Pat White, chairman of the British Tenpin Bowling Association (BTBA), writes: The first meeting of the National Tenpin Bowling Council (NTBC) with the three newly-formed subcommittees was a landmark day for the future of the BTBA.
Effective and dynamic governance is key to the success of any national governing body in sport and I feel that with the new committees in place, we have the foundations to provide a sustainable future for ten-pin bowling.
The new structure supports open and transparent decision-making processes, clear lines of communication and unprecedented accountability around all aspects of our business. There are robust financial management and control systems in place to help the NTBC make more informed decisions around how to secure best value and prioritise on expenditure. With limited income it is vital that we manage our budget very carefully and monitor all aspects of income and expenditure. This will be central to the role of the Finance and Business Committee.
The new sense of energy and enthusiasm was remarkably evident throughout the day with everyone playing a significant role – whether it was problem-solving or coming up with creative solutions. In my time as chairman, I have rarely seen such total commitment from 20 or so people all working together and determined to drive our sport forward.
The Membership Services Committee has examined a number of changes to the existing membership tiers and is hoping that its plans to introduce online registration, pay-as-you-play schemes and introductory offers to new leagues will help turn the tide and make joining the BTBA easier and more appealing.
The implementation of nine regions to support the area associations will see an uplift in membership and the development of regional centres of excellence.
There is a project underway to find IT solutions to outdated and often bureaucratic paper-dependent processes which we should have moved away from long ago. Now we have the people in place, ready and willing to roll their sleeves up, we have a much better chance of entering the IT world and the benefits will be there for all to see.
Ideally we wanted to appoint a CEO to be the visible face of the BTBA, visiting bowling centres up and down the country and leading the drive to grow our membership. With the financial constraints and the NTBC decision not to sell the head office, this has not been possible, but on the plus side the council members themselves are now able to enjoy a far more proactive role as they take on the workload between them.
We will be asking members to agree on the new name for the BTBA. We accept that it is tired now, and like the coat of arms, it needs to be freshened up. So look out for a competition coming your way – and no doubt some very interesting logos to choose from.
Retaining head office has meant we will have to borrow some money to make sure we are able to make ends meet this year and next, but the NTBC felt a commercial loan was preferable to losing our one significant asset. A significant expenditure has been Team England – but that said, and in tune with a number of views expressed by members, our international bowlers have expressed a willingness to contribute to the expensive business of competing in Team England events around the world.
While the finer details of these arrangements are being endorsed by the International and Tournament Committee, this new measure will release some financial pressure on the BTBA, but it is important at the same time to pay tribute to the professional attitudes of our top bowlers, who want nothing more than to see the sport thrive at every level.
Every sport has a responsibility toward producing the best national side they can in order that they can compete at the highest levels. It helps growth, profile and commercial value. Ten-pin is no different and we are very fortunate to have extremely talented bowlers at every age group. Just look at how wonderful our girls were at the recent European Youth Championship in Denmark. I’ve lost track of the number of world champions we have produced.
With the AGM just around the corner, many of the changes will need to be voted upon by the delegates, and once we have the green light to proceed, it will be full steam ahead to get everything in place for the start of September, when a new season draws upon us.
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