Match Official Survey Results

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Recently Rugby Australia sent out a survey to all Match Officials registered in 2017. We also sent out a similar survey at the end of 2016. 
If you took part in either or both surveys thank you very much, because your feedback has been invaluable. We would now like to give all referees across the country, whether they participated or not, an update on the results.


46% of registered referees in Australia responded to this survey. We presented the results at several Referee Association meetings earlier this year. To those of you who did not get to hear those results, here are the highlights:

• Overall satisfaction rate for 2016 was 7.47 out of 10.
• Player dissent was the #1 issue for community level referees.
• Communication/selection was the #1 issue for referees in development pipeline.
• Education for Referee Coaches was identified as an area of need.
• Written reports are still considered valuable by referees, but more work was needed to make them relevant.

In partnership with the State Unions, we focussed on the following in addressing these results:

• The Code of Conduct was re-written, and a national directive was sent to Judiciaries to help address player dissent toward MOs.
• New Talent ID program was started, with structures intended to improve communication to these referees.
• Referee Coach education/seminars were held in Perth, Brisbane, and Sydney, and senior referee coaches visited Melbourne.
• Sideline Referee Coaching mobile app was developed and released, which provides instant run sheets for referees.
• Queensland State Referee Workshop was held to re-engage QLD Country Referee Associations.


53% of registered referees responded to this survey. In November, Rugby Australia held a workshop at which selected State referee representatives read all of the feedback gathered on all topics. Amongst other things, the survey highlighted the following:

• Overall satisfaction rate for 2017 was 7.61 out of 10 (slight increase from 2016).
• Satisfaction is significantly higher when a referee is coached twice or more.
• Player dissent is still the #1 issue (down 5% from 2016).
• Need for more co-ordinated face-to-face education sessions, and more online education.
• Improvements are needed to the Talent ID program to better achieve its aims.
• Comms gear is important for referee coaches to hear audio of referees they are coaching.

In response, the State Unions and Rugby Australia have now generated their own plans for 2018 with specific actions including:

• National education sessions on five set topics monthly from March to July.
• Target KPIs for every referee in Australia to be coached twice.
• National online incident reporting forms to better identify and deal with match official abuse.
• All Associations are to use the online Referee Appointment System, with functionality changes made for better public access.
• Talent ID communication incorporated into Sideline system.
• More exchange opportunities for non-talent ID referees.
• Programs to increase the use of comms gear by referee coaches.
• Working Party from Referee Association Presidents has been tasked with providing recommendations around reimbursements.

If you are interested in learning more, please ask your local Referee Association. It has been provided with the full details of both the State and National action items. 

The survey results have guided our direction this year. Our aim is that more referees will take part in future surveys so we can be sure we’re on the right track.

Thanks again to all who participated. Enjoy the holiday season and we hope to see you back for 2018!