A broader resource for a wide range of subjects
This handbook has been developed to help all of the RAF sports association charities with the governance of their respective charities. By design, they are intended to be light touch and in almost all circumstances should not detract from the current way each association conducts its business. They complement rather than replace extant guidance from the Charity Commission and the Charity Governance Code. The main purpose of this guidance is to help association trustees in implementing a strong charitable governance structure for their association and, as the Federation develops, so will the document. We will look to bring in more efficient ways of operating, sharing some of the best practice amongst associations and gleaning the best value for money we can. Sport is core military activity and therefore in almost all aspects of sport delivery MOD policy will take primacy, but there have always been exceptions and grey areas surrounding non-authorised activity that this document will attempt to clarify. The RAF Sports Federation, being an independent body from the MOD, operates to Charity Commission regulations and not AP3223. However, many of the practices detailed in this document will be familiar to personnel who are experienced in working with Service Funds and wherever possible the wording has been aligned.
‘Must’ and ‘Should’ – What We Mean
In line with Charity Commission guidance, the word ‘must’ is used in this document where there is a specific legal or regulatory requirement that you must comply with. ‘Should’ is used for minimum good practice guidance you should follow unless there is a good reason not to.
Monitoring and Review
The RAF Sports Federation Chief Executive Officer and the Governance and Compliance Trustee will monitor the effectiveness and review the implementation of this guidance considering suitability, applicability and effectiveness. Where possible, any improvements identified will be made as soon as possible. Formal reviews will be conducted every year. Any recommendations for amendment or inclusion should be submitted in the first instance to the RAF Sports Federation Head of Operational Delivery.
 Administration and Accounting for Service Funds
Introduction. The Royal Air Force Central Fund separated from the RAF Sports Board on 1 March 2014. As a result of the de-merger, several functions of the former charity were left in an unincorporated charity known as the RAF Sports Board and further action was required to review whether the structure was still fit for purpose given the charity’s role as the funder, protector and adviser to the RAF sports associations. In addition, changes in charity law meant that some of the associations, being excepted charities and having reached the £100,000 income threshold were required to review their own structures and seek registration with the charity commission; it was therefore decided that the changing needs of the associations also needed to be considered when reviewing the future structure of the RAF Sports Board.
The decision was taken on legal advice to incorporate the charity as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation and for its name to be the RAF Sports Federation. The new name reflects the fact that the charity exists to support and protect the Associations.
The new governance arrangements largely formalise the previous relationship and arrangements between the RAF Sports Board and the Associations. The Associations remain separate from the Federation with their own unique independent identities and their own board of management who will retain control of their Association’s activities and assets
This handbook is written to protect the Associations from risk and to mitigate as far as possible the personal liability of their trustees and committee members. They have also been designed to lead to economies of scale in order to maximise funding opportunities to associations who should all be able to work to a common standard. The handbook will enable all associations to benefit from collaborative arrangements such as the sharing of administration, finance and secretariat functions which once aligned, can be provided centrally by the Federation. In particular, joint arrangements exist for accounting, banking and investments, but each association’s assets will be separately identified and ring-fenced.
The Charities Act sets out the conditions under which institutions may apply to the Charity Commission for recognition of their charitable status. Unless specifically exempt by statute, all such institutions are required to submit their scheme of operations to the commission which will, if it approves, register the body and provide a registration number. All charitable sports association funds are required to comply with the charities act. However, provided they are wholly or mainly concerned with the promotion of the efficiency of any of the Armed Forces of the Crown; their objects do not extend to the relief or assistance of any person not being a serving member of those forces; and their gross annual income is less than £100,000; then RAF sports associations are excepted from registration with the charity commission under the provisions of statutory instrument 1056/65.
Application of the Statutory Instrument. Only RAF Sports Associations with gross annual income of over £100,000 are required to register with the Charity Commission, although this threshold is subject to periodic review. Any charitable Service Fund (including sports association) that is below the registration threshold for the Charity Commission is classified as having excepted charitable status. Sports associations found to be operating outside of acceptable charitable objects or practices, for example by generating profits for disbursement, are liable to face recovery of appropriate taxes etc and the removal of charitable status.
Charitable status of other Sports Association Activities. Any sports association which is not entitled to the exception offered by Statutory Instrument 1056/65 may apply for registration to the Charity Commission. Until such registration is accepted, the fund or activity is not held to be charitable and is not entitled to any of the benefits which accrue to charitable funds.
Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIO). Having weighed up the amount of risk that they may be carrying, sports association trustees may elect to benefit from the limited liability protection afforded by incorporating their charity. The RAF Sports Federation has assisted 6 associations with incorporating as CIOs so far with a further 4 applications underway. Examples of why the associations have elected for incorporation include signing of employees contracts, contracts for coaching staff, large sponsorship agreements, leases and hire of facilities.
Benefits. RAF sports association activities which have charitable status, either by virtue of the Statutory Instrument or by registration, are exempt from Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Corporation Tax, and Inheritance Tax. Additionally, stamp duty is charged at a reduced rate and significant mandatory relief is given on the rates of any premises which are occupied and used wholly or mainly by the charitable fund. Retention of the charitable status and its associated benefits is dependent upon sports associations continuing to comply with the requirements of Statutory Instrument 1056/65 and the Charities Act. It should be noted that the Statutory Instrument does not permit the holding of land (other than on a tenancy) nor the use of funds for exhibition or preservation of articles of historical interest.
Infringement of the rules. All RAF sports association activities may be subjected to periodic inspection by HMRC and may, on occasion, be required to submit their annual accounts to the Charity Commission (in England and Wales) when requested. If any of these authorities identifies any infringement of the charity laws, the charitable status could be withdrawn and, in addition to an immediate tax commitment, the fund or activity could be required to refund any benefits received over the whole of the period which the infringement was found to have existed. It is therefore essential that trustees involved with RAF sports associations consider the application of the charity laws to any act, or omission, which might have a bearing on the association’s status as a charity with particular reference to the rules regarding membership and the promotion of efficiency. Should either the Charity Commission, or HMRC advise that an RAF sports association’s charitable status is to be disputed, full details of the case must be submitted immediately to the respective sports association’s board of trustees. It is also recommended that the association trustees should inform the RAF Sports Federation in order to receive additional assistance.
Charity status declaration – England and Wales law. Registered charities operating in England, Wales or overseas must state that they are a registered charity on the items listed below:
- Notices, advertisements or other documents issued by or on behalf of the charity which solicit money or property for the charity’s benefit.
- Bills of exchange, promissory notes, endorsements, cheques and orders for money or goods purporting to be signed on the charity’s behalf.
- Bills, invoices, receipts and letters of credit.
Anyone who signs, issues or authorises the issue of a non-compliant item is liable to criminal penalties (fines) whether or not he/she did so knowingly – it is a strict liability offence.
A sports association charity’s trustees may create classes of membership for the association’s participants that include Service and civilian personnel, and may determine the rights and obligations of any such members (including payment of membership fees), and the conditions for admission to, and termination of membership of any such class of members. The charity’s governing document must detail the voting rights of the different categories of membership.
