Growing Hockey in Baw Baw Proposal 2020

Growing Hockey in Baw Baw Proposal 2020

The Growing Hockey in Baw Baw Proposal 2020 document was circulated to Hockey Stakeholders on Thursday 15 October 2020 for discussion and feedback.

A working group meeting was held on the 28 October and these Questions and Responses have been developed to help better clarify the proposal.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where did this proposal come from?
As outlined in the proposal, there has been two key pieces of Strategic Planning work undertaken. The first was led by the Section 86 Hockey Committee of Management and was called the Growing Hockey in Baw Baw Strategic Plan 2019-2024.

This plan was completed and released in February 2019. The second document was the Gippsland Bulls Hockey Club (GBHC) Strategic Plan which was completed and released one year later in February 2020. Both projects involved consultation with relevant stakeholders including clubs, Hockey Victoria, Baw Baw Shire and involved consultation, research and industry best practice.
In late February 2020, GBHC approached West Gippsland Hockey Association (WGHA) and suggested the possibility of merging both organisations to streamline hockey (particularly in the West Gippsland area) and better utilise existing resources.
In March 2020, WGHA responded and proposed a meeting with representatives from both organisations together with a neutral representative from GippSport (the Gippsland Regional Sports Assembly) and the working group was established.

2. Who has been involved?
Growing Hockey in Baw Baw Strategic Plan 2019-2024:
Commissioned by the Bellbird Park Hockey Committee of Management
Stakeholders consulted: WGHA, Aztecs Hockey Club, Drouids Hockey Club, Gulls Hockey Club, Warriors Hockey Group, Gippsland Bulls Hockey Club, Baw Baw Shire Council (BBSC), Hockey Victoria (HV) and GippSport.
Gippsland Bulls Hockey Club Strategic Plan:
Commissioned by Gippsland Bulls Hockey Club
Stakeholders consulted: WGHA, East Gippsland Hockey Association, Latrobe Valley Hockey Association, BBSC, HV and GippSport.
Growing Hockey in Baw Baw Proposal 2020:
WGHA representatives: Stephanie Gourley, Andrew Mock, Catherine Horsburgh & Darryl Martin
GBHC representatives: Mark Smith, Klaus Pozzebon & Nicole Creaser
GippSport representative: Michelle Harris

3. Why do we have to restructure West Gippsland Hockey Association (WGHA) and have WGHA merge with Bulls at the same time? Can’t we do them separately?
You do not have to restructure WGHA and merge at the same and they can be done separately. The option to take a step by step approach was discussed at length by the working group and for the reasons outlined on pages 3 and 4 under the heading “Current Situation”, it was decided to propose doing both at the
same time in order to deliver the best outcome for all hockey stakeholders in the shortest amount of time.

4. Why are the Gippsland Bulls in this position?
Participating in hockey at a higher level such as in the metropolitan competition comes at a much higher cost than running local association hockey competitions. GBHC requires significant fundraising activities, sponsorship, and grant funding to enter teams each year.

Both senior and junior teams run at a loss based on membership income alone due to the high cost of expenses such as pitch hire, HV team entry fees and umpire payments.

Declining volunteer numbers has meant committee members, particularly executive members double up or triple up their roles simply to maintain the club’s continued existence and this is not a sustainable arrangement.
Players and parents alike have a higher expectation of the level of services offered when paying higher membership fees and playing a higher level of hockey.

GBHC is a relatively small club and it simply does not have the depth of players or volunteers to consistently offer those services in line with expectations.
In February of this year, the GBHC committee agreed it needed to accelerate the strategic plan. The committee also agreed to adjust it’s action to form a memorandum of understanding with WGHA to instead seek a merger proposal with WGHA.
5. Why do we need to do change anything?
It was consistently stated throughout the consultation process for the Growing Hockey in Baw Baw Strategic Plan that something needs to change as there are too many committees and too much administration for managing a single sport on one pitch.

Doing nothing suggests disagreement with this consensus that involved all the stakeholders involved as described in the answer to question two.
The GBHC Strategic Plan recognised that change was required if a pathway club for Gippsland was to exist into the future.

A range of options was explored which included having a more Gippsland wide approach, stronger links with the Casey/ Cardinia community and other business building activities.

There is a real opportunity to grow all levels of hockey participation in Baw Baw and it was still determined to be what members and the hockey community wanted.

The local population growth and desire to build the new pavilion at Bellbird Park creates real opportunity for developing a strong hockey club locally.

As described in the proposal, both of the strategic planning documents had so many similar issues, concerns and desired outcomes that combining the proposed actions into one process would provide the best outcome for all stakeholders in the shortest amount of time.

It should be noted that pre covid there were declining participation numbers across all hockey organisations in the region, as well as other traditional sports.

Sport participation barriers including cost, travel requirements, declining volunteering and support from parents as well as other recreational trends mean that high quality service, programs and communication is provided to all members to ensure their retention and loyalty to clubs.

Streamlining the volunteer roles to ensure that there are clear roles and responsibilities and maximised use of resources will give WGHA the best chance to grow participation and build the love of hockey which is what everyone wants to see.

