National Integrity Framework: Safeguarding Children and Young People

Last month, we rolled out a blog post introducing the National Integrity Framework (NIF), outlining its core policies, and highlighting the essential connection between each member of the Australian Sporting Alliance for People with a Disability (ASAPD) and these principles. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, you can find it here.

Over the coming months, we will explore each specific policy of the National Integrity Framework (NIF) to provide you with more comprehensive insights. Kicking off this series, we’ll focus on the Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy. At ASAPD, we hold this policy in high regard, considering it one of the most crucial elements within our framework. Upholding the safety and well-being of children is paramount in our community, and we’re committed to ensuring it remains a top priority.

Children should always feel safe and supported in their environment, and this is certainly the case in sports. Just as there are rules to govern conduct during play, there are also rules that outline expected behaviour for others who may be present. All these rules share the same goal: to ensure the safety of children.

A Brief Video Explainer of the Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy  

We understand that people learn in different ways. That’s why we offer different ways to learn about each policy.  You can watch a video explainer of the Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy at this link: SGCYP video. Also, for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, the policy is available in Auslan at this link:  SGCYP Auslan video.

If you prefer reading, we’ll provide a detailed introduction to the Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy below.

Safeguarding Children and Young People – Some Facts Which Make This Policy Necessary: 

Despite the desire for sport to be a safe and positive experience for children and young people, history (including recent history) shows this is not always the case. This was laid bare by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (“Royal Commission”). The facts of the Royal Commission are startling.

42,041 

cases handled 

25,964 

letters received 

8,013 

private sessions conducted 

2,575 

Referrals to authorities 

 

Of these cases, 408 instances of abuse occurred in sport, with 66% of the victim-survivors in sport between 10 and 14 years of age, and 11% of the victim-survivors aged 15 and above.  

Additional research conducted with victim-survivors show poor experience across different metrics: 

95% 

Mental Ill-Health 

67% 

Difficulties with relationships 

56% 

Difficulties with education/finance 

 

Furthermore, research has demonstrated that people in minority groups (including people with disability) are twice as likely to suffer from sexual abuse, with 75% of cases involving sexual abuse being peer-to-peer abuse, and not necessarily a person in a position of power.  

Unfortunately, it is well-known that not all victim-survivors report their abuse to others, so it is imperative that we as a community implement as many barriers to those who may abuse children to provide them the safe environment they deserve because the impact is devastating. ASAPD and its members are committed to creating this safe environment, and we ask you to join our commitment to protect sport together.  

Prohibited Conduct Under the Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy: 

Prohibited conduct is conduct that is banned under the policy. The conduct prohibited in this policy includes: 

  1. Child abuse, including physical, emotional, psychological and sexual abuse, as well as neglect and exposure to family violence. 
  2. Grooming, which is behaviour that manipulates or controls a child/young person, their family, guardian and carers, or other support networks, or organisations, with the intention to gain access to the child/young person, obtain the child/young person’s compliance, maintain the child/young person’s silence, and avoid discovery of sexual abuse. 
  3. Misconduct with a child, including age-inappropriate behaviour, or behaviour that places the child at risk of harm. 
  4. Asking a child to keep any communication secret.  
  5. Supplying alcohol, drugs (including tobacco), or medicines, except with appropriate consent and under a valid prescription.  
  6. Failing to comply with recruitment and screening requirements. 
  7. Failing to report a breach of Prohibited Conduct. 
  8. Breaching any of the child-safe practices that cover actions including (but not limited to): 
  • Photographing/filming children.  
  • Travel arrangements. 
  • Overnight stays. 
  • Change room arrangements. 
  • Electronic and online communications. 
  • Discipline and physical contact.  

The behaviour that can create a lot of concern or confusion for many people is the use of filming and photography of children.  

To address these concerns and provide clarity, Sport Integrity Australia (SIA) has developed a comprehensive guidebook outlining best practices for capturing images of children and young people. This guidebook serves as a valuable resource for anyone involved in photographing or filming minors and is accessible here. By adhering to these best practices, we not only foster a safe environment for children and young people but also safeguard adults and other children from any potential allegations of inappropriate photography or filming.

In addition to the guidebook, SIA has conducted  a webinar on this issue, which is available for viewing here. Both the guidebook and webinar offer valuable insights into obtaining informed consent for photographing or filming children and young people, educating children, young people, parents, and staff, and providing guidance on reporting suspected breaches of policies.

