Board Report: 17-18 March 2012

Dear Clubbies,

I start writing this update following the State New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championships following Board meetings held over at the event. The weather treated us well but the surf on Saturday tested competitors, staff and volunteers alike as events were continually reshuffled to maintain event integrity and safety.

I am continuously inspired by the professionalism of the wider event team, team managers, coaches and even supporters to pull off such an awesome event in testing conditions. The volunteer network is the backbone of the Surf Life Saving in New Zealand. Together we run a movement to be proud of.

Key points covered included: 
  1. SLSNZ Foundation - President Bob Harvey spoke to a paper outlining his vision for a Foundation for SLS in New Zealand. He has had input from many people with involvement in foundations, both from within SLS and outside. He has also learnt how the Australian model operates. The Foundation aims to build reserves for SLS from a number of initiatives such as regular giving and benefactor programmes. Bob presented his concept to the 21 Club on Friday night of the nationals to understand their interest for being involved with the programme. A sub-committee will further develop the concept into a scoping paper for presentation to the Board at its April meeting. 
  2. Club constitutions - a report from SLSNZ lawyer Maria Clarke outlined the status of club constitutions. There is considerable work needed to get all clubs complying with legal and SLSNZ constitutional requirements. In many cases a club by club effort is needed to bring club constitutions up to date. This work is important not only from a legal and compliance stand but also for the integrity of the wider SLS organisation, we ask that each club gets actively involved in resolving any outstanding matters in this area.
    It is now costing SLSNZ significant additional legal costs due to some clubs not engaging in this process. It was agreed that SLSNZ staff at extra cost, be assigned to lead this work due to the importance of the process. The Board resolved that the date by which clubs are required to align with the SLSNZ constitution be extended from June 2012 to June 2013 as clearly many clubs will still have constitutions that are in breach of SLSNZ membership conditions come this June. Most clubs will require their next AGM to address this and a timeline needs to be developed to ensure this can be remedied in due course.
  3. Financials - continue to track largely toward targeted breakeven point. Both income and expense lines are being closely monitored as cash flow through a forecasted tight April/May is managed. Financial accounts will be presented and discussed at the forthcoming Club Chairs meetings. With a superior financial reporting system now in place staff are far better positioned as they start to prepare 2012/13 management plans and budgets.
  4. SLSNZ planning processes - a timeline for the 2012/13 planning process was presented. We will simplify and refresh SLS's strategic plan into a one page document that can be communicated more easily with members and stakeholders. This will sharpen our focus on key elements of our strategic direction. In parallel a start will be made to develop management plans and budgets. We are currently reviewing the season and gathering staff input. Detailed planning will occur during April and May with draft management plans and budgets for board review at May meeting, aiming for board signoff on final plans by 10 June.
  5. Leadership programme - Tim Marsden presented progress on developing the Leaders for Life programme. The Board was impressed by the work on framework competency modules, although has asked that further work be done on the business case for presentation at the next meeting. Trial courses are planned to start in April/May.
  6. Sponsorship and Marking update - Mike Keech, our new Sponsorship and Marketing Manager, gave an update of the significant progress being made with both short term revenue generation and long term partnership opportunities. Another lottery has been released and our current partners - State, DHL, and BP are helping in its promotion. A direct marketing campaign from our contacts database will be trialled. Longer term partnerships are being progressed with existing and new commercial partners. The Board thanked Mike for his efforts in coming up to speed so quickly in this role.
  7. Coastal public safety programme - Brett Sullivan gave an update of the programme and presentation on Code Blue. This is an online database that underpins detailed information of beach locations around the country. ACC, Coastguard and Water Safety NZ have been inspired by progress and all plan to leverage this platform. Plans are being made to extend its use to rivers and lakes. This and other related initiatives are core to SLSNZ's function as the leading authority for coastal water safety and aligns with our organisational Vision - to be recognised as experts: with the right people; in the right place; with the right resource. The Board encouraged on-going focus to advance this work and that a commercial plan be developed to leverage this important IP for long term benefit to the organisation.
  8. New CEO - The Board acknowledged the successful and diligent work completed by the subcommittee lead by Colin to have got to the point of having a signed contract with Paul Dalton. Attention would now turn to developing an extensive and important induction programme. Introductions to clubs will start with the forthcoming round of regional Club Chairs meetings.
  9. Club development, regional managers - Matt Warren presented on the application process to appoint regional managers for Central and Eastern. This organisational structure change follows direction provided at regional Club Chairs meetings and subsequent feedback from staff. The Southern regional manager position is due to be advertised within the next few weeks.-
  10. Regional awards of excellence - again following direction provided at regional Club Chairs meetings, Matt outlined the process and timings for regional awards of excellence. Nominations are now open and close on 13 April. Winners are decided by 27 April and regional award functions held during May and June. Please ensure your club is active in getting in nominations, as we continue to see great examples of excellence at beaches throughout New Zealand.
  11. Regional Club Chairs Committee meetings - staff and members of the board will attend the next round of Club Chairs meetings during April. Agenda items will include Club Constitutions, AGM and Annual Awards function, independent directors, Board Appointments Panel applications and process, financials update, insurance options, member recognition, leadership programme and club support payments. Club Chairs are considering further agenda items. Members can provide input to or seek feedback from these meetings from club chairs/boards.
  12. Project management role - Matt Warren gave an overview of the projects that would be the focus of his role once Mark Weatherall started as GM Club Development. These projects include update SLSNZ regulations, club constitutions, regional restructure (regional manager roles) and organisation review post groundswell, membership survey, national asset management process, club insurance, and TLA submissions.
  13. AGM and Annual Awards function - is tentatively being planned for Friday evening and Saturday morning 21/22 September in Wellington with a series of workshops planned for Saturday afternoon. Details are still being confirmed. A timeline of constitutional and critical activities was presented as we countdown to the AGM .
  14. Australian visit - President Bob Harvey, Chairman Michael Bassett-Foss and Acting Chief Executive Pat Waite completed a valuable visit to SLS Australia in early March. The visit exceeded all expectations. Key points from the visit:
    • SLSA Foundation - underpinned by an extensive contacts database and management process this separate entity focused on all funding activities for SLSA including lotteries, regular giving, corporate giving, fundraising, sponsorship, etc. They were moving toward greater integration between the Foundation and SLSA entities.
    • Education - First Aid courses are the core of a range of courses including leadership that the organisation provides to its member base, corporates and the public. Official Training Organisation status had been obtained in each State. The initiative provides a revenue stream and importantly tens of thousands of course award recipients gain SLS Academy membership, which is leveraged for Foundation and SLS membership programmes. SLSNZ's First Aid programme is seen as a useful first step to build a similar programme.
    • Surf Life Saving in Australasia - both parties acknowledged the great work done to collaborate but agreed that a more proactive stance should be taken to bring the organisations closer together. We agreed to rewrite the partnership agreement to reflect this.
    • Research - SLSA has commissioned PWC to write a report on the value that SLS provides to the community - "the total estimated economic value of Surf Life Saving's coastal drowning and injury prevention efforts to Australia is $3.6 billion"! This evidence is used to underpin their value in many partnerships including submissions to government and working with corporate sponsors. SLSNZ will look to complete a similar report.
    • Board structure - SLSA had recently added 2 independent directors to their board. This had brought positive impact to the governance function and supports a similar approach being considered for SLSNZ, as raised by Otaki at the last AGM.
    • Positive discussions were held with DHL executives, Gary Edstein, Senior VP Express Oceania, and Mark Foy, Director Marketing and Strategy Oceania, about renewing the commercial with SLSNZ. A number of value added initiatives were discussed including how to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the DHL - SLSNZ and SLSA relationship.
  15. Insurance - a report from AON outlining a breakdown of our insurance cover by club and various options in regards to reducing our premiums. A sub-committee is to be formed with the aim of returning to the June Board meeting with recommendations for the 2012/12 insurance renewal. Options for a shared funding model between SLSNZ and clubs will be discussed at regional Club Chairs meetings.
Next meeting:
  • 22 April 2012 in Wellington

I look forward to catching up with club representatives at the next round of Regional Club Chairs Committee meetings during April. These meetings are the important link between clubs and governance of SLS and help provide feedback and shape direction for our movement. I know that our incoming Chief Executive, Paul Dalton, is looking forward to attending these forums and starting the process of meeting you all.

We certainly cover a lot of topics during our meetings, which shows the breadth of activities that members of our organisation are involved in. As always, please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

As you can see it was a full agenda and the Board really appreciates the efforts of Pat and the wider management team who at a very busy time of the season, continue to produce great insights and reporting to support the Board.

As usual, I greatly appreciate you feedback or queries.

Yours in surf

Michael Bassett-Foss

Surf Life Saving New Zealand