Feedback on Society Meetings

  • April 15, 2020

Manchester & District Rugby Union Referees’ Society Ltd.

Founded 1902

President:  Clive Ennis Esq –   07941 352621      š

Chairman:  Roger Bowden Esq –   07811 161706      š

In response to the recent request for Feedback on Member Attendance at meetings, the following is a Report presented to the Executive Committee on 20th March 2020

‘All members have a responsibility to remain up-to-date with developments in the game, the Laws of the Game and player and game management.

We provide a programme of development, mainly via our regular meetings; we hope that you avail yourself of the opportunities this provides.’

(Handbook P9; 3 Society Meetings and Events.)

In addition to the above, the Executive have always been aware that monthly meetings have other benefits which include, among others, an opportunity to share mutual concerns in management and law interpretation, to share experiences, to feel part of a shared collective and to enjoy the social interaction of colleagues in rugby.

Depending on how the numbers are calculated, the Society has 195 members in its handbook of which approximately 167 can be counted as ‘active’ in some way as referees, coaches, and advisers.  Using data, the attendance register, attendance at meeting in this season has ranged from (pre-season) 97 which included meetings at Sedgley Park (SP) & Preston Grasshoppers (PGH) and which is traditionally ‘kit night’ to 28 in December.  Not counting the ‘kit night’ the average attendance has been 42.

The Society has always sought to encourage and improve attendance while being aware that our geographical area spans a significant north to south range, members can work and live at a distance with accompanying commitments, and that evening meetings are not always easy to access.  With this in mind Fred Eckersley & Andy McMillan sent the following to members by email.

‘We have, over the last 18 months to 2 years, tried to improve the content of our society meetings.  However, the attendance at meetings of late has not been good and the Executive discussed this at their last meeting.  Therefore, if you are a non-attender, we are contacting you to ask what more we can do to encourage you to attend our meetings.’

Responses are summarised below.


  1. Distance mentioned by 5 responders.
  2. Length of meeting and not starting on time.
  3. Content aimed at newer referees.
  4. Society referees not interested in refereeing they use refereeing as a training exercise.
  5. Work commitments were mentioned by 3 responders.
  6. Try meetings in Preston, Wilmslow, Sandbach or rotate between N. S. E & W.
  7. Two meetings each month one North and one South as used to happen
  8. An e-mail of dates at the start of the season would help.
  9. Try streaming the meetings live?
  10. Not well organised tend to ramble from one agenda item to another. This came from someone who we cannot find out the last time he attended a meeting.
  11. Apathy!

These points came from 9 people who took the time to respond.

There are 195 members in our handbook.

There are approximately 30 to 40 who attend Meetings.

There are 10 members who live so far away that it would not be reasonable to expect them to attend.

No response therefore from approximately 140.

While taking note of all responses, it is not always possible to identify with these replies and some may be a reflection of previous seasons’ events.

Data provides the following information: (up to March meeting 2020)

From approximately 140 referees;

2 referees have attended all meetings

36 referees have not attended any meeting

From approximately 40 advisers;

4 advisers have attended all meetings

5 advisers have not attended any meeting

Having discussed these outcomes at the last Executive Meeting, the most recurring theme was one of distance that members had to travel to attend the monthly meeting and that using a range of venues might attract improved attendance.

An analysis of distribution by postcode relative to the current venue of SP, using data from the 167 ‘active’ members in the handbook was carried out with the following results:

55 (32.9%) live within 20 miles of SP

97 (58.1%) live within 30 miles of SP

127 (76%) live within 40 miles of SP

154 (92%) live within 50 miles of SP

It was felt that ‘polarising’ meeting points e.g. PGH or Sandbach, while potentially attracting those local to the venue, would be unlikely to improve the percentage attendance of all members.           e.g. Members living within 30 miles of SP 58.1%; members living within 30 miles of PGH 16.8%.

Whilst we will continue in attempts to improve the quality and content of meetings, it was agreed that for season 20-21:

  • Meetings will continue to be held at Sedgley Park.
  • Members will be encouraged to ‘bring a buddy’
  • Exceptional attendance (e.g.75%) will be verbally rewarded at meetings.
Manchester & District Rugby Union Referees’ Society Limited.
Registered in England and Wales no 11952818.   Registered Office: Church Mews, Churchill Way, Macclesfield SK11 6AY