Friday, June 14, 2024

ECB: Further update on action plan to tackle racism and all forms of discrimination

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Photo Credit: England & Wales Cricket Board

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is today publishing the third update on the implementation of cricket’s action plan to tackle racism and promote inclusion and diversity at all levels of the game.

Since the previous update on 1 April 2022, the ECB has continued to work with stakeholders across the game to deliver further progress against the measures announced as part of the action plan. In in line with the anticipated timetable for full delivery of the plan, the next update will be provided before the end of September.

Best practice governance

Following publication of the action plan in November 2021, the county cricket network has achieved significant progress to increase Board diversity in line with the targets of 30% female representation and locally representative ethnicity by the end of April 2022.

In the last six months, more than 30 organisations have appointed at least one new Non-Executive Director (NED) to their Board, with many of these involving major recruitment processes appointing multiple NEDs.

At an aggregate level, the county network has now surpassed the Board diversity targets, with an overall figure of 31% female representation on Boards and 16% ethnic diversity, up from 20% and 10% respectively since November 2021. This builds on the action taken across the network since the introduction of mandatory standards via the County Governance Framework (CGF) in early 2020. The proportion of Directors at county organisations who are from a minority-ethnic background has tripled from 5% since 2019, while the proportion of Board roles held by women has also grown significantly from a 2019 baseline of 11%.

Among the examples of counties to have made significant progress in transforming the diversity and skills mix of their Board, Kent Cricket recently appointed six new Directors following an extensive public recruitment process. Today, four of the Board’s 12 members are women and three are from ethnically diverse backgrounds, ensuring that Kent Cricket – a single organisation that is responsible for all cricket in the County from schools and community cricket to the professional game – will benefit from a wide range of skills and perspectives as well as meeting its diversity targets.

In a further demonstration of commitment to strong and diverse governance arrangements, Worcestershire Cricket Foundation (the charitable successor to Worcestershire Cricket Board) has established the most diverse Board of any entity across the game. Following the appointment of seven new Trustees, women represent a majority of the Board (seven of 12 Trustees) and one quarter of Trustees are ethnically diverse, significantly ahead of local demographics.

Progress in Board diversity across cricket has been accelerated by the success of the ECB’s partnership with Sport England and executive search specialists Perrett Laver. Nineteen county organisations have already received (or are currently receiving) advisory and search support from Perrett Laver, resulting to date in the appointment of more than 30 Directors with a broad range of skillsets and backgrounds. It is expected that Perret Laver will provide support to at least 10 further county organisations over the course of 2022.

At an individual level, the ECB understands that 80% of county organisations (40 of 50 entities) have now met their Board diversity targets. This assessment is based on the most recent information received from each organisation and includes some appointments which have not yet been confirmed publicly or require final ratification at upcoming AGMs or similar.

County organisations fully compliant with Board diversity targets
First Class County Clubs (professional cricket)County Cricket Boards (recreational cricket)
Derbyshire County Cricket ClubCricket East
Durham County Cricket ClubBerkshire Cricket Foundation
Glamorgan County Cricket ClubBuckinghamshire Cricket Board*
Gloucestershire County Cricket ClubCambridgeshire Cricket Ltd
Kent Cricket Ltd†Cheshire Cricket Board
Leicestershire County Cricket Club†*Cornwall Cricket Board
Northamptonshire County Cricket Club†Cumbria Cricket Ltd
Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club†Derbyshire Cricket Foundation
Somerset County Cricket Club*Devon Cricket Board
Surrey County Cricket ClubDorset Cricket Board
Worcestershire County Cricket ClubDurham Cricket Board
Yorkshire County Cricket ClubEssex Cricket in the Community
Cricket Wales
Gloucestershire Cricket Foundation
Hampshire Cricket Board
Hertfordshire Cricket Ltd
Isle of Wight Cricket Board
Lancashire Cricket Foundation
Lincolnshire Cricket Ltd
Norfolk Cricket Board
Northumberland Cricket Board
Oxfordshire Cricket Board
Shropshire Cricket Board
Somerset Cricket Foundation
Staffordshire Cricket Ltd
Suffolk Cricket Ltd
Surrey Cricket Foundation*
Worcestershire Cricket Foundation

*A small number of organisations are at final stage of recruitment (final interviews by early June) and have committed to meeting their Board diversity targets as a result of these appointments.

† A number of county organisations are now “single entities” overseeing both recreational and professional cricket in their county.

