Rugby League

Strategic Planning

What is a Strategic Plan?

A strategic plan is really a master plan which maps out where you are now, what goals or objectives you want to achieve, and what you will do to achieve your goals. It is a plan for success. Many Clubs will already have in their minds an approach they are taking, but it is important that this is enshrined in a document and created as a forward-looking plan. Strategic planning is a disciplined process for getting to the important decisions, and the plan is simply the document that frames these decisions. A strategic plan allows you to put effective collaborative governance into action at your Club and set about achieving the high levels of customer satisfaction that will dictate your future success.  

The Management Group should engage with members and then create a strategic plan on behalf of the Club and its membership. The plan should also be informed by the knowledge of professional staff and insight from supporting Clubs. The strategic plan should involve the Management Group: 

  • Envisaging the future of their Club.
  • Developing the structures and procedures required to achieve that future.
  • Acting as custodians of the strategy on behalf of the membership. 

A strategic plan can fit on a single piece of paper, or it can stretch to a dozen or more pages. Its success is not dependent on the size of the document or the level of detail it contains, but the sense of direction it takes.  

Why is a strategic plan important?

Due to the nature of the governance structure in Clubs, the elected leaders change on a regular basis and in the absence of a plan, this can result in inconsistency of mission. Having a strategic plan in place will help to safeguard the priorities of a Club by providing consistent aims and objectives that all elected Management Group members need to work continuously towards. This new consistency will help the Club focus its resources in the areas identified by the membership as key priorities for the Club and will help to prevent individuals acting on their own views instead of agreed common objectives. 

  • Greater unity throughout the Club on what makes your Club attractive, and why people would want to join and remain as members.
  • Identification of a manageable number of key performance indicators for evaluating Club performance and individual performance at all levels of the Club.
  • Less crisis management, with the Management Group kept busy working on the business, rather than in the business.
  • Agreement on accountability for each key area of the Club's business, and identification of any training gaps to help achieve those goals.
  • Improved selection of committee members identified for their knowledge and commitment to specific areas of the strategic plan.
  • Greater unity and morale amongst staff who will welcome a consistent approach to the established direction of the Club and will have clarity in their roles.
  • Continuity of aims when handing from one committee to another after annual election.
  • A more professional approach to the collaborative governance of the Club resulting in a more rewarding term of office for volunteers.

Club Development Plan

Linked to strategic plans Clubs are encouraged to create a Club Development Plan which the RFL can assist Clubs in creating. It works best when the overall club vision is broken down into smaller, more manageable objectives that are realistic and achievable.  Supporting clubs to ensure that the objectives are spread across all the main areas required to run your club. The health of your club membership, your volunteers or workforce, your facilities, the state of your finances and who you work in partnership should be included.   

Regular review of your Club Development Plan, at least annually, is essential to ensure you are on your way to achieving your aims and overall vision 

RFL Club Accreditation

RFL Club Accreditation can also be considered due to the time pressures of achieving Accreditation community clubs will have 12 months to be signed off and become accredited as long as they complete annual health check and update their club development plan they would remain Accredited.  

  • Safe Club Accredited - Meet the minimum safeguard standards (all clubs with Junior Teams need to complete)
  • Silver Club Accredited - Club are recognised at having good practices and meet the minimum safeguarding standards
  • Gold Club Accredited - Club go above and beyond the minimum standards and are recognised for their best practice

Club Health Check

The delivery of club health checks for all Rugby League clubs, but primarily to support asset owning clubs, or clubs at risk. A health check would aim to assess and provide recommendations on the management of the business, rather than the playing activities of the club. 

The health check is to help you understand current position so that the RFL can assist with three objectives

  • Collection of data on the club tenure, organisation structure and legal status. In addition, financial records would be helpful to identify the costs of running a club using different models.
  • Assess effectiveness of existing organisational structure, governance and financial processes and identify risks associated. 
  • Present a health report for the club and make recommendations on potential improvements to the management of the club.

More information on a Health Check can be found on the Club Matters website https://www.sportenglandclubma...