We write to you on behalf of the board of England Athletics to provide information, as promised, relating to affiliation fees that will take effect from 1st April 2013.
Following what we recognise to be an inadequate consultation process regarding affiliation we set up the three regional meetings and facilitated emailed submissions to hear views about this and the general concerns over consultation and representation in our sport.
We would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to make their views and constructive contributions known to us over recent weeks at meetings, via email and by post. This reflects an incredible dedication to the sport by so many. We have taken these comments, views and opinions seriously. We are grateful for the way so many people have, in turn, been receptive to hearing what we have had to say about the challenges, in terms of budgets and provision, our sport faces as we look to the coming years, and how we must work together to address them.
Sport England this week announced their plans for funding for 2013-17. You can read more about this at www.englandathletics.org/wsp2013 
Sport England funding is allocated for specific areas of work that are ring fenced and will support our delivery in these areas. Because it is allocated for specific uses this funding cannot be transferred for use elsewhere. For example £8.8m is allocated to bringing more people into recreational running. We will continue to work with UKA to identify new sources of commercial revenue but, at present, there is not the level of commercial funding available that there has been in the past.
Based on consideration of all the comments received we have made the following decisions. For the affiliation year commencing 1st April 2013 the following will apply:
* ALL INDIVIDUAL ATHLETES WILL PAY A FLAT FEE OF £10 IRRESPECTIVE OF AGE OR DISCIPLINE. (THE £10 FEE WILL ALSO APPLY TO THE OPTIONAL UNDER 11S SCHEME. DETAILS ON THE BENEFITS PACK FOR THIS SCHEME WILL BE COMMUNICATED IN THE NEW YEAR.)
* The club and affiliated bodies registration fee will remain at £50.
* The processes for clubs to affiliate and register athletes will be as in the current year.
* UPGRADES TO THE ‘TRINITY’ MEMBER PORTAL FOR CLUBS AND ATHLETES WILL BE UNDERTAKEN TO MAKE IT MORE ‘USER FRIENDLY’. WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK THOSE PEOPLE WHO HAVE GIVEN SPECIFIC INPUT ON THIS MATTER.
In coming to the above decision, we have been through a challenging process. This has made us clearly aware that, amongst other things, we need to review our approach to consultation and the democratic system of England Athletics that helps to shape and inform decision making. With this in mind we will carry out further consultation with member clubs during 2013 which will include consultation around plans for affiliation and membership in the future. This will include the following:
* How we provide best value to members,
* How we achieve further cost savings,
* How we continue to provide and safeguard the services the sport values most.
Details will be provided in due course, with the first meetings likely to be in early 2013.
A number of themes outside of affiliation fees were also raised through the recent consultation:
* Desire for increased communication, consultation and engagement with the sport around membership and the wider work of EA (including costs and funding of delivery)
* Earlier communication regarding any proposed change
* Desire for any fee increases to be gradual, phased in and/ or subject to greater notice
* Need for improvements to the Trinity membership portal to help volunteers in clubs
* That the more athletes that clubs register the lower the price can be per athlete
* There were very mixed views on whether affiliation should be through the club or individual which require further discussion.
In 2013 we will be looking at ways in which we can strengthen the democratic processes of England Athletics. With this in mind we would like to continue the discussions on Regional Councils and how they can be more effectively utilised. At this time that means making them as representative as possible and capable of both sending ideas and comments up to the National Council and the Board, and being a strong conduit back from the Board and National Council to Clubs for consultation and information purposes. Nominations for the forthcoming elections will shortly open and we will be sending nomination forms to clubs as well as making them available at www.englandathletics.org/elections.
At the consultation meetings we committed to transparency, this included a commitment to making information on comments and views given at the meetings available on the website. These are available at www.englandathletics.org/membership2013 .
We apologise for relaying this information to you late in December but have sought to act as swiftly as possible after the final consultation meeting and closing of online submissions. We are therefore contacting club secretaries by email where possible, posting information and placing information on the England Athletics website at www.englandathletics.org .
Peter King, Chair, England Athletics
Chris Jones, Chief Executive, England Athletics
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF ENGLAND ATHLETICS