Rules N&UEL – London Borough (of) Newham Swimming Club as at 1st April 2007
1.1 The name of club shall be the London Borough of Newham Swimming Club (LBNSC) and may also be seen as Newham Swimming Club.
2.1 The objects of LBNSC shall be the development and practice of swimming for its members In the furtherance of these objects:
2.1.1 LBNSC is committed to treat everyone equally within the context of its activity. This shall be, for example, regardless of sex, ethnic origin, religion, disability or political persuasion, on any grounds.
2.1.2 LBNSC shall implement the A.S.A. Equal Opportunities policy
2.2 LBNSC shall be affiliated to ASA London Region, and shall adopt and conform to the rules of this Association, and to such other bodies as LBNSC may determine from time to time.
2.3 The business and affairs of LBNSC shall at all times be conducted in accordance with the Laws and Technical Rules of the Amateur Swimming Association (“A.S.A. Laws”) and in particular:
2.3.1 all competing members shall be eligible competitors as defined in A.S.A. Laws; and
2.3.2 LBNSC shall in accordance with A.S.A. Laws adopt the A.S.A. Child Protection Procedures; and shall recognise that the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility and that all children and young people have a right to have fun, be safe and be protected from harm.
2.3.3 members of LBNSC shall in accordance with A.S.A. Laws comply with the A.S.A. Child Protection Procedures.
2.4 By virtue of the affiliation of LBNSC to ASA London Region, LBNSC and all members of LBNSC acknowledge that they are subject to the laws, rules and constitutions of:
2.4.1 ASA London Region and
2.4.2 the Amateur Swimming Association; (to include the ASA/IOS Code of Ethics); and
2.4.3 British Swimming (in particular its Doping Control Rules and Protocols and Disciplinary Code); and
2.4.4 FINA, the world governing body for the sport of swimming in all its disciplines (together “the Governing Body Rules”)
2.5 In the event that there shall be any conflict between any rule or by-law of LBNSC and any of the Governing Body Rules then the relevant Governing Body Rule shall prevail
3.1 The total membership of LBNSC shall not normally be limited. If however the Committee considers that there is a good reason to impose any limit from time to time then the Committee shall put forward appropriate proposals for consideration at a General Meeting of LBNSC. The members shall have the right to impose (and remove) from time to time any limits on total membership (or any category of membership) of LBNSC. All persons who assist in any way with LBNSC’s activities shall become members of LBNSC and hence of the A.S.A. and the relevant A.S.A. membership fee shall be paid. Assisting with LBNSC’s activities shall include, but not be restricted to, administrators, associate members, voluntary instructors, teachers and coaches, Committee members, helpers, Honorary members, life members, officers, patrons, Presidents, technical and non-technical officials, temporary members, Vice Presidents and verifiers or tutors of the A.S.A’s educational certificates. Paid instructors, teachers and coaches who are not members of LBNSC must be members of a body which accepts that its members are bound by the A.S.A.’s Code of Ethics, the Laws relating to Child Protection and those parts of the Judicial Laws, Judicial Rules and procedures necessary for their implementation and whilst engaged in activities under the jurisdiction of the A.S.A. shall be subject to all the constraints and privileges of the Judicial Laws and Rules.
3.2 Any person who wishes to become a member of LBNSC must submit a signed application to the Secretary (and in the case of a junior swimmer the application must be signed by the swimmer’s parent or guardian). Election to membership shall be determined by the Membership Officer but other person(s) authorised by the committee may make recommendation as to the applicant’s acceptability. The Membership Officer shall be required to give reasons for the refusal of any application for membership. Any person refused membership may seek a review of this decision before a review panel appointed by the Committee (“Review Panel”) comprised of not less than three members (who may or may not be members of the Committee). The panel shall [wherever practicable] include one independent member nominated by the ASA London Region. The person refused membership shall be entitled to make representations to the Review Panel. The procedures for review shall be at the discretion of the Review Panel whose decision shall be final and binding
LBNSC shall not refuse an application for membership on discriminatory grounds, whether in relation to ethnic origin, age, sex, religion, disability, political persuasion or sexual orientation
4. Subscription and Other Fees
4.1 The annual members subscription and coaching and squad fees (as applicable) shall be determined from time to time by the Committee and the Committee shall in so doing make special provision for different classes of membership as it or the Annual General Meeting shall determine.
4.2 The annual subscription and entrance fee (if any) shall be due on joining LBNSC and thereafter on the 1st day of January each year.
4.3 Any member whose subscription is unpaid by the date falling 30 days after the due date for payment may be suspended by the Committee from some or all Club activities from a date to be determined by the Committee and until such payment is made
4.4 The Committee shall, from time to time, have the power to determine the annual membership subscription and other fees. This shall include the power to make such increase in the subscription as shall, where LBNSC pays the individual A.S.A. Membership Fees to the A.S.A. on behalf of members, be consequential upon an increase in individual A.S.A. membership fees. Any increase in subscriptions shall be advised to the members in writing with the reasons for any increase to be reported to the members at the next Annual General Meeting.
5.1 A member wishing to resign membership of LBNSC must give to the Secretary written notice of his resignation. A member’s resignation shall only take effect when this (Rule 5.1) has been complied with.
5.2 Notwithstanding the provisions of Rule 5.1 above a member whose subscription is more than two months in arrear shall be deemed to have resigned. Where the membership of a member shall be terminated in this way he shall be informed in writing that he is no longer a member by notice handed to him or sent by post to his last known address.
6. Expulsion and other Disciplinary action
6.1 The Committee shall have power to expel a member when, its opinion, it would not be in the interests of LBNSC for him to remain a member. LBNSC in exercising this power shall comply with the provisions of Rules 6.2 and 6.3 below
6.2 LBNSC shall adopt and comply with the A.S.A. Guidelines for handling Internal Club Disputes (“the Guidelines”) as the same may be revised from time to time. The Guidelines are set out as an Appendix to the A.S.A. Judicial Laws and appear in the A.S.A. Handbook. (A copy of the current Guidelines may be obtained from the A.S.A. Legal Affairs Department.)
6.3 A member may not be expelled or (subject to Rule 6.4 below) be made the subject of any other penalty unless the panel hearing the complaint shall unanimously OR (by a two-thirds majority) vote in favour of the expulsion of (or other penalty imposed upon) the member.
6.4 The Officers of LBNSC (or any person to whom the Committee shall delegate this power) may temporarily suspend or exclude a member from particular training sessions and/or wider club activities, when in their opinion, such action is in the interests of LBNSC. Where such action is taken the complaint will thereafter be dealt with in accordance with the Guidelines.
7.1 The Committee shall consist of the Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer (together “the Executive Officers of LBNSC”) and elected members all of whom must be members of LBNSC. LBNSC shall have a Welfare Officer. All Committee members must be not less than 18 years of age though the Committee may allow younger member(s) to attend their meetings without power to vote.
7.2 The Committee members shall be proposed, seconded and elected by ballot at the Annual General Meeting each year and shall remain in office until their successors are elected at the next Annual General Meeting. Any vacancy occurring by resignation or otherwise may be filled by the Committee. Retiring members of the Committee shall be eligible for re-election. (See also 8.1)
7.3 Committee meetings shall be held not less than once a month (save where the Committee itself shall by a simple majority resolve not to meet), and the quorum of that meeting shall be such number as shall represent not less than a simple majority of the Committee members (to include not less than one Executive Officer). The Chairman and the Secretary shall have discretion to call further meetings of the Committee if they consider it to be in the interests of LBNSC. The Secretary shall give all the members of the Committee not less than (two) days oral * ((or) written) notice of a meeting. Decisions of the Committee shall be made by a simple majority (and in the event of equality of votes the Chairman (or the acting Chairman of that meeting) shall have a casting or additional vote.) The Secretary, or in his absence a member of the Committee, shall take minutes.
7.4 In the event that a quorum is not present within thirty minutes of the published start time, a meeting shall stand adjourned to the time and date falling seven days after the date of the meeting, or such other date and time as may be determined by the Chairman. If a quorum is not present at the adjourned meeting then those Committee members attending may act for the purpose of calling a Special General Meeting of the members, to which the provisions as to minimum notice contained in Rule 11.1 shall not apply
7.5 In addition to the members so elected the Committee may co-opt up to 3 further members of LBNSC who shall serve until the next Annual General Meeting. Co-opted members shall be entitled to vote at the meetings of the Committee and shall not be counted in establishing whether a quorum is present.
