British Taekwondo

Board Update

In the last 2 months we have been extremely busy picking up business matters following some difficult but necessary decisions and though wanted to, could not communicate sooner. With this message being the first, we hope to make more updates as a regular feature and organisational overviews in an open, honest and transparent manner.

The 2018 AGM was extremely challenging in many ways for us as some concerns and questions were raised by the membership. The AGM also brought some major organisational restructure, in which two new board members, Gemma Biescas and Sivakumar Ramasamy were elected as Non-Executive Directors, Sarah Stevenson Jennings MBE as President and Jonny Cowan stepped into the position of Interim Chair taking over from Jon Smith.

Subsequently, on the 14th January 2019, as a part of a review of the organisation’s performance and future development plans, the Board took a unanimous decision to part ways with our then CEO Shirley Stapleton. Soon after Mike Mckenzie, a Non-Executive Director decided to resign from the Board for the reasons that the Board had taken the decision not to appoint an interim CEO.

The decision, instead for the Board to become operational whilst we plan for the next recruitment, was taken after much deliberation. This decision was taken to not only ensure that the board fully understands every aspect of the business/organisation but as an opportunity to bring the much-needed change.

As a result, we have been extremely busy and have worked very hard in the last two months, whilst maintaining other commitments away from the BT Board. The journey hasn’t been the easiest one but we are determined to tackle the obstacles in front of us with a solution driven mind set and putting the best interests of the business and membership in the core of all the decisions that we take; something that we believe has been overlooked for far too long!

Strategic Plan

Setting the company vision, and mission we now have developed a framework for the new CEO to take up and to use to seek input from the Taekwondo family and partners to ensure it is a meaningful and a purposeful piece of work.

Organisational Review

A thorough review of the entire operation of British Taekwondo has taken place in the form of hours of conversations, meetings and completion of documents by leads of various departments, board analysis and observations. We feel that we have carried out a thorough investigation and review which has helped shape our Vision and Mission of British Taekwondo with a Strategy to help us achieve our goal.

Briefly, the following areas of operation are currently at various stages of our review:

  • Company’s organisational structure
  • Business governance and compliance
  • Kukkiwon and Dan grading
  • Safeguarding and Disciplinary
  • Event structure and strategy for all types of BT events
  • Judges and Referees Departments
  • Stakeholders relations

The current ongoing review:

  • Education in various areas such as coaching, refereeing, examiners
  • The Hub development with 4Global
  • Communications, media, marketing and branding
  • Commercial opportunities
  • Service providers and ROI

Company’s Organisational Structure  

  • We have carried out a Skills Matrix of the current board and identified skill gaps that need to be filled forming the basis of our iNED recruitment.
  • We have identified the need for more staff to fulfil the business needs, plan to recruit and expand the service team in our Manchester office.

Business Governance and Compliance  

  • We are committed to ensuring that all area of the organisation fulfils a high standard of governance and compliance with mechanisms to measure and monitor them. This includes all HR matters. We are seeking expert advice where possible to ensure that the correct approach is taken in a cost-effective manner, albeit this is a huge piece of work in progress.
  • From the last AGM, it was clear that the membership wanted more clarifications around the financial health of the organisation. The Board now have full access to our expenses and accounting software, and we are currently carrying out a full forensic analysis of all historic transactions to ensure a full financial audit is carried out and a robust procedure around finances are in place.

Kukkiwon and Dan Grading  

  • We now have a much more streamlined process of the entire Dan Grading procedure with a succinct work flow in place, thanks to Master Neil Guest for his expertise and assistance!
  • New BT Dan Graduation Certificates have been approved by the Board and these certificates will be issued in future BT National Dan Grading.
  • All the outstanding Kukkiwon applications (190) have now been fully processed and we are expecting to receive the certificates back within the next few weeks.

Safeguarding and Disciplinary

This is an area that is extremely important to us and we have and shall continue to invest a lot of time and resource to ensure members safety and wellbeing comes first.

  • Working closely with our Lead Safeguarding Officer (LSO), we have ensured that our safeguarding policy and procedures are completely up to date and meets the current recommended standards.
  • We are now looking at training and support for our clubs and coaches. Our aim is to also achieve the next tier of the national safeguarding standards.
  • Again, with the help of Liz Behnke, our LSO we have an updated draft of our disciplinary and complaints policy and procedure. This document is also currently being reviewed by the board and will be published on our website soon.

