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Board Report: December 2013

Hi Everyone,

Below is a quick summary of the December Board meeting - held via conference call on Sunday 15th December.  This was shorter than the regular face to face meetings but still covered a number of key items.  The financial results for the 5 months to 30 November were presented - a copy of the summary reports will be made available as usual to clubs (attached). The YTD results remain healthy with a $2.02m Operating Surplus, which after taking account of timing variances is still on track for a full year Operating Surplus of $1.05m before Capex and Revaluations.  Out of this surplus we have to fund $556,000 of capital expenditure for which grant income has been received, so the amount we get to keep in the bank at the end of the year is around $500,000.  The next few months will see heavy expenditure as we pay out club grants and run the Beach Ed and Regional Lifeguard programmes, which is when the surplus starts to drop quickly.

In terms of other agenda items covered at the meeting, the following were the main topics: 

  • The Board approved the recommendation from the Regional Club Chairs committees to appoint Neil Reid (Northern), Sheryl McLay (Eastern), Neale Ames (Central) and Murray Wilson (Southern) to the National H&A Committee as regional representatives from 1 January 2014.  Under the rotation policy the Committee will determine which two members have one year terms and which two have two year terms. They also need to select one of the Committee to be the Convenor.  As SLSNZ Chairman, I am the other member on this Committee.  A call for nominations for Regional and National Service, Distinguished Service, Life Membership and 50 Year Badges went out before Christmas and information books and nomination forms are now available on the SLSNZ website.  The Board would like to congratulate the new committee on their appointments and thank them for the tremendous work they do on behalf of the movement.
  • The Board noted the decision to advise clubs they are to be fully responsible for the 'fitness for purpose' of high visibility vests they provide to their athletes for the 2013/14 season, now that they are compulsory for all sports events.  This avoids a very complex and divisive situation of SLSNZ trying to develop technical specifications that everyone agrees with for a wide variety of vest styles, and also makes it much easier for officials on the beach to do their job - they will just need to ensure a high visibility vest of some description is being worn and not have to police minimum areas of high visibility material for the various possible designs of vest.  The Board will check how this approach works after this season ends in April, but unless there has been any major issues it will logically be rolled over for future seasons.
  • The Board also approved the final version of the Member Protection Regulation and the first version of the Member Protection Guidelines and instructed the Management Team to circulate and communicate this to clubs as soon as possible.  This is a very important area for clubs to be thinking about on a regular basis.  Over the next few months work will go into developing basic templates and sharing the 'best practice' work from clubs that are already done work in this area.
  • And one other important decision was to nominate our Deputy Chair, Brent Warner for the Water Safety NZ Board.  SLSNZ has a guaranteed position on the WSNZ Board but any candidate we put up still has to go through a formal Board Appointments Panel process.  This is a critical role for SLSNZ to play and Brent will ensure there is a close Board-to-Board alignment.
  • The Board also did some preliminary thinking on what we want to cover during our planning session in February. One of the challenging areas will be looking a funding priorities.  One example of this is funding our High Performance Team participation in World Championships.  Over recent years we have been fortunate to receive funding for this from High Performance Sport NZ, and while we have funding assured for Rescue 2014, the World Champs being held in France, we won't know until the end of 2014 whether there will be funding for Rescue 2016 (being held in the Netherlands) and the build up to that.  As the first part of the build-up to 2016 will fall in the second half of the 2014/15 year the Board will need decide soon what we do in the event that HPSNZ withdraw or reduce their funding.  Do we (a) ask the HP athletes to fund the programme themselves (which we are currently doing with the Development Squad) or (b) replace the HPSNZ funding with money from SLSNZ?  If it is Option (b) then does that funding come from cutting expenditure in another area, or do we increase event entry fees to cover it so that the sport area is self-funding and not taking money away from lifesaving-related activities?  All tricky questions, particularly if you had to identify which other area of activity to reduce funding to in order to reallocated to the HP team.  It challenges us as to how important it is to have an elite team representing us at an international level.  Obviously we are interested in feedback from the clubs and athletes about the challenges we face with funding, so please send your suggestions and ideas through to Paul Dalton, who will collate them for the Board.
  • Another topic the Board discussed was a challenge I have put to the National Lifesaving Committee, which is to find a way to quickly and easily collect the names of all the people that we rescue each year, so that over time we can build up a database of potential donors.  This could be a huge asset for the movement, as this sort database is the lifeblood of many other charities.  This is quite a different purpose to the current reason for collecting information on people rescued which is predominantly medical related (hence the need for a separate form for every person), and would need to be done in a manner which was easy for both lifeguards and the person rescued.  But if done well this could lead to a very good income stream for the club and SLSNZ.

Overall, this was a useful meeting and we head into the New Year with a good head of steam. 

The Board will have a brief catch-up by phone in late January to review the Xmas/ New Year period and then will meet face to face in February for a full day planning session. 

The next proper Board meeting will be in March. So until my next update…

Yours in surf,


Geoff Hamilton
Surf Life Saving New Zealand