Beyond the Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy – Actions and Behaviours:

Implementing  the Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy was essential here at ASAPD, but it’s important to recognise that having a policy is just one piece of the puzzle. We must also put the requirements of the policy through our behaviours and actions in various situations within the sporting environment, where children may be more vulnerable. These instances include:

  • Recruiting, screening, and inducting staff and volunteers to work with children/young people. 
  • Transporting children/young people to and from venues, or accompanying them to camps or competitions, whether locally, interstate, or even internationally.
  • Providing accommodations for children/young people when they travel for sport. 
  • Ensuring the safety and privacy of change rooms and dressing rooms.

Children and young people are not only vulnerable in physical environments but also in online settings, such as through social media and other online communication tools commonly used in sports. Therefore, it’s crucial to consider how we can make the online environment safe for them and ensure it’s also safe for any adults who may need to communicate with children and young people online, such as coaches.  

To provide guidance on actions and behaviours, SIA has developed resources accessible to staff, volunteers, parents and children alike. You can find these resources under the heading ‘Safeguarding’ here.  

I Think a Policy Has Been Breached – Who Do I Complain To?  

For serious types of misbehaviour, such as breaches of the Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy, there exists an independent complaint handling body known asSport Integrity Australia (SIA). To file a complaint regarding these matters, you can follow this link. It’s important to note that only  matters occurring after our signing of the NIF on  19 September 2023 can be reported to SIA. However, if you’re uncertain or have serious concerns, we recommend contacting  SIA on 1300 027 232 for a confidential discussion, where they can also provide further guidance on which body is the most appropriate for your complaint.

ASAPD’s One Voice Alliance: Greater collaboration will deliver greater inclusion for all in Australian sport

The Australian Sporting Alliance for People with a Disability (ASAPD) has recently launched its One Voice Alliance program to the Australian sporting sector – a vehicle to furthering greater inclusion for all Australians, of all abilities, in all sports.

The One Voice Alliance program is dedicated to fostering meaningful collaboration between ASAPD and National Sports Organisations (NSOs), and has already secured the support and involvement from Tennis Australia, Surf Life Saving Australia, Skate Australia with others to be announced shortly.

The program’s objectives are two-fold:

  1. Drive cooperative initiatives aimed at enhancing inclusivity in sport for individuals living with a disability; and
  2. Empower NSOs to effectively administer inclusive programs at various levels.

An evolution of the Inclusion Alliance Project from 2017, One Voice Alliance marks a significant step towards supporting and educating NSOs about the importance of accommodating for individuals living with a disability and how to deliver upon this, by providing bespoke educational resources, workshops, training, and other activities.

ASAPD CEO Dr Phil Hamdorf, believes the initiative is unique within the sport sector and is buoyed by the positive response to date, saying “Our ultimate aim is to develop more effective engagement strategies that ensure sport programs become truly inclusive for individuals living with a disability.” he said.

“By strengthening the inclusive capacity of sport, the program not only empowers individuals but also supports the growth of their respective sport, it really is a win-win for all, and we look forward to welcoming more NSOs into the One Voice Alliance,” said Dr Hamdorf.

For more information or to become involved email Dr Hamdorf at ceo@asapd.org.

 

Introducing the National Integrity Framework

Some members and followers may have heard about the implementation of the National Integrity Framework (NIF) by the Australian Sporting Alliance for People with a Disability (ASAPD), but many may still be wondering what exactly the NIF entails and why it holds significance, not just for our organisation, but also for the broader sporting community in Australia.

The NIF is a suite of policies that establish consistent rules for all individuals in the Australian sporting community – including athletes, coaches, volunteers, staff, and board members – to follow regarding their conduct and behaviour in sport. ASAPD is just one of the many National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) or National Sporting Organisations for people with Disability (NSODs) to have adopted and implemented the NIF in an effort to standardise acceptable behaviour in sport, making it safer, fairer, and more inclusive for all participants.

Where did the NIF originate?

The NIF emerged as a response to both local and global threats to the safety and integrity of sport in Australia, as highlighted in the 2018 Report of the Review of Australia’s Sports Integrity Arrangements  (the Wood Review). The Wood Review covered five key themes and made 52 recommendations. The five themes were: 

 

  1. A stronger response to match-fixing 
  2. Regulation of gambling and sports wagering 
  3. Enhancing Australia’s anti-doping capability
  4. The development of a National Sports Tribunal 
  5. The development of a National Sports Integrity Commission 
     

A year before the Wood Review, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse conducted another review, focussing on concerning conduct in Australia more broadly. Although the Royal Commission examined institutions across the nation, Volume 14 of its report revealed the ongoing necessity to safeguard children and young people from abuse within the sporting environment and other community institutions. 