The ECB has granted extensions to a further nine county organisations in line with the “comply or explain” provision, which allows for additional time to be provided where an organisation has made positive progress in recent years and established clear action plans but has been unable to meet the deadline for genuine practical or constitutional reasons. Each of these organisations is in a slightly different situation but all have committed to carrying out further NED recruitment in the next six to nine months, with several underway already. The ECB will continue to monitor and support each of these counties to ensure appropriate progress is made.

County organisations granted “comply or explain” extensions
Hampshire County Cricket ClubHerefordshire Cricket Ltd
Lancashire County Cricket ClubWarwickshire Cricket Board
Middlesex County Cricket Club†Wiltshire Cricket Ltd
Sussex Cricket †Yorkshire Cricket Board
Warwickshire County Cricket Club

† A number of county organisations are now “single entities” overseeing both recreational and professional cricket in their county.

The ECB has placed one organisation, Essex County Cricket Club, in a non-compliance process as they have fallen significantly short of their targets and do not yet have a clear action plan to deliver change within an appropriate timescale. As part of this process, Essex CCC must provide an updated action plan for approval by the ECB and sanctions may be considered if sufficient progress is not made within agreed deadlines.

ECB Anti-Discrimination Unit

As part of the action plan, the ECB committed to establish a new Anti-Discrimination Unit to ensure that it has the right resources and capabilities to tackle discrimination in all its forms and provide guidance to the wider game.

Work to define the resources and capabilities required by the unit has been completed and the proposed approach has been approved by the ECB Board. The delivery plan is in development; however, full implementation will take longer than initially envisaged.

In the first phase, the ECB has established a new role of Head of Discipline with responsibility for managing discrimination allegations from within the recreational game, assisting counties with issues which arise and overseeing the investigations process. This role, which will be supported by two managers, will be in place from June 2022. The addition of these new resources follows on from the creation, as reported in the previous update, of a game-wide system allowing anyone to report an incident of discrimination that they have experienced in recreational cricket. Separate systems are in place for reporting and managing any incidents within the professional game and any related to ECB employees.

Review of crowd management

The ECB has worked with the First Class Counties and the Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) to complete a pre-season review of the effectiveness of our venues at managing crowd behaviour, with the aim of ensuring that robust systems are in place for detection, enforcement, and sanctioning of any discriminatory or abusive behaviour. This process included a detailed review of the first year of The Hundred as well as an end-of-season review of arrangements for other domestic competitions.

The game has identified initiatives to address the challenges highlighted during the review, which will have a tangible impact on crowd behaviour and the experience of fans attending any format of cricket. Measures in place now include: a new system for spectators at major venues to report any crowd behaviour issues via an app or text message; family stands across all venues and more dedicated alcohol-free zones; additional training for matchday stewards; and updated policies on alcohol management and exclusions. The ECB will also make available EDI training for all venues to deliver to stewards and other casual staff.

In addition, a pilot scheme will be introduced this season at The Kia Oval and Edgbaston to trial the use of advanced CCTV to improve incident identification, tracking and reporting. A wider rollout of the technology will be considered based on the success of the pilot. To promote best practice, all crowd management incidents will be subject to formal reporting to the ECB’s Safety & Security team from the 2022 season, with a sanctions policy for poor crowd management to be agreed for the 2023 season. Further evaluation of crowd behaviour will be undertaken during 2022 with the support of external partners, including MOM Consultancy, SGSA and Leeds Beckett University, with the aim of identifying further improvements to our approach in this area.

Creating welcoming environments for all

With the aim of making 2022 the most inclusive season yet, all professional cricket venues have reviewed the inclusivity of their facilities and established plans to improve provision for families and under-served communities in line with another of the 12 pledges made in November.

The ECB is making available £2.5 million of funding to support facilities development, with an initial focus on multi-faith quiet rooms, changing facilities, family toilets, accessible seating, and sensory rooms. Fourteen venues have introduced new facilities before or during the 2022 season, with the remaining four to complete following the end of the season due to construction or planning challenges.

In addition to facilities, fans in cricket grounds will see a noticeable difference in event presentation, with anti-discrimination messaging incorporated into matchday communications and big-screen content. In order to ensure that fans’ views are understood, matchday experience surveys will incorporate a number of EDI elements from the start of the Vitality Blast onwards.

Venues will be subject to monitoring through the season to ensure that they are making progress against their plans and addressing the identified gaps in provision, as well as reaching ECB minimum standards. To support further work in this area, further review will be completed during the season including a Cultural Risk Assessment by Leeds Beckett University, which will look at barriers to attendance by fans from ethnically diverse communities and potential issues within cricket grounds.


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