BSUK and BSF to share new staff role

Mon 5 Nov 2012

BSUK and the BSF have come to an agreement to share the cost of a new BSUK staff position that will be appointed before the end of November. 

The main responsibilities of the post for the BSF will be to direct national team programmes and the Great Britain Fastpitch League and develop further competition structures for fastpitch softball in Britain. 

Responsibilities for BSUK will include talent development under a new Whole Sport Plan funding stream from Sport England, oversight and management of the new baseball and softball facilities being built at Farnham Park and the development of community programming in the area served by Farnham Park and further west.

BSF needs

The concept of a BSUK staff member directing and delivering programmes for both the BSF and BSUK emerged over the summer as it became clear that both organisations had needs that could not necessarily be filled under current provision.

For the BSF, the trigger was the resignation of Hayley Scott from the role that she has carried out for the past five years as GB Fastpitch Programmes Director, a role to which the BSF has contributed some financial support since 2010. 

Hayley also served as the Director of Academy Softball until 2012, with support for this role from BSUK.

The reason for Hayley's resignation is that she has returned to live and work in her native South Africa, though she will continue as Head Coach for the GB Women's Fastpitch Team at next year's European Championships.

Since Hayley took over responsibility for GB Fastpitch, the programme has gone from strength to strength, with the GB Women's Team qualifying for the last two World Championships, GB Youth Teams moving up the European rankings and Academy Softball attracting more young players to a higher-quality programme.

Hayley's resignation left the BSF with some money to invest in a potential replacement, but not enough to create anything like a full-time or even a substantial part-time position.

BSUK requirements

At the same time that the BSF was recognising the need for someone to pick up where Hayley Scott had left off with GB Fastpitch programmes, BSUK was realising that the creation of major facilities for both sports at Farnham Park would bring a new set of responsibilities that would be difficult to fit into the workload of BSUK's South East regional development staff.

The main elements required by BSUK are hands-on management and oversight at Farnham Park, including maintenance responsibilities, and the need to develop local youth and adult baseball and softball programmes in South Bucks to provide a continuum of users for the new facilities.

In addition, BSUK, which currently has development staff working in London, the South East, the Midlands and the North West, is keen to extend its development programming further down the M4 to Bristol and the West of England.

But a key point of intersection between BSF and BSUK requirements is that BSUK is set to receive a small new funding stream in the 2013-17 Whole Sport Plan for what Sport England calls “talent development” – the creation of a pathway that can move talented young athletes towards the standard required for national team selection.  Talent development programmes will include both slowpitch and fastpitch, but the majority of GB national teams are fastpitch, and talent development work in fastpitch, including oversight and direction of school, club and Academy Softball programmes, will dovetail with the role of the Fastpitch Programmes Director.

Joint funding

A proposal for a shared position was developed by BSUK Joint CEO and Head of Development John Boyd at the end of the summer, and has since been approved by both the GB Management Committee and the full BSF Executive.

Under the proposal, the new postholder will be employed and managed within the BSUK staff structure, and BSUK will contribute slightly more funding towards the position than the BSF.  But the BSF will receive just over half of the time allocation.

Financial contributions towards the post agreed by the BSF and BSUK will leave a small shortfall in terms of the salary level for the position, but the expectation is that this can be made up through grant funding, County Sports Partnership funding and/or income generated through services.

Recruitment for the position is underway, and the hope is that an appointment can be made and the post taken up by the end of November.

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