Mike's eNews January 2017

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Mike's eNews January 2017

Post by Administrator » Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:00 pm

A bit of a mixed bag this month but hopefully you will be able to pick out the bits that interest you or that you feel you might need to read and skip the rest!

Thank You!

I realise we are now well into 2017 – it seems like an age since the Xmas/NY break – but I’d like to thank you all for your hard work and commitment to orienteering during 2016. Quite simply orienteering would collapse if you and other volunteers stopped doing the things you do for the sport.

2016 was a momentous year for British Orienteering. The Board, volunteers working at national level, staff and members that took a keen interest in British Orienteering, reflected on our progress in developing orienteering. We’ve looked in depth at what has been achieved, what we want to achieve, what resources we have, how partners might help us and how we can help our partners.

We’ve understood in stark terms how dependent on funding we’ve become and have taken steps to change British Orienteering mode of operating so that we all understand and have clarity on the work that members and participants fund. The Board made the major decision that funding will only be sought where it aligns closely with our strategic plan.

So, a big THANK YOU for 2016 and I hope you all feel motivated to keep up your good work in 2017.

Mapping Awards

We’re now seeking nominations for our mapping awards. The following awards are for maps first used in competition during 2016. To be eligible, maps should be of new areas or significant extensions/major revisions to existing maps. Submissions should state briefly the mapper involvement.

Chichester Trophy Presented for the best map by an amateur mapper.

Silva Trophy Presented for the best map produced by professional mappers.

Walsh Trophy Presented for the best urban or sprint map.

The map awards for 2016 will be decided on submissions provided by clubs and mappers. The judges are Steve Barrett, Colin Hicks and Tony Thornley. The scoring is based on specification, cartography and presentation.

Please send electronic copies of maps, preferably either pdf or OCAD files with the nomination form to be found on the web to mapchair@britishorienteering.org.uk.

Bonington Trophy This trophy was donated to British Orienteering by its honorary President, Sir Chris Bonington, the world-famous mountaineer. The trophy consists of a piece of rock collected from the summit of Mount Everest on Chris' 1985 expedition, mounted on a wooden plinth. It is awarded annually for the 'best contribution to mapping' which can cover a whole range of activities related to mapping

People making submissions for the Bonington Trophy should use the nomination form in the web news item and send it to mapchair@britishorienteering.org.uk.

Entries must be submitted before Monday 27th February 2016.

Strategic Plan

We now have a new strategic plan and are commencing a short period of consultation with our associations, clubs and members regarding the plan. The aim of the consultation will be to determine the extent to which the Board’s priorities align with those of clubs and associations. It will also be an opportunity to determine to what extent clubs, associations and members will be prepared to help us implement the plan and how.

Speaking personally the work to develop the plan was significant but very motivating as it was an opportunity to look at all that has been achieved in the 8 or so years leading up to 2016, what mistakes have been made, what we could do better and what we are trying to achieve.

Our high level action plan in rolling out our strategic work is:

To consult with our associations, clubs and members regarding the plan, as stated above.End Jan 2017
To consider how the strategic plan can be resourced which continues to raise queries regarding commercial opportunities and activity.March 2017
To refine the functions/services required of British Orienteering as the National Governing Body for orienteering that can be delivered through self-funding and in a sustainable manner.Feb 2017
To review the steering group and committee structure of British Orienteering to reflect the needs of our strategic plan.Jun 2017
To finalise the staffing structure and clarify the staff positions that are delivering the core role and functions of the governing body and those staff that are involved in delivering government funded contracts. There was strong agreement that the staff structure that is delivering the core role and functions of the governing body should be self-funding and sustainable.Jan 2017
To establish work programmes and an operational plan for 2017.Jan/Feb 2017


I’ll try and update you as much as I can about our current funding position.

First the known position, Sport Northern Ireland (SNI) have agreed funding for the Active Clubs programme in Northern Ireland and this means there will be a full time Active Clubs Coordinator for the next two-year period. Unfortunately, SNI did not agree to fund the two positions requested. Additionally, the SNI funded ‘Performance Focus’ programme will sadly be coming to an end on 31 March 2017.