What are the NIF Policies that I need to be aware of? 

The NIF comprises five policies – four core policies – and one policy that underpins the other four. 

The four core policies – each with an explainer video link for more information – are: 

1. Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy

2. Member Protection Policy

3. Competition Manipulation and Sports Gambling Policy

4. Improper Use of Drugs and Medicines Policy​

Each of the above policies defines what is known as ‘Prohibited Conduct’ – actions or behaviour which are unacceptable to us at ASAPD.

The Complaints, Disputes and Discipline Policy is the policy that underpins the core policies of the NIF. The purpose of this policy is to hold individuals or sporting organisations accountable for their misconduct or wrongdoing and explains how they will be held accountable for their actions.

I think a Policy has been breached – who do I raise it with?  

For serious types of misbehaviours, there is an independent complaint handling body called Sport Integrity Australia (SIA). Complaints that should be made to SIA are concerns regarding breaches of the Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy or complaints about discrimination. For complaints related to these matters, you can follow this link. Only matters that have occurred after we signed the NIF on 19 September 2023 can be reported to SIA.

Matters that do not involve safeguarding concerns or discrimination, or occurred prior to us signing the NIF, should be reported to us at ASAPD. Our contact details are NIM@asapd.org.  

To break it down, we have compiled a list below:

Complaints to SIA
Complaints to us
  • Misconduct with a child or young person • Sexual behaviour with or around a child or young person
  • Shaming, humiliating, intimidating or belittling a child or young person
  • Causing a child or young person physical pain or discomfort
  • Breaching the Child/Young Person Safe Practices
  • Supplying of drugs or alcohol to a child or young person
  • Discrimination based on: – race or ethnicity – age – disability – sex or sexual orientation – religion
  • Doping (managed under the sport’s Anti-Doping Policy)
YOU MUST REPORT TO SIA IF IT INVOLVES A CHILD OR YOUNG PERSON. 
  • Abuse, bullying or harassment between adults
  • Victimisation of an adult
  • Sexual Misconduct between adults
  • Match, race or competition fixing and other types of Competition Manipulation
  • Supplying inside information for the purposes of gambling
  • Betting by members on their own sport
  • Unlawful use or provision of over the counter or prescription drugs or supplements
  • Use, possession or trafficking of illegal drugs
  • Concealing information about Prohibited Conduct
  • Selection and eligibility disputes
  • Competition Rules disputes
  • Code of Conduct breaches
  • Social Media Policy breaches
  • Governance misconduct
  • Employment disputes
  • Complaints that are solely a Personal Grievance
  • Whistleblower disclosures
  • Any conduct that occurred before your sports commencement date
  • Any other policies that your sport has

If you are still unsure whether to make a complaint to Sport Integrity Australia or us, you can call SIA at 1300 027 232, and they will be able to provide you with further guidance on which is the most appropriate body to make your complaint to.  

Keeping Australian sport safe

Throughout this year, we will be providing information and education on various NIF policies and areas of concern through newsletters and our social media channels. We hope you will follow this campaign to help make our sporting organisation as safe as possible.  

Additionally, Sport Integrity Australia has created a series of free e-learning short courses on each of the topics, which can be completed at your own pace and accessed by registering here. These courses offer excellent professional development opportunities for athletes, coaches, volunteers, and staff alike. While we do not mandate these courses for every participant in our organisation, completing them is a meaningful way to demonstrate our commitment to keeping our community safe and contributing to the safety of the broader Australian sporting. It’s time to replace the old maxim ‘knowledge is power’ with the new idea that ‘knowledge is empowering’.

If you are interested in connecting with our Integrity team, have questions or wish to explore opportunities for collaboration, please feel free to reach out to admin@asapd.org.

We believe in the power of collaboration and welcome your engagement as we work together to create positive change.

Embracing a New Year of Inclusive Sports

It’s remarkable how quickly we’ve progressed into 2024! However, this moment marks the perfect opportunity to explore new possibilities and embrace the joy of inclusive sports. 

Here at the Australian Sporting Alliance for People with a Disability (ASAPD), we actively collaborate, advocate, and facilitate inclusive sports and physical activities for individuals with disability, impairments, or limitations. Our mission is centred on creating empowering pathways for individuals to engage in sports and physical activities within a welcoming and inclusive environment. We firmly believe that the journey of health, well-being, and inclusivity through sports is anything but mundane; it’s an exploration of the boundless possibilities that lie ahead.

Before we get into all the details, let’s take a moment to appreciate the profound impact of sports on health and well-being. Research consistently highlights that engagement in sports not only enhances physical fitness but also nurtures mental well-being, creating a sense of community and belonging. In the arena of disability sports, these benefits are magnified, offering a unique avenue for individuals to thrive.

Here at ASAPD, we’ve fostered collaborations with several National Sporting Organisations for People with Disability, all united by the belief that sport is truly for everyone. If you’re eager to be a part of this journey, take a closer look at our partners below and explore the opportunities they offer. 

Blind Sports Australia: Blind Sports Australia (BSA) stands as a national sporting organisation dedicated to blind and vision-impaired sports. From grassroots community participation to elite competitions at national and international levels, BSA is committed to creating pathways and opportunities for individuals who are blind or have low vision. As a not-for-profit organisation and a founding member of Paralympics Australia, BSA advocates for the blind community, promotes social inclusion, and encourages a sustainable, healthy lifestyle through blind sports. Explore blind sports opportunities at Blind Sports Australia.

Deaf Sports Australia: Deaf Sports Australia (DSA) serves as the national peak body, offering advice, services, and support for athletes who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. Through active deaf programs and government initiatives, DSA aims to foster community engagement and inclusivity. The organisation collaborates with various entities, including governments, businesses, and sporting bodies, to create a network supporting deaf and mainstream sports. Learn more about DSA’s programs at Deaf Sports Australia.

Disability Sports Australia: Disability Sports Australia (DSA) is dedicated to improving lives through sports. With initiatives such as the popular Abilities Unleashed program for both Kids and Adults, Sports Incubator, and Accessibility Champion Certification, DSA connects individuals with disabilities to local active and adaptive opportunities. Discover more at Disability Sports Australia.

Disabled Wintersport Australia: Disabled Wintersport Australia (DWA) serves as the National Sporting Organisation responsible for adaptive winter sports in Australia. Operating across major snow resorts in New South Wales and Victoria, DWA collaborates closely with resort management teams to deliver positive experiences for members. From recreational skiers to Winter Paralympians, DWA’s programs cater to a diverse range of winter sports enthusiasts. Explore snowy adventures with DWA here.

Riding for the Disabled Australia: Riding for the Disabled Australia (RDA) is recognised by Sport Australia as the peak body for equestrian sport for people with disability. RDA’s programs cater to participants with a wide range of intellectual and physical disabilities, starting from the age of three. To explore equestrian opportunities with RDA, visit Riding for the Disabled Australia.

Special Olympics Australia: Special Olympics Australia, established in 1976, has been a key player in providing opportunities for individuals with intellectual disability. With 7,000 participants across 18 sports and 45 clubs, Special Olympics Australia aims to open doors to personal achievement, pride, and inclusion. Explore opportunities at a club near you via Special Olympics Australia.

Sport Inclusion Australia: Sport Inclusion Australia, formerly AUSRAPID, was established in 1986 to facilitate the inclusion of people with intellectual impairments into the mainstream community through sports. With a focus on ability and social inclusion principles, Sport Inclusion Australia processes eligibility applications for athletes with intellectual impairments. Explore their initiatives and eligibility criteria here.

Transplant Australia: Transplant Australia is a charitable organisation supporting transplant recipients and their families, people on waiting lists, donor families, living donors, and healthcare professionals. Through programs like the Australian Transplant Games and Fit for Life, Transplant Australia encourages physical activity to increase survival rates in transplant recipients. The organisation also runs awareness activities and public campaigns to inspire organ donation. Learn more about Transplant Australia’s impactful work here.

The options are endless to become an active part of Australia’s sporting landscape. Whether you’re intrigued by the slopes, wanting to embrace equestrian adventures, or seeking opportunities for personal achievements – there’s a welcoming space for everyone.

We encourage you to explore the diverse offerings of our partners. Join us in fostering inclusivity, discovering your own capabilities, and making active living a part of your lifestyle. Together we can all contribute to a culture where everyone, regardless of ability, can thrive in the world of sports.

