Independent Review 2020

Posted on 25/11/2020 in Club News

Independent Review 2020

When the Athlete A documentary was released in June 2020, Scottish Gymnastics encouraged members to ‘speak up’ and report any concerns. We also wrote to everyone in our performance programmes and a concern was raised in early July by a gymnast. 

As a result of this concern and concerns raised across the globe around athlete welfare and wellbeing, coaching environment, and performance culture in the sport, Scottish Gymnastics has taken the decision to commission an independent review into its performance programme.  

The Whyte Review, which is currently considering athlete wellbeing and welfare within British Gymnastics, is not including Scotland within its scope however, Scottish Gymnastics has written to the review outlining its intention to closely follow the review and work through any recommendations made which may be relevant to Scotland. 

Scottish Gymnastics is committed to adopting best practice in safeguarding and regularly reviews its approach. This has included independent reviews in 2011 and 2018 and a review of the Conduct in Sport Code in 2019. We carried out an operational review after the Commonwealth Games in 2018 following which improvements were included in the current cycle performance plan. 

This independent review will cover the period from 2016 and will involve all disciplines to ensure best practice is embedded and assured across all performance programmes. We have written to gymnasts, parents, coaches, and support staff involved to let them know about the review and they will be contacted directly by the review panel. The objective of the review is to ensure athlete welfare is central to Scottish Gymnastics performance programmes and that the platform for athletes to raise concerns is the best it can be. 

The review team is led by safeguarding consultant Chris Smart who is highly experienced in the investigation and risk management of complex child and adult abuse cases, and in the care of victims of abuse and other traumatic incidents from diverse communities. He has been extensively involved in serious case review groups both in compiling reviews and implementing recommendations. 

Chris is joined by a performance advisor, Gavin Scott, the rugby operations director at Scottish Rugby Union and an athlete advisor, Sally Conway, who has won Olympic, Commonwealth and world championships medals in judo.

They will begin the review next week and the final report will be presented to Scottish Gymnastics in the spring of 2021.

Scottish Gymnastics CEO Doc McKelvey said: “Nothing is more important than the safety and wellbeing of those involved in our sport. 

"Whilst we regularly review our safeguarding procedures and training to make sure we have the highest standards, there is always more to be learnt. Given recent concerns around athlete welfare and culture in performance sport, it is only right that we look again at what we do, the changes we have made over the last few years and ensure athlete wellbeing and welfare is embedded throughout our programmes. 

“The independent review will help us look at this objectively and we will await their findings and adopt any recommendations they make. We are grateful to have a highly experienced review team in Chris, Sally and Gavin who have a vast experience in child protection and safeguarding, athlete welfare and performance sport.

“We take every safeguarding concern raised seriously and want everyone to know they can speak up, we will listen and we will take action, whether it involves behaviours and culture in their club, performance programmes or during any Scottish Gymnastics activities.”

> Terms of review 
If you have a concern, whether you are a gymnast, coach, parent, safeguarding officer, or official, you can contact us confidentially on

Review team members

Reviewer – Christopher Smart (Safeguarding Consultant, PVP Consulting)
Chris began his career with the Metropolitan Police in 1985 working across South East London and heading up the Intelligence Team within royalty protection at Buckingham Palace before moving into crime management, working as a senior officer responsible for public protection including child and adult safeguarding and domestic violence. Becoming a Detective Chief Inspector, he took on the role of regional manager of child abuse teams at New Scotland Yard with responsibility for one of largest child abuse investigation teams in the UK and was a member of eight children’s safeguarding boards. Latterly, he set up and was in overall charge of the pan London Child Exploitation investigation team working directly with those involved in current and historic abuse cases. Chris is now a safeguarding consultant and has worked on investigations and reviews in several organisations including the England and Wales Cricket Board where he led a review of 250 historic safeguarding concerns, and the Lawn Tennis Association, investigating the historic handling of an abuse allegation. He is also an authorised listener for the Church of England London Diocese, working with victims of abuse to support and guide them when disclosing abuse.

Performance Advisor – Gavin Scott (Rugby Operations Director, Scottish Rugby Union)
Gavin was a professional rugby player and on retiring from playing, completed a masters in performance psychology as well as becoming the technical analyst for Scottish Rugby in 2002. He was promoted to head of performance analysis with responsibility for the analysis programmes at Scotland’s professional clubs, Glasgow and Edinburgh, as well as the national age grade teams and senior men’s and women’s national teams. In 2012, he took on the role of team manager for the men’s national team responsible for all non-coaching aspects of the national programme. In January 2020, Gavin was promoted to the role of rugby operations director where oversees all aspects of Scottish Rugby’s analysis and strength and conditioning departments as well as performance administration for the Scotland national and age grade teams. 

Athlete Advisor – Sally Conway (Scottish Judo)
Sally is a Scottish judoka who trains at Judo Scotland’s headquarters at Ratho having previously trained at Bisham Abbey. She has been involved in judo since she was young and won a silver medal at the world junior championships in 2006. Since then, Sally has competed for Scotland in the 2014 Commonwealth Games, winning a bronze medal in the 70kg category. She was part of team GB for the 2012 Summer Olympics and won a bronze medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics in the 70kg category. She was the only Scot to be part of the British team for the 2016 Judo World Championships and was selected for the 2016 European Championships. In May 2019, Sally was selected to compete at the 2019 European Games where she was the flag bearer for Team GB before going on to win a bronze medal at the World Championships in Tokyo 2019.

Share article: