Board Report May 2014

Hi Everyone,

The May Board meeting was held in Wellington on Sunday 25th May. The main items discussed at the meeting were:

  • The financial results - a copy of the summary reports are attached for clubs information.  The ten months YTD results to 30 April remain healthy with a $1.08m Operating Surplus, which after taking account of timing variances is still on track to get very close to the year-end target of a Net Operating Surplus before Capex and Revaluations of around $1 million.  After funding some $565,000 of capital expenditure for which grant income has been received, the amount of "free cash" that is our real level of surplus should be around $450,000.  The Board want to emphasise that this is just the start - we will need several more years of tight financial management to get back to a truly robust position.  A report was provided from a meeting held between the Audit & Risk Committee and the SLSNZ Auditors (Munro Benge Ltd) which covered the timing and areas of focus for the year-end audit programme.
  • The Board reviewed in some detail progress on the PAM database upgrade project as this approaches some important milestones.  While building and testing will be undertaken in the remainder of 2014, the full cutover is not being scheduled until 1 July 2015, so clubs will have the confidence to know that no changes are required for the 2014/15 season.
  • The Board also reviewed progress on the project being undertaken to investigate the insurance needs of SLSNZ and clubs - and noted the questionnaire that has been included in the annual request to clubs to confirm the sums they want to have insured.  The Board strongly encourage all clubs to provide feedback to the questions being asked, as this will guide the approach taken with insurance over the next few years.  However, it is important to note that clubs should plan on the basis of the existing insurance scheme continuing for the 2014/15 year (which starts on 1 September), as introducing any new approaches that might come out of the review process will only be done after careful consideration and planning.  Fortunately as noted in my last report, there is likely to be little or no increase in insurance premiums from last year so this eases the pressure on the need to do something radical quickly.
  • In terms of decisions, the Board approved taking a change to the Eastern Region staffing structure to the staff consultation phase.  Due to workload there has become a need to consider splitting the Regional Programmes & Services role into two (Lifesaving and Sport) and create another role to encompass the club development activities and other support work.  The proposal has no change in total staffing for the region, and the concept was discussed in detail with the clubs in the Region as part of a reviewing the effectiveness of the structures.
  • The Board also approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the five clubs in the greater Gisborne area - to establish a strategic group that can collectively drive the strategy for the area.  This was formally signed when our patron the Governor General visited the Tolaga Bay Surf Life Saving Club on the 12th June.  The Board was very happy to see progress on this initiative.
  • At this meeting the Board spent quite a bit of time looking at the progress we have been making in the Commercial area and what the next big initiatives will be.  While happy with progress this year, we expect to see the downward pressure on grant funding continue for in the foreseeable future, so other revenue streams are needed to fill this gap.  This year our focus has clearly been on rebuilding our reserves and continuing to focus on minimising costs.  The staff and management have done an excellent job, however there is no room for complacency.  We recognise some areas like our fundraising initiatives do need more work, and this will be a focus for the 2014/15 season.
  • Each year the Board undertakes an exercise to identify it's strengths and weaknesses.  The report from this year's review was discussed and the results will be passed on to the Board Appointments Panel for their work in the coming months.
  • And last but definitely not least, the Board had invited Peter Dale, the Chair of Water Safety NZ to attend part of the meeting and during which we got to discuss in detail the progress being made by WSNZ in its new role as leader in the drowning prevention sector.  This was a good discussion and the Board valued the chance to meet directly with Peter in this way.

This was a full day and highlighted that the 'off season' is just as busy as our summer!  The next Board meeting will be by telephone conference on Sunday 22nd June.  So until my next update…

Yours in surf,


Geoff Hamilton


Surf Life Saving New Zealand