Active Together (AT) is 1 of 43 Active Partnerships operating in England. AT serves the communities of Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland and was established in November 2004. The vision of AT is for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland to be the most physically active and sporting place in England. The work of AT is guided by the AT Physical Activity Framework (2022-2031). The strategy document outlines how AT and its partners intend to empower and support the communities of Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland get and stay physically active.
A core team of staff is based at SportPark, Loughborough University and is managed by the Active Partnership Director, John Byrne. The role of the team is to support the delivery of the AT Physical Activity Framework. The core team are employed by Leicestershire County Council (the host authority) and the team comply with host's key policies, for example, health and safety, human resources and safeguarding. The work of the team is overseen by the AT Board, chaired by Mike Sandys. The Board consists of a balance of Members that are both representative of the local physical activity and sport sector and those that are independent of the sector and partnership. The Board will take decisions about the work and future direction of AT and will meet 4 times a year. In addition, the Board will take account of partners interests and is accountable both for its own decisions and the actions of the organisation as a whole. The full Terms of Reference for the AT Board can be found here.
The AT Board has appointed a Business Oversight and Audit Committee. The fundamental role of the Committee is to provide guidance and scrutiny on Policy, Governance, Finance and Performance Management related issues. The Business, Oversight and Audit Committee meets 3 times a year.
Following the resignation of the Bev Smith (Chair) the Active Together Board exercised its powers to appoint a Nominations Committee to recruit a new Chairperson. The Nominations Committee led by the Senior Independent Director recommended to the Board the appointment of Mike Sandys. This recommendation was accepted by the Board on 28 October 2022.
At its February 2022 meeting, the Board undertook a full review of its Terms of Reference. The Board gave consideration of its responsibility to comply with the revisions of the UK Code for Sport Governance. In particular, the revisions to the Terms of Reference reflected the commitment of the Board to consider the diversity of the leadership and take action to ensure the leadership reflects the diversity of the communities it serves. The Board through its new Terms of Reference has set out its intention to publish a Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan and to provide annual progress updates. The Board approved the revised Terms of Reference.
The Board supported by the team, undertook a significant consultation exercise with partners and the community to support the development of a strategy to guide its work. The Board has set out 10 strategic priorities across three overarching themes of People, Place and Partnerships. The Board approved a Physical Activity Framework (2022-2031) and launched the document at its annual conference in April 2022.
The Business, Oversight and Audit Committee (BOAC) has been delegated the responsibility to ensure compliance of the Code of Sport Governance. An internal controls system has been developed and the committee holds the Senior Leadership Team accountable for ensuring that policies are developed and presented for review and quality assurance. A verbal and written report is tabled at full Board meetings setting out its recommendations as well as a summary of the financial and performance monitoring it is undertaken. The BOAC has provided regular assurances to the Board that Active Together comply with the Code of Sport Governance. However, the Board have noted the new requirements of the Code and the work needed to ensure its compliance by the end of 2023. An internal governance action plan has been produced to support this work.
A skills audit of Board Members has been undertaken with strengths identified around:
- Financial management and monitoring
- Diversity, inclusion and equality issues
- Leadership and governance
- Key sectors, such as, Health, education, physical activity and sport.
- Safeguarding and welfare
- Place based working.
It was noted that the Board did have knowledge gaps around climate change/climate action and that it would need to co-opt or recruit expertise to support advancing this agenda.
Finally, the Chair supported by the Vice Chair have undertaken appraisals of Board Members in 2022. This has helped the Board leadership understand individual Board Members self-assessment of performance and their aspirations moving forward.
The Business, Oversight and Audit Committee meets 3 times a year and the full Terms of Reference for the Committee can found below.
The Active Together Board also has the powers to appoint a Nominations Committee who would be responsible for appointing new Board Members. The Board exercised these powers in 2022 to recruit its current Chairperson. A full list of Board Members and Advisers can be found here
AT is in receipt of public funding from Sport England and as such, it should meet the mandatory requirements of the UK Code for Sport Governance. As a regular receiver of funding, AT is required to meet the top level of mandatory governance requirements required by the code. AT currently meets all requirements of the code. The AT Board have developed an Internal Control System that provides a framework and timescales for its policy reviews, performance management and financial management procedures. It also presents a framework for the AT Board to utilise to ensure its ongoing compliance the UK Code for Sport Governance.
The Active Together (AT) Board and core team believes that equality of opportunity should be at the heart of all sport and physical activity provision within Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland. The AT Board has produced an Equality and Diversity Action Plan that promotes and champions inclusion, diversity, community cohesion and human rights. Furthermore, the action plan sets out the Board's intention to empower under-represented groups and individuals to participate in physical activity and sport and take a pro-active role in society. Being inclusive and ensuring that our decisions are fair, equitable and that there is a focus on reducing inequality is core value of the work of the AT Board and core team do and is stated as such in the Physical Activity Framework (2022-2031). The latest AT Board Equality and Diversity Action Plan and progress report can be found below.