Competition Team

Purpose

The Competition Team is responsible for defining and delivering the SR Competition Programme ('the competition programme') for a single competition cycle (11 months).

The competition programme includes, but is not limited to:

  • Recruiting teams from schools and colleges

  • Communicating with school/college team leaders

  • Devising a challenge

  • Organising and running Kickstart

  • Organising and running Tech days

  • Organising and running the competition final

  • Health and Safety and safeguarding at events

  • Gathering metrics throughout the competition cycle

Structure and Operation

The Competition Team is a group of volunteers who work together, and closely with other teams within SR, to define and deliver the competition programme. The team is lead by a committee that is responsible for fulfilling the aims of the team.

The team (and its committee) operates on an 11-month cycle (see Formation and Dissolution below).

Volunteers apply through the Competition Team Cmmittee to join the team. The committee will ensure the team has an appropriate balance of relevant skills. Volunteers will be encouraged to apply at the start of each competition cycle but can apply at any stage of the competition cycle. The committee should not unreasonably restrict membership of the team.

The Competition Team Committee

The Committee is a group of 3-5 people who are ultimately responsible for ensuring that the competition programme is delivered to the standard expected by the Trustees, coherent with the values of Student Robotics. The committee is accountable to the Trustees.

The committee will focus on management of time, resources and volunteers within the team. Delivering a competition is a huge undertaking and can require a significant investment of time and effort from volunteers and this workload must be carefully managed. The committee will provide support and guidance to team members to allow them to be as effective as possible in delivering the competition. The Trustees will provide support, guidance and training as necessary to allow the committee to be as effective as possible in managing the team.

Formation and Dissolution

The team (and its committee) operates on a 11-month cycle running from early July to early June the following year. The one month gap provides a much-needed break for members of the team. The gap also provides a definitive start of a new cycle and creates an opportunity for new volunteers to get involved in delivering a competition programme starting afresh with the rest of the team.

Registration of Interest

Approximately three weeks before the new team is to be formed, all registered SR volunteers are invited to express an interest in being part of the next committee or team. Previous members of the committee and/or team are welcome to register interest.

Formation

The committee is formed at a meeting with the Trustees. If more than 5 volunteers register an interest in being on the committee they will all be invited to the formation meeting, however only 5 of them will be allowed to become committee members. If more than 10 volunteers register an interest in being on the committee then the Trustees select a short-list of 10 volunteers to invite to the formation meeting, based on the skills and experience they could bring to the committee. Any volunteers who register an interest in being on the committee but are not selected are contacted if vacancies appear on the committee during the 11-month period.

At the meeting, the Trustees discuss their expectations for the competition programme (based on feedback from the previous year’s cycle) and clarify any concerns about roles and responsibilities. Each year, the Trustees provide guidance as to the direction in which they would like to the competition programme to be taken and where they would like the committee to focus their efforts. For example, it may be the case that the Trustees would like to expand the number of school teams, or they may want the committee to focus on increasing volunteer engagement. After discussing these points, and answering any questions, the Trustees leave the meeting, allowing a short time for discussion. On return, they ask for a show of hands of people who would like to join the committee. If more than 5 people indicate a desire to join the committee at this stage, the Trustees select the 5 people that they feel are most able to take on the responsibilities of the committee.

The First Few Weeks

After the formation meeting has concluded, the newly formed committee fulfil their collective responsibilities. The Trustees encourage the committee to identify any management, coaching or team building training they may need to discharge their responsibilities effectively.

Dissolution

At the end of the annual competition cycle, around early June, the committee is invited to meet with the Trustees to review the previous competition programme. This serves as a useful event for both the committee, to reflect on their achievements, and the Trustees, to gather as much information as possible to feed into the next competition cycle. It is expected that the committee will get the views of the wider team before the meeting. The Trustees also gain feedback from other SR teams that have helped to deliver the competition programme. After the review meeting, the team and its committee is effectively disbanded.

Resignation of a Committee Member

If a committee member wishes to resign part-way through the 11-month period they email the Trustees. The Trustees work with the individual to see if there is any further help and support that they can provide to allow the volunteer to continue in their role. If there is no option for the individual to continue, the Trustees work with the rest of the committee to find a volunteer to become a replacement committee member. Volunteers that indicated a desire to be on the committee at the start of the cycle, but were not selected due to the size restrictions, are considered first.

Roles and Responsibilities of the Competition Team Committee

Collective Responsibilities

The committee takes on the following collective responsibilities at the start of the competition cycle, and within 4 weeks of the formation meeting.

