Standing Committee on Governance

Update from Scottish Rugby President, Ian Barr (31 March 2022)

To all Scottish Rugby Members,

I have been anxious for some time to report to you on upon progress made by SCOG in recent months.

Since Professor Lorne Crerar joined us at the start of this year as SCOG Chair, much positive progress has been made. I am able to report to you now that indicative, but detailed, proposals together with an oral presentation were laid before your Council earlier this week by SCOG. These proposals, I am pleased to say, received the support of your elected members and, SCOG believes, provide a real step forward, significantly enhancing the well-being of the club game and wider Scottish Rugby.

Additionally, SCOG has also had the opportunity to present to the Board of SRUL to set out the proposals we intend shortly to put before the members.

In brief, what has been proposed is the creation of a new body to be called “Scottish Rugby Union” which will be a company limited by guarantee (otherwise known as “SRU” or simply “the Union”). This body will be owned by and responsible to member clubs, and:

  1. hold the assets of Scottish Rugby, including the shares of the current operating company (SRUL) now and in perpetuity;
  2. exercise effective oversight of the activities of SRUL, to be managed via a new arrangement called a “Relationship Management Agreement”; and
  3. report to members (the owners of Scottish Rugby) after each meeting with SRUL, a minimum of 4 times each year.

Additionally, we have proposed the creation of CRB – the Club Rugby Board - made up by individuals directly elected from the club game via our Forums (as they are currently structured). This is also a new body, formed to develop and implement a strategy for the domestic game in conjunction with SRUL’s Rugby Development Department. SCOG have proposed that the CRB will have a budget representing 15% of a rolling 4-year average of SRUL’s turnover, ring-fenced to provide funding for our domestic game.

It is now SCOG’s intention to refine the detail of its proposals with a view to shortly presenting a motion to all members at a SGM with an appropriate accompanying rationale. We hope this meeting can take place mid to late May and, if favoured with your support, it will enable the necessary paperwork for the proposed organisational transition to be prepared and laid before you for your final approval.

This message to you regarding SCOG’s current position and the work undertaken is brief but I felt that having received endorsement from the Council and support from the Board on the direction of travel, an exciting milestone has been reached in our process and, as a result, I felt it was important to provide you with an update just as soon as possible. I am very confident that SCOG’s proposals in relation to governance and organisational structures of the SRU and Scottish Rugby Union Limited will greatly enhance our capacity to deal with ongoing challenges and will enable us all, and together, to resolve the long standing perceived “governance problem”.

In the meantime, SCOG proposes to contact all Fora to arrange attendance to address in person queries from members. However, to encourage the fullest ongoing engagement, should you have any specific issue(s) you and / or your club might wish to address with SCOG, please contact us directly at [email protected] . We will endeavour to answer all queries in writing as promptly as possible and thereafter make our responses available online and available to everyone in the game.

Message from Scottish Rugby Board (31 March 2022)

“The Board welcomed the collaborative approach put forward by SCOG at a constructive meeting which allowed for a healthy exchange of views and further increased its understanding on the proposals being put forward. The Board is supportive of the direction of travel being proposed and has now asked for further clarifications on some key details as this new approach to governance in Scotland moves onto its next phase.”

Following the 2018 AGM, the Scottish Rugby Council’s Standing Committee on Governance, under its Independent Chair Gavin MacColl QC, was tasked with oversight of a consultation in relation to: a) player payment in the domestic game; b) the initial domestic league placement of the Club XVs of those clubs awarded Super 6 licences; and c) future domestic league and season structures.

The Standing Committee’s Report and recommendations (together with the survey data received from clubs and a note of any other submissions made to the Standing Committee) can now be found below.

Professor Lorne Crerar CBE appointed as SCOG independent chair (Friday 21 January 2022)

Professor Lorne Crerar CBE, chairman and founding partner of law firm Harper Macleod LLP, has been appointed as the new independent chair of the Standing Committee on Governance (SCOG) of the Scottish Rugby Union Council, succeeding Gavin MacColl QC.

Member clubs have been invited to provide feedback on proposals for a new governance structure for the SRU. SCOG is pleased with the level of interest and responses received so far but would encourage any club still considering its draft proposals and who wishes to submit a response, they should feel free to do so.

