Apologies again for the challenges being experienced with GMS – we all remain committed to resolving these and reaching a point where the data and information in it can help and support the efforts of clubs, CBs and the RFU.
Following conversations with club and CB representatives, several GMS User Groups and members of the GMS Facebook Group, we have set up an internal GMS Taskforce to seek to address challenges raised by clubs.
We are listening to feedback and understand frustrations, in particular around recent timelines for the data tidy-up and Player Affiliation. Our intention remains to make volunteers’ lives easier. However, we acknowledge we didn’t get the timing right and the opposite happened in some cases.
We will focus on improving engagement, providing earlier communication and working more closely with clubs to align requirements. An engagement plan will be implemented during the course of this season to ensure next season starts more smoothly for clubs.
We are also committed to holding a wider review of GMS usage and will invite Club and CB representatives to be part of this review to ensure we hear directly from the game.
A brief reminder of the range of services GMS provides for clubs:
- Competition management – how clubs register players and log 60,000 fixtures per year. Community game fixtures wouldn’t appear on the EnglandRugby.com without the GMS platform.
Clubs run safeguarding audits through GMS, including DBS checks. This allows clubs to ensure all required people are DBS checked and identifies who is current and whose checks will lapse shortly. The system is transferable when a volunteer moves clubs. Red flags can be against profiles, making the game safer .
More training courses are being booked on GMS than ever before as clubs use it to book coaching, match official, first aid and Kids First courses.
Club coaching and refereeing reports enable clubs to see who has attended each course, who are DBS checked and those coaches who have completed HEADCASE, Safeguarding and first aid courses.
Over 800 clubs have used GMS to affiliate more than 83,000 players in the past 2 months.
GMS has an ability to incorporate membership if clubs wish. More membership payments are being taken by clubs than ever before. £6 million was taken in 2019 and we are already well ahead of that figure this season.
We will provide clear guidance to help clubs get the best out of the GMS platform. The following steps have already been taken to address club concerns:
Paused the deadline for a data tidy-up and suspended the plan to automatically archive data from the system. While there is no longer a set deadline for the data tidy-up, we strongly encourage clubs to continue to work through records. There are over 2 million records in the Game Management System. 1.4m records are not active and 1 million records don’t have an email address, which is the only way an individual can recover their account and interact with the system.
Held focus sessions with CBs, Club Data Officer representatives and the GMS User Group, which meets regularly throughout the year, to better understand challenges.
Created a list of FAQs which is available here.
Added Data Officers to Community Game Updates to receive info directly.
Committed to earlier communications ahead of introducing major changes or new functionality to give clubs longer lead times.
Expand the role and number of user groups to ensure we are engaging with a wider representation of the game and covering the broad range of functionality provided by GMS. We will provide further information about the feedback process and how to get involved over the coming weeks.
Increase internal resource to focus on comms and engagement in this important area to match demand. GMS usage in August and September has increased 36% compared to the same period two years ago in advance of a full season. 260,000 users (GA) have used the system this season since August.
Clearly explain the rationale for Player Affiliation and how it will benefit clubs and players, alongside video guides outlining the simple process to affiliate (under 30 seconds).
Schedule GMS virtual drop-in sessions over the next couple of months, with a member of RFU staff available to answer clubs’ GMS queries.
Shortly, we will share an overview of GMS with user guides for clubs that are less familiar with its functions. We will also include a detailed explanation for why changes are necessary and how a data cleanse and Player Affiliation will benefit clubs in the long-term.
A detailed review will be undertaken to evaluate the purpose of the game administration system and the most appropriate platform to use. This will include assessing options for improvements to the current system as well as considering options for more transformational change.
We are committed to finding the right balance between enabling the RFU to have a clear view of how many people are playing rugby union in this country, to safeguard its future, and providing a user-friendly system that makes it easier for volunteers to get players on the pitch and manage their clubs efficiently.
Finding this balance will not be a short-term fix by next season, but we are confident of developing a more collaborative approach to understanding issues and priorities to help shape the future.