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Current Position in Respect of Upgrading, Education & Governance of Officials

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19 September 2007


1.      Introduction: Over the past year changes have occurred in the governance, regulation and education of Officials and these are outlined below.


1.1.   Governance – this has changed due to the formation of England Athletics and their Regions together with the related change of role of the English Territorial Associations. England Athletics have decided with effect from 1st April 2008 that nominations for Peer Group members and recomendations for officials at International/National meetings will be done through three Tre-Regional Groups to which the nine English Regions will delegate this role (see clause 4 below). Arrangements in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales remain unchanged.


1.2.   Upgrading - During this period the stepping-stones for upgrading have changed from being Grade 4 to Grade 1 (with Grade 1 being the highest international grade) to Level 1 to Level 5 (with Level 5 now being the highest international grade).


1.3.   Pass & Licence - Officials have, like coaches, been required to have a “Pass & Licence” to operate in their own right with full personal insurance cover.


1.4.   Education - In conjunction with the new grading “levels”, new education and training packages have been prepared for new Levels 1, 2 and 3. A package for Level 4 will be available during 2008.



2.     England Athletics and the new Regions have taken over responsibility with the following “Terms of Reference” These will be managed by English Regional Officials Committees (EROC’s).


2.1.  Overseeing of training for level 1 and level 2 Officials.  Courses and Tutors will be approved by individual Regions and organised by Clubs, Counties or the Region.


2.2. Validate the completion of level 1 or level 2 and inform UKA to arrange issue of pass and licence.


2.3. Make recommendations for level 3 training, and arrange appropriate experience.


2.4. Support the County Officials Secretary’s (COFSECs) in the Regions.


2.5. Peer Groups - Contribute as required by UKA to the appointment of the Peer Groups (when procedures have been set up).


2.6. Advise as requested on appointments to National and other supra-regional meetings. (when procedures have been set up).


2.7. Monitor the English Regional section of the UKA database.


2.8. Promote the welfare of Officials within the Region.


NB ‘Official’ in this refers to Technical Official or Assistant Official in any section of Athletics.



3.   Competition Working Groups (CWG’s)  have been  established in the North (Northern Athletics), Midlands & South West (Midland Counties) and South (Southern Competitions Ltd.).  The England Athletics Regions are working with these organisations to mutually decide on future competition arrangements.  It will be the responsibility of the competition providers to select and manage officials but would not extend to continuing the Territorial Officials Committees as previously formed. Meetings promoted by them could include old territorial championships, UK fixtures and Regional fixtures licensed to them by those bodies.



4.   International/ National Appointments. England Athletics have agreed to re-appoint the existing Territorial Officials Committees, under their authority, to deal with recommenations to the UKA Appointment Group for the 2008 season.  As referred tp om 1.1 withe effect from 1st April 2008 nominations for Peer Group members and recommendations for officials at International/National meetings will be through three Tri-Regional Groups (TRG's) to whcih the nine English Regions will delegate this role.  these revisions will be incorporated into the 2008 Rule-book.

The three Tri-Regional Groups will be:-

Northern Group - Comprising North West, North East and Yorkshire and Humberside

Midlands and South West Group - Comprising East Midlands, West Midlands and South West

Southern Group - Comprising South East, East and London

Arrangements relating to the composition are being finalised within each group with the process for nomination to International/National meetings being similar to that used by the Territories.

Officials Tri-Regional Group Selection

It is recognised that as the Tri-Regional Group boundaries do not correspond directly to the old Territories, it will therefore be necessary to divide the English section of the "National List" into three new sub-lists.  Officials will be able to make their won choice on this, particularly relevant in areas where there may be divided loyalties.


5. New upgrading/education programme: with effect from 1 January 2007 the following transfer occurred:











Assistant Officials Award


A new award that qualifies people to assist in officiating.




 >>>>>  2

The UK Athletics Level 2 qualifies Officials to operate in a single discipline - as a track judge, field judge, starter/marksman.

Beginner Officials are able to enter the system at Level 2 if they are aware of the discipline in which they are to officiate and have prior experience in the sport.



