July 31, 2006
The RFU's Community Rugby department is celebrating the recognition of its commitment to excellence from Quest, the UK Quality Scheme for Sport and Leisure.
The department received an �Excellent' grading and a score of 87 per cent in the review - the highest mark given to a national sporting governing body.
Community Rugby supports clubs, players, officials and administrators throughout England, from the grass-roots recreational game to the semi-professional clubs below the Guinness Premiership.
Its staff promote and develop the game within the community to encourage optimum participation and enjoyment as well as achievement and excellence.
RFU Community Rugby Director Andrew Scoular accepted the accreditation award at Twickenham and committed his department to raising the bar even higher.
"The Quest accreditation process has given us a greater focus when it comes to delivering rugby development, achieving our targets and measuring our results," said Scoular.
"Now the challenge is to maintain our high standards, look at areas for improvement highlighted by the review, like our marketing and promotional activity, and to pass on our philosophy to the new staff we recruit to continue that delivery."
The Quest accreditation defines good practice and industry standards and is the only national standard framework agreed by the Sports Development Industry. It is endorsed and financed by the four home country Sports Councils, including Sport England.
"The RFU Community Rugby Department has demonstrated a first-time commitment to continuous improvement by adopting and embracing the Quest process," said Quest Manager Kevin Lane when the marking was announced last season.
"The score of 87 per cent is the highest ever given to a national governing body and represents an excellent achievement especially as this is the RFU's first application for Quest status. Only two other organisations have matched this result and then only after ongoing assessment."
Lane was at Twickenham to mark the Community Rugby department's recognition by Quest with Scoular, RFU Quest project manager Will Feebery and team leader Stuart Urquhart, who spent two years assessing and formulating best practice of delivery for the game via the union's community development and coaching staff.
The RFU's Community Rugby programmes have contributed to sustained growth in participation since the 2003 World Cup, with more people, teams and clubs playing the game.
In the two years since England's victory in Sydney 50,000 more players taking part - an increase of eight per cent - and growth is at its strongest in the youth game, with an increase of 11 per cent in the under-12 to under-18 group.