UKA and the Home Country Athletics Federations have launched the development of a UK based Independent Integrity Unit (IIU) for the sport, issuing a Request For Proposals (RFP) to be submitted from respondents and organisations with relevant experience and expertise to undertake this crucial role.

The intention for the establishment of the IIU, is that it takes over the case management, investigation, and prosecution of all safeguarding and disciplinary cases for athletics in the UK with the RFP reflecting a desire from the NGBs that respondents use their expertise and experience to help shape the IIU.

It is anticipated that the IIU will be established as an independent legal entity with governance that complies with the Code for Sports Governance and that the NGBs will transfer their caseload and recognise the IIU as having authority to determine cases on their behalf.

The milestone in this essential development for the sport has been reached through the ongoing collaboration between the governing bodies and represents an ambition to replicate the success and independent operation of the World Athletics model of the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU). Such a body would ensure independent decision-making and a pooling of resources with a better-coordinated system for the sport.

The request for proposal issued today can be read here [PDF attached] – the aim is to identify a preferred bidder by the end of 2023 with a new body operational by Summer 2024.

UKA CEO Jack Buckner said:

“This is a key moment for the sport in ensuring the integrity of the process around this crucial subject matter. We have seen internationally the successful introduction of the AIU by World Athletics and how that has revolutionised the management of cases at a global level.

“Like many sports in the UK we have carefully investigated the options available to us around this subject and we are excited to explore the opportunity for an independent integrity unit with this RFP today.

“We look forward to hearing from interested organisations over the course of the next few months, and very much hope this is the first step to a historic development in the progression of case management in the sport.”

England Athletics CEO Chris Jones said:

“Our joint vision for the IIU is to improve on the current processes by avoiding duplication and ambiguity amongst the multiple bodies all working hard in the same space. We also want to ensure greater consistency in the development of policy and process.

“We want to keep the safety of our athletes at the heart of what we do, ensuring the sport is safe and inclusive of all.”

“Independence of process, as well as financial efficiency, are also hugely important to the sport as a whole, and we are keen to hear from organisations that believe they can be part of this groundbreaking development for safeguarding and other integrity issues in the sport.”