Sport England’s funding position is even more challenging as you may be aware:

‘Talent’ funding has been drastically reduced from £711,000 for the period 2013/17 to £266,000 for 2017/21 and confirmation has been given that talent funding will cease for orienteering in 2021.
The ‘Core’ funding decision has been deferred until Sport England Board meet in February. For the record, ‘increasing participation’ funding for 2013/17 was £1,589,000 and this programme and funding stream ceases after 31 March 2017.Our funding submission was for £911,000 for the 4-year period 2017/21. Even in the best case scenario where we are awarded the funding we have requested this is a significant reduction. It is possible that we will be able to make submissions for funding to other funding streams although that remains unclear at the moment.

So, as far as funding goes, we should understand our position by the middle of February but even at best we will be seeing a significant reduction in funding and resources.


The Board has agreed that British Orienteering generated funds (membership, levy, etc) should fund a staff structure capable of delivering the basic services of a National Governing Body of sport and not depend on government funding to deliver these services and positions. The vote at the EGM and the feedback received indicated that members are understanding and accepting of this in the main.

After the decision taken at the EGM to increase membership fees and levy (BIG, BIG thank you), the Board has allocated a maximum of £181,000 in 2017 for staff salaries including on-costs. This amount includes a recharge of £47,000 in quarter 1 against Sport England funds. In a ‘normal’ year this equates to salary and on-cost expenditure of £160,000 per year on salaries of a ‘core services’ workforce. The Board is considering the workforce structure that it considers is affordable and can best deliver the functions and services required of British Orienteering. The Board has in mind a staff structure that fits these parameters but is still considering options regarding the pros and cons of full time or part time positions.

As stated previously Sport Northern Ireland’s (SNI) funding position is now known and funding is available for a full time Active Clubs Coordinator for the next two-year period. Sadly, the SNI ‘Performance Focus’ funded programme comes to an end on 31 March 2017 and this means, very sadly, that the position of Coach & Talent Development Officer is likely to cease after 31 March 2017 unless other funding sources can be found.

In Northern Ireland, Juls Hanvey has been appointed as a direct replacement for Connor Fadian who late last year found employment elsewhere. Juls is now the NI Active Clubs Coordinator and commenced work in mid-January.

The board have asked me to plan for various contingencies based on the Sport England funding scenario. Once we know the outcome of our submission for Sport England ‘Core’ funding I’ll be starting conversations with members of staff that may be affected by the funding decision.

Speaking personally and on behalf of the Board I know we would like to be in a position to control and manage our own destiny regarding our work programmes and workforce structure. You will appreciate that this is a dream at the moment; reality dictates that we are dependent on government funding to finance much of the work that enhances our core services along with the workforce structure to deliver any contracted work.

The good news is that Sport England has now confirmed that our financial position rating has been changed from ‘Red’ to ‘Amber’ and that they are satisfied that British Orienteering is in a position where any funding awarded will be used as it should be and if awarded would not be ‘at risk’. I have to admit to being frustrated at Sport England for having raised these doubts at a time when we have had several audits confirming we are a solid ‘going concern’. If anyone is interested and wants to have a look at the papers produced to convince Sport England, please let me know.

Record Keeping

I’ve had a couple of queries about record keeping from members working in various capacities at clubs.

Individual adults are able to make a claim for an alleged injury or property damage for up to 3 year and 3 months. Therefore, as a minimum, records should be kept on file for this period. Generally, we recommend maintaining records for 5 years (to make it easier to prove if an incident is “out of date” for a valid claim).

You should note that minors are able to claim up to their 18th birthday + 3 years 3 months, consequently you will need to make a value judgement about the keeping of records specifically involving minors and groups of minors. If there are potential incidents involving junior members/volunteers, you should assess and handle on an individual basis and store them accordingly. I’d love to be able to give you a simple solution to this but it’s not realistic unless you want to keep records for a prolonged period possibly as long as 15 years.
Women in Orienteering

British Orienteering have identified the area of women’s participation in orienteering as a priority area of work and are seeking to look further into this area over the next few months by conducting some research.

