Birthed in the wake of the recent Strategic Review Report, the ISA Board has established eight Policy Groups which, chaired by a Director, will be responsible for developing future policy within its assigned area. This week we're happy to announce the Groups, their objectives and their contributing members.
Since new President David Lovegrove from Howth Yacht Club took over the helm early this March the ISA Directors have held four board meetings around the country, the June one being in Cork. The first critical task at hand was to meet with the Strategic Review Group (SRG) and analyse its findings.
The SRG was established in late 2013 at the behest of the previous Board, and spent the succeeding four months undertaking an extensive stakeholder consultation process. The report was presented to the Board in late March identifying a number of key areas where attention was required to address shortcomings. After the report had been reviewed, the Board wholly endorsed the findings and embarked on a programme to remedy the issues identified. In addressing the way forward, the Board has embarked on a path to bring about fundamental change to sailing in Ireland. In order to ensure the highlighted areas received the required attention, each Board member was allocated responsibility for a specific area and an invitation was extended to any members with the relevant skills and expertise to serve on these groups.
Now already hard at work, the Groups’ recommendations will form the pillar of the Board’s response to the SRG Report - a response which is expected to be published in late July. With this document, the Board intends to inform the ISA membership how it will address the issues raised in the SRG Report.
Next on the agenda will be the creation of a new four year Strategic Plan. Tasked with this process is former ISA President Neil Murphy who was an instrumental member of the SRG. Working alongside Harry Hermon, the ISA’s Chief Executive and David Lovegrove, Neil will engage with other specialists in this area and begin to put a strategy in place. The Strategic Plan will in essence frame how the Association will drive the regrowth of the sport, the membership and the association as a whole.
Click here to view the Policy Groups and their members
Selected as the key focus areas the Policy Groups will develop:
Training – Chaired by Brian Craig
When conducting the consultation process, the SRG found that the most reoccurring topic within Clubs and Training Centres was the area of Training. The suitability of ‘one size fits all products’ provided to fulfil what now encompasses such a diverse range of needs and requirements has been called in to question. A prime gateway into our sport, the ISA Training Schemes will now be taken into review by Brian Craig and his Training Policy Group. In tandem with the scheme review, the Group hope to identify a suitable double-handed starter boat to offer an additional pathway which will dovetail with the already popular single-handed classes. In order to provide more tailored adult training, the Group will also be exploring the options most suitable to creating adult training schemes for both cruising and crew training. Ultimately the cost of training and the obvious draws of spending a summer instructing abroad has led to a deficit of instructors in Ireland during the summer months. The Group understand that addressing this issue is an absolute priority and so they will be undertaking a review of Instructor and Instructor Trainer procedures, standards and costs.
Participation & Access – Chaired by Muriel Rumball
Growing participation is one of the cornerstones of the ISA’s mantra. In order to make the sport more accessible the ISA needs to carry on its efforts in finding ways of lowering operating costs for Clubs and Training Centres. What Muriel Rumball and the Participation & Access Policy Group plan to do is build on the existing network of funding avenues for ISA organisations, helping to lower the cost of access through Clubs and assisting in buying boats for temporary members. The ISA has a fleet of 24 Topaz Unos, 3 Argos and 3 Kona windsurf boards which are available to charter. The Group will evaluate how to best optimise the use of the fleets and the other ISA initiatives. The Group also hope to drive increased cooperation between Training Centres and Clubs providing a clear pathway from entry level through to the lifelong sailor.
Communications & Membership – Chaired by David Lovegrove
The ISA’s website has been highlighted by the membership for a while now. Its sheer volume of content can make it difficult to navigate for the new user. The Communications & Membership Policy Group intend on tacking that issue under the guidance of David Lovegrove. The Group will also create further channels through which the ISA can better communicate with its membership and it will encourage communication between Clubs, Classes and Training Centres regionally. The final task of the Group is to continue to maintain relationships with the media, both nationally and internationally, and further promote the sport.
Cruising & Leisure – Chaired by Peirce Purcell
The Cruising & Leisure Policy Group fronted by Pierce Purcell will work with the relevant cruising associations and bodies to develop a national programme and calendar of events for the cruising, leisure and motorboat sailors. The Yachtmaster training certification process will also fall under their remit and they will work together with the Government, Regulation & State Bodies Policy Group to identify legislative issues that may impact on cruising activities.
Competition (Racing & Classes) – Chaired by Jack Roy
Racing currently forms the backbone of club activity. Jack Roy and the Competition Policy Group will continue the work needed to boost participation levels. Working with the classes and ICRA, the Group will establish the support systems and initiatives needed to encourage more club, regional and national level racing. They want to create a pathway for medium performance sailors and to provide a platform for clubs and classes to network and collaborate on events and fixtures. They will also identify how to encourage more sailors to become involved in race management and provide access to race officers and jury panels.
Government, Regulation & State Bodies – Chaired by Philip Cowman & David Lovegrove
One of the fundamental responsibilities of the ISA is to represent its members and the interests of the sport at government and legislative level. Over the years the ISA has been successful in establishing relationships with key departmental figures and working together with them on regulatory issues. Under the direction of Philip Cowman and David Lovegrove, the Government, Regulation & State Bodies Policy Group aims to continue to develop good working relationships with the relevant Departments. It will establish the ISA’s position on all future issues impacting the sport and it will advise and facilitate ISA affiliated organisations in their dealings with Government departments.
Olympic Steering Group – Chaired by Colm Barrington
Having chaired the Olympic Steering Group for nine years, Colm Barrington is well versed in the intricate development plan that forms the Olympic Pathway Programme. He will continue his work with his fellow Group members in providing the best pathway programme for our high performance sailors. So far in 2014 the successes have included Gold for Annalise Murphy at the Italian Olympic Week and Silver for Ryan Seaton & Matt McGovern at the ISAF World Cup in Hyeres. The next key event for the Group will be the Olympic Qualifier in Santander in Spain.
Risk Assessment – Chaired by Mike O’Connor
Mike O’Connor will be undertaking a fundamental risk assessment of sailing and the ISA in order to ensure that there are no unpleasant surprises in store. It is a basic requirement of all organisations and it will be conducted to international best practice.
Finance and Governance
The Treasurer, Roger Bannon and the Secretary, David O'Brien have been working on improving the financial controls and the budgeting systems in the association. These have resulted in more robust procedures. In addition, new codes of governance have been approved and are now being implemented by the Board.