Board Report: 10-11 February 2012

Dear Clubbies,

The Board had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Lion Foundation NZ Surf League around its meeting at Mount Maunganui over the weekend. What a spectacle! Warm weather, mostly sunny skies and even some surf to thrill competitors and spectators alike.

We hosted our key sponsors - State, DHL and BP, who I know were captivated by the event. It was a great opportunity to mix with some of our life members and key volunteers that are the backbone of our organisation.

I think we underestimate how professionally we run our events - well done to all who helped make it a success!

From the (10+ hours of) board meetings held on Friday 10 and Saturday 11 February at which all board members were in attendance:

Key points covered included:
  • The board has been asked to publish meeting minutes as it has done at times in the past. It confirmed to instead continue with this Chairs report as the means to communicate meetings to members. Aside from employment or commercially sensitive related issues, this report aims to provide a full and frank yet readable account of issues. After all, it's your organisation and so you should know of its important affairs. Please contact me if any of you have concerns about this.
  • A paper was presented outlining options for President Bob Harvey's concept for a SLS Foundation. Following external advice, the Board agreed that an internally managed "Fund" was the favoured approach as opposed to the establishment of a separate Trust entity mainly for reasons of alignment with SLS objectives and to better leverage the SLS brand. Staff are to assist develop a work plan and timeline for the concept.
  • At the last AGM members asked for greater independent representation on the Board. The Board encouraged the direction led by Neale Ames to appoint two independent directors in addition to the current six appointed and elected directors. It is recommended that a staged approach be followed supported by a constitutional change at the next AGM.
  • The Board was briefed on the complexities of reviewing in detail 73 club constitutions for alignment with SLSNZ. We agreed with the recommendation for SLSNZ's lawyer to categorise club constitutions by the next meeting into 3 categories: those that align with the latest template; those that differ with material issues with suggested remedies; and those that are using out-dated templates or constitutions.
  • The Board finance subcommittee of Brent and Nicki reported that auditor Munro Benge had undertaken a financial review in relation to the management report issued with the last audit. Munro Benge was comfortable with progress on recommendations in relation to HR, delegations and reporting against tagged revenue. These improvements now need to be bedded down with appropriate policies. This reflects on the huge progress achieved by Pat, Joanna, Cheryl and the team.
  • Finances are largely tracking to budget although both income and expenditure lines were lower than budget by a similar amount. Cash flow remains tight but yearend results are still forecast to be in surplus. An update of financials will be presented to the next round of regional Club Chairs meetings in March/April.
  • Payments to clubs - SLSNZ plan to make the next Lotteries Grants Board payments shortly. State's National Jandal Day contribution as a result of its insurance policies sold under the SLSNZ promotion raised a great $23k! Proceeds are still being collected and a further payment to clubs is expected later this month.
  • Two new organisational policies were presented and approved - Protected Disclosure and Bullying and Harassment. The Board noted occasional reports of harassment of staff and members. We are committed to stamping this out. We value our family orientated culture, which is based on dignity and respect of others. These policies will be presented at forthcoming Club Chairs meetings.
  • The Board recommended adoption of a member protection policy. This policy is based on one that has been in place in Northern for some years. It provides guidelines to support our members. Police vetting is to be introduced for staff and members charged with the care of our younger members. Teams travelling to Nationals will be required to signoff that appropriate member protection criteria are to be met. The Board noted that whilst this was a SLSNZ policy, clubs will be strongly encouraged to adopt its principals too.
  • The Board approved a proposal from "Running with Scissors" to implement aspects of its commercialisation strategy that was developed and presented to the Board late last year. This plan forms the basis of the initial work programme for the incoming senior management team.
  • Interviews were held recently for the positions of Sponsorship and Marketing Manager, and General Managers for Club Development, Programmes and Services, and Corporate Services. A further role for the position of Fundraising Manager was advertised and closed last week. We were impressed with the quality of applicants for these roles. Successful applicants will be announced within the next week.
  • More than 50 applications were received for the recently advertised position of Chief Executive. The high level of interest in this position shows the strength of the SLS brand and values. The recruitment process is lead by a Board subcommittee headed by Colin, Chair and independent representation. A challenging two stage process aims to announce the successful applicant in early March.
  • Neale Ames and Neil Reid have led a review of SLSNZ's Honours and Awards process and criteria. The resulting update to the Member Recognition Strategy was approved by the Board. This strategy recognises regional awards, which were raised as important at Club Chairs meetings. District awards will be recognised under this framework as regional awards.
    International Life Saving Federation (ILS) - Graeme Cullen and Brian Velvin are currently SLSNZ's reps to ILS Graeme the Regional Vice President (Asia Pacific) and Brian is a member of the Sport Commission, Technical and Rules Committee and Event Management Committee.
    They gave an overview of ILS and its current agenda. Following discussion about SLSNZ's future representation to ILS, and with Brian's standing down at the General Assembly in November, the Board recommended that members be invited to apply for his replacement. Support was given to Graeme to continue his representation for another 4 year period so as to maintain SLSNZ's important relationships with ILS, bed down Brian's replacement, and allow time for a succession plan to be developed.
  • SLSNZ's insurance is set to rise from $470k this year to more around $600k next year. This cost is not now covered by grants. Warwick and Andrew are to lead a board subcommittee to review SLSNZ's insurance policy. Thank you to those members that have offered support in this. As well as being expensive, one of the issues with the current policy is that it provides for an unfair distribution of costs onto smaller clubs with minimal equipment. Any variations will be communicated to clubs or via Club Chairs meetings.
  • The Board approved use of accumulated corporate airpoints to be used to fund travel for the CE, Chairman and President to Australia to meet with SLSA and DHL in early March. Discussion points include SLS Foundation, DHL sponsorship contract review, branding and licensing programme, summer staffing employment programme, governance development and other co-operational opportunities.
  • The lease for SLS headquarters in Wellington expired in July 2011 and has been rolled over on a month by month basis since then. A new lease has been agreed in this location till July 2013 to provide stability for the incoming senior management team and allow them time to strategically consider alternative options.

Next meeting:

  • Out next meeting will be at the State NZ Surf Life Saving Champs in Gisborne. 

As usual, I greatly appreciate you feedback or queries.

See you on the beach...

Yours in surf

Michael Bassett-Foss

Surf Life Saving New Zealand