Full Membership. In creating classes of membership, RAF sports association trustees or executive committees must remain mindful that their primary purpose is to promote military efficiency. No charity may stray far beyond its primary purpose without compromising its continued charitable status. Therefore, it is important to limit the use of RAF sports association charitable funds by non-qualifying civilian personnel and it is therefore useful for sports association trustees and executive committees to think in terms of qualifying and non-qualifying membership. All serving military personnel, together with civilian personnel who promote military efficiency can be regarded as qualifying users of RAF sports association charitable organisations. These personnel would ordinarily be afforded full membership of the respective RAF Sports Association and will have full voting rights.
Associate Membership. Sports association trustees may also wish to award associate membership to individuals who do not qualify for full membership. In setting this category of membership, trustees must remain mindful that income derived from these members and their activity is likely to be considered as non-primary purpose trading and therefore subject to a HMRC cap of no more than 25% of income up to a maximum of £50,000 per annum. Associate membership would normally be awarded to retired Service personnel and other non-qualifying civilians. This category of membership has no voting rights at a general meeting.
Sports association trustees may also wish to consider the following categories of personnel when setting the boundary between full and associate membership:
- Dependants of qualifying users;
- Instructors/facilitators of sports association activities;
- Retired regular service personnel of the RAF, PMRAFNS and Commonwealth Air Forces and certain categories of retired RAF Reserve Forces (subject to any limits on numbers imposed by the associations themselves).
- Members of the Air Cadet Organisation.
Whatever the activity, before civilian personnel are permitted to use facilities or partake in activities, appropriate insurance cover should be in place, (see section 35 regarding cover).
RAF sports associations are under no obligation to extend the use of association sports and facilities to any category of civilian, qualifying or otherwise. Withdrawal of the use of any facility by civilians is entirely a matter for the association’s trustees/executive committee.
While civilian personnel may use equipment and facilities, civilian usage cannot be used to justify funding from most of the normal grant funding agencies (RAF Central Fund, Nuffield Trust, RAFSF and RAF Charitable Trust). Any such bid must stand or fall solely on the basis of service usage.
 defined as being those employed by the MOD or a station contractor, or those who contribute directly to the primary purpose.
 Categories of reserve forces listed in JSP660 as being eligible to represent their Service at Inter Services competition.
Personnel involved in the running a charity but do not know whether they are a trustee should check the charity’s governing document; this is the document that sets out the charity’s rules and, in the case of RAF Sports Associations, is likely to be the constitution but may be a trust deed, articles of association or similar document. It will stipulate which body has ultimate authority and responsibility for directing and governing the charity. All properly appointed members of that body are charity trustees in law, whatever they are called (trustees, directors, committee members, governors or something else).
Each Association Trustee Board takes its authority and its responsibilities from two sources:
- The Charities Act 2011 (as revised); and
- The RAF Sports Association governing document which sets out who may become a trustee of the Charity, how trustees are appointed and their powers.
The trustees of any charity, regardless of how it is constituted, owe the same duties under the law relating to charities, trusts and trustees. Those duties include the following:
- To ensure that the charities assets are applied only for its particular charitable purposes;
- To act within the powers they have as trustees of the charity;
- To exercise those powers only in the best interests of the charity and only for the purposes for which they have been given;
- To avoid any conflict between the charities interests and the personal interests of the trustees or the duties he or she may owe in some other capacity;
- To act unpaid and avoid any arrangements which may result in the trustee taking any personal benefit directly or indirectly; and;
- To exercise their powers personally, without delegating responsibility for decisions to anyone else.
The Charity Commission expects trustees to take their responsibilities seriously. Following their guidance (CC3 – ‘The Essential Trustee’ available on the Charity Commission website) and ensuring that sufficient time is given to charity business will help. The Commission recognises that most trustees are volunteers who sometimes make honest mistakes. Trustees are not expected to be perfect; they are expected to do their best to comply with their duties. Charity law generally protects trustees who have acted honestly and reasonably.
Trustee indemnity insurance (TII) covers trustees from having to personally pay legal claims that are made against them (by their charity or by a third party), for a breach of trust, or a breach of duty or negligence committed by them in their capacity as trustees. All associations who hold their insurance cover through the RAF Sports Federation also benefit from TII.
Health and safety are important, and the standard of care imposed by legislation is pretty much the same regardless of the size of the organisation. All organisations must carry out a risk assessment identifying the risks to employees, other workers, volunteers, clients, members of the public and anyone who comes onto the organisation’s premises or uses its services. They must then draw up a health and safety scheme setting out a programme to reduce the risks, or to minimise the negative impact if they do happen. An organisation has a duty to provide all individuals with appropriate guidance on any health and safety issues that arise.
The RAF Sports Federation works alongside the Directorate of RAF Sport (DRS) to ensure that all associations meet their health and safety obligations appropriately. As the public body with primacy over sport delivery in the RAF, DRS is responsible for ensuring that all sporting activity undertaken by the 49 sports associations and their subsidiary sports is undertaken safely. AOC 22 Gp has directed DRS to ensure that the appropriate Safety Management Systems are in place, risk assessments are conducted, risks identified and recorded, RIDDOR is undertaken, and a robust system of assurance is implemented. The RAF Sports Federation therefore takes no responsibility towards the governance of safety of sporting activity undertaken at association level.
The RAF Sports Federation can assist with any health and safety issues that fall outside the sport delivery sphere. For example, helping with the conduct of health and safety inspections of club premises that do not sit on the MOD estate and are funded in the main through charitable grants.
The delineation of responsibility is relatively clear; if it is sport delivery related then you should contact DRS, otherwise, the RAF Sports Federation should be able to assist.
 Reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences.
Introduction. All Service personnel conducting business on behalf of an RAF Sports Association are to conform with the Service regulation pertaining to data protection contained within JSP440. The RAF Sports Federation is fully compliant with the General Data Protection Regulations and published all relevant policies and its privacy statements online.
The RAF Sports Federation has notified all RAF sports associations that it is the joint data controller for all protected information relating to sports association financial transactions. All data collated for this purpose relies on the lawful basis of ‘legitimate interest’ in order that it may retain the necessary information to comply with accounting and charitable SORP regulations. It should be noted that ‘consent’ cannot be used as the lawful basis for these financial transactions as withdrawal of that consent by any party would result in financial records not being complete. Full information can be found in the RAF Sports Federation Data Protection Policy.
In addition, personnel acting in the capacity of their association charity or utilising RAF Sports Federation email, IT (including cloud storage and SharePoint) or websites must adhere to the following code of conduct:
- Data collection is to be fair; the individual must know who is doing the collecting, and the purposes for which the data is intended to be used. Data should not be kept for longer than necessary, must be kept secure, and should be adequate, relevant and accurate (which includes up-to-date where appropriate). Each association should have someone who has clear responsibility for ensuring Data Protection issues are acted upon;
- Whenever you are involved in processing any personal data, you must ensure that you only operate within sanctioned procedures;
- You must ensure that your appropriate records are maintained safely and are only used to perform your particular job;
- You must ensure that all personal data is used, held and disclosed only for the registered purpose: you should not use any of the systems outside of this criteria;
- Information must be collected and processed in a prudent and lawful manner and should be kept up to date and accurate at all times;
- Information must not be transferred to countries outside the EU without adequate protection;
- The information should only be retained for the period necessary, and for the lawful purpose for which it is held.
The Federation’s IT system contains an email facility which is intended to promote effective communication within the organisation on matters relating to its business. These emails are available to key personnel at association committee level and should be used with the same degree of caution as Service email.
