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Northumberland FA Quarter 3 Review

Outlines our performance against our agreed key performance indicators

At the start of the season, we outlined our commitment to keeping all our grassroots football community updated on the CFA's performance throughout the season. Please see below a summary of our Quarter 3 (January – March 2023) performance against our agreed key performance indicators with The FA and internally as part of our Business Strategy from 2021 through to 2024.


This season, we have adopted a new system of work, with our entire caseload across all elements of compliance managed through RecordMYThe figures show that there is a delay to acknowledging cases, but this is simply a reflection of the fact this data is pulled from an ‘acknowledgement’ button within the system – this was often forgotten during the initial usage of RecordMY and corrected during Quality Control checksIt’s important to note that in the last 90 days, Safeguarding Cases have been acknowledged within 1 day and resolved within 7 (on average), demonstrating the efficiency now the system is embeddedThis is further supported by noting that, in the last 90 days, discipline cases are averaging 17 days to close, meaning we are well within our 28 day targets. 


Finally, I’d like to note that the compliance team has already worked in excess of 300 cases season to date – every single one of these has been resolved within their respective timescales and that is testament to the excellent skillset and professionalism of the team, who have dealt with several incredibly difficult matters this season.


Participation - Players




Male/Mixed Pathway


The male/mixed pathway has grown in 2022/23 in terms of registered players. Currently there are 21,303 male players playing football for an affiliated team or in FA programmes in Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland. Opportunities to find football near you and play can be searched on the England Football Find Football search engine.


In addition to the fantastic work of our youth, adults, and Vets, leagues supporting affiliated teams, Northumberland FA has supported opportunities to keep people playing, bring new people into the game facing barriers to access, and support those progressing through the pathway. These have included quarterly Walking Football festivals supporting the network of local groups and teams grow and thrive; delivery of the Club of Sanctuary project in partnership with Hat-Trick supporting adults living in Newcastle with refugee and asylum seeker status play weekly; the summer series of Transition Festivals supporting youth teams moving from 7v7 to 9v9; and our annual England Football Festival for U7 and U8 teams at Newcastle United’s Academy ground to provide players, their parents/carers, and coaches, with a positive early experience in football while preparing for their first or second football seasons.


Crucially to the male/mixed, and other, pathways though is the Coach. We believe the role of the Coach is the biggest influencer on an individual starting the game, and staying in the game. That is why we have invested a large amount of resource into this area for long-term benefits. A full update on our Coach Development work can be seen in the Coach Development section.


Female Pathway


Women and girls football has accelerated over the past 12 months. A significant growth in participation has been influenced by an increase in affiliated players and the number of females accessing recreational football within our county. This has been supplemented by support and guidance in my role which has also been complimented provision delivered by Northumberland FA. The demand for further opportunities to play in competitive and recreational football has leant on a structured coach education programme in supporting newly qualified coaches and coaches progressing through their qualifications as they become further immersed within the game. Finally, ensuring clubs delivering FA Girls Recreational programmes are sustainable, supported and are challenged to grow in order to continue benefiting their local and wider communities. 


Disability Pathway


Player reg within the Open-Age teams has been a challenge, where some clubs have managed to register 20+ players and others haven’t registered any players, even though all teams have players and are playing in a sanctioned league. Offers have been made to clubs for a member of staff to go and register their players, although no one has accepted the offer.

It was agreed with Newcastle United Foundation that we support in doing their player registration for the 22/23 season, which has ensured 100% of their disability specific players have been registered.


The three active Inclusion Hubs still need to be set up on the FA Events platform to capture registration data. This is part of the Hubs’ SLA, which is tied to funding. Assistance setting up their FA Events session has been offered, one club has accepted his.


Participation - Coaching



We continue to strive to give better learning experiences & opportunities for our coaching workforce in the county . We believe a more educated volunteer workforce that interacts with players, officials & parents on a weekly basis can only benefit our game in the County. Evidence from our club visits as well as Power BI can support our increase above target of YTWQC. The CTC programme continues to partner with some of the best Coach Developers in the Country to deliver a diverse learning environment for our volunteer coaches . In Q2 we also added an online CTC HUB to our profile of learning resources that supports our learning opportunities within the programme.


Participation - Refereeing




Northumberland FA have exceeded our target set by The FA for recruiting referees. We will now turn our attention to the support they receive and enabling those officials to find fixtures and feel supported on and off the pitch. We will be running a call back series to engage and support the new match officials in their infancy.  


We have also focussed on supporting match officials who have applied for promotion by meeting once a month during the season to aid their performance and build a support network off the pitch.  


Facilities and Investment


The recruitment of a dedicated Facilities & Investment Officer has allowed Northumberland FA to invest more resource into improving both the quality of grass pitches and the availability of artificial pitches. Significant investment has been made available from the Football Foundation through their Grass Pitch Maintenance Scheme, which requires clubs to conduct a PitchPower assessment before they are eligible for funding. We are delighted to say that we are currently exceeding our target (61) number of quality grass pitches (pitches receiving at least a ‘good’ PitchPower rating), which currently sits at 65. Our immediate focus is to continue to work proactively with the three local authorities and our affiliated clubs to access Football Foundation funding. This will see an improvement in the standard of our pitches and provide an improved playing experience for all.

Business Development

Our business development department aims to drive income into grassroots football to support our service delivery, through partnerships, events and sponsorship activities. Despite the current challenging economic climate we have set challenging and ambitious financial targets in this area. We are also currently exploring funding and grant opportunities to further support our financial position, and to help us deliver a series of initiatives which both support grassroots football and help our local communities. 


Social media remains an important tool to help us communicate our initiatives and key messages, and although we have already surpassed our target for social media impressions we continue to explore and develop new communication channels. Video content remains an important method of sharing the good work that is being done in grassroots football and we hope the second half of the season will give us additional opportunities to showcase the game.




Our agreed aim is to create a 3% surplus each season (financial year), absolutely everything else is reinvested into the grassroots game. By June 2023 we plan to return a surplus of circa £10k which will satisfy this aim. As you can see we are currently in a surplus position of circa £19k this is just above the planned budget position of £16k. Our plan is to finish off Q4 financially strong and return a third consecutive financial year in line with budget.


Culture and Personnel


Our staff group is central to the service provision of the County FA, creating a positive working environment is central to providing the best service to the grassroots game. Via our quarterly pulse survey, we collect a whole host of measures, one of which being staff satisfaction which remains high. We also, importantly, track staff working hours as we appreciate the grassroots game, mainly operates on evenings and weekends which can lead to longer working hours for staff. We are pleased to see this number reducing as we look to plan our human resources effectively! With the limited time we have, we want to be engaging with you so we have commissioned a working group which will map and understand our customer service needs – again to only improve the service we offer as a County FA