Health, Social Care and Sport Committee
Meeting date: Tuesday, January 24, 2023
Official Report 728KB pdf
Agenda: Interests, Decision on Taking Business in Private, Independent Review into Racism in Scottish Cricket, Food Standards Scotland
- Decision on Taking Business in Private
- Independent Review into Racism in Scottish Cricket
- Food Standards Scotland
Independent Review into Racism in Scottish Cricket
The next item on our agenda is an oral evidence session with Cricket Scotland and sportscotland. This is an opportunity to receive an update on those organisations’ progress towards implementing the recommendations of the independent review into racism in Scottish cricket, and it is the second such meeting that we have had. I think that the last one was around October last year.
I welcome Kaukab Stewart, who is not a committee member. She is attending for this item, and I hope that we will be able to give Kaukab the opportunity to ask some questions after members have asked questions of the panel.
I welcome to the committee Gordon Arthur, the chief executive officer of Cricket Scotland, and Anjan Luthra, the chair of Cricket Scotland. We also have with us Forbes Dunlop, the chief executive officer of sportscotland. Welcome to you all, and thank you for making the time to come back. Anjan Luthra will make a brief opening statement.
Thank you, convener, and thank you to the committee for providing me with the opportunity to present today.
As you may know, I was appointed the chair of Cricket Scotland in October last year. A major motivation for me to join the organisation was the opportunity to entirely rebuild it, starting with a focus on how to approach anti-racism and equality, discrimination and inclusion. I was really angry and upset when I read the report. What happened should never have happened, and it is our responsibility to ensure that we tackle racism and discrimination and build a brighter future. That is our commitment.
What have we done so far? First, in addition to my appointment, we have appointed two new independent board members. We have met several times over the past few months. In addition, we have delivered three key documents that are foundational and will drive a lot of the work in the coming months: the governance review, the anti-racism and EDI strategy and the review of the handling of the discipline issues at the Western District Cricket Union. In addition, we have put together an anti-racism and EDI advisory group to provide on-going consultation.
We also recognise that we cannot tackle racism if we do not invest in human resources, and that is why we have contracted a specialist third-party provider to deliver a full suite of high-quality HR services. Following on from that appointment, a review of all the job descriptions, contracts and performance plans is on-going and will be completed by the end of February. In addition, we have launched two initiatives with the Scottish Association for Mental Health to provide support to our employees and to the individuals who are going through the referral process.
We also recognise that we need to be a lot more transparent in Cricket Scotland. Transparency around our selection processes was identified as a key area. That is why we carried out a review of all our selection processes for the men’s and women’s international teams. A new policy has been implemented and will continue to be refined over the coming months. In addition, we have partnered with the South Asian Cricket Academy, which is an amazing initiative supporting south Asian cricketers in Scotland.
In addition to everything that I have just mentioned, we decided to take the groundbreaking decision to professionalise the women’s game: for the first time in Cricket Scotland’s history, we now have paid women cricketers. We are extremely proud of that.
With regard to the referrals process, the initial review has been completed. The most significant cases, once fully investigated, will be passed on to a series of committees, and they will adjudicate on the findings. We understand that this is urgent, but we also understand that due care, process and attention need to be given to these highly complex cases.
Overall, we have made a lot of progress over the past few months, but there is a tonne of work to go. We are moving as fast as we can; my commitment is that we will continue to move as quickly as we can and work tirelessly until we make cricket the most inclusive sport in the country.
Thank you, Mr Luthra.
I will now hand over to Forbes Dunlop, who also has a statement.
Thank you, convener, and thank you for the opportunity to come back to update the committee.
It is important that we do not lose sight of the reason why we are here. I remind the committee that the independent review found more than 440 cases of racism, discrimination and inequalities in Scottish cricket. More than half of those cases were to do with the policies and procedures in cricket, and more than 200 were individual concerns that were raised around racism, discrimination and inequalities. It is our responsibility in sportscotland, working closely with Cricket Scotland, to address the findings in the review and to make sure that every person who had the courage to come forward to share their experiences is listened to, that their case is investigated and that action is taken.
I previously talked to the committee about doing things in the correct order and with the correct process so that long-term change is implemented. That started with the board appointments, and it continues with the governance review. Most importantly, the change will be captured through the anti-racism EDI workstream that Anjan Luthra talked about.
The complexity of and the challenges in the process cannot be an excuse for slowness of pace. I talk weekly to Gordon Arthur about that, and I know that Cricket Scotland and sportscotland agree that, now that the foundations are in place, we need to increase the pace of that work.
We have supported Cricket Scotland over the last year with £465,000 of investment to help it to deliver the change. Since the publication of the review, we have provided other, significant additional resources to help with the referrals process and the HR processes that Anjan Luthra touched on. Now that the foundations are in place, we are in discussions about further investment in order to accelerate the anti-racism and EDI strategy and to look at the appointment of an EDI manager in Cricket Scotland.
It is important to recognise that the work that we are doing is focused not just on cricket. We know that there is more to do to support the wider sporting sector and other sporting bodies in Scotland to address issues of racism, discrimination and inequalities. That is why, last week, I was pleased to announce a new partnership with the United Kingdom-wide anti-racism and discrimination charity, Sporting Equals. The partnership will help us to build trust and capability in the sector, tackle racism and inequality and champion anti-racist behaviours.
As a national agency for sport, it is our job and role not only to help Cricket Scotland but to hold it to account on the progress that it needs to make. The foundations are in place, and it is now important to work with Cricket Scotland to invest further in order to allow that faster pace of change.
I have a couple of questions. My first question was going to be, “When is your action plan going to be published?”, but I note that the Cricket Scotland action plan was published yesterday afternoon—members are catching up with it in real time.
Mr Luthra, you talked a little about the efforts that have been made to engage with stakeholders—I guess that that is everyone in cricket across Scotland—on the action plan. What will your programme be for disseminating the information in that action plan? More specifically, what about the recommendations in relation to the Western District Cricket Union, where quite a lot of the complaints came from? Can you address the wider question of how you will disseminate the action plan and say what specific measures you are taking in the western district?