 >>>>>  3 The UK Athletics Level 3 is a progression from Level 2 that both consolidates learning at Level 2 and prepares the Official to operate at a higher level through the introduction of additional modules including meeting management and appropriate technology.



 >>>>>  4 Under Development



 >>>>>  5 Under Development



 >>>>>  5 At this level an Official must have at least three year's service at Level 3. During that time they must have satisfied their peers of their competence. They should have knowledge and practical experience of all areas of race organisation and have acted as a 'key official' in a number of races.



 >>>>>  3 Officials at this level must have at least one year's service at Level 2 involving a number of races. They should have knowledge and practical experience of more tha one area of race organisation (start, course, finish, timekeeping and rules and administration).



 >>>>>  2 This is the basic level with the aim being to recruit, encourage and recognise as many people as possible. At this level, Officials are expected to have knowledge and practical experience of the duties involved for at least one year.



6. Transfer arrangements in respect of upgrading:


6.1. The 5 levels of the new scheme do not in any way equate to the 4 previous grades (see section 5).


6.1. Most existing officials will not be adversely affected by the new structure and where an individual feels that they may be, we will work with them to look at their individual situation.


6.3. No competent official should feel threatened by the new system. Once it is fully up and running there will be training opportunities, which have never been available to officials in the UKA before.


6.4. Licences were issued as if the old and new schemes were comparable. This has caused concern. There are no plans to re-align the levels on the licences imminently and the first renewal of licences (roughly late 2008) will carry the same levels. Realignment will take place ready for the next renewal in 2011. There are 2 main reasons for this – firstly, by then all those currently within the system will have had nearly 5 years to make the most of training opportunities to ensure that they have the same skills as officials coming through the new scheme.  Secondly, a number of officials currently in the system will have retired, particularly Level 5s from the UK active list thus reducing the complexity of the task!


6.5. How will you be affected: Grade or level is only a label and the important thing is for officials to have the appropriate level of competence for the meetings at which they officiate. A summary is given below of how each Level as shown on the licence at transfer is affected (old Grade in brackets).


Level 5 (Grade 1)

6.6. Currently those who are on the UK active list receive availability lists for National/International meetings. This will continue.


6.7. Selection will continue to be based on competence. Officials at this level need to think about whether they need further training to maintain/update their skills e.g. Field Officials will need to be able to use EDM, or within a few years you may not be able officiate. From December 2008, all new Level 3 Officials will have proven competence in this area. Similarly Starters will need to be able to use False Start equipment.


6.8  Options available: Do nothing and risk being downgraded in 2011 or be proactive in asking for training. In addition to the top up training to ensure that you can officiate on equal terms with the New Level 3 Officials (courses available in Autumn 2007) there will be Level 4 and 5 modules to access in areas such as Meeting Management and Direction and all aspects of education (tutoring, mentoring, assessment, report writing). These will not be available until 2008.


Level 4 (Grade 2)

6.9. Many Grade 2 officials have remained at this level by choice and form the backbone of our sport, officiating at local, county and territorial level. Those who wish to continue in that way may like to consider attending some of the New Level 3 course modules as a refresher course but that is a matter of personal choice.


6.10. 2007 is the last year when officials can upgrade under the old regulations (i.e. from Grade 2 to Grade 1, which will be called Level 5).


6.11. Level 4 (Grade 2) officials will not receive availability forms for National/ International meetings.


6.12. New Level 3 officials will receive availability forms for National/International meetings so from the end of 2008 such forms will go to these people who have qualified and the Level 5 (Grade 1) people. Selection will be based on competence and training not years of service.


6.13. Level 4 (Grade 2) officials need to take action if they wish to progress. Attending the Level 3 courses and working through Level 3 is the way to do this. There is a minimum qualifying period of 2 years for working through this level so if a competent official starts this year they could qualify by early 2010.


6.14. The Level 3 course consists of 3 modules: - Generic, Discipline specific and the Technology associated with each discipline (EDM, FSE, PF). There is no written exam but a minimum of 30 meetings must be recorded in the log book and 6 positive reports obtained; 2 as a team member, 1 from a reporter from another region, 1 as Clerk of Course (track & field), 1 using technology and 1 as Referee/Chief (county or local league level). A Health and Safety course will also be required.


