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Sport Governance Principles

Principle 8: The best and fairest

a system for ensuring integrity


An organisation should have measures and protocols to ensure integrity of the sport and safeguard its participants.

  • The sport’s focus on handling integrity proactively and dealing with challenges when they occur is reflected by a positive reputation in the community.
  • All participants have a safe experience and their health and well-being is valued.
  • There is enhanced participant retention.
  • There is reduced likelihood of incidents that undermine the integrity of the sport.
Questions to ask
  • Do we have an integrity framework which is up to date and available to all stakeholders?
  • How effective is our integrity framework at identifying, analysing and managing existing and emerging integrity risks to our sport and our organisation?
  • How do we learn from a breach of integrity within our sport or the sport sector?
  • How does the organisation ensure all complaints received are properly documented and resolved? What does the board do to understand trends and patterns of complaints?
  • Does the organisation actively and openly promote a culture of being safe for children and vulnerable people?

What is integrity?

The Sport Integrity Australia legislation defines integrity as the ‘manifestation of the ethics and values that promote community confidence in sport’. There are two primary ways the integrity of sport can be compromised: threats to fair and honest sport performance and threats to positive sporting experiences.

A failure to manage integrity threats can lead to significant consequences for an organisation, members and participants, including reputational and financial damage and possible criminal liability. Legislation, standards and best practices around managing integrity threats are evolving and emerging.

What is an integrity framework?

An integrity framework outlines how an organisation identifies, analyses and manages existing and emerging integrity threats. It is a collection of policies which apply to all involved with the organisation and the sport. Examples include a member protection policy and an anti-doping policy. However, a robust integrity framework alone cannot eliminate all integrity threats. Therefore, it is critical that the integrity framework goes beyond documents and is an embedded cultural practice throughout the organisation.

What should the board do?

Boards have a responsibility to protect and maintain integrity in their sport and to provide safe, ethical and inclusive sporting environments. Directors have an obligation to be aware of policies and practices which may undermine integrity within their organisation. For all integrity matters, ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is not a sufficient response.

The board must regularly review the effectiveness of the organisation’s integrity framework, monitor developments in integrity, and act to continually protect the sport, the organisation and its participants. This includes ensuring the board follows best practice, promotes a culture of integrity, and complies with legislative and regulatory requirements.

Example behaviours and actions

  • Promote education and training throughout the sport
  • Regularly review and monitor integrity risks and measures
  • Ensures the director induction process includes integrity matters
  • Reflect on and review experiences in other sports when a breach of integrity occurs, and identify learnings or changes to the integrity framework
  • Engage in ongoing learning and development about current and emerging integrity threats
  • Seek information from independent sources where required
  • Understand the legal and governance responsibilities they have in relation to child safety
  • Educates and trains staff and volunteers on how to recognise and report on integrity issues
  • Ensures each person involved with children has appropriate working with children checks and registration in line with local legislation and national sport policy
  • Embeds a culture and environment that is supportive and protective of children in the sport
  • Reports any breaches of integrity to the board according to policy


A set of good practice suggestions, which should underpin the Board’s considerations in applying this principle.

Develop and regularly review an integrity framework consistent with the requirements of Sport Integrity Australia.
Establish integrity systems and processes to protect the sport's integrity, including, but not limited to: competition manipulation and sport gambling; anti-doping; improper use of drugs and medicine; member protection; and safeguarding children and young people in sport.
Liaise with other organisations within the sport to establish consistent integrity requirements and messages.
Establish and ensure adherence to appropriate complaint handling policies and procedures.
Develop, implement and monitor adherence to an education plan for athletes, participants and stakeholders in relation to all integrity rules, standards and expected behaviours.
Annually review all applicable legislative and regulatory requirements for all integrity areas and develop a compliance system for adherence to these requirements.
Develop and maintain an integrity web page that includes integrity policies, processes and links to Sport Integrity Australia resources with a direct link from the home page. All integrity webpages are linked from the NSO Integrity page.
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