7.6 The Committee may from time to time appoint from among their number such sub-committees as they may consider necessary (and to remove (in whole or in part) or vary the terms of reference of such sub-committees) and may delegate to them such of the powers and duties of the Committee as the Committee may determine. All sub-committees shall periodically report their proceedings to the Committee and shall conduct their business in accordance with the directions of the Committee.
7.7 The Committee shall be responsible for the management of LBNSC and shall have the sole right of appointing and determining the terms and conditions of service of employees of LBNSC. The Committee shall have power to enter into contracts for the purposes of LBNSC on behalf of all the members of LBNSC. The Committee shall be responsible for ensuring that the Accounts of LBNSC for each financial year be examined by an independent examiner to be appointed by the members in General Meeting. The Committee shall also have power to make regulations and to settle disputed points not otherwise provided for in this Constitution.
7.8 The members of the Committee shall be indemnified by the members of LBNSC against all liabilities properly incurred by them in the management of the affairs of LBNSC.
7.9 The Committee shall maintain an Accident Book in which all accidents to club members at swimming related activities shall be recorded. Details of such accidents shall be reported to the A.S.A. Office. LBNSC shall make an annual return to the A.S.A. in the prescribed form.
8. Officers and Honorary Members
8.1 The Executive Officers and Committee of LBNSC shall be proposed, seconded and elected (by ballot) at the Annual General Meeting and shall hold office until the next Annual General Meeting when they shall retire. Any vacancy occurring by resignation or otherwise may be filled by the Committee. Retiring officers shall be eligible for re-election.
8.2 The Annual General Meeting of LBNSC, if it thinks fit, may elect a President and Vice-Presidents. A President or Vice-President need not be a member of the association and on election shall, ex officio, be an honorary member of LBNSC and must be included in LBNSC’s Annual Return of Members to the A.S.A..
8.3 The Committee may elect any person as an honorary member of LBNSC for such period as it thinks fit and they shall be entitled to all the privileges of membership except that they shall not be entitled to vote at meetings and serve as officers or on the Committee unless any such person shall have retained in addition his ordinary membership of LBNSC. Such honorary members must be included in LBNSC’s annual return as to membership.
9. Annual General Meeting
9.1 The Annual General Meeting of LBNSC shall be held each year on a date in October or November. The date for the Annual General Meeting shall be fixed by the Committee
9.2 The purpose of the Annual General Meeting is to transact the following business:
9.2.1 to receive the Chairman’s report of the activities of LBNSC during the previous year;
9.2.2 to receive and consider the accounts of LBNSC for the previous year and the report on the accounts of the independent examiner and the Treasurer’s report as to the financial position of LBNSC;
9.2.3 to remove and elect the independent examiner (who must not be a member of the Committee or a member of the family of a member of the Committee) or confirm that he remain in office;
9.2.4 to elect the Executive Officers and other members of the Committee;
9.2.5 to decide on any resolution which may be duly submitted in accordance with Rule 9.3.
9.3 Nominations for election of members to any office or for membership of the Committee shall be made in writing by the proposer and seconder to the Secretary not later than 10th September. The nominee shall be required to indicate in writing on the nomination form his willingness to stand for election. Notice of any resolution proposed to be moved at the Annual General Meeting shall be given in writing to the Secretary not later than 10th September.
10. Special General Meeting
10.1 A Special General Meeting may be called at any time by the Committee. A Special General Meeting shall be called by the Secretary within 28 days of receipt by him of a requisition in writing signed by not less than 7 members entitled to attend and vote at a General Meeting or (if greater) such numbers as represents (one-tenth) in number of such members stating the purposes for which the meeting is required and the resolutions proposed.
11. Procedure at the Annual and Special General Meetings
11.1 The Secretary shall personally be responsible for the handing out or sending to each member at his last known address a written agenda giving notice of the date, time and place of the General Meeting together with the resolutions to be proposed thereat at least (14) days before the meeting and in the case of the Annual General Meeting a list of the nominees for the Committee posts and a copy of the examined accounts. The Secretary may, alternatively, with the agreement of member(s) concerned distribute these materials by e-mail or similar form of communication.
The Notice of Meeting shall in addition wherever possible be displayed on LBNSC Notice Board where one exists.
11.2 The quorum for the Annual and Special General Meetings shall be 7 members entitled to attend and vote at the Meeting or (if greater) such number as represents (one-tenth) in number of such members.
11.3 The Chairman, or in his absence a member selected by the Committee, shall take the chair. Each member present shall have one vote and resolutions shall be passed by a simple majority. For the procedures for submitting resolutions to be considered at a General Meeting members are referred to Rule 9.3. In the event of an equality of votes the Chairman shall have a casting or additional vote. Only paid up members who have reached their 16th birthday shall be entitled to be heard and to vote on all matters. (Members who have not reached their 16th birthday shall be entitled to be heard and vote only on those matters determined by the Chairman as matters concerning juniors, such as the election of club captains.)
11.4 The Secretary, or in his absence a member of the Committee, shall take minutes at the Annual and Special General Meetings.
11.5 The Chairman shall at all General Meetings have unlimited authority upon every question of order and shall be, for the purpose of such meeting, the sole interpreter of the Rules of LBNSC.
12. Alteration of the Rules and other Resolutions
12.1 The rules may be altered by resolution at an Annual or Special General Meeting provided that the resolution is carried by a majority of at least (two-thirds) of members present and entitled to vote at the General Meeting. No amendment(s) to the rules shall become effective until such amendment(s) shall have been submitted to and validated by such person as is authorised to do so by the County Association/ASA London Region.
12.2 Any member (Such number of members as represent one-tenth in number of the members entitled to attend and vote at a General Meeting) shall be entitled to put any proposal for consideration at any General Meeting provided the proposal in writing shall have been handed to or posted to the Secretary of LBNSC so as to be received by him not later than 10th September in the case of the Annual General Meeting or, in the case of a Special General Meeting, 18 days before the date of the meeting and thereafter the Secretary shall supply a copy of the proposal or resolution to the members in the manner provided in Rule 11.1
13.1 The Committee shall have power to make, repeal and amend such by-laws as they may from time to time consider necessary for the well being of LBNSC which by-laws, repeals and amendments shall have effect until set aside by the Committee or at a General Meeting.
14.1 All moneys payable to LBNSC shall be received by the Treasurer and deposited in a bank account in the name of LBNSC. All sums shall be drawn from that account require two of the three signatories (who shall be the Secretary, Treasurer and another .) Any moneys not required for immediate use may be invested as the Committee in its discretion think fit.
14.2 The income and property of LBNSC shall be applied only in furtherance of the objects of LBNSC and no part thereof shall be paid by way of bonus, dividend or profit to any members of LBNSC, (save as set out in Rule 17.3.)
14.3 The Committee shall have power to authorise the payment of remuneration and expenses to any
officer, member or employee of LBNSC and to any other person or persons for services rendered to LBNSC.
14.4 The financial transactions of LBNSC shall be recorded by the Treasurer in such manner as the Committee thinks fit.
14.5 The financial year of LBNSC shall be the period commencing on 1st April and ending on 31st March. Any change to the financial year shall require the approval of the members in a General Meeting.
14.6 The Committee shall retain for a minimum period of six years all financial records relating to LBNSC and copies of Minutes of all meetings.
15.1 The Committee may borrow money on behalf of LBNSC for the purposes of LBNSC from time to time at their own discretion [up to such limits on borrowing as may be laid down from time to time by the General Meeting] for the general upkeep of LBNSC or with the (prior) approval of a General Meeting for any other expenditure, additions or improvements.
15.2 When so borrowing the Committee shall have power to raise in any way any sum or sums of money and to raise and secure the repayment of any sums or sums of money in such manner or on such terms and conditions as it thinks fit, and in particular by mortgage of or charge upon or by the issues of debentures charged upon all or any part of the property of LBNSC.
15.3 The Committee shall have no power to pledge the personal liability of any member of LBNSC for the repayment of any sums so borrowed.
16.1 The property of LBNSC, other than cash at the bank, shall be vested in not more than four Custodians. They shall deal with the property as directed by resolution of the Committee and entry in the minute book shall be conclusive evidence of such a resolution.
16.2 The Custodians shall be elected at a General Meeting of LBNSC and shall hold office until death or resignation unless removed by a resolution passed at a General Meeting.
16.3 The Custodians shall be entitled to an indemnity out of the property of LBNSC for all expenses and other liabilities properly incurred by them in the discharge of their duties.
17.1 A resolution to dissolve LBNSC shall only be proposed at a General Meeting and shall be carried by a majority of at least three- quarters of the members present and entitled to vote. A specific date for the dissolution shall be included in the resolution.
17.2 The dissolution shall take effect from the date specified in the resolution and the members of the Committee shall be responsible for the winding-up of the assets and liabilities of LBNSC.
17.3 Any property remaining after the discharge of the debts and liabilities of LBNSC shall be given to a charity or charities (or other non-profit making organisation having objects similar to those of LBNSC for the furtherance of such objects) nominated by the last Committee.
18.1 The Members acknowledge that these Rules constitute a legally binding contract to regulate the relationship of the members with each other and LBNSC.
The following statement needs to appear on Club membership forms and is to be signed by the member and must also be countersigned by the parent, or a person having parental responsibility for the member, if under 18 years of age:
I acknowledge receipt of the rules of London Borough of Newham Swimming Club and confirm my understanding and acceptance that such rules (as amended from time to time) shall govern my membership of LBNSC. I further acknowledge and accept the responsibilities of membership upon members as set out in these rules.
1. Legal Status
A “members club” does not have a legal existence as an entity i.e.: separate from its members. LBNSC can therefore neither sue nor be sued in its own name but only through its Officers. It is important to appreciate that in legal terms there is a risk to the Officers and, strictly speaking, the members that they may be sued for LBNSC’s debts, or damages for personal injuries and other claims if not adequately covered by insurance. Included within this Guidance Note are recommendations with regard to Club insurances.
In addition the members of a Club have duties and liabilities to each other. The source of these duties and liabilities is principally the Constitution or rules of LBNSC. These rules are treated by the Law as a Contract between the members.
Clubs are under the control of the members themselves and it is the members that must see that the rules are observed. It is important that a full and up to date list of members is kept at all times and that a Club has a clear policy in relation to matters such as the admission and expulsion of members. The day-to-day administration of a Club is usually delegated to the control of Club Officers and a Committee. The Committee in turn may have the power to delegate to sub-committees.
It is however most important to appreciate that if anything were to go wrong LBNSC Committee, Officers and even the members may be personally liable and for that reason it is strongly recommended that Clubs adopt a comprehensive set of rules to minimise the prospect of claims arising due to disputes with individual members. Furthermore, it is recommended that insurance cover be sought to cover liabilities of members/Officers towards outsiders. Affiliation to Region includes comprehensive insurance which covers all aspects under Civil Liability, including member to member cover (see Section 13. Insurance) However, it must be borne in mind that insurance cover may not extend to fines and penalties imposed under criminal law (e.g. as a result of a prosecution by the Health & Safety Executive).
The rules of LBNSC constitute a Contract between the members. It is most important that new members are provided with a copy of the current rules and by-laws of LBNSC when they are accepted into membership. Any failure to do this may present LBNSC with problems in subsequently seeking to rely upon the conditions of the “Contract” comprised within the rules, for instance where LBNSC becomes involved in a dispute with the member concerned. In this situation LBNSC may experience difficulty in enforcing the Contract because the conditions were not drawn to the attention of the member at the time they were admitted. Similarly, any amended rules must be communicated to the wider membership and it is recommended that this be undertaken by individual notification rather than simply placing a notice on a Club notice board.
There are legal limits placed upon the ability of “minors” (persons under the age of 18) to enter into contracts. Whilst younger members may be given “rights” e.g. voting (see Section 3. Committee ) this is different to being able to enforce “responsibilities” (e.g. a contract). For this reason it is recommended that an acknowledgement from the young person’s parent or guardian be taken. This is referenced at the end of the Constitution and could appear on LBNSC membership form.
(For additional information see 17 Company Limited by Guarantee and 18 Charitable Status)
2. By Laws
It may be more convenient for the detailed regulations for the operation of LBNSC’s activities to be in the form of By Laws. It is usual to leave the making of By Laws to LBNSC Committee. The advantage of enabling the making of By Laws by the Committee is that they can be altered in a normal committee meeting whereas an alteration to the rules of LBNSC normally requires a special majority in a general meeting. This is often appropriate for LBNSC Championship conditions.
It is, however, recommended that the fundamental rights and responsibilities of the membership and duties and liabilities of officials are matters dealt with within the main Club rules and are not reduced to mere By Laws.
The arrangements for the day-to-day management of its affairs is a matter for individual Clubs to decide. The management of the affairs of a Club is usually delegated to an elected Committee. Because a Committee’s powers are delegated from the membership all Committee members must agree unless the rules provide for a majority of members to determine issues. Provided the Committee acts within the powers granted to it, it is up to the members of the Committee to determine their own methods and procedures. However, there is one important limitation on a Committee powers: the powers of the Committee are powers to be exercised in the interests of LBNSC as a whole and not in the interests of any particular section of the Committee.
A Club will normally appoint officers such as a Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer. The roles that these officers perform are described below. To avoid any perception of conflict of interest and to assist in succession planning it is desirable that the officers should not be members of the same family. Where this is not possible at least one of the officers should not be related to the other officers and signatories to payments and orders should not all be members of the same family.
It may be desirable to have LBNSC coach or instructor on the committee, but it should be borne in mind that they may have personal interests in club affairs. The terms of employment must be clearly laid down and understood.
It may be that a Club provides in its Constitution for male and female junior representatives on its Committee. Where these provisions apply, the Constitution should also state the process by which junior representatives are elected, their voting rights when attending Committee meetings and whether the Chairman is to have power to exclude them when issues relating to other young members/colleagues are being discussed.
The Chairman is responsible for the overall running of LBNSC with the assistance of the Treasurer and Secretary during his period of office. The Chairman will usually be asked to report on the year’s proceedings at the Annual General Meeting.
The Chairman’s main duties are in relation to the conduct of Club meetings, both members meetings and Committee meetings. In that he has three functions
4.1 To preserve order
4.2 To take care that the proceedings are conducted in a proper manner.
4.3 To ensure that the sense of the meeting is properly ascertained concerning any question which is properly before the meeting.
The Chairman must carry out these duties in good faith. This means, for example, the Chairman must not favour any particular section of a Committee or the membership but should exercise his powers impartially.
The Chairman should see that the business of the meeting runs smoothly. It is recommended that Clubs adopt Rules for Debate. An example set of rules is included as Annex 1. These are the Rules for Debate at A.S.A. Council. In particular regard needs to be given to the principles contained in the A.S.A./IOS Code of Ethics (see Annex 2 and Section 4.4 below). In the event of disruption at meetings the Chairman should consider adjourning the meeting for calm to be restored.
The Chairman should not allow a meeting to commence or continue unless there is a quorum present. If the rules are silent a quorum will be a majority of the members except for a Committee when it will be all the members of the Committee. Usually the rules provide for a minimum number of members necessary for a quorum of a members or Committee meeting. In Law, the minimum number is two, as a person cannot have a meeting with himself! It is advisable to have a reasonable number as a quorum to prevent a small number of members controlling LBNSC. The recommended minimum number is five full adult members.
The two main methods of voting used at meetings of Clubs are a show of hands and a poll any member may demand a poll unless the rules provide otherwise. A poll is a precise method of ascertaining votes because each vote is recorded either on an individual voting slip or by signing a voting list. Sometimes, to ensure secrecy, particularly in the election of Officers a secret ballot may be used.
4.4 A.S.A./IOS Code of Ethics
In particular any member wishing to make any direct overt-criticism of an official or other member of LBNSC in a general meeting must advise the Chairman in good time to enable the Chairman to advise such person in advance of the meeting in order that he is able to prepare himself for such criticism.
