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Victoria Ward reflects on the last 12 months and looks to the governance challenges that face us in the next financial year.

The success of the Governance and Leadership Framework for Wales is testament to the sector because you crafted it and you scrutinised it. When the second edition of the framework was launched in June 2019, little did we know that nine months later it would be tested to the limit and required to stand up to the most difficult governance challenges we have faced as a generation.

From what we have seen from our involvement with the sports sector in Wales over the past year is that there has barely been a ‘budget scenario’ or ‘continuity plan’ that has fully survived the wrath of Covid. This must therefore alter our perspective of governance. The pandemic has made way for a richer conversation around our governance practices to ensure agility is built into governance plans and that the health and resilience of an organisation is at the heart of everything we do.

One of the greatest positives that have come out of the pandemic is the way in which it has accelerated progress through the use of technology to remove geographical barriers which has provided the opportunity for us all to effectively communicate, run businesses and learn via virtual meeting rooms. The pandemic has also united the sector and there has been a substantial shift to a more collegiate approach to working and learning, which so many of you are committed to continuing.

As we look forward to the year ahead, it is encouraging to see our sector enthused by the opportunity to ‘build back better’. Whilst Covid was (hopefully) a once-in-a-generation national crisis, it has also provided us with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reset our course. Building from a baseline of a robust governance structure and a deep connection to the values and behaviours on which we have developed our organisations will ensure that our foundations are strong.

Buoyed by the success of the past two years of delivering the governance contract, Vibrant Nation - the trading arm of the WSA - continues to be fully committed to supporting the sector. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sport Wales for the opportunity to deliver this contract and to you, for having the confidence in us and allowing us the opportunity to work with you and your organisations as they continue to thrive.

As we cautiously take steps out of lockdown, we would like to take the opportunity in this newsletter to pause and look back at just some of your successes and collective challenges over the last year.

Best wishes,

Victoria Ward

WSA Chief Executive

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