  • 6. What are the benefits of this proposal?
    As outlined on pages three and four of the proposal, suggested benefits would be:
  •  Less committees to administer
  • Clear roles and responsibilities to improve efficiency BAW PROPOSAL 2020 – 2021
  • Reduced duplication of administrative tasks
  • Less administration costs in terms of operating fees and charges
  • Improved lines of communication
  • Simpler options for participation in hockey with a clear pathway
  • Inclusive and fun programs that cater for all
  • Everyone needs to be members of Hockey Victoria, now and into the future
  • Growth of clearer, supported individual athlete pathways
  • Pooling of resources, and development of a pathway, for umpires
  • Better sharing of coaching resources and available space
  • Creation of more enjoyable experiences for young people to retain them in the sport for longer
  • Increased sport participation and building the love of the game
  • Hockey stakeholders agree that something needs to be done
  • Hockey Victoria recommended strategy that has been implemented as the entry level pathway has been working well (prior to COVID)
  •  Unified commercial strategy to seek grants and sponsors for larger, stronger organisation
  • Addresses the local context and need

7. Who else is doing this type of re-structure?
Many sports, clubs, committees are exploring the way to be more sustainable into the future based on the expected participation trends.

There are Hockey examples where this has occurred as well as many other sports that have done this re-structure. If you think of local netball or basketball associations, this is exactly what has happened over time.

8. Why did the proposal only mention metro competition as a pathway and not other avenues such as JCC or JSC for junior players?
All hockey participation options that are available for new programs, competition formats and pathway options will be explored by the new WGHA committee based on interest or demand for them. It should be noted that COVID is likely to have ongoing impacts on HV competition structures, so what programs are called or what is being offered maybe different.

9. What is the role/ responsibility of WGHA club committee’s?
Hockey club committees have responsibilities as an Incorporated Association to fulfil the purpose of their club which is basic terms is to provide hockey opportunities and have good governance practices and documentation.

To find out more information you can go to the Sport Australia website which will highlight the role of club committee’s and also how sport is changing. https://www.sportaus.gov.au/club_development/governance
You also have responsibilities to Hockey Victoria as the State Sporting Association who provides the insurance for your members and volunteers.
10. Who is responsible for making decisions?
Each organisation needs to refer to their own organisation’s constitution to understand who can vote at Annual General Meetings. The working group is receiving legal advice through GippSport to understand the legal process that would need to be complied with to ensure compliance.

11. If changes to the governance structures are made, what changes will players notice?
We expect that the competition structure and Bulls teams will operate in a similar to the way that they have done in the past.

However, the options will be impacted by the number of members/ players who register i.e. we may have less players so less options or even better that we are able to grow the sport and create new opportunities to play. The new WGHA would decide on future participation options.

12. Why did the proposal not include a lot of detail?
The Growing Hockey in Baw Baw and Gippsland Bulls Strategic Plans already include detailed background information.

It was also important to keep the discussion at a big picture strategic level so that the finer details can be discussed and agreed as the changes progress rather than spending a lot of time on the detail which may need to change in future.

A proposed structure has been presented as a guide and it is expected that many of you will be on the future WGHA Committee who would drive future decision making about how the operations will be run in future.
It is also uncertain what participation numbers will look like post COVID in 2021. Sport needs to be flexible and adaptable.

13. What will happen to the club’s money?
Incorporated Association have clear responsibilities to use their funds for the purpose of their organisation. The money can be transferred to another organisation for the purpose’s of hockey as agreed to by the board/s. Money can never be distributed back to members if club’s wind up.

14. What will happen if this proposal does not progress forward?
We can only assume what will happen, however what we expect is that the Gippsland Bulls will hold their AGM and will not be able to fill a committee and will likely wind up.

We also expect that the individual clubs will not be able to fill full committee roles at their AGM’s and will have to consider their future. West Gippsland Hockey Association will need to hold their AGM’s and will require clubs to provide delegate members and then future participation will need to be determined. The future is quite uncertain.

15. Is there a guarantee that this will work/ what are the risks?
There are no guarantees that this will work, but our industry advice as well as all of the consultation to date has identified that something needs to change before participation declines even further.
We expect that the current Committee’s will not be able to fulfil their requirements under the Incorporations Act in terms of having enough volunteers on committee’s or having enough funds to remain solvent. This is a real consideration for volunteer committee members.

The risks of not doing it are much higher that trying to change, however some concerns are:

Volunteer roles are not filled and the required work is not completed to transition

  • People leave the sport due to the change
  • Loss of the history or story behind WGHA
  • Still unable to have enough players or funds to run the desired hockey programs or competitions

16. How will the club’s volunteers be protected (Liability)?
If volunteers fulfil their roles and responsibilities as set out in the Constitution and the Incorporations Act they are protected by the organisation as individuals.
All individuals that take on volunteer roles will also need to register with Hockey Victoria which also provides insurance.

17. Who will drive the changes?
The WGHA Board will host an AGM early in 2020 and will elect the roles as set out in the model rules. They will then develop a governance structure with the roles and responsibilities and appoint people to these roles i.e. Uniform Coordinator.

The new committee will make all of the required decisions about the future season.
Clubs will need to complete their AGM’s and make decisions about the future.

We would like all clubs to consider these questions prior to attending the meeting:
1. Do you (or members of your family) intend to play Hockey in 2021 and/ or volunteer in a committee role in 2021?
2. Do you expect that your club will be able to fill all of the committee roles at the next AGM?
3. Do you have an understanding of how many club members are planning on returning in 2021?
4. Have you read the Growing Hockey In Baw Baw Strategic Plan 2019-2024?
5. Do you think that a hockey pathway to metro competition is needed or wanted in Baw Baw/ Gippsland?
6. Does your club think change needs to occur with regards to the existing administrative structure?
7. Does your club support the streamlining of the WGHA so that club committee’s are no longer required? The club presence will still exist but in a less formal/ structured way based on future needs and participation numbers?
8. Does your club support the amalgamation of the Bulls into the WGHA?
a. Yes – why?
b. No – why not? Is there anything that can be changed in the proposal or do you have an alternate option?
9. Does your club understand that there has been a significant decrease in hockey participation over the last few years, similar to other sports in the region and something different needs to be done to grow participation/ team numbers?