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Scottish Governing Bodies (SGBs) Governance Framework

By 1 June 2020June 2nd, 2020No Comments
Published: 2015


This SportScotland document provides a framework to help Scottish Governing Bodies (SGBs) improve their governance and achieve their aims to be high performing organisations. The document sets out twelve key core principles for good governance consistent with SportScotland’s ‘Investment Principles’, which requires all the organisations it invests in to be ‘fit for purpose’, well organised and well structured bodies, that make efficient and effective use of resources at their disposal.


The report outlines the following 12 key principles required for good governance: 1) commitment to implementing the ‘Nolan Principles’; 2) commitment to continuous improvement; 3) strategic planning framework; 4) appropriate board composition; 5) succession planning; 6) effective performance management systems; 7) clear roles and responsibilities; 8) legally compliant; 9) effective control environment; 10) appropriate operational structure; 11) positive relations and partnerships; and 12) positive GB and home country engagement. Each of the key principles links to one of the following three areas of good governance: ‘well led’, ‘robust organisations’, with ‘strong networks’. Each section also provides links to other sources where readers can find out more about that specific principle.

Key Findings

SGBs must conform to the ‘Nolan Principles’ of integrity, honesty and openness in public service, embedding these ethical standards in its policies, practices and culture. Continuous improvement can be achieved by performance reviews and updating of byelaws. A strategic planning framework should be supported by annual operation plans incorporating clear targets and outcomes. Board composition should be well balanced by adhering to appropriate recruitment processes. There are clear timelines for terms of office, with plans to ensure prospective board members and senior staff are appropriately trained. Performance management systems must reflect the approach required to deliver the outcomes of the strategic plan. Roles, responsibilities and functions of both individuals and collective entities will be clearly documented. The SGB must meet appropriate legal requirements set out in UK legislation. To achieve an effective control environment, SGBs will have robust governance and organisational compliance with appropriate risk management processes in place. To ensure strong networks, SGBs will need to work collaboratively and constructively with a wide range of partner organisations, key stakeholders and Government policy.


This document will be of use to any SGBs requiring investment from SportScotland and seeks to achieve high performance results both in the boardroom and ‘on the pitch’. As a publicly funded body, SportScotland has a high degree of accountability with high standards of governance, so it is essential for the organisations it invests in to adhere to these principles. Good governance is an essential component for SGBs to clearly communicate and reinforce their value, ensuring sport continues to be perceived as a worthwhile investment, both in itself, and in supporting a range of wider policy objectives.