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Swim England to carry out ‘thorough’ review of SwimMark accreditation programme

Swim England is proceeding with a ‘thorough’ review of its SwimMark accreditation programme and will be seeking the views of affiliated clubs, regions and key stakeholders.

It will be the first in-depth evaluation of the programme since 2017 and is being carried out in light of feedback from the sport.

The outcome of the review will propose improvements and changes where appropriate for the benefit of clubs and volunteers.

Originally based on Sport England’s Club Mark programme, SwimMark is Swim England’s quality mark for clubs and promotes high standards of governance, sustainability, safe practice and is viewed as a development tool for clubs.

The review will look at the purpose of SwimMark, the strengths and weaknesses of the current process and what an accreditation programme should look like in the future.

Currently, more than 600 clubs hold the SwimMark accreditation.

Through partnership working with the regions, clubs will be nominated to participate in focus groups.  

Nominated clubs will be consulted between March and May.

In addition, Swim England will utilise existing opportunities, such as the National Chairs Forum, to gather feedback.

Support clubs

It is Swim England’s intention to share recommendations in collaboration with the regions and agree the next stages during the summer.

Ally Whike, Swim England Sport Development Director said the review would look at the impact SwimMark has on volunteers and how the process could be developed to support clubs in achieving their aspirations.

He added: “A key commitment in our 10-year strategy, Access Aquatics, is to ensure that governance standards reflect best practice and that there is a network of sustainable aquatic clubs delivering positive and safe environment across the country. 

“SwimMark is part of this. However, how Swim England supports the development of clubs and the sport is the critical consideration for an accreditation scheme.

“A full, thorough review involving all relevant stakeholders is necessary to ensure that SwimMark, or any alternative accreditation programme and approach, supports our clubs in the right way and helps deliver against agreed objectives.

“We’ve taken on board feedback already received about SwimMark and are keen to ensure that any changes are introduced to help benefit clubs and the network of our committed volunteers, who work so tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure clubs deliver activity.”

Clubs that are currently working towards SwimMark accreditation for submission by 30 April and 31 July  should continue working with their regions to achieve this.  

Dependant on the outcomes of the review, each SwimMark accredited club will be contacted to explain the next steps.

Any clubs with questions about the review should contact [email protected] with the subject line ‘SwimMark Review’.