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THE IMPACT OF GAINING CLUBMARK ACCREDITATION ON SPORTS CLUB VOLUNTEERS – A PILOT STUDY Geoff Nichols, University of Sheffield Annabel Faulkner, University.

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Presentation on theme: "THE IMPACT OF GAINING CLUBMARK ACCREDITATION ON SPORTS CLUB VOLUNTEERS – A PILOT STUDY Geoff Nichols, University of Sheffield Annabel Faulkner, University."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE IMPACT OF GAINING CLUBMARK ACCREDITATION ON SPORTS CLUB VOLUNTEERS – A PILOT STUDY Geoff Nichols, University of Sheffield Annabel Faulkner, University of Sheffield September

2 Sport England’s Clubmark September ‘licensing’ system for clubs with junior participants defined standards across: Activity/playing programmes; Duty of care and welfare; Knowing your club and its community; Club management. Introduced in 2002 By August 2013, 11,711 clubs had obtained it and 3972 were working towards it. Clubmark requires reassessment every 3 or 4 years.

3 The potential impact of ‘Clubmark’ accreditation on sports club volunteers As part of a professionalization – increase of formality Formalization - the extent to which “written rules, procedures and instructions are developed in an organization...” (Adler & Borys, 1996). Eg. role descriptions independent of the personal attributes of volunteers or relations between volunteers. Context of formal – informal clubs Eg of volunteers in grassroots organizations September

4 Positive impacts of obtaining Clubmark and increased formality on volunteers? September Easier to recruit volunteers as - more formal role descriptions make the f roles clearer. Clubs think strategically about the work of volunteers to do and its organization Additional requirements of volunteer roles are a source of satisfaction and personal development. Improved organization and improved public image helps recruit more junior members. This success has in turn motivated volunteers and provided a new source of volunteer parents. Overall a positive impact might be putting the club on an upward trajectory

5 Negative impacts of obtaining Clubmark and increased formality on volunteers? Administrative burden - falls disproportionately on a few volunteers. extra burdens of time and cost on volunteers. Costs passed on to participants. Volunteers demotivated by being ‘held to account’ by formal role descriptions. Formalization of roles between volunteers strains personal relationships. In general, greater formalization is demotivating because it corresponds to a style of management associated with paid employment, and volunteers want a contrast from this. May require club to adopt and promote Sport England policies which; while it does not disagree with; neither does it see as a major objective of the club. These contrasting impacts can be thought of as research hypotheses, but are very broad because this is an exploratory study. Of course – this assumes that clubs gaining Clubmark do actually attain the Clubmark criteria, rather than just ‘ticking the boxes’. September

6 Methods Interviews were conducted with three clubs who had attained Clubmark, one club which had decided not to apply for Clubmark, and three sport specific regional development officers who had experience of guiding clubs through the process. Schedule to explore impacts of Clubmark application and award Open themes – exploratory approach September

7 Results Improved access to funding Preferential treatment of NGBs and LAs Improved credibility with parents A badge of credibility – but depends on competition and roots in local community Promoting volunteering Maybe – but most are parents and members anyway, already joined Increasing membership upward trajectory anyway – cause or effect? September

8 Results The impact of a child friendly club culture Focus on young people’s enjoyment – or competition A bureaucratic burden of increased administration time. ‘ a massive amount of work as you can imagine when you 1st do it’, ‘the biggest problem was the amount of work that was necessary, so we had to get people who were willing to … do that work’ and ‘you don’t get many admin volunteers’ three inch thick file of notes The distribution of administration and the internal dynamics of volunteer management 1 or 2 key people, but need the club behind it, formal – informal split in the club, efforts focused – but risk of knowledge lost. September

9 Results The cost of Clubmark – who pays? E.g. football, one level 1 coach per team, £165 per coach training; safeguarding course (£25), first aid course (£25), CRB check (£13) – thus £228 per coach. Paid through kids subs! On a roll – Clubmark as part of momentum towards change. Clubs going for it – are those on the way anyway… September

10 Implications Assistance through club mentoring- need realistic expectations Do the kids have to pay for it? A polarization of clubs by formality and by sport Clubmark attracts more members, more grants to improve facilities, further NGB support, SE support due to focus on juniors. No Clubmark because: too small to develop a junior section, not enough enough volunteers to lead the accreditation process; don’t have a junior section (for example, Didsbury hockey club in Manchester has 10 adult teams but no juniors), sports where the average club is small (eg netball); clubs where the NGB is not rich enough to provide a supporting network of SDOs; clubs who just favour informality! September

11 Thank you for listening Any Questions? Geoff Nichols, University of Sheffield Annabel Faulkner, Student Research Assistant September


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