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How we achieved a Gold White Flag Award with little money

19 January, 2014

'Operation Going for Gold'

When Ireland Active changed the White Flag scoring system awarding facilities Gold, Silver or Bronze based on their audit performance we were none too pleased, to say the least. 


Proud to hold a White Flag we believed these changes were only going highlight how old our facility was and show that we could not compete with the newer state of the art facilities. 


So our plan for White Flag 2012 was to work towards achieving Silver but not to be too disappointed if we didn’t achieve it as improvements were being made. 


Thankfully we were awarded Silver on the night.

When the final auditors report for 2012 arrived detailing our scores our opinion of the whole process changed as we could see that we weren’t really being penalised on the age of the facility & Gold was well and truly within our grasp. 

Loaded with this information the team immediately set to work on the auditors recommendations making improvements where possible.

At the White Flag briefing day with Mary Foley she highlighted the changes to the 2013 application.  Stressing that we should all work at improving our scores on last years and gave us guidance on small improvements that could be made which wouldn’t cost the earth but would have a big impact on our scores.

The objective was simple. Accept Gold and nothing less.

Our strategy was to reduce to the absolute minimum the number of Bronze we received and strive to achieve Gold wherever possible. 

What initially seemed like a daunting  challenge became much easier when  we divided the application form among staff and armed with the criteria required for each standard  the team began making changes first from bronze to silver and then from silver to gold. 

Careful consideration was given to each question and while some criteria just weren’t financially feasible to achieve or we believed we would not be able to maintain the standard if we put it in place, no stone was left unturned in our quest for gold. 

For us some points were every evident and easily achievable.  For instance we could pick up extra points if we had a child liaison officer on staff.  Easily sorted we signed a suitable male and female candidates up for training and when qualified informed all the relevant groups of their appointed posts.

Registering all gym staff with Reps Ireland something we hadn’t done previously.
Great fun was had designing a pool depth sign, costing very little but proving very effective again achieving extra points.

Adding a fold down table at reception for wheelchair users at very little expense.

The whole team were on board making it a great motivator as they took ownership of the White Flag and are all extremely proud of their achievements.


Helen McEnery

Mayfield Sports Complex

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