  1. Recruitment of a team. The Trustees will provide the committee with details of volunteers who registered an interest in being on the team during the Registration of Interest phase. The committee can also reach out again to all volunteers.

  2. High level planning session. It is expected that the committee will produce a high level plan, that will take the form of no more than two A4 pages and will include time and resource estimates (both volunteers and assets) for running the next competition programme.

  3. Division of Responsibilities. The committee must divide up the individual responsibilities between them. Each responsibility must be taken by a single committee member (although each committee member can take on multiple responsibilities).

  4. Report to the Trustees. The committee member responsible for reporting to the Trustees must report the high level plan and division of responsibilities to the Trustees within 4 weeks of the formation meeting.

Throughout the competition cycle, all committee members are expected to work together effectively to deliver the competition programme on time and within budget. They should communicate effectively with the team and with other SR teams that are involved in supporting the competition programme. They should maintain documentation of processes and anything else that they feel relevant relating to their responsibilities to help both current and future volunteers This documentation should be licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Individual Responsibilities/Roles

As well as the collective responsibilities defined above, the following responsibilities must be divided up among the committee members. Each responsibility listed below must be taken by a single member and it is expected (in fact, necessary) for some members to take on more than one of the responsibilities.

  1. Reporting to Trustees. This committee member is responsible for ensuring that the committee provides regular updates to the Trustees to keep them in-the-loop with the progress of delivering the competition programme. This is accomplished by arranging for online (Google Hangouts/Meet) calls at least once every month. They must also ensure that minutes are taken at committee meetings and that these minutes are made publicly available.

  2. Budget and expenditure management. This committee member is responsible for drawing up a budget for the competition programme within the overall budget provided by the Trustees. They must submit the budget to the Trustees within two months of the formation of the committee. This budget does not need to be extremely detailed; 8-10 budget lines is expected. They must also do the following:

    Keep financial records (in a form to be agreed with the trustees).

    Submit final accounts (at the end of the competition cycle).

    Understand and follow the requirements defined in the Money Matters section (this defines how budgeting works in more detail).

  3. Event management. This committee member is responsible for overall management and delivery of the various events throughout the competition programme (Kickstart, Tech Days, Competition). This is a large responsibility and the committee member taking this on should not take on any of the other individual responsibilities.

  4. Competitor team management. This committee member is responsible for the management of teams taking part in the competition programme. They are expected to ensure that a sufficient quantity of school teams are signed-up to take part in the competition and that the teams that compete receive an adequate level of communication to allow them to get the most out of taking part in the competition programme. In particular they should ensure that sufficient notice is given to school teams to give them time to make the necessary preparations (schools usually require notice many months in advance of a major event).

  5. Volunteer management. This committee member is responsible for the management of two groups of volunteers: members of the team and other volunteers who are helping out at an event.

    • In the case of team members they should ensure that all team members are given an opportunity to contribute towards delivering the competition programme and that they are guided to areas within the team that require more effort. They should handle requests from volunteers looking to join the team and also counsel team members looking to leave the team.

    • In the case of volunteers helping out at events they should ensure that all volunteers are given visibility of event volunteering opportunities and that they receive adequate documentation, training and support for the roles that they fill at the events.

  6. Safeguarding and welfare. This committee member is responsible for ensuring that the Student Robotics safeguarding policy is abided by throughout the 11-month period and at events. They are also responsible for ensuring that all volunteers working on the competition programme (either in the team or as event volunteers) are not overworked and that the level of responsibility being taken on by any individual is kept at an acceptable level.

  7. Gathering metrics. This volunteer is responsible for ensuring that metrics are collected throughout the 11-month period. They should work with the Trustees early on to define a list of metrics to be gathered (e.g. number of school teams, average number of competitors per school team, average competitor to mentor face time per week, etc). It is of critical importance that SR gathers metrics to be able to optimise and improve the competition programme and to report to new and existing sponsors to prove the effectiveness of the competition programme.

The committee is free to define other roles as it sees fit. It is also free (and strongly encouraged) to form sub-teams within the team to handle certain aspects of the competition programme. For example, the committee member responsible for Competitor team management should form a sub-team made up of volunteers who are primarily focused on the activities of managing school teams.

Accountability

The Competition Team is accountable to the Trustees. The committee member responsible for reporting to the Trustees will speak in person with the Trustees at least once every month to report on progress and to highlight any areas of concern.

Minutes of meetings should be made available to the general public although access to any sensitive commercial data, may be restricted to the Trustees.

Budget

A budget will be made available to run the competition programme. The responsibility for this budget will be delegated to the committee member responsible for Budget and expenditure management as defined above.