Bowls WA plans for change

by Aaron Delaporte

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading” is a quote from Chinese Philosopher Lao Tzu which has never been truer in these current times.

Our sport continues to face challenges with the impact of Covid-19, the steady longer term membership and pennant participation decline, along with the change of how society now communicates and operates in modern times, means we have to adapt to changes moving forward to sustain our sport into the future.

As an organization Bowls WA will be embracing change with a three-pronged approach heading into 2021, all of which fall under our Strategic Plan:2017-2022. Important to this is we continue to focus on our organizational mission to provide leadership, support and guidance to our clubs and through growth achieve long term sustainability for the sport.

Bowls WA is currently seeking government funding for all the projects listed below in what will be a busy but hopefully ultimately rewarding year for the organization.

Governance Review

The first of these will be a Governance Review lead by a board appointed sub-committee chaired by Brian Lucas (Sorrento), with Ron Mance (North Beach), Ted Leahy (Cambridge), Clive Adams (RBM North/East) and Ken Pride (Bowls WA CEO).

This review aligns to the number 1 priority identified in the 2020 released Strategic Priorities for WA Sport produced by Sport West in that individual sports need to engage at all levels to determine the governance arrangements appropriate for the size and complexity of their organisation rather than any single ‘corporate governance’ model.

The review will include the appointment of a consultant to help guide the committee through the processes required to review the current Constitution, By Laws, Policies and Committee structures of Bowls WA along with the framing of a new Strategic Plan from 2022 and beyond.

Bowls Clubs both metro and country based have already been notified about the project and will continue to be consulted so that the review remains ‘fit for purpose” for the sport with a completion of the review anticipated in mid 2021.

Innovations Committee

Another board appointed sub-committee the Innovations Committee which is chaired by Board member Marc Abonnel (Kardinya) with Peter Barnett (Willetton), Jenny McLaughlin (North Beach), Hailey Packer (Manning), Ian Rennie (South Perth) and Aaron Delaporte (Bowls WA Operations) has initially been instructed to review the way the game is played within WA.

The Innovations Committee

The committee which has met twice already has established some clear priorities for 2021 being:

  • A focus on increasing participation within the sport at all levels
  • Ensuring recommendations are well researched, communicated and managed with appropriate stakeholder engagement to ensure they are successful for the sport
  • An initial focus on creating a new competition(s) rather than trying to make major changes to existing competitions

Those within the bowls community can expect to see some surveys released shortly from this committee around issues within the sport. The committee will also be targeting those outside the sport who may be seen as potential future members to help guide them.

This Committee will in due course make recommendations to the Bowls Management Committee.

Embracing New Technology Workshops

The rapidly changing world, made even more noticeable by the responses required to the COVID-19 pandemic, has driven the need to build resilience into clubs and their local communities. This means ensuring the people within our clubs and communities have the know-how to adapt to the changing world and the increasing rise of a contactless community.

The Winning Drive club development program will add another string to its bow when it presents a series of workshops to interested club members in the first half of 2021 around embracing new technology.

In partnership with Pacmentality Consulting these workshops are designed to help members at various skill levels from the complete novice who has never used a computer or smart phone through to more advanced users who want to make the most out of what is available for clubs in 2021. Each workshop is supported by a handout with participants encouraged to take notes and ask questions.

In total the full series will contain seven workshops with the introductory level being face to face whilst the remaining sessions will be conducted in an online environment. The sessions run from between 30-60 minutes and will have multiple session times available to suit those with even the busiest of schedules.

Bowls WA will be releasing more important information around this exciting series of workshops shortly.