Professor Lorne Crerar CBE said: “It is an honour to be appointed to this position within Scottish rugby, and I am looking forward to working with all stakeholders as the structure of our game and authorities, moves forward. It will be an interesting and challenging role, but I am very confident the recent issues, aired by many parts of the game, will be suitably resolved and we can move forward together in union.

“The Standing Committee has made a positive and constructive start to the year. We thank those member clubs who have taken the time to respond to the recent consultation to date and would actively encourage others to reply. We are confident that any outstanding issues of governance will be resolved, and to the satisfaction of SRU members.”

SCOG was created as a sub-committee of the Council of the Scottish Rugby Union to assist the Council with consultation and recommendations on aspects of the Scottish Rugby Union’s governance and structure.

Professor Lorne Crerar CBE is one of the two founding partners of law firm Harper Macleod LLP. A former rugby player and referee, Lorne is a former chairman of the European Rugby Cup Tournament (ECPR) and was a judicial officer at four Rugby World Cups. For more than 20 years he was chairman of the Discipline Panels for the SRU, European Rugby Cup and 6 Nations. In addition to Professor Crerar’s rugby experience, he has also conducted two significant governance reviews for the Scottish Government, namely; the Crerar Review of regulation, audit, inspection and complaints handling of public services in Scotland; and a review of Scotland’s enterprise and skills agencies which was adopted by the Scottish Parliament.

Issued by Harper Macleod on behalf of the Standing Committee on Governance.

An update from the President (30 December 2021)

Dear club member,

I hope you and yours had a good Christmas.

I am writing to you today to update you on the membership of our Standing Committee on Governance (SCOG), as there have been some changes to its composition.

Our independent chairman, Gavin MacColl, has decided to step down. On your behalf, I thank Gavin for all his endeavours as we seek to revise our governance structures. Gavin felt it needed a fresh pair of eyes to collate your feedback to the consultation material we have circulated – which we are in the process of doing – and then to consider the final proposal before presenting it to you, our membership.

I am delighted to advise that Professor Lorne Crerar will be our new independent chair. Lorne has a huge wealth of rugby and governance experience and I believe will be a great asset to our deliberations.

Some of you of a certain vintage will remember Lorne as a referee out of the GHK club. When he gave up the whistle, Lorne continued to provide sterling service to our game, chairing independent disciplinary panels for us at Scottish Rugby, and at ERC and Six Nations. He also served as a judicial officer at the finals of both the 2007 and 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Professionally, Lorne was a founding partner in the solicitors, Harper Macleod, and has led high level public-sector governance reviews for the Scottish Government.

SCOG also welcomes the National Division 2 representative from the Scottish Rugby Council, Eric Hugh, to its membership. Eric’s audit and accountancy experience will prove invaluable.

Finally, a past President of Dundee HSFP, Sandy MacDonald, is being co-opted to the committee as an independent legal advisor. Sandy has expertise in accountancy, trust law and corporate law and, again, he has a vital contribution to make.

As I mentioned in my closing remarks at the online SGM earlier this month, and on behalf of SCOG, we look forward to receiving your comments around the most recently circulated proposals. Please provide any feedback by Tuesday 11 January.

Thank you all for your continuing support during these challenging times in public health and, alongside all my colleagues at Scottish Rugby, I wish you all a Happy New Year.

Ian Barr, President, Scottish Rugby.

Update from Scottish Rugby President, Ian Barr (9 December 2021)

The attached documentation below was circulated at the request and on behalf of Scottish Rugby Union’s Standing Committee on Governance via Club Communications on 9 December 2021. Details on how to respond to the proposal are contained below in the letter from the President.

Update from Scottish Rugby President, Ian Barr (Friday 13 August 2021)

The Standing Committee on Governance (SCOG) have set out a high-level overview of their proposed governance structure.

SCOG representative and Scottish Rugby President, Ian Barr has outlined the proposed structure in a video which can be viewed below.

An explanatory document and structure consultation proposal document to accompany the video can also be found below.

SCOG will shortly commence a period of consultation with members on the proposals issued today.

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