Badminton England today released the results of the recent independent Culture Healthcheck on our elite playing field. The Healthcheck was commissioned jointly by Badminton England, GB Badminton and UK Sport and was conducted as a confidential procedure by an independent panel of experts.
As part of Badminton England’s renewed commitment to open and transparent communication, the summary report released aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the report’s findings as well as our commitment to improving the programme. Ensuring anonymity for all contributors was a key factor in their open and honest feedback, and while this commitment prevents us from publishing the report in its full form, all of the report’s findings and recommendations have been fully incorporated into the executive summary audit report.
After receiving an interim report in November, we held extensive consultations with players, coaches and program staff, as well as UK Sport and the Boards of Badminton England and GB Badminton. As a result of this consultation we have prepared and agreed an action plan and we received the final report from UK Sport this week.
It is clear from the report that some fundamental cultural, behavioral and procedural changes were required to deliver the world-class Olympic program we aspired to. Some of the recommendations have already been implemented as part of our rebuilding of a world-class program after Tokyo following the return of UK sport funding.
However, it is evident that much more needs to be done to create a performance environment in which players and coaches can thrive and achieve medal success. After an immediate focus on providing support for mental health and wellbeing and rebuilding relationships between all parties, the focus shifts to creating a progressive and positive program that everyone can be proud to be a part of.
“We welcome the findings of the report and are truly grateful for the time taken by the independent panel of experts and the nearly 70 contributors who helped produce it,” said Pete Fitzboydon, interim CEO of Badminton England.
“Although difficult to read in many parts, particularly in relation to the risk to the emotional well-being of players and coaches, it provided us with the insight we needed to build a world-class badminton program with the return of UK sport funding create.
“I am pleased to share the report’s findings publicly as part of our commitment to openness and transparency as we rebuild trust as the sport’s governing body. After receiving the draft report, I personally spent over 40 hours listening to players, coaches and others; to hear their concerns, ideas and aspirations for the future, so I am confident that we have the right plan in place.
“While I feel like we’ve acted quickly so far, the really hard work is now beginning in rebuilding a world-class program and culture as we move from a time of pain and disruption into an exciting future for the sport .”
The report’s findings and resulting action plan have also been welcomed by players, including Olympic mixed doubles Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith, who have expressed their support.
“The last six months have without a doubt been the toughest of our careers, both physically and emotionally,” they said. “We are pleased that the report has shown how culture needs to change and that the issue of Olympic selection was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.
“It has been encouraging to see Badminton England’s new leadership taking action and laying out a comprehensive plan for the future.
“This is the first step in a long process towards a better environment for players and staff to thrive. We look forward to seeing the plan implemented and refocusing on representing England on the world stage.”
Badminton England are now working with UK Sport, The English Institute of Sport and an independent mediator to identify best practices and improvements in design and action.
We are committed to a comprehensive 50 point action plan16 of which are already complete, with changes including:
- completion a leadership assessment, which led to structural and personnel changes, including the hiring of a new, world-class Performance Director, with a more direct involvement in the creation of a positive and successful performance program. This position will also have direct responsibility for the coaching staff, with other related executives being screened and consulted.
- A basic change in culture and ethos into a modern, athlete-centric and science-influenced program. This will be driven by the new Performance Director and enshrined in a charter developed by players and coaches to set program goals, behaviors and mutual expectations.
- recruitment of a specialized multidisciplinary team to provide broader support to players, including sports psychology, nutrition and player welfare.
- Implementation of a broader Player Education Programranging from financial management and life skills to sports science fundamentals to both enhance their game development and prepare and equip them for when they leave the program.
- Investment in an ongoing program of Coach education and development to ensure coaches are adequately equipped to work in a world-class, multi-disciplinary environment.
- completion of mediation process to improve working relationships of key people.
- Physical improvements to the National Badminton Center to make it a better place for players to train, recover and develop.
- Regularly and anonymously evaluation of the program Track progress openly and transparently and identify areas for continuous improvement.
- Embed player representation in our governance structure to ensure that opinions are central to decision-making at all levels.
To read a copy of the summary report, please Click here.