A Rugby Life

A Rugby Volunteer's Blog

So what is Planning, Funding & Reporting?


Regular followers of my Facebook and Twitter pages and my Council Briefings will have seen me refer to a CB Planning, Funding & Reporting Task Group that I chair.  On Friday 21 February at the RFU CB Treasurers Conference I introduced a section on Planning, Funding & Reporting and I have reproduced the text of my speech below.  It might give you an idea of what it means for Constituent Bodies like Eastern Counties.

I had no idea when I was asked to chair the group how far reaching the effects of what we were being asked to do would be.  And what is particularly daunting is how far we still have to go!  I hope we can keep everyone on board over the next year or so when we will have to make some difficult decisions.

Anyway, see what you think and as ever, comments are welcome.

“At last season’s Treasurers Conference you were told about the proposed change to the way CBs would be funded. I want to give you an update on what has happened since then.

In fact I’ll start a couple of months before the last Conference when the Single-Stream Funding Task Group, as it was then called, was reformed under my chairmanship.

Our Terms of Reference were:

· Simplify the funding of CBs via One Plan to be used by volunteers and staff

· Reinforce the partnership between CB volunteers and field based staff

· Focus on supporting clubs and re-establish the CB as a lead to clubs

What we were being asked to create was a bottom-up approach to CB planning.

The first meeting was October 2009 – after 20 minutes I wrote on my pad ‘Poisoned Chalice’. To say it was a difficult meeting is an understatement!

· The concept of Single-Stream funding had been suggested before but had never got off the ground and seem to falter at the committee stage. And with accusations and counter-accusations flying around at the first meeting I could see why

· However, after a couple of meetings everyone got their anxieties off their chests and we started to look at what a costed plan should look like

· We changed our name to Planning, Funding & Reporting which more accurately described what we were about and we eventually came up with a template that went to CBs and Regional Managers.

· We originally expected about 6 CBs to join a pilot project but many more wanted to take part, so in October last year we reviewed the plans of 24 out of a maximum of 28 geographical CBs.

As you can imagine there was a wide variation in the quality of the plans and the details they contained. A small group of us convened for a day and a half to review the plans where we were looking for:

o plans to have clear objectives linked to the RFU strategic plan,

o actions to help achieve those objectives,

o Key Performance Indicators that would show if those objectives had been reached

o A named lead person for those actions

o A cost and a funding source for each action, even if it was nil cost.

· Also:

o Evidence of understanding club needs

o Tackling the breadth of the game

o Involvement of the wider CB team and RDT

What was encouraging was that nearly all CBs used the template and feedback was generally positive. There were two or three CBs that want to do it their way, but with so many embracing the template, it looks to be the way forward.

Every CB received written feedback about their plan, highlighting areas that were addressed well and areas where they could improve

We are expecting CBs to submit their 2011/12 plans using the template by end of this month.

We have put together a Support Team, initially with the aim of helping CBs with the current round of planning, but although we have had one training session we they aren’t yet ready to go. But they will be available for the 2012/13 planning process.

We need to start looking at the Funding and Reporting aspects.

If we have got the Planning right then the Reporting on how well CBs have done should be fairly straightforward, but what will be less straightforward is coming up with a method of Funding the Plans. That will be our focus for the New Year.

We then need to see how we can apply this process to the National CBs (Services, Students, Schools, etc.).

We have come a long way in a little over a year and there is still challenging work to do, but we don’t underestimate how radical this change is.

Planning, Funding & Reporting will be turning the Community Rugby planning process from a top-down authoritarian process telling CBs what they should do with the money they are allocated on a formula basis, to a bottom-up inclusive process where CBs, in partnership with RFU staff and in consultation with their clubs, are funded according to the work programmes that they know will best suit their local circumstances to grow the game in their area.

Thank you and Questions”

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