Board Report: 19 May 2013

Dear Clubbies

The Board met on Sunday 19 May in Auckland.  It was a shortened meeting this month as it was held in conjunction with the Board's annual strategic planning day.

Board Report: 19 May 2013 (Auckland)

Key points covered included:

Organisational restructure
Tthe CEO provided an update on progress with the organisational restructure.  The proposed staff changes have now occurred, and work continues on task reallocation, transition and prioritisation.  Work to manage team culture and morale will continue.

Further planning is required with Gisborne and Hawke's Bay areas to ensure they have the right support systems in place.  Input from Southern Chairs is required before finalising and recruiting for gaps in the organisational structure.

Both revenue and expenditure for the ten months to end of April are lower than expected.  Overall the YTD Net Surplus is $200,000 lower than the revised budget largely due to reduced grant income, at both national and regional levels.  A renewed focus on revenue generation has begun now our organisation changes are complete.

As usual, the winter months will create their traditional cash flow challenges, with little income in the 'off season' but our fixed costs continue.  These will stretch working capital during July.  The financial year ends on 30th June and the latest forecast is expected to be a small deficit, dependent on a number of variable factors such as the level of grant income that will need to carry over into the new financial year if work is not completed this year.  Clubs will once again be provided with a copy of this month's main financial reports for their information.

The focus of the organisation remains firmly on sustainability and in particular the need to recapitalise the organisation.  This work will need to continue for several years to rebuild reserves back to pre-2010 levels.

The National Sport Committee
Met on 25/26 May to determine their work plan for the coming year including finalising the 2013/14 event programme, sorting out what will happen for Surf League in 2014, event bids for 2014/15 events and looking beyond that to what events we will hold for 2015/16 onwards.. 

The National Lifesaving Committee
Met by conference call on 23 May to determine their work plan for the coming year as well, so it is good to see both of these key committees getting on with their roles.

Board appointments process

Important dates leading up to AGM as previously communicated are:



Thur 23 May

Deadline for SLSNZ  to provide clubs with notice of the AGM - completed

Sat 22 June

Deadline for the Board Appointments Panel (BAP) to be convened

Deadline for the BAP to call for applications for AGM vacancies (Board members and President)

Mon 22 July

Closing date for applications for Board members

Wed 21 August

BAP decisions due to CEO

Closing date for applications for President

Deadline for clubs to advise of their delegates and any Agenda items

Fri 30 August

Deadline for SLSNZ to provide clubs with the AGM Agenda and SLSNZ financials

The Board Appointments Panel (BAP) comprises a representative elected from each region, an independent governance expert, and the Chairman as long as they are not seeking re-election.  As I will not be seeking re-election to the Board, I will coordinate the Panel.

The Board has recently completed its annual self-assessment.  Like last year, the skills matrix developed as part of this process will assist the BAP in their consideration of board position applications.

New Zealand Open Team Manager
A process to select the New Zealand Open Team Manager was undertaken during April. The Board echoed the Selection Panel's disappointment in the number of volunteer candidates (one) that came forward, and asked that a further round of applications be undertaken.  The second selection process was completed in early May.  Ideally the Board was seeking a volunteer to fill this role ahead of a staff member (in a volunteer capacity), but again the results were the same as the first round.

As such, the Board has satisfied itself that anyone who could have been interested has had adequate opportunity to put themselves forward and endorsed the Selection Panels' recommendation to re-appoint Mark Weatherall to the role.  This decision was not made lightly and follows strong input from high performance athletes, selectors and the National Sports Committee and is based on finding the best person for the job - to defend our World Champion status in France 2014.

Some in our organisation may be critical that a staff member has been appointed to the role ahead of a volunteer, but it needs to be clearly understood that whilst a staff member, Mark will undertake this role as a volunteer, taking annual leave for any trips away. The Board is appreciative to have a person such as Mark with the experience, passion and support for the various roles he takes in the organisation. 

For succession planning the Board has asked Management to investigate adding an assistant team manager to support Mark and provide a mechanism to up-skill others in the organisation over the next 18 months to deepen the talent pool for Rescue 2016..

New Zealand Development Team Manager
A process to select for this role has now also been completed and I am happy to announce that Brent Wilson is the successful candidate.  The Board has been pleased with the level of interest in this role and this will also assist with succession planning for the Open Team.

Member protection regulation
A draft Regulation was presented to the last round of Regional Club Chairs meetings in 2012.  Following feedback the Regulation has been redrafted into a shorter document with an associated set of 'Guidelines' for clubs.  The latest draft of the Regulation  is being re-presented at the current round of Regional Club Chairs meetings.  The guidelines cover code of conduct, duty of care, risk management, privacy policy, screening and police vetting, complaints procedures and how to get support. 

The vision of our organisation is to "protect our communities in the water".  We must extend that aspiration to protecting our own members in and out of the water.  It needs to become a central part of our Surf Life Saving culture and in some cases this will mean the culture having to change.  The Board is adamant that this must happen.  A great example of this in practise that I heard at the Central Club Chairs meeting is that one club has "member protection" as a standing agenda item at their monthly Board meeting. 

Staff are continuing to develop the Regulation and Guidelines as a high priority action and also work on a communications plan.

Regional Club Chairs meetings
These are one of the most important communications linkages in the organisation.  They enable feedback on progress of your national body, providing guidance on direction and priorities.  Following recent organisational restructures, this rota of meetings is valuable to review the current status and discuss how best to move forward on topics such as being volunteer led and professionally managed.  Other topics discussed at the meetings held so far (Central and Southern) include SLSNZ financials, seasonal recap, CDO reporting, fund raising initiatives such as National Jandal Day, regional representation on the BAP, member protection, the upcoming AGM and the Club Chairs Strategy Workshop.

An update was provided on the newly introduced concept of a winter fundraising appeal, a new format for the national appeal and Jandal Day, national lottery, Coca Cola Christmas in the Park, and planned work to improve gaming grant applications, process and relationships.

Strategic Planning session
Most of the meeting was spent on the Board's annual strategic planning day.  The emphasis of the session was a 1 - 3 year horizon and getting the basics right.  Given the recent significant organisational changes there will be continued focus over the next 24 months on the sustainability of the organisation whilst delivering on core programmes.  Having recast the cost structure of the SLSNZ, the Board is confident we are well positioned to do this. 

The Board confirmed that the 3 key pillars for the current strategy were correct:

  • Healthy Clubs
  • Right People, Right Places, Right Resources
  • Sustainability

Key outcomes across these pillars were developed.  These will be incorporated into the Strategic Plan over the coming weeks and released to members.

A separate process will be required for longer term strategic planning and importantly involve Clubs.  The Club Chairs Strategy Workshop to be held on the day  of the AGM in September will be a useful part of this process.

Next meeting
The next meeting of the Board will form part of the strategic planning process and is scheduled to take place on Sunday 19 May.

Yours in surf


Michael Bassett-Foss
Surf Life Saving New Zealand