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Key considerations in managing information

Information management

Like all organisations, sports bodies generate and collect substantial amounts of information: about the operations of the organisation, its decisions, finances and activities; data about its members, participants, customers, staff and volunteers; transactions with suppliers, partners, sponsors. The list can be lengthy. Information can be both in hard copy and digital format.

How this information is gathered, handled, stored and destroyed (or otherwise disposed of) can be subject to legal and regulatory requirements – some of which carry significant penalties for transgression – as well as to good business practice. Correctly organised and accessible information allows your organisation to operate efficiently, with resources properly targeted and relevant information available to the right people. This can facilitate the setting of strategy and effective oversight of both business and sporting performance.

This section looks at some of the key considerations for organisations in managing information, focusing particularly on the legal obligations around record-keeping and data use.

It is worth keeping in mind a number of key principles:

Information Management


Organisations and individual staff members or volunteers should ensure that they fully understand and comply with their legal and regulatory obligations – such as the Companies Act, the Data Protection Act and the Freedom of Information Act – and also appreciate the business principles of sound information management.


Staff and volunteers who handle or are responsible for data or other forms of information should be correctly trained and made aware of their obligations and those of the organisation, and roles should be clearly defined. Where legislative or regulatory obligations fall on a particular person or persons, these should be notified of their responsibilities and ensure that they are met.


Organisations should have in place robust and regularly reviewed policies for managing the information they hold. These should ensure that obligations are met, and that information is securely stored, accessible only to appropriate persons (these may be defined under the Roles above), transmitted according to correct procedures and, where business information is concerned, in a timely and meaningful format that facilitates good decision making and effective oversight.


Information is held on a variety of platforms, from databases to spreadsheets, emails and minute books to board portals, audio-visual media or registers. An organisation should ensure that the platforms used are appropriate, secure and fit for purpose. Correct training should be given to relevant members of staff or volunteers to ensure effective use is made of all software and systems.


All processes, policies and platforms should be kept under regular review to ensure that they meet both the obligations and the needs of the organisation. Where relevant, a risk or internal audit function may take on the role of carrying out checks to ensure that sufficient controls are in place so that information is stored, handled and employed correctly. The quality of data held should also be regularly reviewed to make sure that it is accurate, up-to-date, necessary and even useful. Poor quality data can be a liability in terms of legal obligations and also the effective running of the organisation.