The aim of the research is to identify why women typically take up orienteering later than males, and also stop participating sooner. The research is required as although there is a relatively strong gender balance within the sport, in both terms of membership and participation (60:40 male:female), when returning to the sport in the mid 30’s women typically start later than their male counterparts. In addition, once people start to drop out from the sport again around their mid-50’s, women tend to drop out sooner than their male counterparts.

The initial research will the take the format of a questionnaire to help to identify some of the key themes to women’s participation in orienteering. We are seeking responses to the questionnaire from females who participate in any form of orienteering or those who used to participate and now no longer do so. Those completing the questionnaire and providing an email address will be entered into a prize draw to win a £20 Amazon voucher. The closing date for the questionnaire is Wednesday 1st February at 5pm. The link to the questionnaire can be found here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/QW958YR

Following the questionnaire British Orienteering will be seeking to identify and speak to individual females in an interview format, regarding their own personal experiences in orienteering.

The final data collection will take the form of focus groups, and will aim to develop recommendations for changes that could be made to increase earlier take up and/or reduce drop out from orienteering.

All the findings of the research will be typed up into a report that will be later made available.

If you would like to discuss any of this in more detail, please contact Rachel Atherton on ratherton@britishorienteering.org.uk

Web Development

Changes to the web site are progressing rapidly behind the scenes. Whilst this work goes on there are a number of urgent changes to the current web site that have been delayed and I’d like to apologise for this. Hopefully we will be in a position to catch up with some of these changes fairly soon.

The changes in progress will make a number of significant improvements to the web site, including:

A public facing web site that will be simple and contain only the information and news relevant to a non-member of the public; the language will be modern and text minimal, it should be welcoming and friendly
A portal that will provide people interested in orienteering with news, event and results and include a log in for members
Members log in area that will contain a dashboard summarising your participation and involvement with orienteering; it will also contain a library of documents that may be of interest to you

The feel of the web site should be more modern, more minimalist and easier to navigate whilst enabling those members interested in volunteering such as coaching and staging events etc with access to the various resources that should make your life easier.

This work is progressing well and we hope to be making the switch to the new web site during March/April.

As usual we are trying to make the most of funding that is available and the majority of the work will be at no cost to members and participants.

There will be more detailed information about the web site development as work progresses.

Event Officials Registering Events

In order to standardise some data, we will be changing the way that event start/end times are entered.

Times are currently entered in an optional free text field. Examples of the kind of text entered include:

"Registration 10 - 11am, Starts 10.30am - 1200"

"Registration from 6.30: Mass start at 7.00"

"All day"

In order to provide a consistently formatted start and end time, we need to restructure the field. We will be moving to:

Add a mandatory time field (HH:MM) for the start time
Add a mandatory time field for the end time
Retain the optional free text field for more detailed/user-friendly time information

Hopefully this will not cause anyone any problems.

We are working with a number of agencies that will use our event data to promote orienteering events and activities, for instance the BBC ‘Get inspired’ programme. The benefit to us is that this should provide an improved promoting of our events at zero cost.

The down side is that people registering the events and activities need to ensure the information is understandable to the general public! So orienteering jargon is to be avoided and terms used that a member of the public could understand.

A part of this will be the relabelling of our event levels to the following:

Level A Will become ‘Major Events’

Level B ‘National Events’

Level C ‘Regional Events’

Level D ‘Local Events’

This is a presentation change only and does not alter the structure of events. It should be more friendly for non-orienteers to understand as local, regional, national and major events are used across many sports.


An updated version of O-Safe has been published which includes:

Inclusion of the changed ‘Images & Image Taking’ regulations and guidance
Some changes relating to the change in law that have taken place recently

Happily, there are no new major changes however this publication does bring together the various changes that have taken place over the last year into a single document.

Best wishes,


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