On your first point, which was on stakeholder engagement, a lot of my time over the past few months has been spent speaking to as many people as possible in not only the Scottish but the global cricketing community. Understanding what is going on on the ground before putting anything forward as an action plan or strategy is fundamental. For the first eight to nine weeks that I was in post, all I did was to speak to everyone on the ground in order to understand what was going on. I made myself very visible in the community. That work will continue.
Along with our new head of communications, we are putting together a road map—a very detailed plan—for us to be out on the road every week or month, engaging with the community over the medium to long term to make sure that the initiative that we started is not just forgotten about. We will continue to do that for a long period, because it is fundamental to change. I will be part of that, and I will be very visible in the cricketing community.09:15
As chief executive, Gordon Arthur is a lot closer to the detail on the WDCU and will be able to provide you with the specifics of the very next steps. From my multiple discussions with him over the past couple of weeks and months, I know that he has held a number of engagement sessions and is working closely with the WDCU to make sure that everything is driven appropriately. I am sure that Gordon can provide you with the exact detail.
We have been working closely with the WDCU in particular and all the regional chairs and representatives over the past three or four months. The action plan was published only yesterday, but the work in it has been on-going. I have been in dialogue with the appropriate people for different bits of the action plan as we have gone through the process.
We have completed the review of how disciplinary issues have been handled in the WDCU. That report has been fed into the overall governance review of the sport. We have communicated with the WDCU, shared the report with it and received feedback from it, so it has been involved. At the start of September, an almost completely new WDCU committee was elected, the previous committee having resigned a month or so earlier. Khizar Ali is the new chair; I am working very closely with him and I speak to him probably every week about a whole range of issues.
Following the overall governance review, in the coming weeks we will propose a new approach to handling discipline in cricket across the whole of Scotland. In the past, broad processes and policies have been in place, but the five different regions have had quite a high degree of latitude over how they have interpreted those and put them into practice. One of the reasons that we have had such inconsistent outcomes in the area of discipline is that the different regions have been doing things in different ways. That clearly needs to change because it has been unhelpful and needs to be tightened up. The new process will bring a much more coherent, national approach to the way in which discipline issues are handled. That is one of the big issues. We should have the proposed framework ready in the next week or two. We then need to discuss that with the regions and have it put in place by the start of the season, which is only 12 weeks away. There is a lot of work to do prior to that.
I will stop you there. I am looking at your timetable in the action plan. One of the actions is to:
“Develop and implement a new disciplinary framework”
and you have a timetable for that to be in place by 30 April 2023. However, it also says that the recruitment of an independent disciplinary panel is on-going.
Do you not want that panel to be in place for the start of the season?
Absolutely. The panel is practically in place now. A couple of disciplinary cases from the end of last season have been escalated, and that is why we needed to start recruiting the conduct in sport panel. The advert went out in, I think, late November. We have 12 applicants for the panel. We have been talking to a lot of different people and encouraging Running Out Racism and other organisations to get people to come forward for the panel, and I think that we will get another 10 or 12 people. The panel will be the pool and each committee will consist of three people.
The panel is almost in place and ready to go in relation to two things. First, it will deal with the cases that come out of the referrals process. Those cases will come to Cricket Scotland, and the more significant ones will go to the conduct in sport committees. Secondly, the conduct in sport panel will be up and running and ready to pick up any disciplinary issues that occur in the early part of next season. I think that the first games of the season are around 26 April.
Okay, thank you.
Anjan, we had a meeting before, and I was very impressed with the drive and the change that you have brought to your personal business and which you are bringing to this issue. That is very important. What barriers are you facing right now?
Thank you for your question and the kind words. We are facing lots of barriers. The number 1 barrier is the lack of hours in the day, because we are working 12 to 15 hours every day to make sure that we stay on top of things and that we move as quickly as we can.
The second barrier is resources. Throughout my past 10 years in business, the way in which I have always thought about capital is that it equals speed. There are a lot of things that we could be doing in parallel rather than step by step, but we have to do them step by step because we do not have unlimited funds. Therefore, we have to take our time and do things while balancing a budget.
Those are the biggest two barriers right now. However, another big barrier is the ability to add a massive, new and ambitious strategy, vision, mindset and change to an organisation that has been run in a different manner for so long. I am trying to bring a lot of energy and, alongside Gordon, to bring in a very big, ambitious and global strategy that will take Cricket Scotland to heights that have never been seen before.
We started with the professionalisation of the women’s game, which had never been done before. We made that a priority and did that within two months of being appointed. Getting everyone to adapt to the new big ambitious strategy will take a bit of time, and we are wary of that. We do not want to scare anyone, so we need to make sure that we are consulting with all the various stakeholders in Cricket Scotland and that we take them on this journey with us. We have very big ambitions.
You made reference to your budget, and we heard from Forbes Dunlop that £460,000 is being given to Cricket Scotland. Is that enough? What is the realistic cost of the change that you want?
Overall, we will get about $2 million over the next 12 months from various parties, including sportscotland, which supports us very well. We have been able to put forward a very good balanced budget that builds the organisation holistically and across all verticals.
There has been an overspend in specific areas of Cricket Scotland over the past five to 10 years, and many other areas have been neglected. When I first arrived at the organisation, there was no marketing function, no women’s contracts and barely an operations function. A lot of things did not exist, which was because a lot of the money was invested in one area.
The money that we have now is absolutely enough, first, to make sure that we are spending our money effectively and wisely. We have done a cost-optimisation exercise, which has saved us a lot of money. Secondly, it is enough money to run the sport.
Of course, we need more capital to do certain projects that have been outlined in the report “Changing The Boundaries—The Plan4Sport Independent Review into Racism in Scottish Cricket”, and, as Forbes Dunlop mentioned, we are working closely with sportscotland to unlock that funding over time. We absolutely need more capital, but we will have to earn it, work for it and go out to get it.
One of the things that I was very pleased to hear about was the appointment of an HR team. At our meeting last October, Tess White was very clear about the importance of HR. I was very disappointed with the answers that we got back about that, so that is a very pleasing step that you have taken.
Gordon, you said that you have different districts doing things differently, but surely you accept that the unacceptable is unacceptable. It does not matter how you break it down: what happened was totally unacceptable.
It was completely unacceptable, and I am breaking it down only in the context of trying to understand what led us to that point so that we can try to fix it. It is quite clear that the discipline system has not worked and has led to some of the problems that we are now dealing with. I made that point only in that context.