Messages sent via the Federation’s email system should be written in accordance with the standards of any other form of written communication and the content and language used in the messages should be consistent with best practice. Messages should be concise and directed to those individuals with a need to know. General messages to a wide group should only be used where absolutely necessary.
Further information/help relating data protection pertaining to the use of the Federation’s IT and email can be obtained from the Corporate Support Manager.
A volunteer is a person who gives freely of their time, skills and experience without expectation of financial reward and the Federation recognises that those volunteers are the lifeblood of RAF Sport. Volunteering may be for a limited time to complete a particular project or may be on an ongoing basis. Volunteering can also help develop skills, knowledge and experience of everyone involved and can bring a breadth of experience, those skills and knowledge to the organisation. The impact volunteers make is tangible; recent research by the Join in Trust into the value of volunteers in sport assessed that each volunteer creates wellbeing worth £16,032 for themselves and for those they help play sport. The purpose of a volunteer policy is to show volunteers and potential volunteers that we have spent time and care in planning how volunteers will be welcomed into the wider federated structure of RAF sport. It outlines that all volunteers will be treated in a fair and consistent way and should also help volunteers understand what support is available to them and what they can expect from the Federation and their own specific sports association trustees.
A volunteer is not an employee and will not have a contract of employment with the association. The association should agree a role with the volunteer and there will be an expectation that the volunteer will meet the role requirements and that the association will provide work for the volunteer. However, the volunteer is free to refuse to fulfil the role and the association is not bound to provide the work. It is also expected that both the organisation and the volunteer will give as much notice as possible if unable to meet these expectations. Roles suitable for volunteers are to be identified by the association trustees or organisation committee, who will draw up a volunteer outline (normally in the form of terms of reference). This will set out the requirements of the role and the skills or experience needed, as well as any training that is required before the volunteering work is undertaken. Volunteers would not normally be used as substitutes for employees.
In order to better understand changes in the national sporting landscape, the Federation has joined the Sport and Recreation Alliance, who have been selected to continue building on the sport volunteering legacy and create more opportunities for sports volunteers across the UK. The Alliance recognises that people volunteer for a host of different reasons and developed the Join in Trust’s GIVERS framework with the full backing of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. Applying GIVERS principles to the development of RAF sports association volunteers provides a useful tool which helps us to understand current and potential volunteers’ motivation and can be useful in helping determine priorities for supporting our volunteer cadre:
- G – Growth (and wellbeing)
- I – Impact
- V – Voice (and messaging)
- E – Experience (and ease)
- R – Recognition (and retention)
- S – (Sport is…) Social
Any civilian wishing to become a volunteer should undergo an application process and the applicant should be asked to identify areas in which he/she would like to volunteer. If the organisation is able to match the applicant to a suitable role, references will likely be required and, depending on the nature of the role, the prospective volunteer may be required to undergo a health and/or criminal records check. A civilian volunteer should be invited to enter into a volunteering agreement with the association. This agreement should identify:
- the volunteer’s role;
- the training that the volunteer is expected to undertake;
- the expenses that the organisation will pay to the volunteer;
- the insurance cover that will be provided for the volunteer;
- who will supervise the volunteer; and
- the notice that will be given to a volunteer if his/her role is to come to an end.
Volunteers are expected to comply with all of the association’s policies while they are undertaking their volunteering role.
The majority of association business will attract the use of publicly funded travel; either through Service MT or the authorisation of private vehicles iaw JSP752 and therefore, this guidance is not applicable to those journeys. Some association business will fall outside of what is publicly allowable but may be deemed as appropriate expenditure by association trustees. In such circumstances the amount rebated for travel is recommended not to exceed the HMRC allowable rate for tax (currently £0.45 per mile for the first 10,000 miles of travel for cars, £0.24 for motorcycles and £0.20 for cycles). The following general principles are included to help trustees determine an appropriate travel policy for their association:
- All journeys should be pre-authorised by a trustee or executive committee member of the association.
- Vehicle insurance cover for business use is in place. Most insurance policies include occasional business use as long as they are informed of the possibility. As many companies offer occasional business use cover without additional premium, the Federation does not accept responsibility for any additional costs incurred.
- The vehicle is to be roadworthy in all respects and if applicable the vehicle should have a valid MOT certificate.
- No recompense should be made for parking fines or motoring offences incurred by an individual conducting business on behalf of an association.
The Federation recognises that some expenses incurred by trustees, committee members and volunteers are not allowable at public expense. Where expenses are incurred in the conduct of association business trustees should expect individuals to:
- Behave honestly, responsibly, and within the guidelines of this guidance(e.g. keep costs low).
- Submit expenses as soon as possible through association treasurers and with enough details to explain why the purchase/expense was incurred.
- Keep all receipts and provide VAT receipts (not just credit card slips) so that the Federation can reclaim VAT and to support audit purposes in case the HMRC requires them.
Accommodation expenses linked to association charitable business should be proportional and any claims should be signed off by association trustees or empowered individual such as the association treasurer.
 Public funding regulations for accommodation charges associated with sport are contained within JSP752, Chapter 0402.
The provision of light refreshments for committee meetings and organisational teams at events should be proportional to the activity being undertaken and would normally be limited to sandwiches and tea/coffee or soft drinks. Alcoholic beverages would not ordinarily be viewed as a good use of charitable funds.
The Federation is committed to equal opportunities in all its employment practices, policies and procedures including recruitment, training, remuneration and promotion and equal terms and conditions of employment. It is committed to the creation of a non-discriminatory working environment.
The MOD’s policies for Diversity and Inclusion take primacy for Servicemen and women engaged in association activity.
Civilian employees of associations (employed through the RAF SF or respective association) will receive a copy of the RAF Sports Federation Employees’ Handbook that details the latest federation guidance regarding equal opportunities.
Other civilian members of associations, including trustees, are to act in a manner that accords with equal opportunities legislation. Association members with a supervisory position over employees of their association have a responsibility to co-operate with measures to ensure equal opportunity and non-discrimination.
The following are the forms of discrimination that may give rise to a complaint and for which disciplinary action may be taken:
- Direct Discrimination: Treating a person less favourably than a person without that protected characteristic (such as age, race sex etc) would be treated. This also applies where the individual is thought to have that characteristic (perceived discrimination) or because they associate with someone who has a protected characteristic (associative discrimination);
- Indirect Discrimination: Where a practice or criterion applies to everyone but significantly disadvantages people who share a protected characteristic;
- Victimisation: One person treating another person less favourably than they would treat other people because that person has made or supported a complaint or raised a grievance under the Act, or because they are suspected of doing so;
- Harassment: For a reason relating to a person’s age, race, sex (including gender reassignment), disability, religion/belief or sexual orientation another person engages in unwanted conduct which may violate the person’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile or degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person, even if it is not directed at them (see below “Bullying and Harassment”).
Bullying & Harassment
The majority of activities undertaken by RAF Sports Associations will be subject to MOD regulations pertaining to bullying and harassment. There are occasions though that a bullying and harassment complaint could relate to the charitable activity of an association, such as employees of the association, contracted staff, coaches etc. RAF sports associations must not tolerate any acts of behaviour that would be considered to be bullying or harassment and should ensure that the working environment is sympathetic to all the employees and volunteers. Such conduct is not only illegal and morally reprehensible, it is also detrimental to the efficiency and reputation of the business.