Speed, Strategy and Success: Learnings from 90 days as ASAPD CEO – Dr. Phil Hamdorf

Taking on the role of CEO at the Australian Sporting Alliance for People with a Disability (ASAPD) has been an incredible privilege and insightful journey to date. 

From the moment I was appointed, I was genuinely enthusiastic about collaborating with organisations dedicated to providing outstanding services to individuals living with disability. The support I received personally from the industry and my network was heartening, and I remain energised by ASAPD’s purpose and the potential we all have to make meaningful change. And we need to do it now.

The time for change was yesterday

As I stepped into the newly formed position, my mission was clear: make a positive impact on our partners’ initiatives and help them better serve the community. 

Now, three months into my role, it has become evident that the sector dedicated to providing sport for individuals living with disability exhibits characteristics of fragmentation, uncertainty, and inaction. While many National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) express high intentions and offer exceptional programming options, a significant number still lack sufficient resources to address inclusion and diversity as comprehensively as is required.

I have delivered our first Annual Report, held our first Annual General Meeting, championed the rollout of the Education Coaching Modules of which hundreds of Australians involved in sport have already successfully completed. The list of meetings, grant applications, budgets and papers is extensive and expected and we are making true progress as influencers in the sector.

One unified voice for greater inclusion

One program I’m particularly proud of steering is our One Voice Partnership Initiative, which aims to bolster the capacity of NSOs to effectively manage programs and raise awareness of disability practices within their respective organisations. The overarching goal is to facilitate improved engagement strategies for participants, ultimately making sports programs more inclusive for individuals with disabilities.

The One Voice Partnership Initiative is an evolution of the Inclusion Alliance Project established in 2019. A large priority of mine is to seek opportunities for ASAPD to work closely alongside NSOs to enhance the awareness of disability practices within each organisation’s workforce. This may involve activities such creating toolkits, providing educational resources, conducting workshops, having roundtable discussions and agreeing to action plans for success.

Looking beyond ASAPD’s membership, we recognise that numerous entities provide sports and active recreation services to people with disability, often working in isolation. We’re delving deeper to understand these organisations better and exploring if ASAPD can play a broader role, particularly in areas related to service quality and compliance with standards.

The power of communication, collaboration and celebration

Undoubtedly, the paramount lesson I’ve gleaned is the critical importance of not only effective communication, but also its continuous nature. To me, effective and continuous communication is the linchpin for success in professional conversations and collaborative undertakings. I’ve also come to understand that this sector is defined by individuals and organisations that, for the most part, have a genuine desire to contribute positively to their communities and are driven by principled intentions and aspirations.

Excitingly, these reflections coincide with a significant milestone for ASAPD. We are preparing to celebrate our birthday, and it’s no coincidence that it aligns with the International Day for People with Disability. This day holds special significance as it highlights the achievements and contributions of individuals with disability worldwide. It’s a powerful reminder of the importance of our mission and the positive impact sports can have on the lives of those we serve.

As we approach these milestones, I’m filled with optimism about the road ahead. These lessons, combined with the spirit of inclusivity symbolised by not only International Day for People with Disability, but by Australians every day, will undoubtedly guide ASAPD to new heights. 

Together, we will continue to move forward at pace, championing sports and activities for people with disability, ensuring that no one is left behind.

Regards, 

Phil Hamdorf PHD GAICD
CEO – ASAPD

Meet our new National Integrity Manager: Ross Ashcroft

We are delighted to welcome Ross Ashcroft as our new National Integrity Manager at the ASAPD. Ross brings a wealth of knowledge and a unique perspective, shaped by a global educational journey and a commitment to human rights, justice, and inclusion.

Ross’s educational background is as diverse as his international experiences, spanning five countries—Australia, Singapore, China, Germany, and Canada. With nine tertiary qualifications, his expertise covers areas such as Law, Chinese language and culture, Islamic studies, Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), and High-Performance Sport. Additionally, he holds vocational qualifications in sports massage, personal training, strength & conditioning, and athlete well-being.

With a foundation in academia and law, Ross has been a dedicated advocate for human rights, justice, procedural fairness, and inclusion throughout his career. His journey led him to the world of sports, where he actively participates in local, national, and international events, serving in athlete support roles.

Ross’s commitment to integrity and inclusion in sports is evident through his involvement in key events such as the INAS Games 2019, OA Virtus Games 2022, and the Virtus Global Games 2023 in Vichy. These experiences not only showcase his dedication but also highlight his understanding of the needs of athletes in various settings.