This is a leading question for either Forbes or Anjan: what is the ethnic diversity mix of your players at differing age groups?
At this stage, we do not have those data. One thing that we need to do through the programme is to build a data-gathering system so that we have a baseline that we can then measure our progress against over time. Anecdotally, we have between 6,000 and 7,000 people playing organised cricket in Scotland, but we have a lot more playing, particularly when you get down to the junior and grass-roots levels. As you get further down the age groups, the ethnic mix is much higher.
In the club scene, there have been fewer coming through over time, but, in general, across the country, there has been change in some clubs. Drummond Trinity Cricket Club in Edinburgh is a good example. Four or five years ago, it was struggling to put out two teams and almost all its members were white people. Now, it puts out around five teams a week and something like 90 or 95 per cent of the people who play cricket at the club are from diverse backgrounds. There has been a huge shift but, at this time, we do not have the data. Getting that data, so that we can baseline and measure our progress and to see the impact and outcomes of the work that we are doing, will be crucial.
I echo exactly what Gordon has said. Not having the data is criminal. We cannot answer your question specifically, because we do not have the systems to provide us with those numbers. As Gordon said, it is all anecdotal right now. The priority is to design, implement and roll out a system that allows every player in Scotland to get on board and become a member of Cricket Scotland, and for that data to flow through all the clubs up to Cricket Scotland, so that we can sit here and tell you that we have X number of cricketers from a particular age group, ethnicity, sex and everything else. That is where we want to get to, but we need to do that work.
When will you do that?
In addition to everything that we are doing, we want to do that as soon as possible. It is in our 100-day plan. We are working on putting together a system to design and roll that out, but that is a big project.
Okay. When will that be?
That is to be determined. I cannot commit to that right now. I do not know the dates, because the “Changing the Boundaries” report takes priority right now. There is a lot going on at the moment, but it will be done as soon as possible.
For me, that is vital.
How can you possibly look at racism and at what is going on with the drop-out rate if you do not know about that? That is vital.
I have a final question. Anjan, what is your commitment with other sport around Scotland? Also, what barriers do other sport face?
I am not an expert on other sport across Scotland, but I played tennis for Scotland when I was younger and I have had conversations with individuals at Tennis Scotland, as well as the Lawn Tennis Association in England, to learn about how others are tackling the issues that they face.
Many of my conversations with multiple individuals in other sports have been around that learning, and asking: “How are you guys tackling this? What are you doing? What resources are you putting into it? What policies have you got in place?” We need to constantly upskill ourselves and learn and understand what big organisations are doing, because that is what we want to get to; we want to strive for the best.
I have also spent a lot of time with the England and Wales Cricket Board to learn about how it is tackling those issues, and with cricket boards globally to understand what they are doing about the very issues that we are tackling.
I do not know what the impact is across sport in Scotland. I would not be surprised if there were issues in other sport, but I am sure that everyone is watching us closely and that they are, I hope, learning from the steps that we are putting into place, because our ambition is to ensure that we become best in class. We are committed to doing that and happy to help other sport if they need it.09:30
I will bring in Evelyn Tweed, who wants to pick up on something that was said.
Yes, thanks, convener. Will you say more about the HR approach and how it will work with the rest of the organisation?
Yes, sure. Gordon can probably give you a bit more detail and I will give you the high-level picture. We have appointed a third-party full-service company to provide us with on-going monthly support to cover pretty much everything in the HR hemisphere.
That is an immediate solution. It is quicker than hiring an internal team; it is cost-effective; and it allows us access to a range of experts who cover the most complicated HR matters. It is a well-renowned firm. We used a comprehensive request-for-proposal process. We went to market and we did not just appoint the first organisation that we saw. We benchmarked the organisation against a number of others. We believe that it is a good firm—if I am not mistaken, it is a Scottish firm—and we will rely on it for everything to do with HR. We believe that it is a strong team that will help us to achieve what is needed
Gordon can maybe add any detail that I have missed.
Anjan has covered the main parts of it. The organisation has all the HR services under one roof, so we can go to it for advice on a range of things and it has experts who can help us.
One reason why we were keen to take that approach is that, if we had employed an HR manager, they would likely be skilled in, perhaps, one or two areas but would be unable to help us across the piece. This way, we have access to all elements.
Importantly, through that, we also get an HR system. There has never been any HR in place in Cricket Scotland, really, so that system will allow us to do everything from properly logging people’s holidays to having job descriptions, proper performance indicators and learning and development plans in place to support appraisal processes. It is a simple and easy-to-use HR system that will back up all the services that are provided for us as and when we need them.
Mr Arthur, how can you ensure that there will be an open and accessible relationship with the HR organisation given that it is external?
We have an appointed relationship person who will be in the office every month. They will run sessions with us regularly over the coming months so that all the understand the services that are available. There is a helpline that staff can go to directly if they have issues that they want to raise.
It is all about the way in which and how closely we work with the organisation. In the post-Covid world, when so many people work remotely, people are often not in the office anyway, so the external provision will not be that different from having a member of staff who is working remotely. We have as much access as we need through the agreement not only for the senior leadership team but for the staff.
To pick up on what you have said, Anjan, your commitment and your passion for the role are clear to us and very much appreciated. You mentioned that, right now, you are working 12 to 15-hour days, which will not be sustainable without burn-out. I remember Gordon saying something similar at the previous meeting, too. I am slightly concerned that people who are putting in so many hours and working seven days a week reach a point at which it becomes easy to make mistakes, regardless of how committed they are. How sustainable is that, and when do you expect it to be a more normal working environment?
First, I fully agree with you. That is not sustainable, and I would not advocate it or expect anyone else to do it. If it is sustained for a long period, it will, as you have correctly said, lead to burn-out. Unfortunately, we are in a crisis and, during a crisis, you sometimes need to go above and beyond to make sure that things move in the right direction at the right pace.
However, as you correctly said, over the long term, the situation will normalise, especially as we add to the organisation’s headcount, which is on-going. Recently, a very high-quality individual joined the firm as head of communications. He will take a significant workload away from Gordon. Over the coming weeks, multiple contractors and individuals will join us. I believe that the situation will normalise over time. Yes, it is a difficult period, but Gordon and I have committed to doing that to make sure that we get the job done as quickly as possible.