Bullying is defined for the purposes of this guidance as repeated inappropriate, offensive or intimidating behaviour or an abuse or misuse of power which undermines or humiliates an employee or volunteer.
Harassment occurs where unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic such as a person’s age, race, sex (including gender reassignment), disability, religion/belief or sexual orientation:
- Has the purpose or effect of violating the employee’s dignity at work, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive work environment for the employee; or
- Is reasonably considered by the employee to have the effect of violating his or her dignity at work, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive work environment for the employee/volunteer, even if this effect was not intended by the person responsible for the conduct, or is not aimed at the individual. Therefore, something intended as a ‘joke’ or as ‘office banter’ may be offensive and unacceptable to a colleague;
- Harassment also occurs where an employee has rejected or not submitted to unwanted conduct described above, and because of this, continues to be treated less favourably.
It is recognised that employees subjected to harassment are often reluctant to complain and simply want the harassment to stop. Wherever possible, an employee or volunteer who believes they have been subject to such behaviour should in the first instance, ask the person responsible to stop the behaviour. If this is inappropriate, or the conduct continues, they have the right to take out a formal complaint using the usual Grievance Procedure.
All allegations of harassment or bullying should be dealt with seriously, confidentially and speedily. Individuals should report any instances to the chair of their association; the RAF Sports Federation may be able to assist with such matters and has the services of a retained HR expert to help mediate where necessary.
Safeguarding in sport is the process of protecting children and adults from harm by providing a safe space in which to play sport and be active. This guidance is applicable to all sports associations who, in their charitable capacity, organise activities that children participate in or provide facilities where children may be vulnerable. Trustees of such associations should draw upon the content of this guidanceand MOD policy and guidelines to ensure the appropriate duty of care is established and, where applicable, establish their own child protection policy. MOD policy will, in almost all instances, take primacy in safeguarding matters.
All RAF sports association trustees must acknowledge the duty of care to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and must be committed to ensuring safeguarding practice reflects statutory responsibilities, government guidance and complies with best practice and Charity Commission requirements. This guidance recognises that the welfare and interests of children are paramount in all circumstances. It aims to ensure that regardless of age, gender, religion or beliefs, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or socioeconomic background, all children:
- Have a positive and enjoyable experience of sport in a safe and child centred environment;
- Are protected from abuse whilst participating in the activity provided an association or outside of the activity.
Some children, including disabled children and young people or those from ethnic minority communities, can be particularly vulnerable to abuse and, where applicable, associations should accept the responsibility to take reasonable and appropriate steps to ensure their welfare.
The following may be used by associations when drafting their own Child Protection policy.
- As part of our safeguarding policy [Insert name of association] will:
- Promote and prioritise the safety and wellbeing of children and young people
- Ensure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities in respect of safeguarding and is provided with appropriate learning opportunities to recognise, identify and respond to signs of abuse, neglect and other safeguarding concerns relating to children and young people
- Ensure appropriate action is taken in the event of incidents/concerns of abuse and support provided to the individual/s who raise or disclose the concern
- Ensure that confidential, detailed and accurate records of all safeguarding concerns are maintained and securely stored
- Prevent the employment/deployment of unsuitable individuals
- Ensure robust safeguarding arrangements and procedures are in operation.
The policy and procedures will be widely promoted and are mandatory for everyone involved in [Insert name of association]. Failure to comply with the policy and procedures will be addressed without delay and may ultimately result in dismissal/exclusion from the organisation.
Disclosure and Barring Service Checks
Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) Checks are now termed Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks. Associations may need to check someone’s criminal record if they apply for certain jobs or voluntary work, for example working with children in a sporting environment. The MOD should take primacy in organising such checks and in the first instance 22 Gp SO2 Sports Policy should be contacted to discuss the requirement. Associations operating entirely in their charitable capacity and requiring DBS checks should contact the RAF Sports Federation Head of Operational Delivery.
Any association wishing to externally recruit for civilian trustees or employees are recommended to contact the RAF Sports Federation Corporate Support Manager for the latest guidance. The recruitment process should be conducted in such a way as to result in the selection of the most suitable person for the job in terms of relevant experience, abilities and qualifications. The Federation is committed to applying its Equal Opportunities Policy statement at all stages of recruitment and selection.
- JSP462 Chap 7 Financial Management Policy Manual.
- JSP579 Policy and Procedures for MOD Non-News Projects
- 2016DIN03-029 Contact with the Media and Communicating in Public
Sponsorship of Service sports, can provide a range of benefits from a sum of money to fund activities or ‘benefit in kind’ granting the sports association access to items or services funded by the sponsor. This document has been created to draw together all the relevant references and guidance available and to reflect experience with past and current sponsorship agreements.
Unlike grants or donations, sponsorship is carried out my organisations wishing to receive a commercial gain. Sponsors will provide support but it is likely that there will be a requirement to exhibit that support in a manner benefitting the sponsor such as branding of sports clothing or statements in printed material. The importance of sponsorship to sports activities should not be underestimated but the extent of that provided by the sponsor and how MOD personnel are utilised to support the agreement cannot extend beyond MOD policy or regulations despite the attractiveness of the offer. In particular, requests by the sponsor for the support of MOD personnel and equipment as part of their marketing and advertising campaigns should be treated with extreme caution.
Inappropriate actions relating to sports sponsorship activities may result in negative PR and have an adverse effect on the reputation of the RAF, the RAF Sports Federation and the sports association concerned. Additionally, due to the nature of RAF sports association management, commercial sponsorship situates MOD personnel as individuals or groups in positions that expose them to greater scrutiny both externally and internally. To mitigate this perception, Reference A explains that sports association non-core activity sponsorship, (for the purpose of this policy it is accepted that JSP462 describes sports sponsorship as non-core activity which currently contradicts JSP660), should follow the ‘spirit’ of the sponsorship regulations for core activities wherever possible.
The overriding MOD policy for sports association sponsorship is at Reference A. This guidance is therefore designed to provide RAF Sports Associations supporting information for the arrangement and execution of their sponsorship agreements. References B and C should be read if there is likely to be any contact with the media as a consequence of the sponsorship agreement.
A template agreement is at Annex A. The agreement is generally between the individual sports association charity and the Sponsors and it is therefore important to remember that the MOD has no responsibility within this contract and that the trustees, (the RAF Sports Federation Trustees in the case of the excepted charities), understand that their charity, and potentially themselves could be legally liable for all commitments undertaken and the associated risk.
Marketing and Advertising
Of all the pitfalls associated with sport sponsorship, it is the marketing and advertising elements where MOD personnel are most likely to breach regulations and guidance. As sports association activities concern individual or groups of MOD personnel, and are not wholly serviced and supported by the MOD they are easier to approach and influence by the sponsor. Experience has shown that this ease of access, on occasion, allows sponsors or potential sponsors to place personnel in difficult positions when exploring the possibilities of marketing and advertising within the sponsorship agreement.
Any marketing or advertising proposed by the sponsor should follow the ‘Acceptable Sponsorship Activity’ guidelines in Reference A, which has been updated to include Social Media.
Third parties may wish to use MOD branding as a means to enhance their services or products. Branding used in this manner benefits from the heritage, reputation and profile inherent within MOD logos, badges and insignia. This marketing tool uses brand association to make the third party’s output more attractive to its customers. If a third party wishes to use MOD branding as part of its services or on its products, then it will require authorisation via a licence issued by DIPR.
