31st October 2019

Update from the Chair

Dear Members, 

Refreshed by the summer break, inspired by members at the club conference and buoyed by the presence of staff, the Board met in September to hear updates on current work areas, potential changes to strategy and of progress made on key issues since the conference.

Approach to funding bid preparation, safeguarding, GDPR, accountancy service provision, individual registrations, beach handball and referee support were all discussed.

Presentations were made to Mr David Meli in recognition of his valuable work as the first CEO of England Handball. David’s accolades and achievements were celebrated with staff and the Board after the meeting. A warm welcome was extended to Mr Mike Bain, CEO-elect. 


Management Team Updates

Coaching & Workforce

Miriam Beales led with Coaching and Workforce and provoked a wide ranging discussion. This encompassed course delivery, integrity of information, the value of understanding member needs, the advantage of insight derived from fellow governing bodies, opportunities offered by technology and possible gains from developing planning.

To support course delivery and robust operation the CEO-elect suggested raising levels of engagement earlier than current practice. He pointed to the possible advantages of an annual calendar encompassing training dates, membership events and competition timetable so members have complete visibility on all events before selecting training options. Follow-up discussions will ensue. 


Bobby White led a discussion on performance in which he reported on the Diploma In Sporting Excellence (DISE) programme, progress towards the 2017-21 strategy and informed on financial costs to players, performance standards and targets for the next 12 months.

He reported strong recruitment for this year’s programme, gave positive reviews for each venue and highlighted different exit strategies for players. The Board was keen to know if progress had been made on the workforce, operational and location issues raised at the club conference and how the success of the programme could be more widely communicated. Reassurance will be given directly on the issues raised and success stories from each region will be collated and shared. 


Stacey Andrews reported on the wide-ranging work of the partnerships team. Stacey highlighted the Pro-active clubs programme, helping clubs achieve external funding, supporting outreach in the community and a survey of clubs. The low Pro-Active Club accreditation levels raised interest and the Board asked questions to gain understanding of the barriers to certification.

The value of capturing the inspirational work of members in local communities was highlighted by the Board. The importance of sharing successful events internally with other clubs to encourage replication and scaling was emphasised.

The CEO-elect confirmed that national funding support via third party funding was high on the agenda and would be discussed at regional club meetings in November. Targets for Board and staff members in achieving Pro-active club status were set. The Board agreed they would like to understand the club survey process, what the response rate is and emphasised the importance of delivering a consistent communication message. 

Marketing & Communications

The CEO-elect led the discussion on marketing and communications. A key discussion point was how England Handball can use marketing nationally to support what is happening at a local level. A brief discussion on producing short video content highlighting the excitement of handball which could be used across social media channels took place. How to utilise local marketing support to bring focus on club content, promotion and the potential to live stream more handball matches were identified as current topics of consideration. 


John Pearce led a discussion on competitions and events. Discussion topics included combining competitions to create a major event, accreditation for Handball as a ‘recognised’ BUCS sport and league restructuring. The Board agreed that creating a large event would be valuable for marketing, budget and organisational considerations and that BUCS status needs to be achieved to facilitate growth of the sport in the higher education sector. The Board noted the development of clubs staging small scale tournaments, the disappointing National Cup viewing figures and look forward to receiving detail of league restructuring proposals. 

Approach to Sport England Funding Bid Preparation

The government’s “Sporting Future” strategy published in December 2015 marked the biggest shift in government policy on sport for more than a decade. In May 2016 Sport England launched a new investment strategy in response which focused on the benefits sport can bring to people, and to society, built around a simple set of outcomes: physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing, individual development, social and community development and economic development.  The CEO advised there may be a greater focus on social outcomes in the future. The CEO-elect suggested there is a good opportunity within the next year to develop pilot projects in the community to demonstrate movement towards this goal. Board members suggested promoting everything that has already been achieved with funding when pitching future aims and highlighted the diversity of England Handball’s membership. The value of creating a working group to develop strategy for the funding bid was put forward. The CEO-elect suggested community pilots should be funded in the next 12 months as a priority. Data from the pilots will help drive direction and provide insight into what social impact England Handball can have. The Board agreed that demonstrating the impact of community cohesion and social impact through Handball would be valuable. 

