CEO LETTER: Northumberland FA Company Restructure

As you will be aware from July 2018 Northumberland FA Ltd has been operating under a new business plan. In line with our new business plan we have recently undertaken a review of our workforce to ensure we are best placed to deliver our commitment to ‘Inspiring all to Play Football'.

We have been acutely under resourced in certain areas of the business, resulting in our quality of service to you being affected. I thank you for your constructive feedback in recent months and I apologise for the inconvenience caused as these changes have been taking place. However, rest assured we have been working extremely hard in the background to ensure we have a workforce that is fit for purpose moving forwards.

Now that our review of the workforce has been undertaken, I am in a position to inform you regarding our new structure and how this will be implemented out over the coming months.

The company will be moving to a workforce structure as set out below, which will align with our strategic objectives of:

  • Making football safe
  • Improving the quality of football
  • Increasing participation

Football Administration Unit

Our Football Administration unit will consist of four administrators. Rachel Carter has now returned from maternity leave on 5 November and her role will now change to Head of Administration with responsibility for managing our administrative function across the company.

Rachel will manage a further three administrators within the team, Richard Hedgecock joined us in October, with Lynn Barber  joining in January 2019 and a further administrator currently being recruited by 30 November 2018.

By January 2019 we will have a fully resourced administrative unit that will deliver the administration of player registration, club affiliation, league sanctioning, referee registration, coach and volunteer education amongst other functions in the company.

Business Development Unit

Our Business Development unit will support the growth of the company helping us to invest more resource into the game than ever before, whilst also ensuring we communicate and gain feedback effectively from our customers.

As Chief Executive Officer I will lead this unit, ensuring good governance within the company and that our overall strategic plan is appropriate and delivered.

We have created a new role of Commercial Manager within the organisation and appointed Andrew Cook to this role, which began on 5 November. Andrew will ensure our products and services are appropriate for the needs of our customers, whilst growing our portfolio of partners to ensure our offer to you is better than ever before.

Andrew will also manage Dan Simmonite; who is our part time Marketing and Communications Officer. Dan is tasked with ensuring our future communications are clear and that we raise the awareness of the work that Northumberland FA achieves.

Football Compliance Unit    

Our Football Compliance unit will work at ensuring the game is a safe place for people to participate. To that end our disciplinary service, led by Scott Flynn as Discipline Officer, will continue and our safeguarding service will be managed by Gill Shields.

Gill will also become our Head of Compliance from Monday 12 November and will manage the Discipline Officer role as well as our new Assistant Designated Safeguarding Officer, Michael Turner.

Football Quality Unit

The Football Quality unit’s remit is to ensure that participants in the game have an excellent experience through the provision of a quality facility, quality referee and a well skilled volunteer workforce, including coaches.

From 26 January 2019, Phil Robinson will head this unit in a new role of Head of Quality. Phil will manage our Referee Development Officer, currently Andrew Smith (1 year secondment) and our new Facilities Development Officer.  The Facilities Development Officer is currently vacant and recruitment for this role will commence in November.

Football Participation Unit

The Football Participation unit will focus on maintaining and increasing levels of participants in the male, female and game for people with a disability. The unit will support clubs and leagues and ensures we have appropriate and adequate player pathways for all participants.

From 26 January 2019, Ian Skinner will be our new Head of Participation with specific responsibility for the male pathway from youth to adult. Ian will also manage our Women and Girls Development Officer, Nicola Hepworth and our Disability Football Development Officer, Mark Dalglish (joint role with Newcastle United Foundation).


Unfortunately, our review has meant that some employees have decided to leave the organisation. Mark Woodhall has decided to leave us on 22 January 2019 after 15 years of service to Northumberland County FA. I would like to thank Mark for his commitment and dedication to the County FA over this period and we wish him all the best for the future.

As I am sure you will understand, we will now enter a period of transformation from the old structure to the new, with people being inducted and trained to ensure we can offer the best possible service. I thank you in advance for your patience during this short period; however I am sure you will experience an improvement immediately. As ever please continue to provide us with constructive feedback and look out for our new feedback survey to ensure we can continue to improve our service to you.

John Ackerley

Chief Executive Officer