The UK Polocrosse Association Executive has proposed a new Executive structure and the removal of the official UKPA regions in a revised constitution to be officially voted on at the 2013 AGM, which will take place on the 9th of November at Staverton Park Hotel, just before the UKPA’s Annual ball. The change in Executive structure, which was last changed in 2008 when the current Executive structure was voted into place, will see the removal of the regional representatives from the Executive committee and them being replaced with a few dedicated officers for particular roles.

The Executive would be slimmed down from nine people to seven as the five current regional representatives would go and they would be replaced with three new roles, being an International officer, a sport development officer (a role whch was removed from the Executive and made an appointed officer in 2008) and a members representative (equivalent to a players representative which again was removed from the Executive in 2008).

The removal of the official regional structure would mean that clubs would no longer officially belong to a region in the constitution and there would not have to be regional AGM’s every year to vote in regional officers, though the UKPA Executive has said this does not mean clubs could not consider themselves parts of a geographical region and indeed the Executive are believed to be looking at keeping elements of the regions going for the purposes of development of the sport. The Executive has said all they wish to remove is the formalised committee aspects that they do not feel works at present and creates additional work for volunteers within the sport.

Given the relatively recent change, and the now reappointment of roles which were removed in 2008, some may question why the UKPA feel the need to change again. There would seem to be a couple of reasons for this desired change, firstly the fact the present system of regions and regional officers is not working that well and secondly that the UKPA feels that something needs to be done to make the growth and development of the sport move forwards and they feel bringing back certain roles to Executive level will help achieve this.

With regard to the regional structure, which would be struck from the constitution under the proposed changes, this aspect of the UKPA has not really functioned well for the last few years and has been discussed at a number of AGM’s. With most regions only consisting of one or two clubs then there is actually little need for regional activities or meetings and instead the clubs tend to operate unilaterally.

This has meant that the regional committee posts in most regions are never filled and regional AGM’s are poorly attended and simply carried out for constitutional purposes to elect the regional Executive committee member, who have broadly remained unchanged since 2009 when they were initially introduced. In recent months two of these officers have now resigned from the Executive and a third is now based overseas until early next year, leaving the UKPA short of elected officers, though they have co-opted Iain Heaton back to the Executive to fill the vacant Eastern Region Executive officer spot up until the AGM.

Given all this, the UKPA Executive seems keen to bring about changes that will make the sport function better and sees little point in trying to cling on to a very detailed administrative regional structure that does not seem necessary at this stage. They have instead suggested that regions can still exist informally if they wish and there is nothing to stop clubs which do band together to hold events (the only noticeable one really being the Midland Region camp and tournament) from still doing so. The Executive is also believed to be looking at ways to bring back an Inter-regionals competition in some form but does not feel having the regions and their elected officers enshrined in the constitution of the UKPA helps in anyway at this stage of the games development.

The reason for the return of the Sport Development Officer to the UKPA Executive is believed to be a way to prioritise growth in the game, the UKPA membership numbers have stayed relatively stable the last few years, despite increased publicity for the sport and major events like the World Cup taking place in the UK.The Executive seems growth and development of the sport as their top priority going forwards and so wishes to reflect this at Executive meetings.

The other two new roles are the International Officer and the Members representative. The International officer is designed to make everything squad related more focused and to give a single point of contact for the Executive with all the squads and squad managers and also with overseas countries. This role was effectively carried out by Paul Rowden and Steve Whitehouse, both Regional Executive officers, over the last few years. The members representative is designed to act as point of contact for the wider membership for the Executive, though members are obviously allowed to discuss issues with any member of the Executive and the UKPA has said that most issues are raised direct with the secretary, CEO and chairman, with very few ideas or issues from members coming to them through the regional system in the last few years which is another reason why they feel it is time for a change.

These proposals to the constitution will be put forward at the AGM on the 9th of November as a resolution. If passed then the UKPA constitution will be changed immediately and the new roles on the Executive will be filled by means of elections (the UKPA yesterday called for nominations for people to fill these roles if they are ultimately brought into place). If the changes do not past the UKPA Executive will continue to function as it currently does with regional Executive officers in place.

To see the new proposed Executive structure click here.