Event Structure for all BT Events

  • We recognise the issues and challenges with our current domestic competition structure – or the lack of! Indeed, this has been a major focus of our Board meetings and we are ready to tackle it head on.
  • We are currently working on a short-term strategy, which we understand is not the best approach however this is about damage control for 2019. We are also working out the best possible solutions for 2019 Kyorugi and Poomsae National Championships. Naturally, there will not be a perfect solution that will make everyone happy for this year and we can only endeavour to improve the processes and structure when planning the 2020 Taekwondo calendar.

Judges and Referees Department

  • Upon review of both the Poomsae and Kyorugi referee departments it is clear that we need a better departmental model which is open, and transparent with clear developmental pathway for referees. We are currently exploring what this restructure looks like. Watch this space!

Stakeholder Relationships

  • We believe it is important to have an honest and a professional working relationship with all our partners and stakeholders. In particular, it is extremely important for British Taekwondo to ensure that we have a positive working relationship with our high-performance arm GB Taekwondo.
  • Whilst we continue to operate as two separate organisations, we have already exchanged positive ideas and discussions around reviewing our MOU between the two organisations. In our last two board meetings we had the privilege of inviting both Matt Archibald, CEO and Julia Newton, Chair of GB Taekwondo to our Board meeting for discussions around how we can work together to maximise each other’s resources for the greater development of Taekwondo from grass roots all the way to high performance in our country.
  • The current Board took a decision to be fully support GB Taekwondo in delivering an amazing World Championships in Manchester in May 2019. Thanks to Sarah Stevenson Jennings, our president and Siva Ramasamy, Non-Executive Director, who currently sit on the stakeholder group for the event. We are determined to help make this World Championships a global success! This is a once in a life time opportunity to experience a world class event on home soil. It will be a fun, exciting, entertaining and an inspiring World Championships for sure. We hope that the entire Taekwondo community will support this event and also support our National Team. Hope you have all bought your tickets and look forward to seeing you at the Championships.
  • British Taekwondo now plays a major role in the delivery of the legacy for Manchester as a result of the World Championships being hosted in the sport city of Manchester. Our legacy activities have massively increased and we have some great projects that are in the pipeline to enable activation and participation work in and around Greater Manchester. We now have a very close working relationship with Manchester City Council and GB Taekwondo in relation to delivering a meaningful legacy plan. If you are a Greater Manchester based club / coach and wish to be involved in the planned legacy activities, then please feel free to get in touch with James Docherty who is our Development Officer. Rhiannon Prestage will also work closely on the event, including picking up more on the promotion and content engagement.

Even though what may not seem substantial, we truly feel that a lot of work has been carried out since the New Year. In the last 2 months that the Board has been operational we have been tackling a mountain of historic matters some of which have been resolved and some that are yet to be closed off. Our last two board meeting have lasted 11 hours each. However, we are now confident that we have address most of the outstanding matters and are on various phases of being address and closed off.

Moving forward, we will be in a position to be able to refocus our time and energy to refine our current programmes, products and services, introduce more programmes and activities to increase activation and participation work, look at creative ways to use our art to add value to our communities and society as a whole. These are just some of our planned projects and we have more exiting ones in the pipeline.

We have received incredible amounts of support from the membership of British Taekwondo and members and organisations outside of the NGB  that are seriously considering joining British Taekwondo. Thank you to those who have had historic issues that were not being moved on, we are pleased to have been able to pick these up directly and worked many of them through.

We appreciate all your support and our message to all Taekwondo practitioners in the country is simply that the current Board of British Taekwondo is here to ensure that as an NGB British Taekwondo can be a home to everyone who practices the art of Taekwondo, regardless of historic personal and political differences and/or affiliations.

We are determined to operate in an extremely open, transparent and a professional manner and want more people doing more Taekwondo more often in a safe, fun and a positive environment.

Imminently, we are looking to go live with recruitment campaigns for a new CEO and independent Non-Executive Directors as the first steps of this revolutionary journey of change in British Taekwondo. Together we can!