On the occasion of the 10th European Handball Federation (EHF) Secretaries General Conference in Paris on 19 and 20 April 2017, the EOC EU Office was invited to present the outcomes of the EU-funded Project ‘Support the Implementation of Good Governance in Sport’ (SIGGS). This Project was implemented by the EOC EU Office together with 11 other partner organisations in the period 2015-2016. With more than 70 participants from around 45 different national handball federations attending the EHF Conference, the presentation was an excellent opportunity to address the Secretaries General directly to demonstrate the main features of the SIGGS self-evaluation tool on good governance for national sport federations as well as to show advantages of the use of the tool and of investing time in the topic of good governance in general.
Following the welcome by EHF President Michael Wiederer and an introduction by Folker Hellmund, Director of the EOC EU Office, who provided the political background on the EU discussions on good governance, Matthias Van Baelen as SIGGS Project Manager presented the SIGGS self-evaluation tool to the participants. The SIGGS presentation was included in the agenda under the topic of ‘services for federations’. The overall title of the Conference was ‘Activating the Community’. Matthias Van Baelen therefore stressed on several occasions in his presentation that SIGGS is indeed at the service of the federations and that there is a lot to gain from investing in the topic of good governance. Furthermore, he called upon all national federations to use the tool to evaluate the governance of their own organisation.
This keynote speech was followed by a number of parallel group discussions or ‘Break-out sessions’ covering SIGGS as well as other topics. Prior to the Conference, seven national handball federations had already taken part in the self-evaluation. This allowed the respective representatives to share their experience with the tool. They for instance highlighted the customised approach, which means that the tool is equally interesting for a small federation, mainly relying on volunteers, as for larger federations with several full time staff members. It was stressed during the workshop that it is important to convince the political level of the importance of good governance and of the possible gains for a federation, which the SIGGS tool enables you to do. Implementing good governance principles should indeed not be seen as creating a list of additional tasks, but rather as a continuous process impacting the culture of the organisation. Furthermore, it was highlighted in the discussions that small federations should be able to learn from the bigger federations. In this regard, it is important that all federations take part in the evaluation.
The SIGGS self-evaluation tool has been open to all NOCs and national sport federations from all 50 countries of the EOC since its launch at the end of November 2016 at the SIGGS Final Conference. Following this EHF Secretaries General Conference, the SIGGS Project team hopes that even more federations will find the way to the SIGGS self-evaluation tool, available online via: siggs.novagov.com.