Furthermore, as a separate obligation on the Chairman of the meeting when an official or member is the subject of criticism the Chairman must specifically afford such person the opportunity to respond to include if requested consideration of an adjournment to enable the person to collect their thoughts.
Any failure to follow these principles may give rise to a complaint to the A.S.A. Judicial System under the A.S.A./IOS Code of Ethics. It is not intended that the Code should be used to stifle democratic debate but ethical considerations and indeed common sense decency dictates that advance warning should be given to anyone who is to be the subject of criticism in a general meeting.
Under the A.S.A./IOS Code of Ethics Honorary officials are entitled to expect the same respect and dignity of treatment as that to which employees are entitled. It follows from this that if an official is not performing satisfactorily in their role the official is entitled to be told, and to be given an opportunity to respond to the criticism and the opportunity to improve. LBNSC may wish to consider establishing a mentoring system with senior figures(s) in LBNSC (possibly a Past President) offering guidance and support to officials and also encouraging the development of new talent to ensure succession within LBNSC’s administration.
The Secretary is usually responsible for the day to day running of LBNSC and normally deals with correspondence, collect subscriptions, keep a list of members and organise meetings but this can be delegated to other people who may serve on the Committee. Details of members may be kept on a computer but in retaining and using information (whether on computer or in manual records) the Secretary should have regard to the provisions of the Data Protection legislation. Further information may be obtained from the Data Protection Registrar.
The Secretary is also responsible for meeting any licensing requirements (e.g.: if LBNSC wishes to organise a prize draw raffle). For Committee meetings the Secretary should prepare an agenda and send a copy together with any accompanying documents to each member of the Committee. At the meeting the Secretary should take notes and subsequently prepare minutes. It is recognised that certain business discussed in Committee Meetings may be prejudicial to LBNSC (or other persons) if made public (e.g. Contracts of Employment of Staff). Minutes of Committee meetings may be kept private but ALL DECISIONS MUST BE MINUTED. It is also recommended best practice for the Committee to issue periodic briefings to members of key decisions made and matters discussed.
The Secretary has a number of duties with regard to a general meeting. Before the meeting the Secretary must collect any resolutions which are to be proposed together with nominations for the election of Officers. He is responsible for giving notice of the meeting and preparing the agenda. On a practical level the Secretary needs to make sure there is a room available for the meeting, which may involve hiring facilities. The Secretary should appoint tellers whose job it is to count the votes where members vote on a show of hands.
Normally Club Committee Meetings are private to the Committee members and General Meetings private to the members of LBNSC entitled to attend and vote. It is however, at the discretion of the Chairman to allow non-club members to attend although they would normally not have the right to speak. At the meeting the Secretary should ensure that the minutes of the last general meeting once approved by the membership are signed by the Chairman and then kept safely. Certain of these functions may be delegated to a Minutes Secretary if LBNSC rules allow. Minutes of members meetings must be widely publicised to the membership and must be retained for at least 6 years.
6. Treasurer, Accounts and Taxation
The Honorary Treasurer is responsible for the financial accounting of LBNSC. The Treasurer is required to make regular reports at meetings of LBNSC as to the financial position and prospects of LBNSC.
The Treasurer is normally one of the signatories of LBNSC’s bank account and he, along with the other signatories must ensure that the money is applied solely for the purposes of LBNSC. It is recommended that dual signatories be required for ALL cheques. It is possible to only require cheques above an agreed amount (e.g. £50) to require a second signature. A counter signatory must not be a member of or a close family of the Treasurer.
As a matter of practice the Treasurer is also responsible for LBNSC’s taxation affairs, in particular VAT returns if LBNSC is registered for VAT. Subscriptions paid by members of a Club are normally exempt from VAT, but VAT registration may become necessary where income from the sale of swimming kit, etc exceeds the VAT registration limit.
Where Officers of a Club (or persons connected with them) exercise a commercial influence over LBNSC’s affairs (for example, if they are in receipt of an administration or management fee, or a salary based on LBNSC’s income or profits, or by leasing facilities to LBNSC), VAT anti-avoidance legislation may result in members’ subscriptions become subject to VAT at the standard rate. It is recommended that a Club potentially caught by these wide-ranging provisions should seek professional advice or contact their local VAT office. (See also13 Taxation and Dissolution).
Each Club must identify its financial year (Clause 14.5) e.g. 1st April – 31st March. Any changes to the financial year must be approved by the members in a General Meeting.
The annual accounts of LBNSC shall be examined by an independent examining accountant. “Independent” for these purposes means a person who is not related to and preferably not a close personal acquaintance of the Treasurer or any member of the Committee. This process has in the past been referred to as an “audit”. However, the word “audit” has legal implications which may require an extensive financial process. It is unlikely that most clubs will wish to pay for this, and because of the complex requirement, it is also unlikely that volunteers will be able to comply with the whole process at no cost. The recommended requirement is for clubs to have their accounts “examined” as described above.
The main source of finance for any Club will be its members’ subscriptions. There should be a clear rule either setting out the amount of the subscription or, preferably, delegating the setting of annual fees to the Committee. There is no objection to different rates of subscription for different types of members e.g.: reduced rates for young swimmers, officials, helpers etc.
Once a person is accepted to membership he is obliged to pay his subscription and any other financial obligation such as coaching and squad fees until he resigns. A member who has not paid his subscription or other monies owed can be sued. If a member resigns or is expelled he can still be sued for any arrears of subscription.
Clubs should also be aware of issues of social inclusion. LBNSC should consider having the ability for the Officers of LBNSC to have the discretion in exceptional circumstances to remit all or part of the fees.
There is generally no power to borrow money unless given by LBNSC’s rules.
LBNSC may also be able to seek grant funding. Advice may be sought from one of the Regional or County Officers identified in the current edition of the Regional/County handbook for the area to which LBNSC is affiliated (or is seeking affiliation).
LBNSC is required to maintain full and accurate financial records of its dealings.
8. Fee Collection
The A.S.A. fee is payable between January and March each year. Clubs which have not paid by 31st March will be suspended. Many Regions and Counties have chosen to adopt the single fee collection system whereby the fee for the Region and County is collected alongside the A.S.A. fee. In December each year clubs will receive a list of their current members to enable them to reconcile their own records. Clubs may wish to set a membership year of either January to December or July to June based on the following rationale: January to December will enable clubs to renew the individual members before the end of March, collecting the A.S.A. fee (and where appropriate County and Regional fee) alongside LBNSC fee. July to June will enable clubs to provide information to the A.S.A. on members who have renewed the previous July and can either collect the A.S.A. fee from the members in July and hold it or take a further payment from members in January. The July to June period may assist clubs who hold their annual general meeting in the summer period
9. Welfare Officer
The appointment by every Club of a Welfare Officer is a fundamental part of the safeguards set out in the A.S.A. Child Welfare guidelines. The following are recommended to assist Clubs based upon best practice in this vitally important area.
9.1 The Welfare Officer is a person of appropriate skills and experience and perform no other role within the management or administration of LBNSC.
9.2 The Welfare Officer to be a member of LBNSC Committee (or alternatively to be invited to attend every meeting of LBNSC Committee and all Sub-Committees for particular disciplines). The Welfare Officer to make a Report to the Committee on any issues relating to child welfare in consultation with the A.S.A. Independent Child Protection Officer/Department of Legal Affairs with regard to any particular reported concerns.
9.3 The Welfare Officer should be independent (i.e. have no personal or business relationship with LBNSC coach, Club Secretary or Chairman. The thinking here is to avoid the difficulties that arise should an individual member wish to refer a concern to the Welfare Officer in circumstances where a person complained of (eg the Coach) is a relative of the Welfare Officer.
10. Admission of Members
As a general rule no person has a right to become a member of a Club. The Committee, or whoever is responsible for admission can refuse to admit any person to membership and indeed can provide in LBNSC rules that they are not required to given any reasons for their decision. It is important that any power of refusal is clearly set out in LBNSC rules to avoid any suggestion that any person who meets certain criteria is eligible for membership.