In the case of Service sport, the companies that provide equipment or clothing to the activity as part of the sponsorship agreement may see the relationship as a marketing opportunity. Sponsors may wish to sell the branded items provided to the activity to the mass market; retailing the branded items in this case would require the sponsor to hold an MOD licence.
Sponsors of sports activities do not receive authority to use MOD logos, insignia or badges as part of the sponsorship agreement; furthermore, MOD personnel are not permitted to provide such authority. If a sponsor wishes to use MOD brands as part of the sponsorship agreement, it will require a DIPR licence.
A licence will provide authority to use the MOD brands, it will also grant the sponsor’s outputs the status of official licensed product or service when bearing the MOD branding. Advertising material and packaging can also bear the MOD brand and the status of ‘Official Licensed Product/Supplier’ can also be declared. The MOD Official Licensed Products program application form and guide are at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mod-copyright-licensing-information
Sponsorship – Dos and Don’ts
- Seek advice from the RAF Sports Federation. Although, the MOD does not provide support for sports sponsorship, the Federation will liaise on an association’s behalf with the MOD bodies who may have an interest in the sponsorship agreement.
- Use the sponsorship agreement at Annex A or similar document. This agreement has been structured to provide sufficient protection for the sports association personnel and the MOD. Remember, the sports association representative who signs the agreement is signing on his behalf of the sports association and not that of the MOD. There may also be a personal liability associated with signing that agreement;
- Understand and abide by the References;
- Always be conscious of the implication of endorsement by the MOD. The easiest way to avoid endorsement is not to comment and for imagery to contain equipment without personnel. It is unlikely that this will meet the Sponsor’s requirements, so any comments should be factual and based on the association and not the products or services provided by the Sponsor. Any imagery should not be constructed to give the implication of endorsement; it should always be as part of the sponsored activity ie. rugby players wearing sponsored rugby shirts should be photographed playing rugby if the imagery is to be used in the sponsors marketing material;
- If you are seeking sponsorship, ensure you do so from a range of external sponsors and that any potential sponsors are all treated equally;
- Ensure that the sports association side of any potential agreement is proportionate and deliverable.
- Agree to a sponsorship agreement either verbally or written without consulting the RAF Sports Federation;
- Do not keep approaching the same sponsor and make sure you are not stepping on the toes of other sports associations;
- Do not enter into an agreement without having the Agreement at Annex A or similar agreed and signed. If there is a requirement for any significant changes to the Agreement template then advice should be sought from the RAF Sports Federation;
- Do not enter into any agreement that grants permission to merchandise, without consent from DIPR; via SO2 Brands Manager at DDC.
A premise of any good governance structure is the need for the organising body to meet regularly to determine how the organisation is functioning and set the strategy for the future. The MOD recognises that the volunteers who form the organisational committees of RAF Sports Association provide a valuable function for the Service and therefore duly authorise meetings to be conducted as authorised activity through DRS. Sports Association meetings generally cover both the public responsibilities of the association and their charitable governance, although larger sports associations with registered charities sometimes hold separate meetings specifically for their board of trustees.
The number of trustees and the way in which they are appointed will be covered in the RAF Sports Association’s charitable governing document. Only the Trustees may vote on all matters pertaining to the charitable activities of the respective sports association. There are 3 different models currently proposed for those associations affiliated under the RAF Sports Federation:
- Excepted Charities. The bulk of associations are expected to remain as excepted charities and will likely have adopted a new constitution as their governing document.
- Companies Limited By Guarantee (CLGs). There are currently 5 associations registered as charitable companies and their governing documents are titled Articles of Association which are lodged with Companies House. The Articles of Association will state the minimum and maximum number of trustees, how they are appointed and the term of the appointment.
- Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs). Some associations will be unable to remain as excepted charities, either because they have exceeded the Charity Commission’s threshold for mandatory registration or because the charity holds property or leases, or their trustees have determined that incorporation is necessary to afford limited liability protection. These charities will likely register as CIOs and their governing document will be a constitution lodged with the Charity Commission which will detail the minimum and maximum number of trustees, the term they will serve and how they are recruited.
Board of Trustee and Executive Committee Meetings
All sports association activities are administered by an executive committee. For larger association charities, the management of the charitable activity may be broken out from the public responsibilities through separate board of trustee meetings, but it is equally acceptable for the two responsibilities to be managed under a single meeting and under a single chairman. It is important though that any decision relating to the charitable assets of the association must only be made by the trustees and minutes should record who those trustees are. The frequency of trustee/executive committee meetings should be determined by each association and authorised through DRS.
Annual General Meeting
An AGM must be held once during each 12-month accounting period for all membership organisations and should be Chaired by the Chair of the Trustees. The rights of the members, including how meetings may be convened and the notice period for general meetings will be contained within the association’s governing document (normally the constitution). A detailed report on the state of the association’s finances at the end of the previous financial year, including a copy of the annual audited balance sheet (if applicable), should be presented by the treasurer (there is no legal requirement to present the accounts within a specified timescale). There should also be an update on finances in the current financial year. Matters affecting finance, management and welfare within the association may be discussed. Trustees may elect to put certain agenda items to the vote to the wider membership of the association in order to gauge opinion on matters relating to the organisation of the association’s activity. Such matters might include the election of team captains and the award of Honorary membership. One common mistake at a general meeting is the raising of matters that have not been duly notified to all members in accordance with the notice period for meetings. Any vote taken on such matters would not be binding as all members have not been provided with the opportunity to vote. As an example, there can never be ‘any other business’ raised on the day of a general meeting and voted upon (unless 100% of the membership agree such an action).
Extraordinary General Meetings
EGMs may be arranged to discuss matters which require to be settled before the next AGM and should be Chaired by the Chair of trustees. Authority to hold EGMs as authorised activity may be granted in exceptional circumstances by DRS.
All RAF Sports Associations should maintain records of their AGMs, EGMs and committee meetings. The Chairman of a meeting should ensure that a secretary is appointed and that comprehensive and accurate minutes of the meeting are taken. Any trustees present should be listed as such in the attendance record. The Charity Commission regularly accepts electronic documents/submissions where once a signature or originality was essential and they take a pragmatic view about any related matters in the interests of expediency. Therefore, to reduce the administrative burden and improve expediency, trustees are advised that minutes may be circulated electronically. Minutes should be read and approved at the next meeting, except that the minutes of an AGM must be confirmed at the next AGM and not at any subsequent EGM. The reverse does not apply; the minutes of an EGM may be confirmed by either an AGM or another EGM.
The RAF Central Fund has assumed all responsibility for their grant making for associations, individuals and stations. All queries regarding grant applications in these areas should be referred directly to the RAF Central Fund.
The Nuffield Trust provides generous support to RAF Sport which is administered through the RAF Sports Federation. In most instances the RAF Sports Federation will consider bids for funding for capital items that the RAF Central Fund has not been able to support in part or in full. In all instances, the Nuffield Trust will require a contribution of 25% of the purchase price. Sale of items being replaced will often be appropriate to fund this contribution. An application form is available on the RAF Sports Federation website..