This question is for you or Gordon. When do you expect the crisis to be over and for things to settle down?
My first six months in the post have been about laying sustainable foundations, because there were no decent foundations when I came in. We have had to do a huge amount to put Cricket Scotland on a proper footing, as well as deliver the rest of the cricket season and start a huge programme of work, much of which needs to be in place by the start of next season.
To an extent, the answer to your question lies in two things. First, we are putting ourselves under huge pressure to get some things done by the end of April. We have a new cricket season coming and we believe that it is crucial that those things are in place by the start of April. Secondly, we have talked already about the HR situation and the head of communications, and we have another four jobs due to be advertised in the next week or so. The core team in Cricket Scotland is 10 or 11 people, so having four more people will make a huge difference to our ability to spread the workload and to find ourselves in a more sustainable position. Some of the pressure that we are putting ourselves under will drop a bit in May and June. By then, we will, I hope, have new people in the organisation to help spread the workload.
Thanks, Gordon—that is reassuring. A 50 per cent increase will certainly make a difference. I hope that that will mean that you will start getting more sleep and more leisure time.
What implications does the delay to the development and approval of the action plan have for the overall timetable for addressing the recommendations of the independent review?
Sorry—I missed the start of that.
What implications does the delay to the development and approval of the action plan have for the overall timetable for addressing the recommendations of the independent review?
I am not sure what delay to the approval of the plan you are referring to. Are you referring to the action plan that has come out of “Changing the Boundaries”?
We published the action plan yesterday, but it has been in place since last August and we have been working with sportscotland on delivering it since then.
Although the plan was not published until yesterday, we have been working to the deadlines that are in it and to the deadlines that we have set ourselves for the work that needs to be done coming out of the plan.
The action plan is our latest view, with some quite aggressive timelines, of when the work will be done. That has developed over time, because we have had to work out what needs to be done and how we need to do it. We could then start to put dates on it.
We are, I think, up to where we would hope to be at this time, but we have a huge amount of work to deliver over the next three months. Does that answer your question?
Yes, that is fine—that is a bit clearer.
I have a question for Forbes Dunlop. How likely is it that Cricket Scotland will need to remain in special measures beyond October 2023?
It is certainly our intention—I know that it is Gordon Arthur’s and Anjan Luthra’s intention—that, by the end of the period outlined in the action plans, all recommendations will be put in place and we will have the confidence to take Cricket Scotland out of special measures. Of course, we will keep a close eye on that and make a judgment at that time. The focus, as Gordon and Anjan have outlined, is absolutely on delivering those recommendations and, importantly, keeping up the pace with the referrals and the investigation process for those referrals.
We are very mindful that there are people at the centre of this, and that those people’s concerns need to be heard, investigated and managed. Our focus is on making sure that each of the strands continues at pace, and, if we achieve that, our ambition is absolutely to have Cricket Scotland out of special measures by October.
What measures do you have in place to ensure effective oversight?
We have a range of regular meetings, as you might imagine. Gordon Arthur and I have a fortnightly meeting with our respective teams. The focus of those meetings is on how we are progressing, where the blockages are that slow things up and how we can sort those. I also have a regular call with Anjan Luthra to check in on the board’s progress and the developments in having a new board in place, how the board members are working together and the progress that they are making.
We also have an important monthly meeting between Cricket Scotland, sportscotland and Running Out Racism. Again, that is to make sure that we are listening closely to the feedback from Running Out Racism and to its concerns about pace, progress and particular actions. It is important for us to continue the live consultation with Running Out Racism and get its feedback. Therefore, there is a range of measures. The staff team at sportscotland speak to Gordon and his staff team daily. A number of other measures are in place to monitor progress and remove barriers to it.
Before I go to Emma Harper, Evelyn Tweed wants to come back in with a quick supplementary question.
Mr Dunlop, you said that your job was to hold Cricket Scotland to account. You talked about the special measures and what you are doing now. How will you do that in the long term?
We have a number of tools for that, many of which we have been reviewing as part of this process but also as part of our EDI strategy, which we published in 2021. There are a number of existing tools. We carry out independent reviews of sports to check on progress across a range of areas, and we have reviewed them in light of what has happened in cricket. We use a range of tools to monitor the progress of sports. Our annual investment process with all sports has checks and balances built into it. We have had to review that to see where the gaps have been and how we can strengthen the process. There is an annual review process, and we have an on-going conversation with each sport. We continually look to improve and enhance how we oversee sports performance.
Good morning, everybody, and thanks for coming. Forbes Dunlop mentioned that there are people behind all the issues that we are hearing about. Some folk have very bravely come forward. I am interested in the progress that has been made in dealing with the complaints that are under formal investigation. Either Mr Dunlop or Mr Arthur said that a couple of disciplinary cases are outstanding from the end of last season and that those are still under review. What progress has been made on those reviews? At the end of the action plan, a review of referrals is mentioned. The plan came out yesterday, and I am reading it right now. An update on the investigations into the complaints would be helpful.
The referrals process has been one part of the recommendations that we were mindful to set up in an appropriate and robust manner so that those referrals can be appropriately investigated and that any action that needs to come out of them cannot be challenged. That had to be set up. We therefore brought in an independent team, led by Harper Macleod LLP, to manage the referrals. Sporting Equals was also part of that team, and Running Out Racism is very involved in the referrals process as well. Therefore, a team of independent people is looking at all the referrals and has worked through them. Everyone who has come forward has been contacted, and the team is in the middle of live investigations into a number of them.
Clearly, it is inappropriate to get into any specific detail on those investigations, as they are live, but it is one of the areas where we are mindful of the pace, so the conversation with the referrals team is that the process needs to speed up. Certainly, by late spring or early summer, we expect the investigations phase of all referrals to be completed and those reports to have been passed to Cricket Scotland—to the committee that Gordon Arthur talked about earlier—which will then decide on further action.09:45
How are people being communicated with? Is it face to face?
That is partly down to the individual. There is certainly written communication, then follow-up phone communication and a number of face-to-face meetings. However, it is down to the individual who has come forward to say how they want the investigation to be progressed.
