7th August 2019

Update from the Chair

Dear Members,

Appointment of new CEO

Following completion of a recruitment process through which more than 90 applications were assessed, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Mike Bain as our next Chief Executive. Mike will be joining us from BMB Agency where he has been Planning Director responsible for developing global marketing delivery plans for a number of household brands.

Prior to BMB, Mike was Community Director for the Lawn Tennis Association and Tennis Foundation, where he led the national engagement programme with 54 tennis and leisure facilities across the UK. He also helped to secure external funding of more than £2million to support local delivery through grant funding and sponsorship.

Mike also spent four years as Director of the National Tennis Centre overseeing growth in junior competition from 16,000 to 65,000 in three years. In addition, Mike served as Chief Executive at Bolton Arena for three years where he developed a sponsorship model that generated over £1million of additional income.

Mike will commence his role with England Handball on 2nd September.


Looking forward to building on the rich feedback received at the Club Conference directors met in London for the July Board meeting.

Membership Administration, Planning for Strategy Development and Club Conference Feedback were set as key discussion items. Updates on safeguarding, coaching strategy and the ongoing work with referees had been scheduled. Changes to financial administration were confirmed.

Membership Administration

The Board discussed a proposal to move to an individual-based membership structure. The proposal contends the current club-based model does not “best serve” the needs of England Handball or individual club members. Directors are keen to understand the risks, benefits and full implications of the proposal.

GDPR compliance, accurate data and the ability to contact individuals directly to develop a range membership options that are tailored to our diverse handball community were sited as benefits for England Handball. Consequential effects for clubs, office staff and match management were identified.

The need to thoroughly consult with clubs and understand what their key pressure points will be was emphasised. The importance of having a robust business case to fully explain why this is being proposed was highlighted. The CEO was charged to consult with clubs and build the business case.

Planning for Strategy Development

An in-depth discussion around the timings of Board meetings in relation to strategy development and funding bid submission deadlines for 2021-2025 was had. Providing orientation time for the in-coming CEO, the importance of a strong handover plan and decoupling awards from the Club Conference were discussion subjects.

The CEO was asked to assign a leader to each project stream and to invite the management team to the September Board meeting as part of preparations for the CEO handover. Dates, venues and timings of all Board meetings from September 2019 to December 2020 were agreed.

Club Conference Feedback

Interactions with Partnership Managers, Regional Academy operation and discussion content from the Club Conference formed focus points.

Competition proposals had dominated the attention of the majority of attendees at the afternoon session. More discussion group sessions and fewer presentations were called for in future by the members attending. The CEO was asked to choose a date on which content proposals for the next Club Conference can be considered.

Records of Partnership Manager meetings with clubs were requested and the CEO was asked to start proactive communication on all channels reminding members & clubs what Partnership Managers do, and who they are.

The recruitment of academy coaches was added to the issues/action log along with data analytics for regional academy participants. The importance of communication with clubs was stressed and a request for the CEO to contact clubs clarifying the Club Conference feedback being acted upon and the actions being taken was made. November club meetings were highlighted as a time for clubs to receive progress reports.

Other Items

Protections and safeguarding of referees was discussed. Referee safeguarding standards was added to the risk register and issues/actions log. The CEO was asked to ensure referees sign up to a Referee’s Safeguarding Standard and directors volunteered for the Safeguarding Committee.

The second Coaching strategy meeting will be held shortly to develop current state understanding. A discussion took place around the audit timings for this year and the issues that arose.

The CEO was asked to give notice to the accountants and begin exploring the case for compensation. The Board agreed to use different companies to perform account management and audit function in the future. A tender process will be initiated.

CEO Report

Coaching & Workforce 

  • Online referee rules test in pilot phase. Once completed and updated with the new rules this will be used as part of the pre-season referee meeting alongside fitness tests
  • A new L2 course for referees is currently being developed and also a revised version of the coaching L2 course that will enable to hopefully deliver more courses than are currently available.


  • Currently working with a range of partners across the country regarding delivery of primary school festivals, including a primary offer with London Youth Games to roll out in the next academic year.
  • Early work with clubs on the delivery of the informal junior and senior Rec-It tournaments has seen a number of new clubs already take part and more events have been arranged for September.


  • DiSE applications closed. 20 Girls identified. 19 Boys identified with final place being confirmed at RA camp as further assessment required. Up to 14 potential offers for 1-year extension to RA attendance have been offered to those players who have not been awarded DiSE places
  • Regional Academy Camp in July will have Futures teams embedded into the structure to prepare for Generation Cup trip to Denmark and will also include final Regional Academy Level 1 coaching assessments.

Marketing & Communications 

  • Finalising the introduction of Flock as a communications tool for clubs to support better interaction at a local level. Flock is a team communications and sharing tool.
  • Following the closing of the EHA Shop, a new webpage has been made live to point customers directly to our main suppliers for all their handball kit and equipment. This has been promoted on social media.

Competitions & Events 

  • New season fixtures for Premier League and National league have been issued and registration is now open for all senior teams.
  • New online system – AssignR – will be introduced for the new season to support the nomination and allocation of referees for matches. It is a three way facing system that should improve the communication between clubs, referees and the EHA.  

Achievement of/progress towards handball development targets 

  • Partnership Managers supported the delivery of handball festivals in Kent, Hampshire and Hertfordshire with over 120 primary schools engaging across the three events. ·
  • Exceeded Yr 2 targets for the number of coaching courses organised (91 against a target of 90) and the number of people qualified (1274 against a target of 1260).
  • Exceeded Yr 2 target for non-Sport England funding (62% against 60%) as part of our total turnover.
  • Work currently being undertaken to move more of the theoretical content of coaching courses over to the E-learning platform to make them easier and more cost effective for learners to access.

I assure you of the Board’s commitment to openness and transparency, finding solutions to arising issues and improving service. Thank you to the CEO and staff team for their diligence this year and care in preparations for 2019-20.

I commend the minutes of the July Board meeting to you which will be available shortly on the England Handball website. I welcome feedback via: feedback@englandhandball.com

Thank you for your support.

Posted in England Handball Association