6.15. The Challenge for UKA as a national governing body will be to provide sufficient courses for all  of you who wish to attend and for the database to cope with understanding that progress from Level 4 by transfer will be to new Level 3!


Level 3 (Grade 3)

6.16. Progress is via the same route as above. i.e. attend the Level 3 course and work through this level.


Level 2 (Grade 4)

6.17. Progress can be made by attending a Level 3 course, but see below.


6.18. It will be assumed that anyone attending a level 3 course will already possess all the knowledge encompassed in the Level 2 course, both the discipline specific and generic modules and have had some officiating experience.


6.19. Those who were Grade 4 by experience but want to progress are advised to attend a Level 2 course and work though that level. This can be accomplished within a year.


6.20. Those who were Grade 4 by exam may well find that spending some time working through the New Level 2 will pay off in the long run by providing a good foundation for moving on to Level 3.



6.21.    Self evaluation

This forms an important part of the new officials’ scheme. Those working towards Level 2 have sheets to complete in their logbooks stating what they have learnt at a meeting, what they think they did well, what they could have done better etc. This will continue throughout the levels in an appropriate manner. It would be beneficial for all existing officials to start thinking along these lines as well. We all need to take a realistic view of our own level of competence, and this provides us with a great opportunity for self-reflection and self-improvement and should ultimately raise standards.



7. Pass & Licence: This will be required of all officials, in any section of athletics, from 1 September 2007. The benefits of having your own Pass and Licence are that you will have insurance cover in your own right rather than under the umbrella of an organiser or another lead official and that we at UKA will be able to make direct contact with you personally when appropriate. There are safeguards in the application form for you to ensure you are not sent unwanted mail. Currently over 5000 officials have registered.



8. CRB (Criminal Record Office) checks: UKA are required by the government to carry out CRB checks on all officials. This process is underway and must be completed by 1 April 2008.



9. Assessment of Officials: At all international and national meetings and selected other meetings an assessment of each official will be carried out At these meetings a National Technical Delegate will be appointed and their role, amongst other matters, will be to carry out an assessment of the Chief officials. These assessments will be presented to that official either on the day of the meeting, or at the latest within 14 days of the meeting, at which time the person writing the report will discuss any negative comments with them.  These will be taken into account when the selection of Chief officials or other appointments are made in the future



10. Peer Groups: The appointment and process of Peer Groups is clearly set out in the 2006 Rulebook Section D, rule (3) on pages 154 & 155. For the year commencing 1 October 2007 to 30 September 2008, this will be carried out in association with National & English Territorial Officials groups as set out in clause 4 above. From October 2008, the recommending groups for Peer Groups will be considered by the Working Group referred to in clause 4 above and once approved by the UKA technical Committee will be incorporated into the 2008 Rulebook. All final decisions relating to Peer Group appointments to be made by UKA Technical committee at their September meeting. It is the current practice that only officials listed within the ICOG list, referred to in clause 12 below will be considered to be a Peer Group member. Furthermore any official who is a member of the UKA Technical committee will not normally be considered as a Peer Group member for that year.



11. International Officials Group (IOG): During the past three years a list of officials considered by the Peer Groups has been established who in their opinion are capable at officiating at an International televised meeting. These groups are considered on an annual basis by the Peer Groups and after discussion with the relevant Officials Secretaries are then passed to the UKA Technical committee in January for their endorsement. Once agreed the names are then published on the Officials section of the UKA website. Normally 70% of the officials for televised meetings come from this Group.



12.  International Chief Officials Group (ICOG): These officials are considered by the Peer groups and endorsed by the UKA technical committee to be competent to Chief an International televised meeting. The process for appointment being as set out in clause 11 above. Normally only officials included in this list would be appointed as a Referee/ Chief at a televised meeting.



13.  NTO’s, Meeting Managers & Multi-discipline officials: Over the past year further lists have been established for these roles under the same process as set out in clauses 11 & 12 above.


REVISED: 13.02.08



Note: This information is available as a downloadable document below: