The first of our sessions on Structured Dialogue held at this year’s Supporters Summit recapped the commitments made in the government Expert Working Group on Football Supporter Ownership and Engagement published in January 2016, looked at the successes and challenges in year one of its implementation on a national level and a local level in the professional game as well as discussing future proposals and implementation in Non-League.
Deborah Dilworth, Network Manager for the EFL presented findings from SD looking at how Structured Dialogue at local level is working in the EFL after the first season.
Deborah presented the results of an SD members survey conducted in October 2016, designed to establish the level of Structured Dialogue and satisfaction of supporters on this subject at the mid-point in the season.
The takeaway figures were that only 37% felt their clubs exceeded the requirement of meeting with a representative group of supporters (which includes the Supporters Trust) at least twice a year to discuss major issues while only 50% felt that supporters had the ability to add any topics to the agenda they would like to discuss at these meetings.
Monitoring will be ongoing and SD and the FSF have the opportunity to take findings back to the league in order to look to continue implementation and improvement of Structured Dialogue at this level.
SD and FSF have now sent the end of season review survey out so please check your emails and complete the survey to contribute your thoughts and experiences on Structured Dialogue with your club.
Nicola Hudson, Network Manager for the National Game then presented detailed plans to develop the current obligations in the non-league and discussed proposals recently put to the National League for a pilot season in 2017/18 with selected clubs taking part.
The Expert Working Group Report stated “The Premier League and Football League will lead with the new Structured Dialogue model. The proposed new Licensing System for the National Leagues will be reviewed to ensure that due consideration is given to Structured Dialogue and engagement when licensing clubs to operate in the National Leagues”
Nicola presented the structure of the proposed pilot season trial of Structured Dialogue at three clubs from each of the National League, National League North and National League South, suggesting each meeting the minimum levels laid out in the Expert Working Group recommendations, with a view to carrying out ongoing assessment with both supporters and the clubs in order to tailor a version of Structured Dialogue suitable for the level of the game.
Structured Dialogue Between Supporters & Leagues
Michael Brunskill from the FSF then talked to the delegates about Structured Dialogue on a national level between supporters and the leagues themselves and discussed how those meetings with the EFL, Premier League, FSF, SD and supporter’s representatives were being structured and looked at the selection process for the supporters representing various groups at those meetings.
It was fantastic to round the session up with a positive case study with delegates hearing how Fulham FC are embracing Structured Dialogue with a video and detailed presentation from Dan Crawford of the Fulham Supporters Trust which can be viewed at the top of this article.
The presentation slides from the session are available below.