Swim England CEO Jane Nickerson To Retire As Review Demands Urgent Reform Of Safeguarding & Disciplinary Procedures

Photo Courtesy: Andy Ross

Swim England CEO Jane Nickerson To Retire As Review Demands Urgent Reform Of Safeguarding & Disciplinary Procedures

Swim England CEO Jane Nickerson will retire at the end of 2023 as an independent review into the handling of allegations of bullying and fat-shaming demanded urgent reform of disciplinary and safeguarding procedures, according to a report in The Times.

Craig Lord wrote in The Times that the review was undertaken by barrister Louis Weston and centred on events at the City of Oxford club and Ellesmere Titans which resulted in the suspension of coach Alan Bircher in July 2021.

Bircher guided Olympic relay gold medallist Freya Anderson from her mid-teens until her switch to Bath National Training Centre in 2020.

At the time, Swim England launched a review which concluded:

“The report identified welfare and governance issues and immediately the review was concluded, Swim England implemented all the recommendations in the report to ensure a safe, supportive and positive environment for everyone in the club.

“Swim England will remain working with the club until such time as we are content our robust safeguarding and welfare procedures and policies are embedded within the governance of the club.  The suspended coaching staff will not return to the programme until such time as all conditions set out in the report have been met to the satisfaction of Swim England.”

Now the organisation itself has been condemned with Lord stating the review singled Nickerson out for mismanagement and accused Swim England of employing a “confusing and inconsistent approach to safeguarding and concerns of child abuse in sport.”

It also found the governing body had “blocked attempts to be held accountable and prevented any form of proper challenge to its decisions.”

Lord said the review ordered Swim England to “install a new disciplinary regime by June, one which removes the chief executive from the safeguarding process and includes experts in child welfare and sports law.”

Also, that a new independent disciplinary officer should be in place by September.



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