World Sailing’s Board has received and unanimously approved the first report from World Sailing’s Governance Commission at its meeting on 23 July 2018.
World Sailing, the world governing body of the sport, is undertaking a governance review and the meeting marks another step on World Sailing’s governance modernisation plan.
The Governance Commission is independently chaired by Maria Clarke, a sports lawyer and sports governance expert. The rest of the Commission brings together people from all the sailing continents including Vice President Jan Dawson, Philip Baum, Malav Shroff, Sarah Treseder and Luis Velasco. They each serve the Commission in their personal capacities rather than as representatives of any particular stakeholder.
Following its first two-day meeting, the Commission reported to the Board on its objectives, principles, proposed programme of work and timetable for approval. The Commission also reported on the initial feedback it had received from Board members, Council members and some other stakeholders, noting that it proposed more detailed and through consultation with all national federations, classes and other stakeholders in its work.
The Board fully supported the Commission’s conclusion that there is a profound and compelling need to change the governance structure of World Sailing. The Board agreed that without improvements to its governance by the end of 2019, World Sailing faces a significant risk of losing credibility and influence, declining interest and membership in sailing federations, and an inability to effectively and efficiently deliver on its strategy, including developing the sport.
The Board approved the objectives for the governance review, proposed by the Commission, which include:
- – Improving the level of engagement and participation in decision making by members and other stakeholders including active sailors;
- – Ensuring more timely, efficient, and quality decision making processes that are better able to respond to innovation and change;
- – Attracting and retaining a skilled and diverse range of people to contribute to decision making including people of different ages, gender as well as a greater voice from the sailors;
- – Ensuring World Sailing and its members have and uphold high standards of integrity and trust including improving the transparency of its decisions;
- – Having clear roles and responsibilities for the various decision making positions and bodies within World Sailing including the interface between them; and,
- – Being clear on who should be the members of World Sailing and the procedures for engagement with them in its decision-making.
The Board also approved the seven key areas for review, which the Commission has proposed, to achieve these objectives:
- Engagement – The Commission will consider how to better ensure regular and active engagement and participation by members and other stakeholders at all levels of decision-making including reviewing the composition of the Board, Council, committees, AGM as well as informal decision-making processes.
- Decision-making processes – The process for Members making submissions to Council will be reviewed as well as considering other efficiencies which can be achieved in the decision making process.
- People –The Commission will look at the process for nomination, election and appointment of people to positions within World Sailing; term limits and other mechanisms to improve the diversity of people in decision-making roles in World Sailing including their gender, age, geographical spread and a greater voice from sailors.
- Integrity – Standards of conduct, including better management of conflicts of interest, and more independent disciplinary structures will be considered
- Roles and Responsibilities – The Commission will review the roles and responsibilities of the AGM, Council, Board, Committees, President, Vice Presidents, and CEO, including clarifying the issues each body is to decide and whether all these bodies are required. The composition of each body and the voting structure will be reviewed.
- Membership – The Commission will review who should be the members of World Sailing and what rights and obligations should they have, including voting rights.
- Transparency- The process for communicating decisions and the performance of World Sailing to both members and the wider public will be reviewed.
The Commission will shortly be seeking views on these areas from Member National Authorities, Class Associations and other stakeholders. It will meet again in September to consider, in more detail, possible options for changes to the governance structure.
The Commission will report on its progress, and consult further, in November 2018 with World Sailing’s stakeholders at the 2018 Annual Conference in Sarasota, USA.
The Commission expects to then further develop detailed proposals on which it intends to consult widely in April/May 2019, with a view to proposing any changes to the Constitution and Regulations at the Annual General Meeting in November 2019.