Board Report: 24 February 2013

Dear Clubbies, 

The summer season is flying by as some clubs reach the end of their patrolling season and the National Championships are upon us. The weather has been fantastic around the country. Patrol hours and rescues are trending higher than last year with the drowning rate well down - great work!

Key points covered included:

Sustainability - Following on from my Board Report on 28th January, this provides an update on SLSNZ financial sustainability.

The Board remains very focused on 'Future Proofing' the organisation. Heading into 2013, financial sustainability remains the single biggest challenge for SLSNZ - despite the actions already taken last year.

The Board was presented and reviewed the first draft of the 2013/14 budget, and don't believe it goes far enough towards ensuring a sustainable financial future for the organisation.

The budgeting work that has been undertaken for the 2013/14 year starting in July has identified that despite last year's cost saving efforts, we are likely to face further income reductions, with particularly ongoing risks around grant revenues. This combined with the need to rebuild the working capital base of the organisation means there are gaps to fill to reach the level of surplus we believe the organisation should achieve in 2013/14.

Decisions are now needed on how best to address those gaps, being a combination of revenue growth and cost reduction.

Accordingly, over the coming Nationals weekend the Board is looking to organise a meeting of Regional Club Chairs representatives to seek input on a number of strategic questions related to SLSNZ sustainability. Further discussions will be held at the next round of Club Chairs meetings around April.

Life saving statistics - The following baseline statistics provide a useful reflection and certainly show the value that Surf Life Saving provides to New Zealand. Note that the figures reflect data entered for the current summer season to end of January compared to the full year last year. 

2012/13 YTD
Number of club members
Number of beaches patrolled
Number of patrol hours
Number of searches
Number of active lifeguards
Average hours per lifeguard
Number of rescues
Number of first aid patients
Number of drowning at beaches (calendar year)
Number of preventative actions
Number of safety interventions


National Lifeguard and Sport committees - The Board agreed to continue a governance level oversight of these Committees. Warwick Bell is to be the Board representative on the National Sport Committee. Andrew Lancaster is to be the Board representative on the National Lifesaving committee and the Board provided with the committee's current workplan.
High Performance Programme - The Board received an outline of the recently confirmed high performance budget leading up to the world championships Rescue 2014 and welcomed continued funding from Sport NZ to support this programme. Management will now prepare a detailed high performance action plan that lives within that budget for the Board for further review.

SLSNR/SLSNZ discussions - Sub-Committees of the Boards of SLSNR and SLSNZ met on 31 January to consider how to deliver a more sustainable future for all our members. The discussions are future focused, working towards alignment and agreement on the challenges we see facing the SLS movement. The Sub-Committees agreed eight strategic issues we are facing:
The most crucial strategic issues we are facing (no particular order):

  • To position SLS as an Official Essential Rescue Emergency Service.
  • To ensure the organisation is volunteer lead, professionally managed. 
  • Deliver long term financial sustainability.

The other important strategic issues we face are (no particular order)

  • Representation / balances in membership.
  • Cultural diversity. 
  • Defining the purpose, roles and functions of various National and Regional offices. 
  • Co-ordinating and delivering an ICT strategy. 
  • Ensuring membership retention.

The next meeting is planned for mid-March.

Club Health - The Healthy Clubs Board Sub-Committee has now held two meetings aimed at taking a strategic approach to improve the health of clubs. Current key areas of focus include:

  • Redesigning and improving the club health analysis mechanism as a way to help clubs prioritise their individual development needs.
  • Better reporting of our club development activities 

Surf Education - Term One Beach Ed has begun with most venues around the country operating close to capacity. Final projections for Beach Ed students look to be around 32,000 - 34,000.
A new Surf to School vehicle has arrived and is now onsite in the South Island undertaking the first of what is planned to be many tours. This has been incredibly popular with schools and the programme to deliver to 3,000 - 4,000 students in just a few weeks.

Next meeting:

Our next meeting is scheduled to take place by teleconference on the 25th of March.
All the best to those competitors, officials and supporters attending the National Championships this weekend at the Mount.

Yours in surf

Michael Bassett-Foss
Surf Life Saving New Zealand