An important restriction on this general principle is in any decision to refuse membership on certain discriminatory grounds.
The draft Constitution does not impose any limit on membership (see Clause 3.1). However, a Club may wish to consider imposing a limit on swimming members as appropriate due to available water resources and safe lane loading. This will obviously depend upon the facilities available to LBNSC.
Parents who are not members in their own right are not entitled to vote on behalf of their children. This can be resolved by including the membership of one parent or carer in the membership of every member under 16 yrs. This requires the payment by LBNSC of both membership fees to the A.S.A. and to the Region.
A member may not be expelled from a Club unless there is a rule which allows this. Whenever a Club exercises any power given to expel a member it must act in good faith, comply strictly with its own rules and satisfy the rules of natural justice.
When exercising any power to expel a member or in considering any other disciplinary action against members (e.g. suspension) regard should be given to the Guidelines for the Handling of Club Disputes set out in Annex 3.
12. Liability of Members/Officers
A member of a Club has a liability to pay his annual subscription and such other fees as are properly determined by LBNSC.
There is no general right of any Committee member or officer to seek to obtain an indemnity from the membership for any losses or expenses suffered by them in the performance of their duties. However, an individual member or group of members may become liable for losses arising if a Court finds them to have been negligent. This will particularly be the case if an individual member is made specifically responsible for any particular aspect of LBNSC’s activities.
Normally liability for contracts made with a Club depends upon who authorised the particular contract e.g. if a contract is authorised by LBNSC Committee then it is the Committee that is liable. Individual members must take care to ensure that the basis upon which they enter into any contract on behalf of LBNSC is clearly understood by the person with whom they are dealing to avoid the contract being treated as entirely personal to the member. A member may also incur personal liability if he exceeds any authority given to him by LBNSC.
In relation to any contract on which all members are liable any member who pays more than his proper share is entitled to recompense from the other members. Similarly, a Committee member may claim a recompense from other members of the Committee in respect of a Committee liability. However, an individual member of a Club or Committee member who becomes liable on a contract personally is not entitled to an indemnity from the other members of LBNSC unless there is a rule to that effect. A very clear rule and procedures for giving authority to make contracts is desirable.
Because of the legal position of Clubs as unincorporated associations and of the prospect of individual members and Committee members being personally liable to outsiders it is imperative that Clubs obtain comprehensive insurance cover. AFFILIATION TO THE ASA LONDON REGION (and hence to the A.S.A.) PROVIDES THIS COVER TO ALL MEMBERS OF AFFILIATED CLUBS.
This insurance includes
- Civil Liability Insurance.(including member to member cover)
- Employers Liability Insurance (a compulsory insurance where applicable). The Certificate of Insurance must be displayed at all places of work of the employee(s)
- Personal Accident insurance
In addition Clubs are strongly recommended to purchase:
- Fidelity Insurance
- Legal Expenses Insurance
For full details of scope of insurance cover provided by the A.S.A. and the addition insurances which are recommended and can be purchased as additional cover, see the enclosed document on A.S.A. Insurance
Insurance cover will not extend to any activities excluded from the scope of A.S.A. Insurances. A list of current excluded activities appears on the A.S.A. website and further guidance can be obtained from the A.S.A. Regulatory Compliance Manager on 01509 221350.
If a Club has a legal problem with regard to an employee then guidance can be obtained from the legal services helpline operated by DAS insurers. Details of this service can be obtained from the A.S.A. Regulatory Compliance Manager.
14. Taxation and Dissolution
As a general rule a swimming Club is used only by the members who come together for the non-commercial purpose of providing themselves with the facilities to enjoy swimming for competitive or recreational purposes.
If LBNSC is likely to generate surpluses from non-trading transactions (e.g. subscriptions) with its members only and/or from non members on a non-commercial or non-trading basis (e.g. organizing open meetings) then the choice of clause can be left to LBNSC members personal preference.
If, however, there are likely to be surpluses that arise from commercial trading activities with members then the second clause at 17.3 (distributions of property on dissolution to members) should be adopted. This would assist LBNSC in arguing that mutuality applies (the principle that one cannot make a taxable profit out of oneself), with the result that the Inland Revenue would treat the surpluses as arising from mutual trading and not charged to tax.
If the alternative option providing for the property of LBNSC to be given to a Charity or non-profit making organisation is taken one possibility would be for LBNSC to consider the property being passed to the relevant Region to be used for the development of the sport within the Region.
15. Succession Management
The future prosperity of any members club is dependent on encouraging the development of young talent in administration for the future benefit of LBNSC. However, no one should underestimate the tremendous time commitment involved in the running of a Club. The author’s view is clear: “if they are good enough they are young enough” What is really needed is a blend of ages and talents. Clubs may find that a mentoring system where younger members have the opportunity to “shadow” an experienced official may help bring on the next generation of administrators to help ensure continuity for LBNSC.
Clubs are also encouraged to consider granting an automatic right of athlete participation at all levels in LBNSC, to include LBNSC Committee. The A.S.A. like many World governing bodies of sport has adopted this principle. There is athlete participation in the A.S.A. Committee and all of its technical committees. By taking this step Club’s will hopefully encourage younger members to take a wider interest in the sport and the activities of LBNSC.
16. Temporary Membership
Clubs may find it helpful to offer temporary or probationary memberships for a period not exceeding three weeks as a stepping stone to full membership for families/individuals new to the sport. This may also be appropriate for visitors to the area who wish to take part in LBNSC’s activities for a limited period. There is clearly a place in the sport for temporary membership. The benefit to LBNSC of taking on temporary members is that such individuals are thereby liable to follow LBNSC rules, become subject to the jurisdiction of the A.S.A. (in particular the A.S.A. Child Protection Policies) and are covered by the A.S.A. Insurance available to Club members.
However temporary members whilst in this capacity have no right to compete in A.S.A./ASA SER competitions. Clubs are obliged to notify their Region of temporary memberships on their Annual Membership Return. Any failure to do so may jeopardise the A.S.A. Insurance Policy for all Clubs the premium for which is based upon the overall membership throughout the sport.
17. Company Limited by Guarantee
If members wish LBNSC to benefit from limited liability, registration under the Company’s Act 1985 should be considered. The form of incorporation generally adopted by Clubs is that of a company limited by guarantee rather than by shares. The main benefit of incorporation from the members’ point of view is that their liability is then limited to a nominal sum (typically £1) which the member guarantees to pay on the winding up of the company. Other benefits are that the company itself can hold property and sue and be sued in its own name. The disadvantages of incorporation are cost and lack of privacy. Costs are incurred in setting up a company in the first place and subsequently in preparing and filing the annual return and audited accounts. Full details regarding the membership of LBNSC will thus, at least notionally, be available to the public. It should also be remembered that the members of the Committee who are appointed directors of the company will owe additional liabilities as company directors, particularly liability towards creditors in the event that the company should be insolvent.
The rights and responsibilities of LBNSC’s Officers and members must be clearly spelt out in the Articles of Association of the company. It is strongly recommended that professional advice is sought by anyone contemplating forming a company.
18. Charitable Status and Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs)
We are often asked as to whether swimming Clubs can obtain registration as a charity thereby gaining additional taxation and other advantages. In legal terms sport is not of itself “charitable” but individual Clubs may have additional charitable purposes. In order to qualify as a charity Clubs would be most likely to have to impose upon themselves quite onerous conditions in the running of LBNSC. Any Clubs who believe that their own special circumstances may entitle them to seek charitable status should seek professional advice and before proceeding further are recommended to contact the Charity Commission at St Albans House, 57-60 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4QX (Telephone 020 7210 4477)
Alternatively the members may wish to consider the creation of a CASC which enjoys certain taxation concessions. Further detailed guidance on CASCs and charitable status can be accessed via the Central Council for Physical Recreation (CCPR website (www.ccpr.org.uk) search “CASC”)
The detailed guidance notes are accompanied by Model clause which can be adapted for incorporation within the A.S.A. Recommended Club Constitution.
An unincorporated Association such as a members club itself has no capacity to hold property. Property always has to be held by some individual or individuals on behalf of an Association.
