British Rowing Statement

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London, UK – 20 April 2016 – In January 2015, British Rowing, the governing body for rowing in England, was notified by a club official of Henley Rowing Club (“HRC”) of allegations of misconduct, in relation to safeguarding concerns, made against another club official. Under their own rules, and in consultation with British Rowing, HRC conducted its own investigation into the allegations.

As a result of further allegations of misconduct and poor practice by the Management at HRC, British Rowing appointed Sport Resolutions in April 2015 to oversee the organisation of an investigation by an independent specialist on its behalf into allegations concerning HRC’s Club Captain Mr. David Lister.

As of 15 April 2015, Mr. Lister voluntarily agreed not to be involved in the sport pending the outcome of the investigation.

Mr. Lister’s case centred on seven complaints:

  • Displaying favouritism to certain rowers to the detriment / exclusion of others;
  • Failing to maintain appropriate boundaries in his role as a coach with a junior rower;
  • Behaving in a derogatory, negative or inappropriate manner towards some rowers by making inappropriate comments;
  • Adopting unfair selection procedures;
  • Adopting harsh and inappropriate training methods for junior rowers;
  • Failing to adhere to safeguarding practices and to act upon advice given by the Club Welfare Officer; and
  • Failing to adhere to information sharing and confidentiality processes in accordance with British Rowing requirements.

For the avoidance of doubt, it is important to state that these complaints did not involve any issue of sexual misconduct.

Sport Resolutions’ report into the conduct of Mr. Lister and his response to the report was then considered by British Rowing’s Case Management Group (“CMG”). The CMG comprised an employee of British Rowing, a member of Welsh Rowing, and an Independent Child Protection Officer.

In accordance with Section 4 of British Rowing’s Safeguarding and Protecting Children Guidance (WG 1.7), the CMG upheld five complaints against Mr. Lister, namely:

  • Displaying favouritism to certain rowers to the detriment / exclusion of others;
  • Failing to maintain appropriate boundaries in his role as a coach with a junior rower;
  • Behaving in a derogatory, negative or inappropriate manner towards some rowers by making inappropriate comments;
  • Failing to adhere to safeguarding practices and to act upon advice given by the Club Welfare Officer; and
  • Failing to adhere to information sharing and confidentiality processes in accordance with British Rowing requirements.
British Rowing’s Safeguarding and Protecting Children (SPC) Policy can be found here:

SPC policy

As a result of this, Mr. Lister has been disqualified from coaching children or vulnerable adults or acting as an officer of a British Rowing affiliated club for a period of 18 months, effective from 15 April 2015 until 31 October 2016. For the avoidance of doubt, Mr. Lister is free to coach non-vulnerable adults. If Mr. Lister is to participate in any of these activities thereafter, he is required to undertake relevant safeguarding training and comply with a mentoring programme. The CMG will consider at the end of the disqualification period whether he should be permitted to return to coaching children or vulnerable adults or acting as an officer of a British Rowing affiliated club which will include a requirement that he formally acknowledge that some of his behaviours failed to meet the sport’s safeguarding standards.

For the two complaints that were not upheld by the CMG it was deemed that “The methods used upon examination appear to be consistent and common practice.”

Mr. Lister had the right to appeal under Section 5 of the Guidance (WG 1.7) but has chosen not to exercise this right.

British Rowing is extremely disappointed with the conduct of this coach as safeguarding children is of paramount importance. It is essential that acts which compromise the safety and welfare of children are prevented and that coaches, who have a responsibility to deal with child safeguarding concerns, do so in line with British Rowing guidance and adhere to the British Rowing Code of Conduct.

British Rowing has taken the decision to make public this case because it is important to remind those within the sport that there is a very clear obligation for club officials to take responsibility for child safeguarding. The safety and welfare of a child must be the most important factor and should be reflected in the conduct of adults in contact with children at all times. British Rowing continues to work with rowing clubs to ensure they meet the required standards for safeguarding. In addition, British Rowing is reassured that Henley Rowing Club has responded to the incidents responsibly by co-operating with the investigation and British Rowing. British Rowing acknowledges that in May 2015 the Club’s Management implemented its own review of the Club and began to take steps to improve its governance and adherence to best practice and we hope that this process continues.

Statement by Henley Rowing Club

Henley Rowing Club acknowledges the findings in the statement published today by British Rowing and Sport Resolutions.

The Club fully and unequivocally supports the message delivered by British Rowing concerning the paramount importance of child safeguarding.

The Club has continued to co-operate fully with British Rowing and will abide by the recommendations that they have made.

For more information about the safeguarding workshops that British Rowing has to offer, please click here:

Safeguarding workshops

The Club itself implemented its own detailed review of all governance across the Club soon after the complaints came to light.  We have undertaken a thorough and far-reaching review of our management processes, including safeguarding policies, and implemented further changes to ensure that we continue to enhance the running and operation of our Club wherever possible.

Henley Rowing Club has been in existence for over 175 years and has enjoyed a long-standing record of success and a proud position both within the local community and the world of rowing.  Over 25 years ago, we were one of the first open rowing clubs to promote rowing for junior women.  During that period, we have had an unrivalled record of success in this sector of the sport, with an excellent record on child safeguarding.

Our squad coaches, all of whom are volunteers, work tirelessly to provide a supportive environment to allow the athletes to develop at their own speed and to fulfil their potential. We constantly seek ways to improve our already high standards and remain committed to developing young rowing talent.

Henley Rowing Club is looking forward to an exciting summer of competition and sustaining our record as one of the most successful junior clubs in the UK.

 

Media Enquiries:

Please contact Kenny Baillie, Director of Partnerships and Communications on:  kenny.baillie@britishrowing.org or +44 (0) 7818 576 132.

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