Currently, Ross contributes to the International Paralympic Committee’s Independent Board of Appeals and the Independent Anti-Doping Tribunal, further strengthening his commitment to upholding the highest standards of integrity in sports.

Ross Ashcroft’s curiosity about the world, combined with his diverse education and experience, drives his dedication to advancing the vision and purpose of the ASAPD and its member organisations. We are confident that his leadership as the National Integrity Manager will play a pivotal role in ensuring the integrity and inclusivity of our organisation and the broader sports community. Join us in welcoming Ross Ashcroft to the ASAPD team as we continue our commitment to excellence and inclusivity in sports.

Water Polo Australia Partners with ASAPD to Enhance Inclusion in Sports

In February 2023, Water Polo Australia (WPA) and the Australian Sporting Alliance for People with a Disability (ASAPD) initiated a strategic partnership, setting the stage for a unified approach to enhance sport inclusion for individuals with disability, impairment, or limitation. This partnership aimed to tap into the collective knowledge of ASAPD, offering invaluable insights to WPA as it embarked on the process of creating its inaugural Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (IDE) strategy.

Holly Tyrrell, WPA’s General Manager of Strategy, played an instrumental role in the formation of this partnership.  She highlighted, “It has been as exciting opportunity to pilot a collaborative partnership between an NSO like water polo and ASAPD, offering the advantage of the collective voice representing all NSOD’s.”

The partnership provided a host of mutual benefits, including:

  • ASAPD representation on the WPA IDE Steering Panel, contributing expertise on disability-specific matters and WPA’s holistic approach to inclusion and intersectionality.
  • ASAPD advocating the services of its member organisations, guiding WPA in identifying specific NSODs for targeted initiatives.
  • Both organisations collaborated to provide practical advice and develop initiatives, ensuring that a disability perspective was ingrained across all WPA’s activities.
  • ASAPD endorsement of the WPA finalised strategy, underscoring its commitment to the initiative.

John Croll, Chair of ASAPD, emphasised the importance of this partnership, stating, “This collaboration is a prime example of why the ASAPD exists; to help all sporting organisations across the country become more aware, and more prepared to support people with disability in their sport and clubs. We aim to foster a movement of ‘all sports and all disabilities’, and like WPA, we encourage everyone to embrace and nurture this essential culture within their organisations.”

The partnership with ASAPD provided WPA with a direct channel, ensuring that it had the best representation, not just from a single disability organisation, but from a collective voice representing a diverse range of disabilities and limitations. As a result, WPA was well equipped to address internal barriers and pave the way for a more inclusive and safe environment, welcoming individuals with disabilities, impairments, and limitations to participate in water polo.

Miranda Frisken, General Manager of Sport Development at WPA, expressed, “We are thrilled to continue developing our partnership with ASAPD as we work hand-in-hand to support the growth of water polo by enhancing our ability to cater for disability communities engaging with our sport.” Miranda Frisken, General Manager – Sport Development, WPA.

To explore how ASAPD can support your Sporting Organisation across all areas of disability sport, inclusion, and community engagement, visit www.asapd.org

Q&A with ASAPD CEO, Dr Phil Hamdorf

We are thrilled to introduce Phil Hamdorf, PhD GAICD, our inaugural Chief Executive Officer here at the Australian Sporting Alliance for People with a Disability (ASAPD).

With a career spanning three decades in health, sports, and public administration, Dr. Hamdorf brings a wealth of experience and expertise to this pivotal role.

Having held prestigious leadership and advisory positions within government sport portfolios, he has also served as the President of Exercise and Sports Science Australia and Sports Medicine Australia SA.

Thank you for joining us, Phil. Can you please share a brief overview of your career and the story of how you became involved in the disability sporting sector? We’d love to hear about your journey and what motivated you to bring your expertise and passion to the cause of promoting sports for individuals with disabilities.

I began my professional journey as a trainee nurse at the Strathmont Centre in Adelaide, a government-operated facility that offered specialised services, housing, and training for individuals with intellectual disabilities. This marked my initial exposure to the world of disability. Following this, I pursued my education degrees.

After a brief teaching stint, I transitioned to the Royal Adelaide Hospital, where I dedicated over two decades to the Department of Geriatric and Rehabilitation Medicine. During my tenure, I established the Centre for Physical Activity in Ageing, which provided a wide array of clinical, preventive health, and research programs tailored for older individuals, many of whom grappled with varying degrees of disability, primarily stemming from orthopaedic and neurological conditions.