It is considered that in the majority of cases the simplest manner in which property may be held in accordance with the rules of LBNSC which contractually bind all the members. The property is normally vested in one or two persons, often referred to as custodians to hold on behalf of the members. This is the method of holding of property which is preferred by the English Courts. The advantages of this method of holding property is that some of the complexities of the Law of Trusts can be avoided. This method of holding property is also extremely flexible. The terms on which the property is held can be changed by simply altering the rules of the Association. The Custodians, who should not be less than two and not more than four, hold property other than cash at the bank, on behalf of the members of the Association.
Clubs who own their own premises or other significant assets may wish to seek their own particular legal advice as to the most appropriate manner of holding property in the light of their own particular circumstances. It is however recommended that the above method will be appropriate in the overwhelming majority of cases.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Where reference is made to any A.S.A. publication it is important to check that you are in possession of the current edition. The date of each publication appears on every page. Be especially careful if you only have a photocopy or extracts from a document, as something important may be missing or you might read something out of context.
A.S.A. Council Meeting - Rules of Debate
- A motion of amendment which has been proposed and seconded and submitted in accordance with A.S.A. Law shall be discussed subject to paragraph 15 below. The Chairman may, at this discretion allow amendments from a member of Council at the meeting provided it does not materially affect the substance of the matter under discussion.
- A member when seconding a motion or amendment may, if he then states his intention to do, reserve his speech until a later period of the debate.
- A member will stand when speaking at a meeting of the Council and will address the Chairman. If two or more members rise, the Chairman will decide the order in which they shall speak.
- A member will direct his speech to the question under discussion, to an explanation, or to a point of order.
- Wherever the wording of a motion reasonably permits, an amendment shall either delete words and/or add others but such omissions or insertions must not have the effect of introducing a new proposal into, or rendering negative the motion before the Council.
- If an amendment is lost, other amendments may be moved on the original motion.
- If an amendment is carried, the motion, as mended, will replace the original motion and become the motion on which any further amendments may be made.
- A further amendment may not be moved until the Council has disposed of the amendment previously moved.
- A member may only speak once on any motion or amendment, except:
- where he has reserved the right to speak under paragraph 2 above
- in the exercise of the right of reply under Paragraph 17 below
- on a point of order
- by way of explanation under Paragraph 11 below
- to move any of the resolutions mentioned in Paragraph 10 below
- when invited to do so by the Chairman
- A member can, after another member has finished speaking move without comment:
- “That the question be now put”
- “That the debate be now adjourned”
- “That Council proceed to the next business”
- “That the Council now adjourn”
If the motion is seconded and the Chairman agrees that the matter needs no further discussion, he will give the mover of the original motion a right of reply.
The procedural motion will then be voted on.
If it is carried, as the case may be
- the question before the meeting shall be put to the vote
- the subject of the debate shall not be further discussed at the meeting
- the subject of the debate shall be considered to be disposed of, or,
- the meeting shall stand adjourned
- A member may rise on a point of order or in personal explanation. A point of personal explanation shall be confined to some material part of a former speech by the member concerned at the same meeting, which may have been misunderstood.
A point of order shall only relate to an alleged breach of a Standing Order or of an A.S.A. Law. The member shall specify the Standing Order or A.S.A. Law and the way in which he considers it to have been broken.
A member so rising shall be entitled to be heard but no member shall be entitled to interrupt the speech of any other member.
- The Chairman may close the discussion when he considers the subject has been sufficiently debated. The Chairman may, at his discretion, sum up the debate before putting a motion or amendment. If the debate involves questions of a legal, technical or administrative nature, the Chairman may request the Chief Executive or any other person to advise the Council.
- The ruling of the Chairman on a point of order, on a point of personal explanation, or an amendment, shall be final and not open to discussion.
- Whenever the Chairman speaks or rises during a debate, a member then speaking or standing shall resume his seat and the Council shall be silent.
- A motion or amendment may be withdrawn by the mover with the agreement of the seconder and of the Council, which shall be signified without discussion. Unless this permission is refused, a member cannot speak on the motion after the mover has asked permission to withdraw it.
- When a motion is under debate, no other motion (which in this context includes an amendment) shall be moved except the following:
- to amend the motion
- to postpone consideration of the motion
- to adjourn the meeting
- to adjourn the debate
- to proceed to the next business
- that the question be now put
- Right of Reply The proposer of a motion shall have the right of reply at the close of the debate immediately before the motion is put to the vote or before the motion “that the Council proceed to the next business”, or “That the Council now adjourn” is put. If amendments are proposed he shall be entitled to reply at the close of the debate on each amendment.
- The mover of an amendment shall not have the right of reply in the debate on the amendment. However, if the amendment is carried and become the substantive motion he shall have the right of reply in the event of any amendment being moved.
- A member exercising a right of reply shall only answer previous speakers and shall not introduce new matters. The Chairman’s ruling on this shall be final. After every reply to which this Standing Order refers, a decision shall be taken without further discussion subject to the provision contained in the Rules of Debate.
- Disorderly Conduct If a member, in the opinion of the Chairman, behaves irregularly, improperly, or offensively or intentionally disrupts the business of Council, the Chairman may request the immediate discontinuance of this behaviour. If the member continues to misbehave, the Chairman shall ask the member to leave the room for the remainder of the meeting.
- If the member does not then leave, the Chairman or any member may move “That the member named leave the room and be excluded during the remainder of the meeting”. If the motion is seconded, it shall be put and determined without discussion.
- If carried the Chairman shall then order the removal of the offending member from the room. Whether he retire upon request or is removed, he shall be excluded from the remainder of the meeting.
- The ruling of the Chairman relating to disorderly conduct, or on any consequent motion, and any other requirements or instructions of the Chairman to ensure the orderly debate and proper conduct of the Councils business, shall be accepted without discussion by the members.
- If misconduct is continued or there is a general disturbance making orderly business impossible, the Chairman shall adjourn the meeting for as long as he thinks necessary.
- Business of an Objectionable Nature If the Chairman considers any matter to be objectionable or undesirable he may, either before or after it is brought forward, put to the vote a motion that it be not heard. No discussion shall be entered into on the Chairman’s proposal. If carried, the matter shall be considered as disposed of.
- Any happening or matter occurring which these rules do not encompass shall be decided upon by the Chairman whose decision shall be binding on the Council.
Code of Ethics
This Code of Ethics was written with specific reference to Teachers and Coaches. However, most aspects of this Code are also applicable to other people involved in the sport. Therefore all Members of the A.S.A., need to be aware that this Code also applies to them. Please see the accompanying Note for Guidance which does not form part of this Code but which are intended to assist Members in its interpretation.
The A.S.A. and IOS acknowledge that a large part of this Code of Ethics has been derived from the code produced by the Industry Lead Body for Sport and Recreation. The Code published below will remain operational unless and until notice of any changes and amendments is given by the A.S.A..
The British Swimming Coaches & Teaching Association (BSCTA) endorses this Code of Ethics.
Teaching/Coaching and Instructing
Even though the NVQ standards focus on and describe work functions, they are based on a number of accepted assumptions and values which underpin good practice in teaching/coaching and instructing. The British Institute of Sports Coaches has articulated these into a Code of Ethics much of which has been incorporated into the following Code of Ethics for Swimming Teachers/Coaches. Throughout the following Code the expression ‘Teacher/Coach’ whether used in the singular or plural shall include all teacher/coaches, assistants and other helpers whose activities are connected with the disciplines regulated by the Amateur Swimming Association (the A.S.A.) and all members of the Institute of Swimming (IOS). Where the context of the code admits the expressions Teacher/Coach and Sports coach this may also include Officials and others involved in the sport of swimming in any capacity.
The purpose of the Code of Ethics (referred to throughout the remainder of the document as the Code) is to establish and maintain standards for Teachers/Coaches and to inform and protect members of the public using their services. Ethical standards comprise such values as integrity, responsibility, competence and confidentiality. Individuals who are members of the A.S.A./IOS are deemed to have assented to the Code and as such recognise and adhere to the principles and responsibilities embodied in it.
