England Hockey statement on commitment & work around Diversity and Inclusion

Khalsa HC 2019 EH Champs
Hockey is rightly proud of its outstanding track record of being one of the leading sports who embody the very best values of society. A sport that ranges from ages five to 80+ years, has a truly equal gender membership, is leading a new disability model through Flyerz and has championed a number of areas of diversity and inclusion.

At England Hockey, in the last 12 months, however, we have increased our focus on diversity and inclusion, with the creation of an internal working group considering and questioning the issues and then seeking to create strategies that will change our sport in a concrete, meaningful and long-term way. Aside from behaviours, there are real questions around how we drive better representation through our pathways, coaching, umpiring and across our governance. 

In July this year, we created an external advisory group, made up of a wide range of volunteers from a very diverse set of backgrounds, to help us to understand and ultimately plan our next steps. We held our first meetings on 12-13 August and will be developing actions from these, which we will be sharing with the wider hockey community.  

The Board of England Hockey is also evolving to ensure it better represents our membership and society. At the time of writing the board consists of eleven people: four women and seven men. As a sport that has more than 50% of hockey club members as women, we are keen to create a better balance and diversity going forward.

Organisationally we are working with Inclusive Employers, a leading UK based consultancy, to help guide our plans around diversity and inclusivity. We started working with them earlier this year initially focusing on those employed within England Hockey, but increasingly we wish to expand to include those that work with us in a number of roles, whether as volunteers, consultants or part time coaches and umpires.

On 18 August, Ed Barney, England Hockey’s Performance Director, announced our commitment to provide a more diverse and inclusive experience for those in our talent pathway. This has been developed over the past 18 months and was built on feedback from the talent survey that was sent out earlier this year to many people involved in hockey. In this document, we specifically state that: we want to engender change in genuine partnership; we want to create shared ambitions which will see a sport that is exciting and accessible for all; and, we want to see a sport that is inclusive and diverse, with a talent pipeline that everyone is proud of. To bring this to fruition, we will need your support to develop and refine the detail and bring some of these changes to life in 2021, 2022 and beyond.  

We are committed to building on the strong foundations in our sport and providing a more diverse and inclusive experience in hockey. We have championed the strengths and will continue to do so but we all need to be aware of where improvements need to be made and work together to listen, learn and start to address them.