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Badminton England have today published the findings of the recent independent Culture Healthcheck on our elite performance environment. The Healthcheck was jointly commissioned by Badminton England, GB Badminton and UK Sport, and was executed as a confidential process by an independent panel of experts.

As a part of Badminton England’s renewed commitment to open and transparent communication, the published summary report is designed to give a comprehensive view of the Report’s findings as well as our commitment to enhancing the programme. The guarantee of anonymity for all contributors was a key factor in them providing frank and honest feedback, and while this commitment prevents us from publishing the report in its full form, all the report’s findings and recommendations have been included, in full, within the summary report.

Following the receipt of an interim report in November, we have undertaken extensive consultation with players, coaches, and programme staff, as well as UK Sport and the Boards of both Badminton England and GB Badminton. As a result of this consultation, we have prepared and agreed an action plan and we received the final report from UK Sport this week.

It is clear from the report that some fundamental cultural, behavioural, and procedural changes were required to deliver the Olympic World Class Programme that we aspire to. Some of the recommendations were already being implemented as part of our rebuilding of a World Class Programme post-Tokyo, following the return of UK Sport funding.

However, it is apparent that much more needs to be done to create the performance environment in which players and coaches can thrive and deliver medal success. After an immediate focus on offering mental health and well-being support and rebuilding relationships between all parties, the focus will move to creating a progressive and positive programme that everyone can be proud to be a part of.

“We welcome the report’s findings and are truly grateful for the time taken by the expert independent panel and almost 70 contributors who fed into its creation,” said Pete Fitzboydon, Interim CEO at Badminton England.

“While it is tough reading in many parts, particularly around the risk to player and coach emotional wellbeing, it has equipped us with the insight we needed to create a world class badminton programme with the return of UK Sport funding.

“I am pleased to be sharing the report’s findings publicly, as a part of our commitment to openness and transparency, as we rebuild trust as the sport’s governing body. After I received the draft report, I personally spent over 40 hours listening to players, coaches and others; hearing their concerns, ideas and aspirations for the future, and so I am confident that we have put the right plan in place.

“While I feel we have acted swiftly to date, it is now that the real hard work starts in rebuilding a World Class Programme and culture, moving on from a period of pain and disruption towards an exciting future for the sport.”

The report’s findings and subsequent action plan has also been welcomed by the players, including Olympic mixed doubles pair Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith, who have voiced their support.

“The last six months have been without doubt the toughest of our careers, both physically and emotionally,” they said. “We are pleased the report highlighted how the culture needs to change and that the Olympic selection issue was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

“It has been encouraging to see the new leadership at Badminton England taking action and setting out a comprehensive plan for the future.

“This is the first step in a long process to a better environment where players and staff can thrive. We’re looking forward to seeing the plan delivered and getting back to focusing on representing England on the world stage.”

Badminton England are now working with UK Sport, The English Institute of Sport, and an independent mediator, to identify best practice and design and action improvements.

We have committed to a comprehensive 50-point action plan, 16 of which are already complete, with changes including:

  • Completing a Leadership Review, resulting in structural and personnel changes, including the recruitment of a new world class Performance Director, with a more direct involvement in creating a positive and successful performance programme. This position will also assume direct responsibility for the coaching team, with other related leadership undergoing review and consultation.
  • A fundamental change in culture and ethos to that of a modern, athlete-centred and science influenced programme. This will be driven by the new Performance Director and enshrined in a charter developed by players and coaches to set out programme objectives, behaviours and mutual expectations.
  • Recruitment of a specialist multi-disciplinary team to provide wider support for players, including sports psychology, nutrition, and the welfare of players.
  • Implementing a wider programme of player education, ranging from financial management and life skills to sport science essentials both to enhance their playing development as well as preparing and equipping them for when they exit the programme.
  • Investing in an ongoing programme of coach education and development to ensure that coaches are properly equipped to operate in a world class, multi-disciplinary environment.
  • Completion of the mediation process to improve the working relationships of key individuals.
  • Physical enhancements to the National Badminton Centre to make it a better place for players to train, recover and develop.
  • Regular and anonymous assessment of the programme to track progress in an open and transparent way and identify areas for continuous improvement.
  • Embed player representation in our governance structure to ensure views are ‘front and centre’ in decision making at all levels.

To read a copy of the summary report, please click here.

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