In addition, sportscotland is supporting Cricket Scotland to take forward the investigation. The action plan includes lots of actions, one of which is to
“Develop and deliver an anti-racism, EDI, and cultural awareness education programme”.
There are also issues around implementing different actions. That will obviously be an on-going process to help prevent the need for any further complaint investigations in the future. I see that everybody is nodding.
Absolutely. There are two strands to this. We need to strengthen the systems and processes that are in place for when complaints come forward. We are taking a number of actions across sports so that, when a complaint comes forward, the correct policies, procedure and culture are in place in the organisation to hear those complaints, manage and investigate them and enable action to be taken. We need confidence in that, across sports.
The other strand—this is where our new partnership with Sporting Equals adds particular value—is to continue the work to support the education and awareness process and to check, challenge and support all sports before issues occur in order to prevent such cases coming forward.
When things happen, they have to be dealt with, and we need to do more to prevent cases coming forward.
You mentioned Sporting Equals. What role does it have in the process?
Sporting Equals has helped us on a number of fronts. It is a well-established UK-wide race discrimination charity, and it has a range of expertise and has supported a number of bodies with this type of work. We have signed a new partnership with Sporting Equals. It will do things such as provide expert support to sports across Scotland; help those sports to better understand how to build trust, capability and capacity; and increase awareness and understanding of how we can better engage and work with diverse ethnic communities so that sport becomes more inclusive. Sporting Equals is very much working with us on that proactive piece.
We also engaged Sporting Equals at the start of the referrals process, because it brings some real expertise to the investigation phase. It has been working for the past three or four months on part of the referrals process, and we have supported it to do that because we recognise the need to have expertise as part of that process. Sporting Equals helps us to deal with not only the complaints and the investigations in the system but with the longer-term education process that is required.
How are you ensuring that any learning from the complaints is influencing the changes that are made and that those changes are effectively communicated to those who have made complaints so that they can see that there is some resolution and impact beyond just the resolution of their complaint?
Everything that we are doing now is about learning lessons from what has happened. Why did an incident happen? Why was it not picked up earlier? Why were things not addressed at the time? Why have we got to the situation that we are in? There is learning through the referrals, the individual cases, the governance review and the review that we are doing of our independent assessments of sports and where they are. All that continues to build in and feed our work with sports. There are multiple strands, and we are taking as many lessons as we possibly can from each of those strands and building them into our work.
To answer your question, I will give you an example. We are not just waiting for the referrals to complete. Where we can learn as we go along from the information that is coming out, we are doing so. We have done a huge amount of work over the past couple of months, looking at the pathway for younger players coming through to junior international and full international level.
Many people have asked questions about that area. In fact, when I was at the committee previously, quite a few of the questions related to the pathway. The coaches who work on it across the country have generally been in place for quite a long time. It is the same group of people who were appointed in the past, and there has not really been any turnover of those coaches. New coaches have not really had an opportunity to get into the system so, last autumn, we put all those jobs out for recruitment. That has been a massive piece of work. Forty-five to 50 people have been interviewed to try to freshen up the regional coaching approach by bringing in new people and bringing better diversity into the mix.
We have also appointed regional talent spotters. Historically, it has generally been the role of coaches to spot talent and bring through those players. They just cannot properly and consistently cover a huge geographic area with perhaps 20, 30 or 40 clubs in it so, outside the coaching team, we have now appointed talent spotters to work across the regions to identify people who live in more remote communities and who do not play matches in Edinburgh or Glasgow or elsewhere in the central belt to be seen more regularly. That is done to try to improve the information coming into the selection processes for the under-15, under-17 and under-19 teams so that we can identify a better and more diverse pool of talent and give more people opportunities.
In addition, we have set up a software system whereby players, families and club coaches can post videos of young players so that the talent spotters can see people who have been put forward by their club, parents or others and go to watch them in match conditions to follow up on that. There will be a lot more that we can do in that space, but we have already completely shaken up the way in which we run the bottom end of the pathway to try to improve the opportunity for more diversity to come through in the playing pool.
How far has Cricket Scotland progressed in establishing a longer-term complaints-handling process? To what extent can we be confident that the process fully addresses the issues that have been identified by the Plan4Sport review, including the lack of confidentiality and clarity in the reporting process and the lack of a complaints process for members of the wider cricketing community? I am also interested in what mental health and wellbeing support has been put in place for those who come forward with a complaint.
The Plan4Sport helpline remains open for anyone involved in cricket to come forward and make a complaint. We are in discussions with sportscotland about Cricket Scotland taking on that responsibility because it is really important that we own it. It is a crucial part of the whole process that Cricket Scotland steps forward and owns that properly.
There are two parts to that. There is the disciplinary process for cricket and the way in which that is managed in and around a match situation and the behaviour of people involved in cricket. On top of that, there is a complaints process that needs to give people confidence that they can come forward and that their complaint will be listened to and actioned.
The Plan4Sport process has been a crucial part of the past 12 months. I hope that that has given people confidence to come forward and confidence that their issues will be taken seriously. We need to build a process into Cricket Scotland to enable that. As I said, we are in discussions with sportscotland about how we take responsibility for that.
As I mentioned earlier, we are also planning to rebuild the disciplinary process completely. It will be called conduct in sport, which indicates that we will be undertaking a much wider process in order to have a consistent national system. We will then go out to all clubs to talk to them about the new system and to educate them about expectations, to try to accelerate the process of changing behaviour in and around the sport.
As Anjan mentioned in his opening comments, we started two partnerships with SAMH over the latter part of last year. One of those is to support complainants, as well as witnesses and, perhaps, people who have had complaints made against them, to ensure that anybody involved in the referrals has got mental health support that is completely independent and effectively provided through a partnership between Cricket Scotland and SAMH.
I have one more brief question. What is being done, or what needs to be done, to support young players so that they are able to raise issues when they see them? I have no doubt that the complaints that we have heard about are the tip of the iceberg and that there are probably young players who have heard things but not raised them because of various factors. What is being done to ensure that young players’ voices are heard and that they are able make complaints, which might often be against adults, when they hear things that are inappropriate?