MOD Grant In Aid
The RAF Sports Federation administers the MOD’s Grant in Aid for associations. This grant will mainly be utilised to maintain the corporate image of RAF Sport and will ensure that the ‘RAF brand’ remains consistent amongst all RAF Sports Associations. The grant will be allocated by the Head of Finance who will contact association treasurers with the details. Allowable expenditure for the Sports Equipment Grant includes corporate wear purchased through the RAF Clothing Contract. Non-allowable expenditure includes all kit specifically required for overseas visits and corporate wear not purchased through the RAF Clothing contract. Applications for other equipment related purchases not available through other grant makers should in the first instance be referred to the RAF Sports Federation Head of Finance.
RAF Charitable Trust
The RAF Sports Federation has partnered with the RAF Charitable Trust who have provided a pot of money to assist associations and station clubs to develop their coaching and officiating staff. The funding also enables the RAF Sports Federation to organise centralised first aid training to a standard that satisfies the requirements of most sports’ national governing bodies. An application form is available on the RAF Sports Federation website.
BAE Systems Grant
BAe Systems continue to provide a generous donation that allows us to support Elite and High performing athletes who serve in the RAF. To be eligible for a BAe Systems grant you would ordinarily have been selected by your sport’s National Governing Body to represent your country at international level. The grant is designed to offset the additional cost incurred from competing at this level and will need to take into consideration the applicant’s other sources of income. If you think you are eligible for a BAe Systems grant please contact the DRS Sports Delivery Manager or RAF Sports Federation Head of Finance.
- Funding may only be utilised for the items bid for in the grant application or grant award letter/notification.
- No grant funding should be utilised for the purpose of charitable fundraising unless prior approval has been granted from the RAF Sports Federation CEO. The general exceptions to this rule are that team kit may be worn for charitable activity with the authority of the association Chairman and equipment already purchased to support the association’s primary purpose may be utilised for charitable fundraising activity.
- Funding cannot be utilised to benefit non-qualifying members of the association and while the trustees of the various grant making charities acknowledge that non-qualifying personnel may use equipment and facilities, civilian usage cannot be used to justify grant income. Any grant bids must stand or fall solely on the basis of Service usage.
Reserves are that part of a charity’s unrestricted funds that is freely available to spend on any of the charity’s purposes. This definition excludes restricted income funds and endowment funds, although holding such funds may influence a charity’s reserves policy. Reserves will also normally exclude tangible fixed assets such as land, buildings and other assets held for the charity’s use. It also excludes amounts designated for essential future spending. Reserves also exclude funds which have particular restrictions on how they can be used. Trustees should consider for what purpose restricted funds are held and how they are being used in order to identify those resources that are freely available to spend. In practice this means that association trustees should identify whether they are holding a significant amount of reserves and for the majority of associations that means money held in their general fund or in investments. Before deciding whether they require a reserves policy, association trustees are advised to contact the RAF Sports Federation Head of Finance.
As the regulator of charities in England and Wales, the Charity Commission expects trustees to decide, publish, implement and monitor their charity’s reserves policy so that they can comply with their legal duties to:
- act in the interests of their charity and its beneficiaries;
- protect and safeguard the assets of their charity;
- act with reasonable care and skill;
- ensure their charity is accountable;
In practice, this means that trustees should:
- develop a reserves policy that:
- fully justifies and clearly explains keeping or not keeping reserves;
- identifies and plans for the maintenance of essential services for beneficiaries;
- reflects the risks of unplanned closure associated with the charity’s business model, spending commitments, potential liabilities and financial forecasts;
- helps to address the risks of unplanned closure on their beneficiaries (in particular, vulnerable beneficiaries), staff and volunteers;
- publish the reserves policy (even if not required to by law) and ensure it is tailored to the charity’s circumstances – it should not be just a standard form of wording. It should explain to funders, beneficiaries, the public and the commission exactly what reserves are kept (or not kept) for and when they are to be used;
- larger charities are required to publish their assessment of the risks that the charity faces and how to manage them in their annual report;
- make sure that their reserves policy is put in place and operated;
- regularly monitor and review the effectiveness of the policy in the light of the changing funding and financial climate and other risks.
All charities are able to invest, and investments can be a major source of funding for them. However, investing also exposes charities to risks which, if not properly managed, can affect not just the charity itself but the public’s trust and confidence in the sector more generally. Because of this, it is important that charities manage these risks and operate within the law. The Charity Commission has produced guidance in CC14 (Charities and Investment Matter: a Guide for Trustees) to support all trustees in making decisions about investments.
Association trustees are recommended to contact the RAF Sports Federation Head of Finance before taking any decisions regarding new investments, or to review their current investments made through the RAF Sports Federation.
All charitable funds and assets must be protected and used correctly, towards the charitable purposes of the organisation. Trustees have a duty to protect those assets and the accurate maintenance of an association property book (asset register) is therefore necessary on 2 accounts; it enables an accurate assessment of the associations assets for their end of year accounting, and it enables trustees to gauge whether they hold the right levels of insurance.
Assets or Consumables
Association trustees should ensure that all new equipment purchased using charitable funds is entered onto a property book along with the original purchase cost unless the item is considered of a consumable nature. Consumables include small items of equipment (footballs or shuttlecocks), team strips and corporate clothing, and even small items if electronic equipment such as cameras or tablet computers. In the case of the latter it is good practice to enter the item onto the property book along with the details of the individual it is assigned to, even though it may carry a zero value.
Depreciation and Write Off
Association trustees should determine what the life of the asset is and how that asset is to be depreciated. The property book should show that depreciation along with the original value. Equipment write off should only be undertaken by association trustees, (for excepted charities all write-offs should be detailed to the RAF Sports Federation Head of Finance who will present the write-offs to the Federation trustees), and a record of any write off decisions stored for 6 years. Template equipment books are available from the RAF Sports Federation Financial Controller.
Nuffield TrustNuffield Trust and Grant In Aid Equipment. Where assets are purchased using Nuffield Trust or Grant In Aid funds, the item is to be labelled as such and recorded as purchased through the Nuffield Trust or Grant in Aid in the equipment book. Before any item purchased in this way is disposed of, or written off, the RAF Sports Federation is to be informed. Any proceeds from disposal may be required to be paid back.
Charity trustees should regularly review and assess the risks faced by their charity in all areas of its work and plan for the management of those risks. Risk is an everyday part of charitable activity and managing it effectively is essential if the trustees are to achieve their key objectives and safeguard their charity’s funds and assets. The Charity Commission provides guidance in CC26 (Charities and Risk Management) which outlines the basic principles and strategies that can be applied to help charities manage their risks.
Trading funds that are not deemed charitable are required to review their activities and in certain circumstances, may have to close. The exact outcome is dependent on the specific fund in question. However, trading funds that benefit too high a proportion of the general public may be able to review their membership activity. The Trustees must ensure that no more than 25% of income, or £50,000 total, (whichever is lower), is generated from non-primary purpose trading. Non-primary purpose trading includes use by non-qualifying members. In all cases the trustees are to ensure that the promotion of military efficiency is the overriding purpose of the fund. In adopting charitable status, funds that reward individuals or bodies with profit will be required to renegotiate their contracts and conditions. If no change is made, then the trading fund is a business and must negotiate with HMRC the payment of any tax liabilities etc. Accounts are to be drawn up under Company Law. Such activity falls outside of the scope of MOD’s excepted charity status. Further guidance is available from the Charity Commission in CC35 (Trustees, Trading and Tax: How Charities May Lawfully Trade).
