Board Report: 18 November 2012

Dear Clubbies, 

Congratulations again to our New Zealand Surf Life Saving team for their win at the World Champs in Adelaide. Their performance over the 4 days of competition was truly outstanding with every member of the team bringing home medals.

The grand efforts of our New Zealand Under 20 team also command praise. There were some stunning performances from the team and to come a close 2nd to the Aussies on their home turf is a supreme achievement. It shows the depth of capability we have and bodes well for the future.

Well done to all of the coaches, managers, and particularly the large ONE team of supporters following the event. Nice work all round...

On to the notes from the Board meeting of Surf Life Saving New Zealand held on 18 November.

Key points covered included:
  • Governance - following direction provided at the last Board meeting, the Governance Sub-committee reported it had confirmed one preferred candidate for a co-opted independent Board member role through until the next AGM. The Board discussed the candidate and agreed the final selection process, following which the sub-committee would be delegated the task of making the appointment.
    Other governance activity included: the Governance Sub-committee are to draft a Board Charter; a 12 month Board Work plan is to be formalised; Board members to identify their individual development needs; and a mentoring programme to be considered as part of the options to meet those needs.
  • Grant Funding - a summary of current grant funding sources was discussed by the Board. . The Board encouraged taking a more structured approach to the grant application process. Management were asked to develop a full schedule of all potential grant sources (for SLSNZ and clubs) and prioritise those that should be approached to generate new revenues. This will need to be co-ordinated at a Regional level to avoid clashing with clubs.
  • Government funding - the potential to attract direct government funding has been discussed by many previous Boards. Despite the challenges of achieving funding from government in the current economic climate, it was agreed that further work should still be done to assess this opportunity.
  • Finances - the Board noted the paper providing an updated budget for 2012/13 and an indicative budget for 2013/14. The Board requested that the planning cycle for 2013/14 be brought forward so that the signoff for the budget occurs at the February 2013 Board meeting, and that an 18 month rolling forecast be integrated into the budgeting and reporting process. 
    The Board reviewed progress with the work to financially "future proof" the organisation. A target of $1.5m in savings had been targeted. Staff rationalisation and other cost cutting had achieved forecasted savings of $1.13m in the current year ($1.3m when annualised) and with some additional confirmed income would see the $1.5m improvement target as being possible. While the Board were comfortable with the current progress on cost cutting there was no room for complacency and the Board will continue to closely monitor actual cash flows moving forward. Feedback from Club Chairs meetings about their priorities will assist decide if any further changes are required and priorities for 2013/14. 
    The Board discussed the need to rebuild organisational reserves to provide more working capital for the organistion and a buffer against any future financial challenges. With an expense base of more than $10m per year, and the need for a prudent level of operating costs in reserves, it will realistically be a journey of many years to achieve financial security. The organisation needs to set its expectations in this regard. Management were asked to update the five year targets for the 2013/14 Strategic Plan based on achieving $4m in equity/ reserves ($3m in cash) in a five year timeframe. 
    Management were also asked to bring forward the traditional planning cycle so budgets for the 2013/14 would be signed off in February next year rather than June.
  • Club financial management - the Board discussed the challenges that many clubs were facing in their own financial management and Board asked that further work be done to find ways to provide tools such as budgeting templates to assist clubs who need it in this regard.
  • Risk register - the Board asked that Management update the risk register and present to the next meeting. This would become the responsibility of the Audit and Risk Sub-committee.
  • Lifesaving First Aid - the LFA Sub-committee noted progress about evaluating the performance of LFA although more information was required before any work could begin in this area. Management were asked to develop a detailed overview of the purpose and performance of LFA.
  • Club development - a written report from Mark Weatherall (GM Club Development) was noted by the Board. A substantial amount of reporting on the club network has been developed at the request of the Board over the last few months. Initial thinking from the Healthy Clubs Sub-committee was discussed, specifically around reporting needs and actions that can be taken to improve SLSNZ performance to Clubs. The CEO will facilitate a regular conference call for the Sub-committee with appropriate staff to progress this work.
  • Programmes and Services - a written report from Brett Sullivan (GM Programmes and Services) was noted by the Board. The Chairman reinforced Brett's views supporting the good work by volunteers and SLSNZ staff at the World Championships. 

Other items noted in this report:

  • The Event Safety Review has nearly been finalised, and will have a structured communication process around its recommendations, in particular the recommendations on the use of high visibility vests.
  • Management will use the new processes to document in detail how the Event Safety process works (for in-house and external events), what insurance cover is in place, and how liability would be assessed if an incident was to occur. 
  • Find-a-Beach - the new website was released in late October and initial feedback had been very positive. This will become a frontline channel for the public to interact with Surf Life Saving.
  • Club constitutions - the Board noted progress with Clubs updating their constitutions to the new format. 42% of clubs were confirmed as having updated their constitutions, 26% were just pending SGMs or similar, and 9% were still underway.
  • SLSNZ - SLSNR relationship - the Boards of SLSNZ and SLSNR are planning to meet on 13th December to discuss the future interaction of the two organisation
  • Honours and Awards committee - the Board approved the recommendation from the Honours and Awards committee to appoint Debbie Hutchings (Eastern Region) to fill a vacant position on the committee. A new selection process for members of the committee will be introduced next year for the term of the next committee which will start on 1 January 2014. The new process, as previously reported, would involve nominations being presented by Regional Club Chairs committees.
  • Future Board meetings - the Board discussed the importance of Board frontline engagement with Clubs and wider member base over and above the regular meetings with Regional Club Chairs Committees. The calendar of Board meetings for 2013 will be reviewed to see if more meetings can be held regionally and any could be rescheduled and located to coincide with events around the country.
Next meeting
  • 16 December 2012

As usual, I greatly appreciate you feedback or queries.

Yours in surf

Michael Bassett-Foss

Surf Life Saving New Zealand