It depends on the definition of “young” and where that kicks in. We have boys and girls aged five and upwards involved in cricket. There are a number of ways in which they get involved. Sometimes that is through their clubs; sometimes it is through community programmes that we run in partnership with groups such as the Lord’s Taverners—for example, the Wicketz programme that we do in Edinburgh and Glasgow; and sometimes it is through the schools.
Consequently, there are different routes. Say something happens at school. Schools generally have very well-developed support mechanisms. Some clubs have better support mechanisms than others, so we will have to look into how we improve that in areas where that is needed. That will be part of the process. We are not quite at that stage yet; as I said, we are still leaning on the Plan4Sport process. That will be a key consideration as we move forward in finalising the arrangements.
Does Anjan have any reflections on that?
To build on what Gordon said, the development of young people generally is of paramount importance. Outwith the “Changing the Boundaries” report, a lot of the conversations that I have been having with stakeholders from around the world have been about how to amplify the investment in the development of cricketers in Scotland, starting at the grass-roots level. That is the bedrock of cricket in Scotland and we need to get more cricket bats into the hands of young people of all genders, ethnicities and abilities.
Many people want to support us in those programmes. There are some amazing charities, too. We already have a small programme with one charity that has an express desire and ambition to scale up the programme massively to try to hit every school in Scotland. It will also provide us with significant funding for that. However, we do not have in place the governance or the infrastructure to deliver that programme right now. We need to make sure that we work on that, so that we can take up those offers and work with partners to really develop young kids.
I see sport at a young level not just being about sport. My reflections on playing cricket as a young kid are that it taught me life lessons. At the time, it is about sport, because all you want to do as a young kid is go out to play sport. However, reflecting on that in later life, you see that you have learned valuable life lessons such as communication, not giving up, discipline, hard work and integrating with society when you are young. If we have any barriers and we are not maximising the development of young people, that is criminal. We absolutely need to do that, and that is very high up our agenda. Right now, however, the absolute priority is to make sure that we do everything in the “Changing the Boundaries” report.
Good morning. I am interested in cultural change and change across the whole organisation. Perhaps we can start, Gordon, with how you feel institutional racism has been tackled or is beginning to be tackled. In our previous exchange, you often talked about perceptions, which I slightly pushed back on. Running out Racism has expressed concern that there is still no grasp of the wider issue of institutional racism in Cricket Scotland. How do you respond to that? Does Cricket Scotland recognise that it is an institutional issue that goes beyond people’s perceptions and that that must be looked at in a systematic way?10:00
We have already started addressing that in a systematic way. I absolutely recognise that and the findings in the “Changing the Boundaries” report. We are working really hard to change the culture in the organisation.
There are two aspects to this—the organisation and the wider sport—but your question specifically focused on the organisation. We are working very hard to encourage a culture of openness and transparency. We are trying to ensure that the staff in Cricket Scotland feel confident that they can speak up and raise issues, which they have not always been able to do in the past. We are involving people in the organisation in a way that they have not been involved in the past. They have generally just been told what to do and not been given responsibility or accountability.
A huge amount of work is going on to improve the culture in Cricket Scotland. When we roll out the training and education programme, everyone involved in Cricket Scotland will be right at the front of that.
We have also been addressing some of the systemic issues around the way that the organisation is run and has run cricket. I talked a minute ago about the pathways and how we have completely reinvented how those work to try to remove barriers. We have also taken a very strong approach to the way in which selection is done for our international teams, for example, to bring openness and transparency to the process, to bring a more diverse set of views into the selection committee meetings and to widen the pool of players that are being considered for selection, regardless of which team we are looking at. There is a lot of work going on to address that.
Last week, I looked at the “Changing the Boundaries” report and, for 29 of the 31 indicators that Plan4Sport said that we were failing on, we have work under way to address all the organisational issues that are mentioned in the report. Some of the issues are more pertinent to the wider sport. Over the coming months, we need to get out and do a huge amount of engagement with the clubs. That will be around the new expectations; the new code of conduct and disciplinary processes; and the culture that cricket is played in, particularly competitively at club level. That latter aspect will be to try to improve the culture and to remove some of the microaggressions and bad behaviours that have been accepted as banter and commonplace in the past. We just need people to understand that they are not acceptable and will never be acceptable.
You recognise that there is a wider issue of institutional racism in the sport, which has proven to be challenging because of those aspects that you have just mentioned.
Absolutely. It was not my intention to leave you with any other opinion when we were before the committee on 4 October. If I did, I am sorry; I never meant to do that. When I talked about perceptions last time, it was particularly in relation to barriers in the selection process. It is important that we address all the barriers in that process and understand whether they are real or not. That way, we can fix the things that need fixing. Sometimes, that might mean changing people’s understanding. If there is an issue around something that they are not comfortable with, we need to understand what that is and change it.
As I said, it was never my intention to leave you in doubt. I completely accept the findings of “Changing the Boundaries” in that regard, and we are trying to tackle the detail of that full on.
Okay. You mentioned trying to assess where the barriers are and how they can be tackled. In our previous exchange, we spoke about the barriers that young people experience, and Gillian Mackay has picked up some of those issues. The last time that we had a discussion, you spoke about young people leaving the sport because of the pressure that they experienced from their family to do well, to get qualifications and
“to go to university and become a doctor or lawyer”—[Official Report, Health, Social Care and Sport Committee, 4 October; c 12.]
There is a perception that that is quite a stereotypical view of Asian families in particular. Would you accept that that comment could have been perceived as being stereotypical in itself? Those are barriers that would often be universally experienced by young people, so what work has Cricket Scotland done to speak to young people? I think that you were saying that that is what you had heard anecdotally, but what work has been done to understand whether those are significant issues, regardless of who the young people are and where they come from?
After the previous evidence session, I had many conversations with Running Out Racism about those words and what my intentions had been. I was accused of casual racism on the basis of the words that I had used, which was not my intention. In fact, the session was two days before Anjan was appointed and his story was the one that I had in mind when I said that. He will tell you that, aged 19, he was pretty much told to pack in cricket and get a job.
That was the story that was in my mind when I said that at the committee last time. It was not intended to be a generalisation; that was what was in the back of my mind. I explained that to Paul Reddish and to a number of other people in Running Out Racism. I hope they understood that that was not my intention and that those words did not come out in quite the way I had intended them to come out.
