Board Report: March 2014

Hi Everyone,


The March Board meeting was the first 'normal' Board meeting of the year, following the Planning Workshop in February - and co-incided with the IRB Nationals at Whangamata.  It was a good opportunity for the Board members to watch the racing and catch up with participants and supporters.  We also learned IRB engines can run, albeit roughly, on diesel, but that is another story!!  The main items discussed at the meeting were:


  • The Board spent quite a bit of time on the financial results for the 8 months to 28 February - a copy of the summary reports as usual are attached for clubs information.  The YTD results remain healthy with a $1.7m Operating Surplus, which after taking account of timing variances is still broadly on track for this time of year.  The next few months have higher levels of expenditure, and less revenue, both of which are well planned, meaning the full year Operating Surplus will be approximately $1m before Capex and Revaluations.  Out of this surplus we have to fund $565,000 of capital expenditure for which grant income has been received, so the amount of "free cash" we get to keep in the bank at the end of the year is around $450,000.  The latest forecast, taking account of YTD results and updated projections has slipped back a bit to an Operating Surplus of $984,000 so we still have some work to get the Forecast result back up to the budgeted level.
  • In anticipation of a Net Operating Surplus at our around budgeted levels, the Board believes the time has now come to use this positive result to deal with a few items remaining in the Balance sheet from the 2010 Centenary or earlier.  In preparation for the annual audit, the Board has asked for a review of the net realisable value of all inventory, but specifically stocks of toy IRB's (holding value of approximately $62,000), Centenary books ($67,000), promotional soft toys ($10,000) and the loan to the Lifesaving First Aid business ($230,000) which has now ceased operating courses.  The final decision, and the actual value of any potential write-downs will occur closer to year end.  Obviously this will reduce the reported Net profit for the year, but will have no impact on the cash reserves.  Once the merchandise items are written down the items will still stay in stock until a good use can be found for them, or they are eventually sold for a realistic price.
  • The Board approved an update to the National Honours and Award Regulation - which was just tidying up a few clauses to be in line with the timeframes now in place for the selection of the Committee and remove a clause which has not been enforced which limited clubs to one life membership nomination per year per club.  It is worth noting that the deadline for clubs to get their nominations in for National Service Awards is 30th June 2014 - so please make sure this is not overlooked and our members get the recognition they deserve!
  • An update was provided by Brent Warner, the SLSNZ delegate on the Water Safety NZ Board, following the first meeting of the new Board.  This identified a significant piece of work to contribute to in terms of a sector wide Drowning Prevention Strategy - and it is great to see this work is now getting underway.  Water Safety NZ remains one of our key strategic partners, and we will continue to keep closely involved with these changes.
  • The timetable for the next SLSNZ AGM was discussed.  While it won't be formally announced until May, Saturday 20th September will be the date, which is our normal timing, and it will again be held at the Amora Hotel in Wellington.  Please note this also happens to be the Election day.  The day will follow a similar format to the day as took place in 2013, starting with a Club Chairs Strategy Workshop in the morning until mid-afternoon, followed by the AGM and then the annual 'Awards of Excellence' evening.  Work will now begin on putting in place the Board Appointments Panel and generating topics for the Club Chairs workshop.
  • Progress was noted on the project to replace the PAM database.  Decisions on timing are being worked on, and once finalised there will be communications out to clubs so there is plenty of warning on the various steps in the process and milestones.  Training and testing are two key aspects of this project that clubs will need to be involved with.
  • The cost of insurance premiums for 2014/15 was discussed, and while the early indications are that the rates of increase have slowed, Management will be working on getting a clear steer from the insurers to assist clubs with their budgeting for next year.
  • The Blue Sky Sport Review was also discussed - and the focus put on finalising the terms of reference for this piece of work and ensuring there is a consultation process that will capture all the input required.
  • Health and Safety was another area of considerable discussion.  The Board has been closely monitoring the number of injuries at recent sports events - and the IRB Nationals did stand out as an event that had a disproportionate number of injuries, particularly lower leg injuries to crewmen while heading out over the waves and when jumping out of the boat at speed to run to the finish line.  The event review will need to analyse this quite closely as there may need to be changes made to the rules to 'protect people from themselves'!  While taking the role of a 'nanny state' is not something SLSNZ wants to do, the current approach in society to Health & Safety will force us this way if we can't get this rate on injury down.  In the lifeguarding space, SLSNZ has just started a project to review our Health & Safety performance against current legislation and the recently released draft Health & Safety Reform Act.  An independent consultant is being used for this work and will encompass an assessment of club compliance.  A strategy will be developed from the findings of the study and shared with clubs.  This is an area that will get a lot of attention in the next 12 months.

 Overall the meeting was very useful and confirmed there are a lot of positive things going on!  The Board will next meet (via a conference call) on Monday 28th April.  So until my next update…

 Yours in surf,


Geoff Hamilton


Surf Life Saving New Zealand