Board Report: April 2019

Hi Everyone,

The April Board meeting was held in Wellington on Monday 15th April.  

In terms of the SLSNZ financial position, attached are the regular SLSNZ Financial Reports for the first nine months of 2018/19.  These show a Net Operating Surplus of $2.378 million, which is $1.308m ahead of budget.  This variance is largely due to NZLGB funding being $875,000 more than budgeted, $218,000 of extra funding from BP and an unbudgeted $240,000 grant that will be spent on capital items .  A full explanation of the variances is in the attached Financial Summary Dashboard. 

As usual at this time of year, the YTD profit is not indicative or the year end result as the last few months of the year have relatively little income.  The latest forecast which has the full year Net Operating Surplus at $566,118 (budget is $133,000).  The increase over budget is being continues to be driven by extra grant income that has to be spent on capital items – as the revenue shows up in the P&L but the expenses don’t. 

As well as the financials, the Board meeting covered a number of key topics, which I will summarise below:


The Board reviewed the latest draft of the 2019/20 Strategic Plan, which had been updated with Board feedback from the February planning workshop.  We were happy with the changes and we completed our discussions on updating ‘Vision’ statement to something more aspirational and impactful.  As such we replaced “Saving lives in our communities while developing leaders and champions” to “No one drowns on our beaches”. 

The updated Strategic Plan is attached and also available on the SLSNZ website – and feedback is welcome.

We also looked at the 2019/20 budget and decided we needed to keep the pressure on to maintain the level of cash going back to replenish the working capital and reserves.  As such the level of ‘stretch’ in the revenue budget will remain high to keep the organisation focussed on revenue growth.  Management presented the Board with a revenue strategy paper, which was useful as it highlighted the many roles right across the organisation that had a part to play in generating the revenue growth, and the Board are looking forward to seeing that strategy in action.

Parameters for Potential Partnerships/ Strategic Alliances

At our last meeting we developed some ideas on criteria through which we could review commercial revenue initiatives.  At this meeting we wanted to look at what our criteria would be for strategic alliances in general.  In what was a very interesting discussion we agreed that the criteria should be the same, and that we could simplify the ideas we came up with last time.  As such, the criteria become:

  • Adds value to and is consistent with the SLS brand.
  • Fits with existing capability – i.e. we know what we are doing.
  • Has a good ROI.
  • Has an acceptable level of risk.

Government Funding

The Board discussed the recent progress with Central Government funding.  The investigations continue at a Water Safety sector level with a number of government and sector agencies involved, working towards reaching some conclusions around the middle of the year.  Any decisions and subsequent recommendations will take place in the 2nd half of the year.

As a Board we started to consider the steps we would need to take to be ready to manage and be accountable for any external funding if it was to be forthcoming.  More work will be required on this in the coming months if there is an indication that funding is a possibility and the nature of any strings that might be attached to it are identified.  While we would have a reasonable notice period, it will still take a fair bit of work – a good problem to have!

Memorandum of Understanding

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with the SLS Northern Region Board, setting out how the two organisations will work together and support each other in their respective roles.  This is a very positive step forward.  The Board to Board meetings will continue, with the next one in early June.

Board vacancy

The Board appointments panel is well into the process of finding a replacement Independent Appointed Board member to fill the big shoes of Graham Crombie.  It is hoped an appointment will be able to be announced in the coming weeks.

Health & Safety.

The serious injury report for the 2018/19 season YTD to date was noted, which should be getting close to final.  Excluding national sports events and SLSNZ employees, there have been 42 reports of members needing first aid in the 2018/19 season recorded in the PAM database, which is down 42% on the same time last year.  Of those 42, 2 were notifiable (requiring the person to be admitted to hospital) and 33 required treatment by a doctor or an outpatient visit to hospital.  The visits to doctors and hospitals are in line with last year.

In terms of sports events, of the eight major events monitored YTD (with only IRB Nationals data to be added in), there have been 269 injuries recorded, of which 1 was notifiable, 32 needed doctor or A&E treatment and 237 were treated on site.  This is an increase on last year which had 23 injuries needing doctor or A&E treatment, with the growth coming from Oceans which was back at Mt Maunganui which is a more injury prone beach than Orewa and ran for the full 4 days whereas last year the weather and water conditions meant a reduce programme.

In looking at the most serious injuries, IRB’s continue to feature and the Board is looking forward to seeing the results of investigations into this area in the coming months so that actions can be taken ahead of next season.


The Board noted a report from management on the priority workstreams to be undertaken over the coming months in the sport area.  With a number of learnings coming out of the 2019 Nationals the Board is keen to see those learnings translated into changes for the coming season and will closely monitor progress. 

In finishing I would just like to say that the surf life saving world has lost a ‘tall Totara’ with the recent passing of SLSNZ Life Member and past Chairman Graeme Cullen.  Right to the end of his long battle with cancer he was contributing at a local and international level – as a Board member on the International Lifesaving Federation and advisor to myself and many others.  Graeme leaves a huge legacy from his many years as Chairman of SLSNZ and will be greatly missed. 

The next Board meeting will be held in Wellington on 21st June and I will have another update after that.

Yours in surf,

Brent Warner
Surf Life Saving New Zealand