We need to make sure that as many people as possible come through the age groups in cricket and that they get an equal opportunity to progress, should they wish to. We need to encourage and develop people. Much of what Anjan said a minute ago about learning life skills as much as cricketing skills is part of that process. I see it as our job to make sure that opportunity is available to everyone, regardless of where they are from or their background, to progress as far through the sport as they can. That is what we are seeking to do.
We have already done one session with Paul Reddish, who is helping to facilitate a session for us. That is about looking at the selection pathway, trying to identify all the barriers in there and then putting in place work to dismantle them where they need dismantling. That will take time. That goes back to the point about approaching this in a systematic way. If we do not do that, the problems will just recur in a year or two’s time. As I said, that will take time, but I am confident that the work is under way to address a lot of the issues.
Okay—thank you. I am sure that committee members will feel that that clarification has been helpful.
We know that training will be crucial across the board in cricket. There needs to be, for example, awareness, understanding and recognition of those microaggressions that you spoke about, with racism, particularly casual racism, being called out when it is present. What are the timescales for rolling out the training, and how is the development of that programme is progressing?
There are two elements to that, and the timescale is broadly the same for both. The new disciplinary and conduct approach for the sport needs to be launched and communicated, with those throughout the system educated about that before the end of April.
I very much hope that we will have the first sport-wide cycle of the broader anti-racism and EDI training and education concluded before the start of the season. That is a massive ask, but I believe that it is achievable. Forbes Dunlop and I have had numerous conversations in that regard. I keep saying to him that, at some point early in 2023, we will come to him with a really important ask: to bring in external resources to help us to run an EDI training and education process for the sport in the February to April period in the lead-up to the new season. I do not want that to be done online; I want it to be done face to face. It is crucial. We need to get every club in Scotland deeply involved in that process. I do not see it as being a means to an end; I see it as the start of something that will take years to properly put in place and follow through.
The scale of cultural change that we are talking about is significant, so we need to start with a really big push in the first quarter of this year. Clearly, that training will go on throughout next season and in the longer term, but it is really important that, before the first ball of the season is bowled, we have a programme. We need to put that in place quickly, then get out there and deliver it.
It is really important to say that everyone on the committee is united in how much we despise racism, and we all want to see the best players playing for Scotland and Scotland to be as successful as it can be.
On the back of Paul O’Kane’s questions, I want to say that I was personally quite upset by some of the words that Gordon Arthur used at the previous committee hearing. We know Anjan’s story, but we do not know whether that is the story for everyone, because you do not have the data. That is why it is so important that you get the data as a matter of priority. If you do not know why people are leaving, surely you cannot dismantle the barriers.
I will move on to my questions, turning to Forbes Dunlop first. Do you feel that there is institutional racism in other sports?
I do not feel as though I can give you a direct answer to that. I am definitely not trying to duck the question. I absolutely accept that there are instances of racism in other sports, but Louise Tideswell and Plan4Sport did a full deep-rooted review of cricket over six months that allowed her and her team to conclude that there is institutional racism in cricket. Without work like that, it is hard for me to say yes or no to the question. However, I absolutely accept that racism occurs in sport and that there is an awful lot more work to do.
It is important to mention to the committee that, back in April 2021—before the work on cricket—the sportscotland board signed off a new EDI strategy, within which there was a central pillar about race and ethnicity. It was in our strategy following research during which the sporting sector told us that we needed to do more work in that space. We had started several strands of work prior to the work on cricket, because we recognised that there is more work to be done and that there is racism in sport. I am not sure that I could answer directly on whether that translates into institutional racism in different organisations.
I would not really expect you to be able to answer that question. Individual instances of racism can be stopped through education; it does not take much to move away from that. On the other hand, it takes a lot to move away from institutional racism. Do you feel that you should be undertaking work on that?
Again, I have discussed extensively with Louise and the Plan4Sport team how we assess and use the learnings and methodology from the Plan4Sport report to work with other sports to recognise where the gaps are and where progress needs to be made. We are building those conversations and the learning from that report into the work that we are doing.10:15
We have just completed the equality standard review. That is a piece of work that all sports bodies go through. It looks at their policies, procedures and action plans and at how they progress. That review is being influenced by the Plan4Sport piece of work. It is another independent tool that we have, through which sports bodies work with a team of experts who sit down with them and look at their policies and procedures, at how they handle instances of racism and other inequalities that happen in their sport, and at how their action plan works against those. That tool has been in place for a time and is being reviewed—
I will pause you there. What is the timescale for that?
The equality standard review for sport was completed in the autumn. We are just waiting for the updated plan to be launched in the spring. We are taking the lessons learned from that and the work that Louise Tideswell and her team have done, and we are building all that into the equality standard.
I asked Cricket Scotland about its data on ethnicity. Do you have that data for other sports?
We have some good data, but it is not complete or whole, and it does not exist in the way that we would all like to see it. Again, there is work to do in that space. A big part of the equality standard review is about the data that we hold. It is also a big part of our conversations with Sporting Equals. The Sporting Equals team will work with governing bodies and other sports to look at their data, how it is recorded and what it tells them.
I asked Anjan Luthra whether he was in contact with people in other sports around Scotland. Would it be helpful to have regular meetings at chair level? Given that Cricket Scotland is going through a formal detailed process and is having to innovate on a lot of things, surely that is the type of work that should be going on throughout all sport in Scotland and, actually, UK wide.
Of course. We hold regular meetings with the chairs of all the governing bodies. We invite them together on topic-based agendas. The Cricket Scotland review and report have been discussed, as have a number of other pieces of work. In good time—recognising the pressure on Anjan—his contribution, experience and expertise will be really important in that forum. We meet regularly, and those types of issues and discussions are brought up with the chairs of all the governing bodies. That discussion is led by our chair, Mel Young.
Good morning, everyone. How could the Scottish Government support sportscotland in embedding a culture of anti-racism and EDI in Scottish sport?
Several members of the committee and other MSPs are working closely with us behind the scenes and are having conversations with us about that very thing. They ask, “How can we support you? How can we help more?” The fact that there is, rightly, such an interest and focus is important, because we need to continue to raise the profile and importance of anti-racism and of dealing with matters such as racism. It is important that we continue to work with various members of the committee and other MSPs to discuss their experiences and their expertise, to help us to shape the work that we are doing.