Subsequently, I embarked on a new phase of my career within the South Australian public sector as the head of the agency responsible for sport and recreation. This move prompted my family to relocate to Sydney, where I assumed various senior executive positions within the sport sector.

Most recently, I have taken on roles on several boards across the sport and leisure sector in Australia. Throughout my career, my strong ties to sport have remained steadfast, making it a natural progression to utilise my expertise in promoting sport and enhancing participation for individuals living with disability.

Congratulations on your recent appointment as the inaugural CEO here at the Australian Sporting Alliance for People with a Disability (ASAPD)! What motivated you to take on this leadership role within ASAPD?

I found motivation in numerous opportunities that I believed could enhance and encourage involvement in sport and physical activity among individuals living with disability. ASAPD essentially serves as an ‘umbrella’ organisation that advocates for the interests of NSODs (National Sporting Organisations for People with Disability), and I saw this as an intriguing test of my abilities as a collaborator and facilitator.

As CEO, can you also share some initial thoughts and plans for advancing our mission and goals?

ASAPD faces a substantial task ahead to ensure the ongoing backing and collaboration of its constituent NSODs. ASAPD should focus its efforts in areas where there is no redundancy with member organisations, often referred to as the ‘white space.’ Specifically, it is imperative for ASAPD to foster collaborative initiatives in fields such as education, research and shared services. Furthermore, ASAPD must take a more proactive role in raising political and commercial awareness regarding the benefits of empowering individuals living with disability.

With your experience in exercise science, preventive health, and leadership roles in different organisations, can you tell us how health and disability sports are connected? Also, how do you plan to use these principles to improve the fitness, health, and well-being of people with disabilities through sports programs?

The advantages of raising one’s physical activity level are identical for individuals, whether they have a disability or not. The physical, psychological, social and mental health enhancements achieved through increased physical activity, particularly through sports, are valuable for everyone, regardless of their level of impairment. In fact, it could be argued that physical inactivity has more significant repercussions for individuals living with disability, making their participation in physical activity and sport even more meaningful and valuable. Although the methods of involving people living with disability may vary, the potential positive influence on their lives remains the same.

From your perspective, why is it crucial to have collaborative efforts among organisations and stakeholders in promoting disability sports and creating opportunities for individuals with disability, impairment or limitation to participate and thrive in sports?

Australia is fortunate to have a multitude of organisations offering sport programs and opportunities for individuals living with disability. While this expands options for consumers, it can also lead to discord and intensified competition for limited resources. Therefore, enhanced cooperation and collaborative initiatives are essential to reduce redundancy and optimise the utilisation of scarce resources.

As Chair of the Board at Skate Australia, how is the organisation actively enhancing inclusivity and accessibility? What unique experiences and strategies have you seen or implemented in this regard?

Skate Australia has been actively engaged in various initiatives. We recently brought in a specialist resource to conduct a comprehensive analysis, with a specific focus on gender equity, to identify opportunities for improving the environment for female skate coaches within skateboarding structures. Additionally, we have just formulated a Gender Equity Action Plan.

Our involvement extends to supporting local community organisations in advancing all-abilities activities and equipment through active representation and collaborative efforts.

Furthermore, we have participated in a mapping project aimed at identifying deficiencies in access to skateparks and skate facilities. This project will serve as a valuable resource for communities by providing a comprehensive overview of skateboarding options throughout Australia. Moreover, it will offer crucial guidance to councils and state governments in their efforts to make these facilities as safe and inclusive as possible.

As a member of the Project Steering Group for the nation’s first codesigned National Sport Participation Strategy Project, can you share some of the key objectives or initiatives that you and your group are currently working on to enhance sport participation?

Being part of the Project Steering Group for this initiative has been a tremendous privilege. While the strategy is still under development, it is poised to embody innovative methods and fresh perspectives in the administration of our conventional sporting codes. The emphasis will be on ensuring inclusivity in sport for all and recognising the significance of enjoyment and a sense of belonging. The group is focussing on several key principles, including equal access, lifelong engagement and a cultural shift. I am optimistic that this strategy will be both groundbreaking and audacious in its mission and determination to boost participation in sport.

Aside from your current roles and responsibilities, are there any other exciting plans or initiatives that you are currently working on or looking forward to in the future?

