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SGSA Board Terms of Reference

The role of the Sports Grounds Safety Authority

  1. The Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) is the UK Government’s expert body on safety at sports grounds. Its core statutory functions are set out in the Football Spectators Act 1989 and the Sports Grounds Safety Authority Act 2011.
  2. The SGSA has a statutory responsibility to regulate local authorities in their oversight of safety at all football grounds in the Premier League and the English Football League, and at Wembley and the Principality Stadium. It also issues licences to these stadia to enable them to admit spectators. Since 2011, an expanded remit allows the SGSA to share its expertise and support not only with football in England and Wales, but with other sports and across the world.

Role of the Board

  1. The SGSA Board meets regularly, providing leadership and advice on strategic and operational issues as well as scrutiny of and challenge to the SGSA’s policies and performance.
  2. The Board has a corporate responsibility for:
    1. establishing and taking forward the strategic aims and objectives of the SGSA within its regulatory framework and policy framework determined by the Secretary of State;
    2. overseeing, and holding to account, the day-to-day leadership of the organisation;
    3. ensuring that adequate governance, audit and control systems are in place to ensure statutory and administrative requirements are met, including that the SGSA operates within its statutory authority and delegated authority given by the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) in accordance with any other conditions relating to the use of public funds; and that, in reaching decisions, the Board takes into account guidance issued by DCMS;
    4. monitoring, and ensuring the effective management of risk, including reputational risk, communicating these with DCMS;
    5. ensuring that the responsible minister is kept informed of any changes which are likely to impact on the strategic direction of the SGSA Board or on the attainability of its targets, and determining the steps needed to deal with such changes;
    6. maintaining adequate oversight of the organisation’s activities, in particular its finances, to ensure that public money is spent with probity in accordance with government policy and guidelines and that bribery and corruption are prevented; and
    7. appointing with the responsible minister’s or Prime Minister’s approval a Chief Executive and, in consultation with the department, set performance objectives and remuneration terms linked to these objectives for the Chief Executive which give due weight to the proper management and use and utilisation of public resources.
  3. The SGSA Board comprises the Chair and up to eight Members appointed by the Secretary of State for DCMS accordance with the requirements of the Sports Grounds Safety Authority Act 2011. The Board will meet at least quarterly and its effectiveness will be evaluated annually. Four Members of the Board, including the Chair, shall constitute a quorum.
  4. The Board is supported in fulfilling its responsibilities by the SGSA Audit and Risk Committee, which meets at least twice per year. The Committee has responsibility for oversight of issues of risk, control, health and safety and governance, reviewing the comprehensiveness of assurances in meeting the Board’s and the Accounting Officer’s assurance needs and reviewing the reliability and integrity of these assurances.

Role of the Chair

  1. The Chair is responsible to the Secretary of State for ensuring that the SGSA fulfils its statutory purpose as set out in its founding legislation, that where appropriate the SGSA’s policies are consistent with those of the Secretary of State, and that the SGSA’s affairs are conducted with probity.
  2. In addition, the Chair has the following leadership responsibilities:
    1. formulating the Board’s strategy for discharging its statutory duties;
    2. ensuring that the Board, in reaching decisions, takes proper account of guidance provided by the Secretary of State or DCMS;
    3. encouraging high standards of propriety, and promoting the efficient and effective use of staff and other resources throughout the organisation;
    4. representing the views of the Board to with whom the SGSA has dealings;
    5. providing on request an assessment of the performance of individual Board Members when they are being considered for reappointment to the SGSA Board or for appointment to the Board of some other public body;
    6. a commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equality.
  3. The Chair also has an obligation to ensure that:
    1. the work of the Board and its Members are reviewed and are working effectively through an annual evaluation;
    2. the Board considers the effectiveness of the organisation’s governance in light of the Government Code of Good Practice for Corporate Governance;
    3. the Board has a balance of skills appropriate to directing the SGSA’s business, as set out in the Government Code of Good Practice for Corporate Governance;
    4. Board Members are fully briefed on terms of appointment, duties, rights and responsibilities and new members are effectively inducted;
    5. they, together with the other Board Members, receive appropriate training on financial management and reporting requirements and on any differences that may exist between private and public sector practice;
    6. the performance of individual Board Members is assessed annually and satisfactory appraisal information for individual Board Members is presented to the Department if members are being considered for re-appointment;
    7. the Board and its sub-committees have suitable Terms of Reference / proceedings in place; and
    8. there is a code of practice for Board members in place, consistent with the Cabinet Office Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies.
  4. In line with best practice, the Chair’s performance will be appraised annually by a Senior Civil Servant from DCMS, factoring the views of Board Members and the Chair’s self- appraisal.

Responsibilities of individual Board Members

  1. Individual Board Members should:
    1. comply at all times with the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies, the Nolan Principles, and with the rules relating to the use of public funds and conflicts of interest;
    2. not misuse information gained in the course of their public service for personal gain or for political profit, nor seek to use the opportunity of public service to promote their private interests or those of connected persons or organisations;
    3. comply with the Board’s rules on the acceptance of gifts and hospitality, and of business appointments; and
    4. act in good faith and in the best interests of the SGSA.

Relationship with the sponsor department

  1. The Secretary of State for DCMS is answerable to Parliament for the policies and performance of the SGSA, including its use of resources and the policy framework within which it operates. The respective roles of the DCMS and the SGSA are set out in the Football Spectators Act 1989. This is supplemented by a Framework Agreement.


  1. Responsibility for day-to-day management matters shall be delegated to the SGSA’s staff so far as is practicable. All strategic and significant policy issues shall be submitted to the Board unless the Board specifically decides otherwise. The Board may decide to delegate, where it has power to do so, responsibility for specified matters to individual Members, or committees of the Board.

Handling conflicts of interest

  1. The Chair and other Board Members shall declare any personal or business interests which may conflict with their responsibilities as Board Members either in general or in specific matters. The declaration shall include any interests of close family members and of persons living in the same household as the Member. Members shall update the information provided as changes occur.
  2. Any Member having an interest either directly or indirectly in any matter which falls to be considered by the Board shall disclose the nature of this interest as soon as practicable after the start of the meeting. This interest shall be recorded in the minutes of the Board meeting concerned. The Member shall take no part in any discussion relating to that matter during which he or she shall leave the room.

Personal liability of Board Members

  1. The Board is a Body Corporate established under the Sports Grounds Safety Authority Act 2011. Board Members are not liable for any civil liability in the course of carrying out their duties for the Board, if they have acted honestly and in good faith.

Annual Report and Accounts

  1. As part of its responsibilities for the stewardship of public funds, the Board shall ensure that it includes a full statement of the use of such resources in its Annual Report and Accounts.
  2. The Annual Report and Accounts must:
    1. cover any corporate, subsidiary or joint ventures under its control;
    2. comply with the Treasury’s Financial Reporting Manual (FreM);
    3. outline main activities and performance during the previous financial year and set out in summary form forward plans; and
    4. reference any incidences and provide values for all monies lost to financial crimes, including but not limited to fraud, error and bribery and corruption during the previous financial year.

Role of the Accounting Officer

  1. The Chief Executive as Accounting Officer is personally responsible for safeguarding the public funds for which they have charge; for ensuring propriety, regularity, value for money and feasibility in the handling of those public funds; and for the day-to-day operations and management of the SGSA. In addition, they should ensure that the SGSA as a whole is run on the basis of the standards, in terms of governance, decision-making and financial management that are set out in Box 3.1 of Managing Public Money.

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