The Code creates a framework within which Teachers/Coaches when engaged in sports coaching – in the fullest sense of the expression – should always work. The code has been written as a series of guidelines rather than a set of instructions. However violations of the Code may result in complaints being made to the A.S.A. Judicial System and, in which case the relevant Tribunal in determining whether a conduct complained of has brought the sport into disrepute or amounts to a violation of the A.S.A. Laws will consider the Code’s provisions when assessing the guilt of individuals against whom complaints have been made and/or the appropriate sanctions to apply.
Issues of responsibility
Teaching/ Coaching is a deliberately undertaken responsibility, and sports Teacher/Coaches are responsible for the observation of the principles embodied in the Code of Ethics.
Teacher/Coaches must respect the rights, dignity and worth of every human being and their ultimate right to self-determination. Specifically, Teacher/Coaches must treat everyone equally within the context of their activity, regardless of sex, ethnic origin, religion, disability or political persuasion.
All club members should refrain from any conduct which may constitute bullying.
Bullying may be defined as deliberately hurtful behaviour, usually repeated over a period of time. Bullying can be:
- Physical e.g. Hitting, kicking or theft.
- Verbal: e.g. Racist, sexist or homophobic remarks, threats, name-calling
- Emotional e.g. Isolating an individual from activities, putting them down, destroying self esteem
(See Notes for Guidance)
The good Teacher/Coach will be concerned primarily with the well- being, health and future of the individual performer and only secondary with the optimisation of performance.
A key element in a teacher/coach relationship is the development of independence. Performers must be encouraged to accept responsibility for their own behaviour and performance in training, in competition, and in their social life. Teachers/Coaches are responsible for setting and monitoring the boundaries between a working relationship and friendship with their performers. This is particularly important when the coach and performer are of opposite sex and/or when the performer is a young person. The Teacher/Coach must realise that certain situations or friendly actions could be misinterpreted, not only by the performer, but by outsiders motivated by jealousy, dislike or mistrust and could lead to allegations of sexual misconduct or impropriety.
The relationship between coach and performer relies heavily on mutual trust and respect. In detail this means that the performer should be aware of the Teachers’/Coaches’ qualifications and experience and must be given the opportunity to consent to or decline proposals for training and performance.
Teachers/Coaches need to clarify in advance with performers and/or employer the number of sessions, fees (if any) and method of payment. They also need to explore with performers and/or employers the expectation of the outcome of teaching/coaching.
Teachers/Coaches have a responsibility to declare to their performers and/or employer any other current teaching/coaching commitments. Teachers/Coaches should also find out if any prospective client is currently receiving guidance from another Teacher/Coach. If so, that teacher/coach should be contacted to discuss the situation.
Teachers/Coaches who become aware of a conflict between their obligation to their performers and their obligation to their Governing Body or other organisation employing them must make explicit the nature of conflict, and the loyalties and responsibilities involved, to all parties concerned.
Teachers/Coaches should communicate and co-operate with other sports and allied professions in the best interest of their performers. An Example of such contact would be the seeking of educational and career advice/counselling for young performers whose training impinges upon the performance of their studies.
Teachers/Coaches must communicate and co-operate with medical and ancillary practitioners in the diagnosis, treatment and management of their performers’ medical and psychological problems.
Advertising by sports teacher/coaches in respect of qualifications and/or services shall be accurate and professionally restrained.
Teachers/Coaches shall not display any affiliation with an organisation in a manner that falsely implies sponsorship or accreditation by that organisation.
Teachers/Coaches should refrain from public criticism of fellow Teachers/Coaches. Differences of opinion should be dealt with on a personal basis and more-serious disputes should be referred to the Governing Body (A.S.A.) or to the IOS.
Teachers/Coaches must not encourage performers to violate the rules of their sport and should actively seek to discourage such action. Furthermore, teachers/coaches should encourage performers to obey the spirit of such rules.
Teachers/Coaches must not compromise their performers by advocating measures which could be deemed to constitute seeking to gain an unfair advantage. Above all, teachers/coaches must never advocate the use of proscribed drugs or other banned performance enhancing substances.
Teachers/Coaches must treat opponents and officials with due respect both in victory and defeat and should encourage their performer to act in a similar manner.
Teachers/Coaches must accept responsibility for the conduct of their performers insofar as they will undertake to discourage inappropriate behaviour.
Teachers/Coaches inevitably gather a great deal of personal information ahbout performers in the course of a working relationship. Teacher/Coach and performers must reach agreement as to what is regarded as confidential information, i.e. not divulging to a third party without the express approval of the performer.
Confidentiality does not preclude the disclosure of information, to persons who can be judged to have a ‘right to know’, relating to performers when relevant to the following:
- evaluation of the performer within the sport for competitive selection purposes and recommendations concerning performers for professional purposes;
- pursuit of disciplinary action involving performers within the sport;
- pursuit of disciplinary action by the A.S.A. and/or IOS involving fellow coaches in alleged breaches of this Code of Ethics and Conduct.
Abuse of Privilege
The Teacher/Coach is privileged, on occasion to have contact with performers and to travel and reside with performer in the course of teaching/coaching and competitive practice. Consequently, a Teacher/Coach must not attempt to exert undue influence over the performer in order to obtain personal benefit or reward.
The Teacher/Coach must consistently display high personal standards and project a favourable image of their sport and of teaching/coaching – to performers, other teachers/coaches, officials, spectators, the media and the general public.
Personal appearance is a matter of individual taste but the sports teacher/coach has an obligation to project an image of health, cleanliness and functional efficiency.
The Teacher/Coach should never smoke when teaching/coaching.
Teachers/Coaches should not drink alcohol so soon before teaching/coaching that their judgement may be impaired and the smell will still be on their breath when working with performers.
Teachers/Coaches have a responsibility to ensure the safety of the performers with whom they work as far as possible within the limits of their control.
All reasonable steps should be taken to establish a safe working environment.
The work done and the manner in which it is done should be in keeping with regular and approved practice within that sport.
The activity being undertaken should be suitable for the age, experience and ability of the performers.
Performers should have been systematically prepared for the activity being undertaken and made aware of their personal responsibilities in terms of safety.
Issues of Competence
Teachers/Coaches shall confine themselves to practice in those fields of sport in which they have been trained/educated, and which are recognised by the A.S.A. and IOS as being valid. Valid areas of expertise are those directly concerned with sports coaching. Training includes the accumulation of knowledge and skills through both formal Teacher/Coach education courses and by experience at a level of competence acceptable for independent teaching/coaching practice.
Teachers/Coaches must be able to recognise and accept when to refer performers to other agencies. It is the responsibility of the Teacher/Coach as far as possible, to verify the competence and integrity of the person to whom they refer a performer.
Teachers/Coaches should regularly seek ways of increasing their professional development and self awareness.
Teachers/Coaches should welcome evaluation of their work by colleagues and be able to account to performers, employers, Governing Bodies and colleagues for their actions.
Teachers/Coaches have a responsibility to themselves and their performers to maintain their own effectiveness, resilience and abilities, and to know when their personal resources are so depleted as to make it necessary for them to seek help and/or withdraw from teaching/coaching whether temporarily or permanently.
Violations of this Code
An alleged breach of this Code shall be grounds for making a complaint under A.S.A. Law. This is a formal expression of dissatisfaction with the actions of behaviour of clubs, bodies, organisations or individuals or with alleged unfair practice in connection with the sport and will be dealt with by a Judicial Tribunal.
The procedures for making a complaint are set out in the A.S.A. Judicial Laws which are reproduced in the current edition of Laws of the Sport and the A.S.A. Handbook. Any complaint relating to matter contained in this Code may be referred by the A.S.A. Judicial Administrator for investigation as is required under A.S.A. Law. Dependent upon the outcome of the investigation the Judicial System may direct that the matter may not proceed as a complaint under the A.S.A. judicial system. In such a situation the Chief Executive may authorise such other action for instance the offering of guidance of education support or the issue of a warning as to future conduct, as may be appropriate in the circumstances. Thereafter dependant upon the outcome of such other action the Chief Executive may refer the matter back to the Judicial System for reconsideration as to whether the matter may proceed as a complaint.
The A.S.A. Child Protection Officer shall have the power in exceptional circumstances to commence or take over conduct of any complaint made in respect of any breach of any of the provisions of this Code.