All charities, regardless of whether they are registered with the Charity Commission or not must prepare accounts and make them available on request. For most associations, the preparatory work will be undertaken by the RAF Sports Federation on behalf of the association trustees, although that does not absolve the association trustees from their responsibilities. The Charity Commission leaflet CC15d (Charity Reporting and Accounting: the Essentials) provides full details of what is required for registered and excepted charities and is available on the Charity Commission website.
The RAF Sports Federation will conform to the reporting standards laid out in the new charity SORP (Statement of Recommended Practice). The RAF Sports Federation will ensure that accounting records (cash books, invoices, receipts) are retained for at least 6 years (or 3 years in the case of CLGs). The following guidance describes how the RAF Sports Federation will assist association trustees with meeting their obligations.
Accounting, Audit and Independent Examination
Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG). The 5 RAF sports associations who are registered as CLGs are well versed in submitting their annual accounting returns to the Charity Commission and Companies House. Their accounts must be prepared on an accruals basis and contain a balance sheet, a statement of financial activities and explanatory notes. Broadly speaking, those accounts will not require audit provided their gross income remains below £500,000 but must be independently examined. However, an audit will be needed if their income exceeds £500,000 or total assets (before liabilities) exceed £3.26m, and the charity’s gross income is more than £250,000. Where the charity is not required to have an audit but gross income exceeds £250,000, an independent examiner must qualify by being a member of an approved professional organisation specified under the Charities Act.
Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIO). The annual accounting requirements for CIOs are broadly the same as for CLGs although they only have to submit their accounts to the Charity Commission. In addition, CIOs have a duty to file accounts with the Charity Commission regardless of their income. The RAF Sports Federation compile all accounts for the trustees of the CIOs in the format required by the Charity Commission and ensure they are independently examined, regardless of income.
Excepted Charities. The vast majority of RAF sports associations are excepted charities and as such they are not required to submit their accounts to the Charity Commission. That does not mean that they do not have to prepare accounts which must be done so in accordance with the Charity SORP (FRS102). Associations utilising the finance services of the RAF Sports Federation will benefit from the preparation of their annual accounts and where income exceeds £25,000 the RAF Sports Federation will arrange for accounts to be independently examined. In addition, the RAF Sports Federation will adopt best practise of ensuring those associations with an income below £25,000 undergo independent examination of their accounts. Association committees must assist the RAF Sports Federation in ensuring that their accounts have been prepared and are available for examination by the Charity Commission on request.
Trustees Annual Report
The detailed legal requirements for the trustees’ annual report are set out in The Charities (Accounts and Reports) Regulations 2008 which provide the legal underpinning for the recommendations made in the Charities SORP. In order to assist trustees, the RAF Sports Federation has produced an ‘easy guide’ on its website regarding the trustees’ annual report. A template for the return is available on the Charity Commission website, and the RAF Sports Federation Head of Finance can provide advice and guidance on completing the detail.
Trustees have a responsible to protect the assets of the charity. That may mean the tangible assets such as property, kit and equipment or the financial assets of the charity and the exposure to any financial risk. The RAF Sports Federation arranges an umbrella insurance policy that reaps considerable savings across the numerous associations (circa £17,000 in 2016); any association wishing to utilise this service should contact the RAF Sports Federation Corporate Support Manager.
All association trustees are advised to ensure that they hold appropriate public liability insurance for the activity undertaken. This may take the form of a policy for the association or, for some sports, each individual may be required to hold personal liability insurance as directed either at association level or on occasion by the NGB. Public liability insurance should cover the association or individuals for not less than £10,000,000.
Employers’ liability insurance covers against allegations of injury or illness to employees arising out of their employment; it a legal requirement for any organisation, including charities, that has employees on a full-time or part-time basis. The employer’s Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 requires employers to have a minimum limit of £5,000,000, although many insurers offer higher levels of cover. The Charity Commission states that charities must take out employer’s liability insurance only from a company working under the Financial Services and Markets Act, as they maintain a register of authorised insurers. The Commission also require charities to prominently display their employer’s Liability certificate, showing that a valid policy has been taken out with the minimum level of cover.
Insurance for Volunteers
The Charity Commission has produced a guide titled ‘Charities and Insurance (CC49) which states that: for insurance purposes, charities are advised to treat volunteers in the same way as they do their employees and to ensure that they are covered by the usual types of insurance a charity might buy, such as employers’ liability or public liability cover. Insurance will not normally cover volunteers for unauthorised actions or actions outside of their volunteering agreement (terms of reference).
Association trustees should assess the value of purchasing insurance using charitable funding on a case by case basis. That assessment should take into account the cost of the cover weighed against the value of the items and the likelihood of loss. For example, it may not be worth covering 10 items of a notional value of £2000 each at a cost of £500 and an excess per item of £200 if all those items are dispersed around the country and the likelihood of a total loss is minimal. However, if those items were all stored centrally, the total loss could be financially ruinous for the charity and therefore it may well be appropriate to insure.
In addition to the public requirement for individuals to hold insurance that covers non-authorised activity, organisers should consider whether insurance is appropriate to cover refund of personal contributions in the event that an overseas visit is cancelled.
Trustee Indemnity Insurance
Trustee indemnity insurance (TII) covers trustees from having to personally pay legal claims that are made against them (by their charity or by a third party), for a breach of trust, or a breach of duty or negligence committed by them in their capacity as trustees. All associations who hold their insurance cover through the RAF Sports Federation also benefit from TII.
A sports association should be committed to conducting all of its business in an honest and ethical manner, and should adopt a zero tolerance policy towards fraud, bribery and any form of dishonesty in its business and transactions. MOD policy will in most circumstances take primacy, but trustees should consider the occasions when the association is acting primarily in its charitable capacity and apply this guidance accordingly. The following principles provide a useful guide for association trustees:
- RAF Sports associations should recognise that as a charity based in the UK it has a legal duty under the Bribery Act 2010 Section 7 to put in place adequate measures to prevent any person or body it associates with from undertaking bribery and corruption. RAF sports associations must uphold all laws relevant to countering bribery, fraud and corruption in all the jurisdictions in which it operates. No matter where the organisation, its staff and volunteers are it must abide by the laws of the UK, in respect of conduct both at home and abroad.
- Bribery and corruption are punishable for individuals by up to ten years’ imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine, and if the RAF sports association, or person associated with it, is found to have taken part in corruption it could also face a fine and be excluded from certain opportunities as well as suffering damage to its reputation.
- Associations could also attract liability under the Bribery Act 2010 if a person associated with it is found to have paid a bribe on its behalf, and the association did not have adequate procedures in place to prevent such conduct. The RAF sports association must therefore takes its legal responsibilities very seriously. Likewise, fraud may lead to civil and/or criminal proceedings.
- Any allegation that an employee, trustee, volunteer, contractor or anyone else acting on behalf of an RAF sports association has acted in a manner that is illegal or inconsistent with this guidance will be treated seriously, regardless of the seniority of those involved. Disciplinary action up to and including dismissal or expulsion may result. Where it is believed that a criminal offence may have been committed, the police and other relevant bodies may be informed.
The aims of this guidance are to:
- Promote a culture of honesty, integrity and professionalism;
- Set out the responsibilities, of those working for or on behalf of RAF sports associations, in observing and upholding the organisations position on bribery, fraud and corruption; and
- Provide information and guidance to those working for or on behalf of the RAF sports associations on how to recognise and address bribery, fraud and corruption issues.