My son, who is an experienced builder, is constructing a new residence for my wife and I in Adelaide. It’s a thrilling but somewhat overwhelming endeavour for us, as we’ve never been involved in home construction before. Having to make a wide array of choices, such as wall finishes, colour schemes, placement of power outlets, solar systems, door styles, and more, is quite unfamiliar to us, as we’ve always purchased pre-existing homes.

Fast five: 

Top food – Seafood risotto

Top book – ‘Blood, Sweat & Steel’ by Curtis McGrath – an excellent read!!

Top destination – Noosaville, Queensland

Top person – Barack Obama

Top tip – I like the Confucius quote “He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.”

Meet Our New Finance, Audit, and Risk Committee Members: Michelle Windsor and Freya Riddel

We are delighted to introduce two outstanding individuals who will be joining the ASAPD Finance, Audit, and Risk (FAR) Committee. These esteemed members will play a pivotal role in overseeing financial accounts, internal controls, insurance activities, and shaping the future of our organisation.

Michelle Windsor

Michelle brings over two decades of leadership experience in diverse Asia Pacific financial services to our committee. Her analytical and creative thinking skills are exceptional, driving innovative solutions for ASAPD. Michelle’s global network is an asset, with a proven ability to build senior-level relationships in the financial industry, enriched by her cross-cultural expertise in Asia. She’s a seasoned leader, known for successfully implementing impactful programs. Beyond her professional accomplishments, Michelle is deeply engaged in the community, actively participating in sports, and contributing to organisations like Sport NSW, recreational clubs, elite athlete mentoring, and migrant English teaching.

Freya Riddel

Freya is a Chartered Accountant with over eight years of diverse global financial services experience in cities such as London, Shanghai, Paris, and now Sydney, brings a wealth of skills and passion to our committee. Notably, Freya led the delivery of a government contract for the National Deaf Children’s Charity in London, aiming to reform UK Special Educational Needs legislation, showcasing her commitment to creating positive change. Her personal motivation for this role comes from her belief in the transformative power of sports and her experience with a sibling facing complex needs, driving her dedication to making a difference. Freya’s professional contributions extend to conducting financial health reviews for organisations in Kenya, emphasising her commitment to financial sustainability. Her multidisciplinary expertise, advocacy for social impact, passion for empowerment, and dedication to financial sustainability make her an invaluable addition to the ASAPD Finance, Audit, and Risk Committee.

If you’re interested in connecting with Michelle Windsor or Freya Riddel, have questions about the ASAPD FAR Committee, or wish to explore opportunities for collaboration, please feel free to reach out to us at admin@asapd.org. We believe in the power of collaboration and welcome your engagement as we work together to create positive change.

 

ASAPD Appoints Dr Phil Hamdorf as Inaugural Chief Executive Officer

Sydney, Monday 11 September 2023: The Australian Sporting Alliance for People with a Disability (ASAPD) announced today the appointment of Phil Hamdorf PhD GAICD as its inaugural Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately.

Dr. Hamdorf, an esteemed executive with three decades’ experience in health, sports and public administration, was appointed following an extensive month-long search that attracted outstanding talent from both Australia and overseas.

Throughout his career, Dr. Hamdorf has held distinguished leadership and advisory roles within government sport portfolios, in addition to serving as the President of Exercise and Sports Science Australia and Sports Medicine Australia SA.

Expressing his enthusiasm at being appointed Dr. Hamdorf stated, “There are tremendous opportunities to spearhead a unified effort in creating active and enriched lives by fostering inclusive sporting and physical sector environments.”

“As CEO of ASAPD, my primary focus will be on advocating, educating, informing, supporting, and enhancing the capacity of the broader sports sector to be fully inclusive for all individuals living with disability. I’m honoured to take on this privileged position.”

John Croll AM, Independent Chair of the Board of Directors at ASAPD, was confident with the appointment commenting, “Phil’s extensive leadership experience in this sector, coupled with his proven ability to unite people, will play a critical role in the delivery of our strategic plans. Not only is he the most qualified individual for this important position, but he is also a true champion for inclusivity; and with his clear vision, I am certain he will drive ASAPD forward.”

ASAPD represents a collaborative initiative between eight participating Australian National Sporting Organisations for People with Disabilities (NSODs), all of whom have joined forces to establish a unified voice in their quest to enhance sports and physical activity accessibility for individuals with disabilities, impairments, or limitations. Ultimately, this initiative supports the diverse communities they collectively represent.

For more information about ASAPD visit www.asapd.org