Team Staff Appointments Policy
The policy of the Amateur Swimming Association and British Swimming is as follows:
Where one athlete aged below eighteen years of age is travelling they must be accompanied by one member of staff and parental consent obtained with regard to the identity of the staff member.
Where there are two or more athletes travelling they must be a minimum of two members of staff accompanying the athletes. Where the group of athletes are of mixed sex, there must be staff members of each sex.
NOTES FOR GUIDANCE
Under the A.S.A./IOS Code of Ethics Honorary officials are entitled to expect the same respect and dignity of treatment as that to which employees are entitled. It follows from this that if an official is not performing satisfactorily in their role the official is entitled to be told, to be given an opportunity to respond to the criticism and the opportunity to improve.
Further, LBNSC may wish to consider establishing a mentoring system with senior figures(s) in LBNSC (possibly a Past President) offering guidance and support to officials and also encouraging the development of new talent to ensure successions within LBNSC’s administration.
Conduct of Meetings
In particular any member wishing to make any direct overt-criticism of an official or other member of LBNSC in a general meeting must advise the Chairman in good time to enable the Chairman to advise such person in advance of the meeting in order that he is able to prepare himself for such criticism.
Furthermore, as a separate obligation on the chairman of the meeting when an official or member is the subject of criticism the chairman must specifically afford such person the opportunity to respond to include if requested consideration of an adjournment to enable the person to collect their thoughts.
Any failure to follow these principles may give rise to a complaint to the Judicial System under the A.S.A./IOS Code of Ethics. It is not intended that the Code should be used to stifle democratic debate but ethical considerations and indeed common sense decency dictates that advance warning should be given to anyone who is to be the subject of criticism in a general meeting.
The damage caused by bullying is frequently underestimated and can and does cause considerable distress and harm to children. It is important that all settings in which children are provided with services or activities promote a policy which is not tolerant of bullying. No swimmer will be able to reach their full potential if they feel they are the victims of bullying, by an adult or one of their peers. Tackling bullying must be the responsibility of everyone in LBNSC.
Guidelines and strategies to support an anti-bullying policy
The chances of bullying happening in a club can be greatly reduced if there is a general atmosphere where members are valued and cared for. The following strategies which are embodied in the A.S.A. Code of Ethics will support a club’s attempt to prevent bullying:
- Encourage an ethos of mutual respect for difference throughout LBNSC
- Give positive encouragement and promote the value of self and others
- Raise awareness of all to the possible cause and effect of bullying
- Make it clear that bullying will not be tolerated and is unacceptable, but that both victims and bullies will be given the necessary support
- Enable swimmers, coaches and teachers to understand that no form of bullying, be it physical, verbal or emotional, will be tolerated by LBNSC or the Association.
- Enable members to feel confident that their concerns will be listened to and taken seriously Publicise Swimline and the NSPCC Child Protection Helpline
Any club where bullying is evident but not addressed will be considered to be breaching the A.S.A. Code of Ethics. Clubs should ensure that any bullying which involves children should be seen in the same light as other child protection concerns and the A.S.A. Child Protection Procedures should be implemented if a serious concern is raised.
Guidelines for Handling Internal Club Disputes
The purpose of these notes is to give Clubs guidance in the handling of internal club disputes. With the introduction of the Code of Ethics and the increased risk of litigation it is important that internal disputes are handled correctly from the outset. Whilst most Clubs do from time to time have disputes between Committee members, parents and swimmers these can usually be resolved amicably between the individuals concerned. Occasionally it is also necessary to discipline swimmers for minor incidents of misbehaviour and this can also be done fairly by the Coach/Team Manager.
Sometimes a more serious dispute arises in a Club and because such a situation does not occur frequently Clubs are unsure how to handle the matter. This can lead to the dispute becoming more serious with recourse to the Judicial procedures becoming necessary.
These guidelines do not apply to paid employees of a Club. If a Club is in dispute with a paid employee then the employment contract and employment law needs to be considered. Specialist legal advice may have to be sought.
2 General Principles
A.S.A. Judicial Laws define Protests and Complaints and it should first be decided whether the matter is a Protest or a Complaint. A Protest can be dealt with by a Club provided they are the Promoter of the Competition to which the Protest relates. A Complaint cannot be dealt with by a Club. However, it is often possible to resolve a dispute within a Club without the matter becoming a formal Complaint. If either party is dissatisfied with a decision reached in an internal Club dispute then they still have the option to make a formal Complaint to the Judicial Administrator.
It must be noted that a Club only has the power to legislate for a breach of its own rules and can only suspend a swimmer from its own Club activities. A Club has not power to handle a dispute relating to a member of another Club, nor deal with an offence against A.S.A. Law.
The key principle to be followed is that A.S.A. Law conforms to the law of the land in so much that an individual accused of an alleged offence is innocent until proven guilty and he must have reasonable opportunity to present a defence and have his views heard.
In these notes reference is made to the term ‘dispute’ to avoid confusion with the term ‘Complaint’ used in formal A.S.A. Judicial terms. The term Club could also refer to a League or County Association.
It is assumed for the purpose of these notes that the dispute is between LBNSC and one or more of its members. It is most important that the same people in LBNSC do not become both the prosecutor (or defender) and the judge. If the Committee or its officers are either the prosecutor or defender or involved in the dispute then they must find other members not connected with the matter to hear the evidence from both parties to the dispute.
There are occasions when a problem arises in a Club, for example fighting between members in a training session, where immediate action is required, such as a temporary suspension or exclusion from a training session or from wider club activities. Coaches and officers should always be given the power to invoke a temporary suspension. A report should then be made, immediately, to LBNSC officers who should follow the procedures in the relevant section of the rules.
3.1 On receipt of the dispute every effort should be made to resolve the matter by informal discussion. In difficult cases the Chairman of the relevant Panel is empowered to appoint an independent arbitrator to assist in achieving a settlement. If this fails or it is clearly necessary to discipline a member, LBNSC should set up a panel to deal with the matter.
The panel should consist of three persons, one to act as Chairman. A Secretary may also be needed. The panel will need to consist of people not involved in the dispute and LBNSC may want to ask individuals from outside LBNSC to sit on the panel. The full Club Committee could of course hear the dispute but given the number of people on a Committee this could be seen as intimidating and it is usually preferable to have a smaller number of people to hear a disciplinary matter, hence the recommendation to set up a panel of three persons.
3.2 The Chairman must notify both parties of the date, time and place of the hearing and the names of the panel members. Both parties need to be given copies of all the papers and every effort should be made to hold the hearing within 14 days of the receipt of the dispute.
3.3 If either party is under 18 years of age they must be advised of their right to be accompanied by a parent (or other person with a parental responsibility for them) or coach to help them present their case.
3.4 Both parties should be allowed to bring witnesses.
3.5 The hearing should be as informal as possible but needs to be controlled. Points to note.
The Complainant will present evidence first and the accused will have the right of reply.
- Both parties to the dispute are able to call witnesses, the Complainant going first and each party should be allowed to question the other party’s witnesses.
- Witnesses must wait outside the hearing room until they are called. After questioning they may wait in the hearing room, taking no further part in the proceedings.
- The Chairman or Secretary will make notes of the hearing and the panel will make every effort to announce their decision verbally to all the parties without delay followed by written confirmation to reach all parties within five days.
4 Powers of LBNSCs
The powers of Clubs regarding the disciplinary action they can apply must not exceed those in A.S.A. Judicial Laws which can result in full suspension from Club activities for whatever period the panel shall decide or in expulsion. The panel if it wishes can impose a lesser penalty such as a written or verbal reprimand.
If either party to the dispute is dissatisfied with the outcome they are still entitled to make a Complaint to the Judicial Administrator at A.S.A. Head Office, Loughborough.
5 Further Information
Additional guidance can be obtained from the A.S.A. Handbook Judicial Laws. The Sports Council have also issued a booklet ‘Getting it Right’ a Guide to Sports Ethics and Disciplinary Procedures.
The key message when dealing with disputes is to ensure:
- all parties are treated fairly;
- the complainant has the opportunity to present the case;
- the accused has the opportunity to respond.