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Club News

First Shadow Board elections to be held

13 June 2023

Club News

First Shadow Board elections to be held

13 June 2023

The first election process for membership of the Doncaster Rovers Shadow Board will take place over the coming weeks.

Two positions will be available in the 2023 election and the nomination process is now open to supporters. 

The Shadow Board is made up of 12 Rovers supporters and is in place to help shape club decision-making and policy in regard to off-field matters. Meetings are attended by Rovers chief executive Gavin Baldwin and chief operating officer Shaun Lockwood. 

Background 

As part of our continuing commitment to the fan engagement campaign In Rovers We Trust, Rovers officials were meeting regularly with groups of supporters through various fan forums. In 2016 an official structure was put in place for those meetings with the creation of a Supporters Board. 

The Supporters Board was comprised of representatives of the Supporters Club and Supporters Trust along with independent supporters. The group met regularly, every six to eight weeks, to discuss off-field matters relating to Rovers. 

The Supporters Board has proven instrumental in helping shape season ticket pricing, such as previous initiatives for 22-24 year olds, the change in pricing to remove the higher category, and the refund process offered on the back of the pandemic. 

The work of the Supporters Board has not gone unnoticed and is one of the key reasons why the club have continually ranked in the top ten in the national Fan Engagement Index. More information on the Fan Engagement Index is available by clicking HERE. Fan Engagement Index All Time By Place - Think Fan Engagement 

Fan-Led Review 

In 2022, the government announced its response to the recommendations of the Fan-Led Review into football governance. In addition to accepting the recommendation of a new independent regulator for English football, the government also supported, with further consideration, the development of a Shadow Board at each club as a mechanism for consulting with supporters. 

While the exact details of what a Shadow Board should consist of continues to be debated by football authorities, Rovers made the decision in the summer of 2022 to accept the recommendation. As the Supporters Board was in place and already undertaking a large proportion of the recommended mandate of a Shadow Board, the decision was taken to begin a migration process. 

Shadow Board development 

Over the past 12 months, the group and the club have moved to adopt the recommendations of the Fan-Led Review. Members of the Shadow Board elected a chair and vice-chair while a series of measures have been implemented by which the Shadow Board can hold the club to account. 

The club have held regular meetings with the Shadow Board and consulted with members on topics including the new stadium catering contract for the 2023/24 season, commercial and operational performance and fan behaviour. The Shadow Board have also recommended actions, such as a new away ticketing policy. 

There are currently no mandated rules from any English football authority on how a Shadow Board should operate. Therefore, both the club and the Shadow Board are working in partnership to develop the standards we think will benefit current and future Rovers supporters. 

Election process 

Those standards include a regular election process where member seats are put up for election, which will be implemented for the first time in the summer of 2023. 

Several places will be made available for election each year, which will allow different supporters the opportunity to join the Shadow Board with the group continually evolving while also maintaining some stability in membership year-on-year. The goal is to ensure a range of representation from across the supporter base. 

In the summer of 2023, two places will be available for election. It is expected that these positions will not be available for re-election until the summer of 2027, meaning successful candidates will sit for a four-year term. 

Shadow Board chairman Derek Daniels said: “We’re really pleased to launch the first election for positions on the board. Since the migration of the Supporters Board to the Shadow Board last year, plenty of hard work has been put in by members to not only ensure we continue to be a voice for our fellow fans, but also to put in place processes for the development of the board as an organisation. 

“There are no guidelines are how Shadow Boards should operate and we are determined to make sure we set a standard that will be followed at other clubs in the future. 

“We believe the election process we have formulated is a sound one and will make sure supporters have the best possible representation going forward. 

“We are looking forward to hearing from candidates over the next few weeks.” 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING THE 2023 SHADOW BOARD ELECTIONS

What does an individual require in order to stand for election?

  • A prospective nominee must submit a CV and a covering letter along with 20 nominations from fellow supporters to sbchair@clubdoncaster.co.uk or in person to the Club Doncaster Box Office at Eco-Power Stadium.
  • The form for recording nominations can be downloaded HERE 
  • Both the prospective nominee and those providing nominations must have an active ticketing history. 
  • The active ticketing history consists of a minimum of four home matches attended over the previous 12 months. 
  • Supporters are permitted to nominate more than one individual 
  • To nominate a candidate, supporters must provide their full name, postcode, contact number and ticketing ID. These will be checked against our database to ensure an active ticketing history. 
  • The deadline for submission of candidacy is Sunday, June 25. 

How will the election be decided?

  • Prospective candidates will be put before the existing members of the Shadow Board, who will narrow the field down to a four-person shortlist. 
  • Those four candidates may then be invited to speak at a Shadow Board to put forward their case for election to existing members. 
  • Members will then vote on which candidate should fill each position, with a two thirds majority required.  

Why are only two positions up for election? 

  • It has been determined by the Shadow Board that no more than 25 per cent of the positions will be available on an annual basis.  This is to ensure there is a regular influx of new members while maintaining overall stability of the Shadow Board year-on-year. 
  • This year, two positions have been made available but existing supporters organisations such as the Supporters Club and Trust will be asked to confirm their nominated representatives separately. 

What does membership of the Shadow Board entail?

  • Members are expected to attend Shadow Board meetings, which are held every four to six weeks throughout the year. Wherever possible, attempts are made to hold meetings prior to home matches on Saturdays. 
  • Members are expected to contribute to discussions on Shadow Board and off-field club activity and policy, as well as making themselves open to the concerns and questions of fellow supporters. 

FAN-LED REVIEW GUIDANCE ON SHADOW BOARDS 

A Shadow Board should: 

  • consist of 5-12 members appointed according to a democratic process 
  • have a chair appointed from among its members on a seasonal basis 
  • have reserved seats for representatives from key supporter groups including: representatives of the body holding the Golden Share, equality, diversity and inclusion representatives, youth supporters and international supporters (if relevant) 
  • members should be subject to retirement by rotation, ensuring both that there is a regular turnover of members but also that at any one time there will be a number of experienced members on the Shadow Board 
  • hold at least quarterly meetings with club executives, with guaranteed attendance from the club CEO or equivalent twice per year 
  • It is recommended that the Shadow Board be engaged and consulted on (without limitation): 

- the club’s strategic vision and objectives 

- short, medium and long-term business plans 

- operational matchday issues of concern to supporters 

- any proposals relating to club heritage items 

- marketing, merchandising and sponsorship plans and performance. This would not involve consultation or approval on specific contracts or proposals but, for example, the club commercial director should meet the Shadow Board at least once per season to explain the club’s commercial strategy and how the club is performing in relation to such strategy. Similarly, the club marketing director would be expected to present once per season on the club’s marketing strategy and performance 

- stadium issues and plans 

- the club’s plan for broader supporter engagement 

- As part of the consultation process Shadow Board meetings should also receive suitably redacted club board papers (including any parent company boards that make relevant decisions on club operations) in advance of any meetings. This would accord with common practice for Shadow Boards in other industries. 

- It is important to emphasise two aspects of the Shadow Boards. Firstly, they should be seen as a minimum level of consultation, and clubs are encouraged to adopt additional mechanisms as appropriate for their circumstances. Secondly, the Shadow Board will not be a forum for supporters to discuss football matters with the club (e.g. formations, player performance). Meetings will be solely focused on the business side of the club.

*

Anyone seeking more information on the Shadow Board, candidacy for election, the election process or other matters can contact chairman Derek Daniels on sbchair@clubdoncaster.co.uk

To download the form in which candidates can record nominations, click HERE 


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