engagement, governance and data metrics were subjects raised in budget discussions at the January board meeting. Being happy with reserves, acknowledging resource requirements but mindful of the differing needs of regions, common need for facilities and the imperative to make progress to reduced reliance on government grants, the board had asked for a readjusted budget. 

The Chair thanked the CEO for the new presentation and directors continued to raise questions to fully understand the objectives, use and impact of funding received from the European and International Handball Federations. The budget was approved from the standpoint that there will be no further sources of income and the CEO was asked to share IHF bid documentation and to incorporate linkage of IHF funding in the budget document. 

Governance Review

Continuing to work between board meetings a small group of directors and the CEO met to discuss terms of reference and method of mobilisation for structures to support the board. A brief of defining purpose, outputs, reporting, accountability and associated budgets was assigned. 

Following rigorous investigation, examination and dissemination of requirement informed by the needs of the sport, sector regulation and a desire to develop robust, efficient, effective, continually compliant governance structures for Handball, the board agreed to strengthen the Audit Committee. 

CEO Report

Coaching & Workforce

  • As part of a partnership with the university, students from UCLAN have supported the delivery of L2 & L3 school competitions in Lancashire, including officiating and event management.  The plan is to replicate similar partnerships across the country to also include links with clubs.
  • Organised and delivered a CPD event focused on goalkeeping with Mattias Andersson - Olympic Silver Medal 2012 and Champions League winner who is now coaching at THW Kiel and for the Austrian National Team. The sessions were attended by more than 40 goalkeepers and coaches from across the country. Investigating the potential to offer similar events in the future. 


  • A total of eight clubs have recently achieved, or are working towards, ProActive Club status, including Liverpool, Newcastle, Pennisula, Birmingham and Bideford.  Supported by members of the Partnerships Team, this has involved the completion of specific projects, submission of club information and a review of current provision.
  • Positive meetings have been held with the operators of the facility at Belle Vue in Manchester to establish additional handball activity at the venue.  Two of our major clubs, Warrington Wolves and NEM Hawks, are keen to make use of the courts for training/matches which will also offer space for EHA competitions.


  • The latest Performance camp was held on 23rd/24th March at Stoke Mandeville Stadium.  This included GB Men & Women Senior squads, GBMU20 & U18 squads, England U16 Futures & DiSE activity all taking place in one location.  This provided activity for over 100 players and coaching staff from across the talent pathway.
  • Our submission to Sport England for starters on the next cohort of the DiSE programme in Sept 2019 was completed and presented at the beginning of March.  We are seeking 40 places that will be split equally between boys and girls to enable us to run two squads.  We should hear the outcome of the assessment in early May.

Marketing & Communications

  • Work starting on a new digital and social media strategy to incorporate our range of platforms and to seek to bring a new and more vibrant approach to our publicity and promotion.  Looking to work with a range of partners to help build on our current delivery and to continue to drive creation of more content.
  • Completing the final test stage of a new communication tool called Flock which will enable us to further develop engagement with our member clubs.  The system will be used to seek feedback, open dialogue on different topics, deliver information on key activities and also allow clubs to engage with each other.

Competitions & Events

  • League Webex meetings took place in March to update clubs, and to seek their feedback, on possible changes to competition structures.  Some really interesting discussions and ideas which are being collated and will be sent out to clubs by mid-April for further discussion at the conference on 22nd June.
  • Planning currently underway to finalise the competition calendar for 2019/20.  A lot of competitions and handball activity to include but the final version should be available by the end of June once structures and delivery schedule have been agreed. 

Data Analytics

  • We have exceeded our target for the year in terms of the number of registered members – 2833 actual against a target of 2680.
  • Delivered 85 coaching and leadership courses to the end of Feb against a target of 90 for the year to the end of March.
  • Our percentage of non-Sport England funding is currently at 62%, ahead of our target of 60%. 

Looking Forward

Preparations for the England Handball Club Conference and AGM on Saturday 22nd June are well under way and I look forward to meeting you there to review the year, plan for the future and celebrate this year’s achievements. I reassure you of the board’s commitment to openness, transparency and accountability, commend the minutes of the March board meeting to you and invite you to send your feedback to: feedback@englandhandball.com 

Thank you for your support. 

Tracy Watkinson

Chair of England Handball

Posted in England Handball Association