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AOC promises to overhaul internal culture after damning review
An independent review of the operations and management of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has highlighted that the body is out of step with the ideals of the Olympic movement and needs to rebuild trust and confidence with staff and stakeholders.
The independent review, undertaken by the Ethics Centre on behalf of the AOC, was undertaken after allegations of bullying within the organisation involving long-time media director Mike Tancred emerged earlier this year.
With the AOC’s own staff describing the organisation as being "out of step" and "dysfunctional", the review has delivered 17 key recommendations which the AOC has reportedly pledged to implement.
The report advised that “while staff and stakeholders hold the AOC in high regard and express immense pride in what the organisation has achieved over the years, they describe the organisation as being out of step with both their ideals and minimum expectations for a modern organisation.
“Instead of seeing the organisation as celebrating the best of the Olympic ideals, staff and stakeholders speak of a more immediate horizon of challenges and difficulties that stem from a culture that is not aligned with the ideals that the organisation aspires to uphold.”
Lack of transparency was raised frequently in surveys and interviews, particularly in relation to important decisions about the treatment of staff or external stakeholders.
However, with the survey sent to the 45 national federations, only 12 were prepared to complete that document and send it back.
The report makes distinct appraisal of AOC President John Coates' performance in that he has been responsible for Australia being held in high regard around the world in Olympic circles.
A typically defiant Coates today addressed the media, outlining there had been "no confirmation of bullying" in the review while defending his position as President.
He stated “there has been some criticism of the senior leaders.
"I'm the President, not the senior leader being criticised. The only personal criticism has been my acrimonious relationship with some stakeholders, particularly (Australian Sports Commission Chairman) John Wiley.
"It's suggested that my response to him was not in keeping with the Olympic values but it's also been noted that my response was in protecting the independence and the autonomy of the AOC and also of ensuring that there was no interference in the lateral process, which is required."
AOC Chief Executive Matt Carroll said the review provided a platform “to reset the organisation” as it looked ahead to the Tokyo Olympics.
Carroll advised “the AOC’s modes of operation that may at one time have served us well are being questioned and our organisational culture has come under scrutiny.”
The AOC said it would implement all 17 recommendations of the review, with three to be rolled out immediately: a review of the governance model; the establishment of a sub-committee of the executive to oversee the delivery of the recommendations; and the appointment of a dedicated people and culture resource.
Carroll added “the AOC executive acknowledges the reality of the challenge we face in this area and we are committed to build a culture that is fit for purpose and aligned to our exposed values and principles.
“The executive acknowledges to staff and stakeholders that there have been behaviours and practices that have not been aligned to the AOC’s values. I have a very strong view that you lead by the example you set. Not words, actions.”
In June, Tancred apologised for his “hurtful” and “inappropriate” conduct towards the organisation’s former Chief Executive Fiona De Jong, whose allegations were made last year but only came to light in April.
Tancred, who stood down from his position when the allegations emerged during a bitter AOC presidential campaign between John Coates and challenger Danni Roche, was cleared of bullying but reprimanded for “disreputable conduct”.
He remains stood down, on full pay, while a panel of former judges investigate four separate complaints made against him. He will discover his fate on 31st August.
Today has also seen the AOC announce that Ian Chesterman will be Australia’s Chef de Mission for the 2020 Tokyo Games.
Chesterman, who has been on the AOC’s executive board since 2001, replaces Kitty Chiller, who stepped down from the position after last year’s challenging Rio Games.
He has experience of the role, having been Chef de Mission for Australia’s Winter Olympics teams since 1998.
14th June 2017 - MIKE TANCRED APOLOGISES FOR THREATENING FORMER AOC CHIEF EXECUTIVE
9th June 2017 - AIS DIRECTOR MATT FAVIER MOVES TO HEAD HOCKEY AUSTRALIA
31st May 2017 - AOC MEDIA DIRECTOR MIKE TANCRED CLEARED OF BULLYING
27th April 2017 - AOC’S MIKE TANCRED STEPS DOWN FOLLOWING BULLYING ALLEGATIONS
13th April 2017 - AOC’S ANNUAL REPORT DETAILS $40,000 PAY RISE FOR JOHN COATES
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