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British Cycling updates on independent review action plan - as report again delayed

Response of riders and staff has been "very encouraging" says governing body chair Jonathan Browning...

British Cycling has issued an update on the 39-point Action Plan published in March in response to the independent review into the culture of its World Class Performance Programme, with chair Jonathan Browning saying he is “very encouraged by the way staff and riders are responding” to the challenge of implementing the necessary changes. The independent review panel's long-awaited report, due to have been finally published this month, has now reportedly been delayed further until May.

Browning, formerly a non-executive director of the organisation, is one of a number of new appointees to senior roles, including CEO Julie Harrington, who arrives in May.

New performance director Stephen Park also formally takes up his role next month, although he will be travelling with the team to the UCI Track World Championships in Hong Kong this week.

Michael Chivers has already started work in the newly created role of people director, with his appointment announced last week.

“It is still early days but the progress we’ve made in the last few weeks has demonstrated our staff’s commitment to act quickly to implement the changes in the action plan that we know are required to make us a world class sports governing body,” said Browning.

“I am very encouraged by the way staff and riders are responding to these changes.

“The arrival of our new CEO Julie Harrington in May will provide continued momentum but in the meantime we are making every effort to put the welfare of riders and staff at the heart of our organisation.

“The action plan includes many strategic changes and work is well underway but a crucial focus for us is to accelerate what we learn from the staff and rider surveys so that we can truly begin to transform the organisation’s culture, build on what is good and improve where we have been lacking.”

Besides the changes made to the management team, British Cycling also highlight steps it has taken to ensure “that a high performance culture is matched with high support for riders.”

Those include a staff culture survey, to which 85 per cent of employees have already responded, and a separate athlete survey that will be conducted after the Track Worlds, and to which former riders will be invited to contribute.

In response to the wishes of some riders, it is also starting to consult over athlete representation within the governing body.

British Cycling also highlighted progress made in several other areas, including:

A new two-tier leadership structure is now operational and comprises the Executive Leadership Team and a wider Operational Management Team.

British Cycling has begun work on talent mapping – a ‘talent pathway’ system for identifying talent and providing structured career progression to its staff.

Work has begun on the development of values and a British Cycling Code of Conduct.

Athletes are no longer being charged to lodge an appeal should they wish to contest their removal from the WCP.

It added that in recent weeks, riders on the World Class Programme “have been guided through the process which determines membership of the elite team,” where rider numbers have been slashed from 115 to at most 92 following a cut in UK Sport funding for the Tokyo Olympic cycle.

“The improved process included briefing parents for younger riders, one-on-one feedback from coaches based on performance data and individual rider plans, and psychological support once the decision was taken to remove individuals from the programme,” the governing body said.

Browning added: “At British Cycling, performance, participation and people are our top priorities.

“For the first time we are adding checks and balances to ensure that in the pursuit of excellence we protect against tipping over into behaviours that are inappropriate and harmful to the individual rider.

The combination of new leadership team and structure, and the introduction of professional processes will ensure that we deliver on this promise.” 

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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