Application of the Guidance
This guidance applies to the conduct of all those representing the RAF sports associations and any third party acting on their behalf, a non-exhaustive list of which includes: Trustees, permanent and fixed term staff, consultants, contractors, trainees, seconded staff, home workers, casual workers, agency staff, volunteers, interns, agents, sponsors, members or any other person associated with the association.
The RAF sports associations should draw this guidance to the attention of consultants and contractors through their procurement processes.
A bribe is an inducement or reward offered, promised or provided in order to gain any commercial, contractual, regulatory or personal advantage. The advantage sought or the inducement offered does not have to be financial or remunerative in nature, and may take the form of improper performance of an activity or function.
Gifts and Hospitality
Regulations for gifts and hospitality applicable to Service personnel are contained within JSP 462.
Representatives of RAF sports associations should avoid situations where they, could be open to suspicion of dishonesty. Individuals should, therefore, always have in mind the need not to give the impression to any of their colleagues, or organisations with whom they deal, or the public, that they may be influenced, or have, in fact, been influenced by any gift or consideration, to show favour or disfavour to a person or organisation whilst acting in an official capacity. The only exceptions to this rule are as follows:
- Isolated gifts of a trivial character or inexpensive seasonal gifts up to the value of £50 which are declared;
- Conventional hospitality provided it is normal and reasonable in the circumstances, and in the business interests of the Charity;
- Gifts provided by hosting countries presented to all countries and/or delegates when attending an event;
In considering what is normal and reasonable, regard should be given to:
- The degree of personal involvement. There is unlikely to be an objection to the acceptance of, for example, an invitation to an event from organisations with which the RAF sports association is in regular contact, or of working lunches (provided the frequency is reasonable) in the course of normal business;
- The usual conventions of returning hospitality. The isolated acceptance of, for example, a meal, would not offend the rule, whereas the acceptance of frequent or regular invitations to lunch or dinner on a wholly one-sided basis, even on a small scale, might give rise to a breach of the standard of conduct required.
If there is some doubt raised, or the individual has any doubt about the proprietary of accepting any gifts, benefit or hospitality, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Chair of the Trustees of the RAF sports association, whose decision shall be final, must be consulted. In the case of the either party requiring any clarification, then the RAF Sports Federation can provide further clarification.
It must be noted that, any money, gift or consideration received by an individual from a person or organisation holding, or seeking to obtain, a contract with the RAF sports association including any purchase contracts, will be deemed to have been received corruptly unless proved to the contrary. It is, therefore, essential to declare any gifts or considerations received to the chair of the RAF sports association and to obtain written approval for the retention of the gift. Such approval is to be recorded in a Hospitality and Gifts Register which must be set up and maintained by each RAF sports association. Information must be retained for at least 10 years.
It is not acceptable for any person representative of an RAF sports association (or someone on their behalf) to:
- Give, promise to give, or offer, a payment, gift or hospitality with the expectation or hope that a business advantage will be received, or to reward a business advantage already given;
- Give, promise to give, or offer, a payment, gift or hospitality to a government official, agent or representative to “facilitate” or expedite a routine procedure;
- Accept payment from a third party that they know or suspect is offered with the expectation that it will obtain a business advantage for them;
- Accept a gift or hospitality from a third party if they know or suspect that it is offered or provided with an expectation that a business advantage will be provided by the RAF sports association in return;
- Threaten another representative of the RAF sports association who has refused to commit a bribery offence or who has raised concerns under this guidance; or
- Engage in any activity that might lead to a breach of this guidance.
RAF sports associations should only make charitable donations that are deemed legal and ethical. No donations of any kind must be offered or made without the prior approval of the Chairman of the respective association.
There is no precise legal definition of fraud. It is generally taken to involve theft – the removal of cash or assets to which the fraudster is not entitled; or false accounting – the falsification or alteration of accounting records or other documents.
RAF sports associations are potentially exposed to:
- External fraud, perpetuated by individuals outside the organisation;
- Internal fraud, perpetuated by management, other employees and volunteers and
- Collusion – either within or between staff and outsiders.
RAF sports associations apply funds to achieve their strategic aims. Any loss through fraud will reduce the ability to deliver objectives. Fraud, or attempted fraud, will be viewed as very serious and will lead to disciplinary action, potentially dismissal or expulsion and legal action against the individuals or corporate entities involved.
The RAF Sports Federation will investigate all reports of fraud or potential fraud by RAF sports associations utilising its services. These should be reported in the first instance to the Chief Executive Officer who will determine, in conjunction with a Board Trustee, whether there is sufficient evidence or threat to the RAF Sports Federation or wider RAF reputation to justify further investigation. The investigation will be conducted either by appropriate staff or by appointed individuals outside of the organisation. The Chair of the RAF Sports Federation Board will be informed of the start of any investigation, and the Federation’s Board of Trustees will be informed of the outcome of the investigation. It may be necessary to preserve confidentiality during investigations and any disciplinary procedures following from the investigation. Where there is any report of fraud against the Chief Executive Officer or Chair of the Board, the Board of Trustees (excluding the CEO and Chair) will be informed immediately.
As appropriate and normally in consultation with DRS, the RAF Sports Federation will report fraud or attempted fraud to the Service or civilian police. The RAF Sports Federation will give full assistance to the police in any enquiries.
The RAF Sports Federation will seek to restore its assets or assets of an RAF sports association utilising its services, or recover financial losses against fraudsters.
Ultimate responsibility for implementing this guidance rests with the board of trustees of each RAF sports association. The prevention, detection and reporting of bribery and other forms of corruption are the responsibility of all those working and volunteering for the RAF sports associations
Any representative of an RAF sports association who breaches this guidance is likely to face disciplinary action, which could result in dismissal for gross misconduct in the case of an employee. RAF sports associations should reserve the right to terminate any contractual relationship with contractors, agents or consultants if they breach this guidance.
The RAF Sports Federation will keep relevant financial records for all those associations who utilise its financial services and have appropriate internal controls in place which will evidence the business reason for making payments to third parties.
RAF sports association trustees and volunteers should declare and keep a written record of all hospitality or gifts in accordance with the Hospitality and Gifts guidance.
All accounts, invoices, memoranda and other documents and records relating to dealings with third parties, such as clients, suppliers and business contacts, should be prepared and maintained with strict accuracy and completeness. No accounts must be kept “off-book” to facilitate or conceal improper payments.
How to Raise a Concern?
All employees, trustees, volunteers, contractors, or anyone else acting on behalf of an RAF sports association are encouraged to raise concerns about any issue or suspicion of malpractice at the earliest possible stage. If an individual is unsure whether a particular act constitutes bribery or corruption, or if they have any other queries, these can be raised with the RAF Sports Federation CEO or the Chairman of their association. Concerns should be reported in writing as quickly as possible. The RAF Sports Federation will take all reasonable steps to protect the confidentiality of those raising concerns.
The RAF Sports Federation is committed to ensuring no one suffers any detrimental treatment as a result of refusing to take part in bribery or corruption, or because of reporting in good faith their suspicion that an actual or potential bribery or other corruption offence has taken place, or may take place in the future. Detrimental treatment includes dismissal, disciplinary action, threats or other unfavourable treatment connected with raising a concern. If any representative of the RAF Sports Federation or RAF sports association believes that they have suffered any such treatment, they should inform the RAF Sports Federation CEO or the chairman of their association immediately.