Harlequin F.C.

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Harlequin F.C.'s best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Harlequin F.C. is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


CEO David Ellis
Harlequins’ scrum-half
Danny Care scores against
Saracens in front of a sell-
out Stoop crowd
David Ellis was appointed Chief Executive of Harlequins in
2011 after successful roles in the social housing sector
and technology industry. A Quins supporter from the age
of 15, his experience helped him to bring a fresh perspective
and skill-set to the club. Harlequins is a club for all, and that
philosophy is distilled down into every aspect of its staff and
teams, from the rugby they play to the role they have in the
game at large and in their local communities. David tells
Parliamentary Review
more about this philosophy, and how
striving for excellence, parity and equality drives everything he
and his colleagues at Harlequins do.
As a club, we often talk about being “custodians” of Harlequins. At one level, this
means wanting to win and ensuring we do so in a financially sustainable way. It
also means we are driven by our passion to improve on the exceptional legacy that
we have inherited. We have a responsibility to leave the club in a better place than
when we found it.
A club steeped in heritage
In 2016, we celebrated our 150th anniversary, a significant milestone that makes
us ever-conscious of our heritage while also reminding us of our rich history of
innovation and determination. This is best exemplified in our motto, “Nunquam
Dormio”, which translates as “I never sleep”.
»CEO: David Ellis
»Head of Rugby: Paul Gustard
»Founded in 1866
»Based in Twickenham,
Richmond upon Thames,
»Services: Professional rugby
union teams
»No. of employees: 250 to 300
Harlequin FC
Highlighting best practice
Harlequins is the third most-recognised
rugby brand around the world. We are
one of the most prominent clubs in the
Gallagher Premiership, and our men’s
and women’s teams are consistently
competitive in the tournaments in
which they participate.
Grassroots rugby – the best
We have great geographical coverage
as a club, not just in the UK but also
overseas, where we have eight affiliate
clubs in locations such as Kenya and
Dallas. With that comes both our
broad international audience and
dedicated domestic supporter base.
As a result, we are in a strong position
to give back to local communities and
inspire others.
Over the course of the season, our
community department works with
a network of community rugby
clubs across London and the South
East, providing them with support,
player development programmes and
If you look at players such as Chris
Robshaw, our current captain, as
well as Danny Care, Marcus Smith,
Joe Marchant and Jack Clifford,
you can see that our dedication to
academy systems and youth rugby is a
significant part of our work.
Inclusivity, parity and gender
Gender equality in sport should not
be a choice – it must happen. Four
years ago, we reviewed our vision
and purpose and confirmed our
commitment to be a club for all.
One of the first things we did was to
establish the Harlequins Foundation.
The combination of the Harlequins
Foundation and other community
programmes have inspired and
encouraged thousands of young girls
to start playing sport across all age
In support of this, we deliver female
leadership programmes in local schools
as a part of our aim to be more than
just a rugby club.
Over the last two years we have
invested in the establishment of
an elite women’s rugby squad that
includes some of the stars of the
England women’s rugby team. Visitors
to The Stoop will see images of our
male and female players standing side-
by-side around the stadium.
Both squads train at the same facility
at Surrey Sports Park and benefit from
similar strength and conditioning and
training programmes.
For over a decade we have staged a
“Big Game” at Twickenham Stadium
at the end of December each year.
In 2018, a capacity crowd of 82,000
attended. Now the biggest club game
in the world, its exposure also provides
an excellent opportunity for us to raise
funds and build the profiles of our
associated charities.
We want our women’s team to have
a “Big Game” too, and have laid
Harlequins Ladies
celebrate victory at
the annual “Game
Changer” at The Stoop
equality in
sport should
not be a
choice – it
must happen
the foundations with “The Game
Changer” event at The Stoop, which
has set record attendances for
women’s club rugby matches over the
past two seasons.
I’m a firm believer that to drive change,
you have to display it and lead both on
and off the pitch.
There is a lot more to do – dramatic
change simply cannot happen
overnight – but we’re trying to be the
best we can be.
Maintaining relevance in an
ever-changing world
There is a significant challenge for our
brand in a world where there is more
media content more readily available
than ever before – and that’s ensuring
that we are engaging and relevant.
We look at the UN’s Sustainable
Development Goals on a regular basis
and ensure that we have a view on key
matters such as education, poverty and
A great example of this is our work
with the Borough of Richmond-upon-
Thames to engender better education
and health outcomes. For the former,
we are one of the founders of the
Richmond upon Thames Free School.
As for the latter, we run a variety of
health initiatives across London and the
South East, from our flagship Mental
Health Reliance school programmes to
pre-match prostate cancer screenings.
Player welfare
The welfare of our players is another
challenge we are tackling head-
on. Athletes are people, and it’s so
important that a club, as a caregiver
and custodian, recognises that.
We try to be comprehensive with our
strategy for player welfare. Rugby is a
very physical game, but it’s also one
that impacts on players’ lives beyond
their playing career. We employ
specialist staff to build holistic life plans
around each individual, making sure
that they have the right skills to be not
only the best player they can be but
also the best person.
Continuing to be at the top
of our game
These are exciting times for rugby,
both domestically and globally. This
autumn, the Rugby World Cup takes
place in Japan and will focus more
attention than ever on our great game.
We have to prepare and be ready to
capitalise on the opportunities that
willarise from this global spectacle.
As a club, we are in a good place. We
have talented squads, an outstanding
stadium, excellent supporters, amazing
and committed staff and a purpose
that inspires and drives all we do.
We live and work in a fast-changing
but exciting world, and as CEO I am
honoured to help steer us through
this important period for the club.
Through our relentless ambition to
constantly improve, we will be sure to
leave Harlequins stronger for its future
I’m a firm
believer that to
drive change,
you have to
display it and
lead both on
and off the
Harlequins Ladies’ scrum
half, Leanne Riley,
supports a Harlequins
Foundation Switch camp


This article was sponsored by Harlequin F.C.. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster