Sport Australia created a five step process to help sports develop their own Inclusive Sport Frameworks.
Step 1 - Analyse risks and assess
Inclusive, diverse sporting environments don’t happen by chance – they require a lot of work and commitment by dedicated people who truly believe in the value of what people from diverse backgrounds can bring to an organisation. Start by identifying the risks, challenges and opportunities that exist in and around your organisation.
Review academic or industry research, such as Sport Australia’s Market Segmentation reports, or surveys and reports from your own organisation. This will provide the evidence base for future strategy and policy direction. Many reports confirm that there are significant growth opportunities for sports if they can attract a more diverse demographic that is representative of the Australian community. Look for research that emphasises the benefits of sport: it is fun, improves health and provides opportunities to socialise.
Assess your organisation’s current philosophies and values and understand how likely your members and community are to be flexible and adaptable to change.
you currently have in place to promote diversity and inclusion (your strengths)
you need to do prevent negative experiences from discrimination or exclusion more effectively (gaps)
opportunities exist to become a best practice inclusive organisation.
This will require focusing on inclusion as a strategic pillar of your organisation, reviewing your partnerships and programs, updating or adding new policies, developing solid member protection and complaints procedures, developing resources such as inclusion action plans, reviewing and updating training programs to staff and members, and ensuring your communication methods are inclusive and accessible.
Speak to different people inside your organisation to gain insights and support. Talk to your core stakeholders including administrators, coaches, officials, parents and external people and bodies such as women’s groups, disability service providers, peak multicultural groups, Indigenous advisory agencies and LGBTI experts.
It is important state or territory bodies aligned to your sport are included in the review and updating of your policies and procedures. This will allow for feedback and improvements based on previous experience and knowledge. Depending on your sport, this may also include clubs and member associations.
There are organisations that can assist you with this assessment and review or you can get a working group together from across your organisation to conduct this yourself. Once you’ve identified your gaps, strengths and areas for improvement, you’re set to tackle Step 2 – Commitment to Inclusion.
An Inclusion Commitment Statement is a clear message to the public that your sport is a welcoming, accessible and safe place for all, regardless of background or circumstance. It shows that you aim to create a culture that embraces diversity and inclusion and encourages and supports equity, fairness and inclusiveness while maintaining a commitment to eliminating all forms of discrimination, harassment and bullying.
A key challenge for sports seeking to promote diversity and equity is transforming ingrained organisational culture and practices so they come to value and support diversity. The best way to do this is to develop and promote an Inclusion Commitment Statement as part of an Inclusive Sport Framework.
Inclusion Commitment Statement
In your statement, clearly communicate how your organisation:
is committed to taking steps towards inclusion
reflects the diversity of the community
is friendly, welcoming and accessible to all, regardless of sex, ethnicity, religion, intellectual/physical ability or sexual orientation.
Your statement should also:
define what inclusion means
reaffirm what your sport’s core values are and how inclusion relates to these values
spell out your commitment to implementing and enforcing policies that relate to diversity and inclusion
be specific about the scope of the commitment and who it relates to
define how you will put the statement into action
connect your inclusion goals to those in society
be developed in consultation with staff and members
be shared with everyone involved in your sport.
For inclusion to work it must be championed from the top. Sport leaders need to be unequivocal in their support and endorsement to provide an environment for all participants, which is free from discrimination and promotes respectful, positive behaviours and values. Leaders should also be aware of anti-discrimination laws and policies.
It is also important that everyone takes responsibility and ownership for making their organisation a safe and inclusive place. Everyone can play a role in championing inclusion within their own organisation and calling it out when behaviours don’t match the organisation’s values.
Your Inclusive Sport Framework should bring together everything your organisation does around inclusion and diversity in one place, so you can update and expand it in a clear and consistent way.
Your Framework should:
clearly articulate your organisation’s stance in relation to diversity and inclusion
ensure all people will feel welcome, included and empowered in the sport
assist you to use a human rights based approach for decision making
help you design and review inclusive policies, practices, programs, resources and communications
enable strong partnerships/alliances to be established to successfully deliver on inclusion objectives
outline how programs and initiatives will be measured and evaluated to demonstrate how they are achieving desired goals
outline how your organisation will continue to work to promote participation and engagement across the community
highlight ways for members and clubs to get involved in promoting inclusion and diversity across all levels of the sport.
Include in your Framework:
What your organisation believes in – Inclusion Commitment Statement
Rights and responsibilities – policies and codes
What your organisation does – strategies and programs
How to get involved and get inclusive – for staff, members and the community
How to measure and communicate progress – reports, survey and media/social media.
When you have updated your governance, member protection and child safeguarding policies, codes of conduct and complaints resolution processes, make them available to everyone involved in your sport to ensure they are aware of their legal and ethical rights and responsibilities.
Now you have a roadmap for updating and expanding your Framework, let’s look at ways to communicate the Framework and help people start taking action in Step 4 - Communicate.
Communication and awareness is at the centre of everything you do in the diversity and inclusion space – it will help inform what you’re doing and help others find their way on their own inclusion journey.
When you have created your Inclusive Sport Framework and is has been approved, develop a communication strategy to ensure everyone in your sport knows and understands the Framework, how it will be implemented and how they can help.
Tips for communicating your Framework
Ensure you explain the Framework to staff, volunteers and the community.
Hold community information sessions.
Update staff on changes to member protection and reporting policies.
Create an inclusion section on your sport’s website and/or intranet so that staff and members can find and refer to your policies, codes, strategies, programs and resources.
Reach out and engage with the community to raise awareness about your organisation’s commitment to inclusion and how people can get involved.
Use social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to show your members and community how your organisation is being inclusive and to welcome people to your sport or club.
Consider developing and delivering a brand campaign that emphasises attributes of the sport that appeal to women and girls or multicultural communities.
Appoint and utilise ambassadors and influencers to promote your inclusion messages and attend events and forums to share your successes and lessons.
Your inclusion journey will have a start but not an end. It will be constantly changing and it is important you review your Framework on a regular basis. Depending on the needs of your sport this could be monthly, quarterly or annually.
Remember to communicate changes to your Framework and promote the Framework to new staff as they come on board.
It is also important to analyse and report on your inclusion actions and the impact that they are having in your sport and community.