The Members’ Advisory Group (MAG) has begun its work. Here is the latest update from the group, outlining current and future projects on which MAG is seeking input from the wider Table Tennis England membership.
MAG First Meetings and Projects
All 12 newly appointed MAG members attended the Table Tennis England National Conference on 30th March 2019 for their first informal meeting. This provided some of MAG with the opportunity to meet Board members for the first time. Table Tennis England Chairman Sandra Deaton, Deputy Chairman Susie Hughes, Chief Executive Sara Sutcliffe and Head of Operations and Governance Jo Keay-Blyth also attended the first meeting for part of the time.
The National Conference also provided the MAG team a chance to introduce themselves to a wide range of volunteers from clubs and leagues. This provided a good first opportunity for the MAG team to listen to issues that are of concern to the Membership. At the Pride of Table Tennis Awards, MAG members heard about the fantastic work that is done by a wide range of volunteers throughout our sport.
This first meeting was primarily to facilitate introductions and to set some working parameters. It was followed up with the Board providing MAG with its first project brief.
MAG met again on Saturday 4th May to start work in earnest on setting the groundwork for the operation of the Group and discuss both the first and subsequent projects. A few details about these and on how the TTE membership can get involved are addressed below.
- Ranking/Rating Project – The first MAG project has been instigated via the Board asking MAG to consider the Table Tennis England National Ranking system and the Board have provided MAG with a project brief requesting that they provide a report to the Board reflecting the expertise and knowledge of its members; and the views of the wider Table Tennis England membership. MAG have particularly been asked to initially look at the principles against which any future system should be measured and to provide feedback to the Board on what does and what doesn’t work well about the current TTE system.
A project sub-team has been set up to undertake the review and preliminary work has begun on this through individual connections and via the new MAG Facebook group. MAG hope to produce an initial Rankings Project report for the Board in the next few weeks.
MAG welcomes all input from the Table Tennis England member community and as a member you can already have your say via the MAG Facebook Group.
- Collaborative Work-Space – Communication between the MAG members has been enhanced by the use of a collaboration tool. This provides an online work-space where members of MAG can proactively discuss issues and projects and keep in contact in between meetings. The collaboration tool can also facilitate sub-group discussions. This is where individual members are already sharing issues raised with them by members of the wider table tennis community. Initially a sub group has been created for the Ranking Project.
- Future Projects – topics that The Board has indicated may become future projects include Competition Review Strategy and Volunteering Strategy. A number of individual members of MAG have also suggested some ‘blue sky thinking’ projects which these members will work on to provide briefs which they will present to other members of MAG and for the Board to consider. Project ideas from the Table Tennis England community are also welcome, and MAG will review all ideas received to identify additional future projects. Theses should be suggestions which will enable MAG to work with the Board to “make table tennis in England better”.
How will MAG engage with the table tennis community?
Effective engagement is a key role for MAG. A range of engagement mechanisms are envisaged:
- The Terms of Reference envisage MAG setting up sub-groups representing key groups – leagues & counties, clubs, coaches, umpires
- Informal but regular contact with the membership through existing mechanisms such as National Conference and Regional Meetings
- Having a visible presence at events and competitions – giving grass-roots members the chance for an informal discussion with members of MAG
- Project-specific engagement using social media and other methods for data collection and seeking different perspectives
A MAG webpage has been set up on the Table Tennis England website, so that all members can be updated regularly on MAG’s activities:
How will MAG undertake its role?
At its first meeting, MAG agreed to adopt a “project-based” approach to its role. Some topics to be considered by MAG will be suggested by the Board, some by MAG members themselves and some from the wider table tennis community.
MAG will work on some projects as one big team. However, for many projects, work will be carried out by small sub-teams or individuals as appropriate and depending on the skill set required.
MAG plans to do as much of its work on-line/virtually as is practicable. This will minimise the running costs of MAG.
Each year, MAG will issue an Annual Report to the Table Tennis England membership on the work it has undertaken and its interaction with the Board.
Background Information FAQ
Why was MAG created?
The formation of a Members Advisory Group (MAG) was the main recommendation of the Independent Review Panel of Governance within Table Tennis England (TTE) to improve Governance within TTE. The final report of the IRP is available here:
What is the role of MAG?
MAG is part of the Governance structures of Table Tennis England. In particular, MAG is a source of strategic and operational advice to the Board on a broad range of issues relating to table tennis. Central to the role of MAG is improving two-way engagement between the Board and the wider table tennis community. The Board remains the final decision-making body within TTE.
The advice that MAG provides to the Board is based in part on the knowledge and expertise of the individual Members. However, this advice also draws on input from the wider table tennis community or reflects the views of the table tennis community. The Board would need to provide their reasons and/or an explanation if they decide to reject MAG advice.
The Terms of Reference for MAG can be found here:
Is MAG independent of the Table Tennis England Board?
Yes, although members of MAG work with the Board as ambassadors in promoting table tennis, it is independent of the Board.
Members of MAG are all members of Table Tennis England. They were appointed through an open transparent application process.
How were MAG appointed?
Members of MAG come from all parts of the table tennis community – including players, clubs, leagues & counties, coaches, umpires, schools.
The MAG Appointment Process and the MAG Job Descriptions can be found by following the links here.
The MAG appointments were made following interviews with 26 short-listed candidates held over four days in early February 2019. The 12 MAG members are: Craig Bryant, Kevin Buddell, Joanne Green, Neil Hurford, Brian Kean, David Maddison, Dean Nabarro, Sandy Nash, Raj Patel, Steve Pratt, Stuart Sherlock and Dan Simms. Full details of the backgrounds of members of MAG are on the Table Tennis England website:
MAG expect to appoint a Chairman from within the Group at their next meeting, later this year.
Members of MAG recognise the importance that is attached to the independence of MAG. Accordingly, members of MAG have fully affirmed that their approach to all issues will always be on the basis of what is in the long-term interest of table tennis.
Why does this matter and how do I get involved?
Improving the advice available to the Board and ensuring effective two-way engagement between the Board and the wider table tennis community will create a more effective, robust organisation that will be better placed to face the challenges of developing table tennis into the future.
MAG will be developing processes to enable it to engage effectively with all the different sectors of the table tennis community – players, clubs, leagues, counties, competitions organisers, coaches, umpires, schools etc.