Other Items


There are no current live cases and club ‘dip tests’ are continuing. The CEO shared some detail of the recent CPSU review and the induction process to the safeguarding disciplinary group was discussed. 


The CEO outlined the ongoing development of GDPR documentation. GDPR is an item on the risk register which is reviewed at every Board meeting. Current documentation will be supported with a regular review process and the Board agreed the current risk status. 

Accountancy Service Provision

The Board agreed to support the CEO-elect’s recommendation of a new accountancy service provider. Additional quotes for annual audit service provision are being sought. 

Individual Registration Process

The CEO spoke of the benefits to individual members, club administrators and England Handball of moving to individual registration. He confirmed there would be no significant financial impact to England Handball regarding this variation. The Board agreed that communication of the change including the benefits to members, must be thoroughly explained to the membership. The action was agreed for the National Partnerships Manager at the November club meetings.

 Beach Handball

The Board discussed what more could be offered in terms of support for Beach Handball events. It was suggested that these tournaments could be an additional focus for England Handball as events are running in isolation at the moment. Tourism grants may be a new source of income to support tournaments. It was agreed further consideration should be given to Beach Handball. 


The CEO reported that all referees are now signed up as England Handball members and are covered by insurance and the safeguarding standard. The Board welcomed this news.  The Board discussed the current relationship with referees and agreed on the usefulness of a document supported by both sides which clearly details the relationship between the Referee’s Association and England Handball. Discussions moved to consider how referees can be supported to uphold the safeguarding standard and the Board agreed to consider this further. 


Coaching & Workforce

Going forward, workforce development plans should link directly to business objectives.70% of the Level 2 Referee’s Award content has been transferred to the e-learning platform. The learning programme is being finalised with a view to launch at the end of September.


New partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University. Two Level 1 coaching courses being delivered, volunteer deployment opportunities being offered at Trafford and Hawks HCs.

Eight clubs have affiliated new senior teams for the first time this season (more juniors to follow). 


Lead Performance Coaches for Girls/Boys have been appointed and are supporting development/evolution of coaching programmes. 

Regional Academy Camp delivered, 90+ athletes in attendance. Level 1 coaching & refereeing assessments completed. 

Marketing and Communications

The importance of making sure the marketing vacancy is properly considered and developed in line with business strategies moving forward is recognised. Marketing, communications and digital strategies will be brought forward in due course.


Fixtures for Premier and National Leagues being uploaded by teams, everything ready to start the season. Halls booked and draft usage prepared for all youth club competitions.   


As the first Chief Executive Officer of England Handball David Meli transformed the governance structure of the organisation through policy development, effecting operational reform and promoting discourse with the membership, board and staff.

David achieved a quantum leap in participation in England Handball school competitions by securing a place for the sport in the School Games programme. In a competitive tender process David maintained Sport England investment levels while working in uncharted territory to new investment guidelines. He secured additional funding from the European and International Handball Federations and won further awards from Sport England to develop the commercial function of the organisation. 

Through reform of the staff structure David facilitated the first England Handball club youth handball competitions which led to a significant change in the membership demographic. Last season 44 clubs entered 155 teams in England Handball competitions. 47% of clubs had youth and adult teams, 52% of all teams were youth teams, 77% of clubs had female and male teams and the average number of teams per club was 3.5.

On behalf of the Board and membership I would like to congratulate David on his achievements, thank him for his help creating firm foundations for the sport and wish him every success with his new ventures.  


I assure you of the Board’s commitment to openness, transparency, finding solutions to arising issues and service improvement.

Thank you to the staff team for your dedication, diligence and progress in delivering the strategy. I commend the minutes of the September Board meeting to you which will shortly be available on the England Handball website.

I welcome feedback via: feedback@englandhandball.com 

Thank you for your support.

Tracy Watkinson

Posted in England Handball Association