Board Report: 22 April 2012

Dear Clubbies,

The summer competition and lifeguard session is now at an end with members taking a much deserved breather. I know clubs are planning their AGMs and holding awards evenings - it's the ideal time to put your minds towards preparing club strategic plans. If you need help in this regard please contact your CDOs.

Key points covered included:
  1. Regional Club Chairs Committee meetings - staff and members of the board attended Club Chairs meetings during April. Agenda items included 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. Each region had their own additional agenda items and flavour. The meetings were positively supported by clubs and provided a lot of value for SLSNZ programmes and equally a lot of useful information for clubs.
    Members should check with club chairs for further details of the meetings or visit the SLSNZ website at the end of the week for minutes.
  2. Financials - are currently tracking toward a targeted small surplus. There has been a vast improvement in the results compared to last year and in the quality of financial reports over the last 8 months and special thanks go to Pat Waite and our GM of Corporate Services, Joanna Mathews.
    The Board Finance Committee of Brent Warner and Nicki Nicol have also put in a huge amount of time monitoring and streamlining the reporting process. Over time the Finance Committee intends to move towards more of an 'Audit and Risk' Committee focus, looking at longer term and strategic issues rather than monthly cash flow.
  3. Organisational reporting - the board has been engaging with staff on dashboard reporting which provides reports to all levels of the membership. Through club chairs we would like to hear your opinion of which information you would like to see contained within these reports. 
  4. Leadership programme - a paper outlining the business case for the programme was presented. It will be funded primarily by the Prime Minister's Award grant of $250,000. The Board approved the business case subject to there being further clarification about the framework and that outcomes can be achieved. Attention needs to be given to how the programme is implemented and communicated to members.
  5. Policies - 3 policies were presented covering financial principals, OSH, and use of vehicles. The board asked for further refinements to these policies by the next board meeting.
  6. Regional structure - a warm welcome was given to Mark Weatherall who returns to SLSNZ as GM Club Development. Mark outlined the regional structure and recent appointments of Regional Managers Tim Marsden for Central and Chris Emmett for Eastern, with Southern to progress shortly. A key aim for Mark is to rebalance the focus and workload between CDOs and the volunteers. Following the organisational change CDOs have picked up tasks previously handled by volunteers. An example is local event organisation although each area is different. Rebalancing of CDOs workload and a more supportive regional structure will allow them to have more time to focus on actual club development.
  7. Event safety - Brett Sullivan, GM Programmes and Services, provided an update on progress reviewing event safety. While it was acknowledged this was already to be a key project for 2012/13, the Board re-iterated the urgency of this review, given the recent tragic events in Australia.
    The most immediate risks to address are seen as surf boats and IRB events.
  8. Pin and Win - a paper outlining the programme was presented. The contract with the Pin and Win providers expires shortly. Whilst the programme provides a useful revenue stream for the organisation, the Board noted negative feedback from members and public.
    Alternative funding streams will need to be developed as this is part of the National income currently that will need replacing.
  9. Insurance for clubs - for the current year the cost of premiums funded by SLSNZ is $470,000 and is likely to increase to more than $600,000 next year. A report outlining the options for reducing this cost was noted. Joint SLSNZ/Club sharing of the premium costs looks like being necessary and has been discussed at regional club chairs meetings. Whatever the outcome, more Club accountability for insurance is essential - for what is covered, claims and the level of cover really required. Further communication will follow to all clubs in the near term, but clubs may want to start considering the impact of this.
  10. Sports manual - a draft version of the new manual is ready for final review (last reviewed in 2004). This follows development over the last few years involving stakeholders. A final round of consultation is underway. The Board asked that budget consequences be taken into account when printing the manual, and that thought be given to an education process for officials, coaches, competitors, team managers etc.
  11. AGM and Annual Awards function - has been confirmed for Saturday 22 September in Wellington, which will be formally advised to clubs shortly. A programme is being developed to incorporate the annual awards function. A timeline of constitutional and critical activities was presented as we countdown to the AGM.
  12. Board Appointments - discussion took place on the need to repeat the Board evaluation process previously undertaken using the Sport NZ evaluation tool, to lead in to the Board appointments process at the 2012/13 AGM. It was felt important to able to provide the Board Appointments Panel (BAP) with information around the skill sets required on the Board. The regions are soon to be asked to confirm their BAP candidate.
Next meeting:

The next Board meeting is set for 20 May and will be a strategic planning day. The Board will meet by phone conference in the week prior to this for more operational matters.

SLSNZ is in a considerably more stable space following our extensive organisational change and challenges around finances and staff resourcing.

I see this is now reflected in the focus of the Board - as it becomes more comfortable with how the organisation is tracking it is slowly shifting its view from operational matters to the strategic environment. There will undoubtedly be other challenges ahead but with the on-going strong support from the member base and stakeholders future opportunities are vast.

As usual, I greatly appreciate you feedback or queries.

Yours in surf

Michael Bassett-Foss

Surf Life Saving New Zealand