Thank you very much to the committee for allowing me the opportunity to come along today. As you know, I have an interest in this area.
Fortunately, a lot of the points that I was going to raise have been raised already. I want to ask about two areas: the first is sportscotland’s communications with the Scottish Government, and the second is safeguarding.
The first question is probably for Forbes Dunlop. Will you give us a wee outline of what support and scrutiny you have been getting from the Scottish Government, given that, obviously, commitments were made on the back of the motion that I brought to the chamber for debate?
Of course. We have a regular meeting with Minister Maree Todd, who works directly with us. We meet her once a month, and the Cricket Scotland review has been on the agenda at every meeting that we have had. The cabinet secretary, Humza Yousaf, also joins those meetings regularly and asks for updates—he joins our calls and has shown interest. He has given us clear direction that his expectations are that this work will be progressed in a timely manner. We have direct and regular engagements with those ministers. As I mentioned, a range of other MSPs, including you, are in direct contact with us and are, rightly, holding us to account for the progress made and the pace of change.
Moving on to what you said about being held to account, obviously, in light of the report, trust was at an all-time low, so a lot of the process is about not only rebuilding trust but enhancing it so that we can have truly transformational change. None of us wants to be here in five or 10 years’ time thinking that we did all that work with all these resources but nothing changed. I am interested in all the sporting bodies, so I would like to hear from Forbes Dunlop and from Cricket Scotland on this. Do you think that sporting bodies have, or will have, sufficiently robust and effective safeguarding procedures in place that mean that what occurred in Cricket Scotland will not repeat itself and we will not lose another generation of ambitious young sporting people?
I am happy to go first. It is absolutely critical that the checks and challenges in the system are robust and root out any issues before we get to the situation that we are in. We are just about to launch a new investigatory service for governing bodies to help them with the most complex investigations.
We recognise the challenges in sports in Scotland and across the UK where investigations have not been sufficient to deal with the problems and issues that have been raised, because they have not been done with the right empathy and compassion or with an understanding of the issues at their heart. A new service that we are about to launch will help with those more complex investigations. We will do that alongside the on-going education, support and awareness-raising work that we do with Sporting Equals and a range of other organisations that are keen to work with us and help us in that space.
There will be a package of measures to deal with issues when they happen because, unfortunately, although we want to minimise them, we recognise that there will always be complaints in sport. We need to ensure that sporting bodies have in place robust policies and procedures and the correct culture to deal with them. As I mentioned, we are enhancing the support for when the issues become very complex and governing bodies do not have the capacity or expertise to deal with them.
Most importantly, our effort and energy need to go into education and upskilling so that we reduce and, we hope, eliminate the need for complaints.
If anybody wants to add to that, feel free. You mentioned Sporting Equals. I appreciate and value its expertise. What work has it done to understand the Scottish context and build trust in that process?
It is really important. As I said, that is a UK-based charity, but part of our conversation with it, ahead of signing the partnership agreement, was about the need for it to completely understand the communities and people of Scotland so that the expertise that it provides is tailored and specific rather than being a generic programme. It was closely involved in the referrals process over the autumn, which helped to build our confidence that the work that it does proactively with sportscotland, the sector and other sports bodies in the sector will be targeted, specific and informed by the Scottish population rather than being a generic approach.
I have a final question, which is directed to Gordon Arthur. Dumfries Cricket Club, which is based at Nunholm, has adopted a one-club ethos as part of its strategy to grow the club. Its website states:
“We are an open and inclusive cricket club. We welcome everyone of any age, sex, sexual orientation, ability or ethnicity.”
It also talks about the one-club ethos being critical as part of its development. Will Cricket Scotland monitor that on the ground? Though the Western District Cricket Union, will you adopt and deliver that as something that you want to emulate across all cricket clubs?
That is one example of the many clubs that are doing fantastic work, and it is really important for all the volunteers who run clubs and who are doing fantastic work that they get recognition for what they are doing. There has clearly been a lot of inconsistency across the sport, so we need to bring everybody up to that level. The work that we will do in the months ahead through talking to clubs about the relationship among Cricket Scotland, the regions and the clubs needs to result in that relationship changing completely. Cricket Scotland has tended to look away at the international set-up and has not really taken enough interest in the way in which clubs are run.
We need to modernise and professionalise the clubs, and we also need to understand that they are all run by volunteers. We need to encourage people to come up to a level of that example of Dumfries Cricket Club, so that all clubs are pushing the opportunities for everybody to be involved. That will require a big cultural change in some clubs. As I said, some clubs are in a great space already, and safeguarding and child protection are crucial parts of the process. Cricket Scotland has had all the necessary measures in place. The clubs have had the necessary measures in place in the past. Have we done enough to support them and then to monitor and upscale that support? I am not sure that we have.
We will put more resources into doing that in the months ahead to try, on all those matters, to lift the club scene. The best way in which to do that is to highlight good practice that is already going on in clubs in the regions in order to give people a clear view of what good looks like so that they can change and develop their approach to all the issues. We will be getting right into that in the next four to six weeks.
I will add one point. The best way in which to think about cricket in Scotland now is that Cricket Scotland is at the top and there are then hundreds of very fragmented clubs that are unbelievably well supported by volunteers on the ground who are doing their utmost to run cricket in Scotland. That should really be Cricket Scotland’s responsibility, and we need to centralise everything and make sure that all the policies, support, infrastructure, guidance, education and training are delivered downstream in collaboration with them.
As part of the governance review, which is an absolutely massive piece of work and is a 50-page document, that will be front of mind. It is about resetting the relationship and making sure that the Cricket Scotland structure and all the stakeholders around the country allow for that flow of information and support to be provided. We want people to see Cricket Scotland as a great governing body that provides the support, education and knowledge that they desperately need and want. Things therefore need to change, and the governance review is fundamental to that happening.
I thank Anjan Luthra, Gordon Arthur and Forbes Dunlop for attending and providing that update. As I said, it was our second update on the work that you are doing.
We will now suspend the meeting and have a short break to allow for a change of panel.10:29 Meeting suspended.
10:38 On resuming—