Board Report: November 2017

Hi Everyone,

The November Board meeting was held in Dunedin on Friday 3rd November.   Thanks to the Brighton SLSC for hosting us and putting on some superb weather.

This was the first Board meeting since the AGM, so we welcomed Paul Carlyon to his first Board meeting, and also our new President Brian Velvin as an invited guest.  It is particularly pleasing to see Paul on the Board has he is the perfect example of how someone can go through the BP Leaders for Life programme, gain experience at Club and Regional level, lead National committees and then take their place to lead the organisation nationally.  I hope all the people on the BP Leaders for Life course take note of this…………the world is your oyster!!

One of the first actions of the meeting was that the Board very kindly elected me as Chair again for the coming year, hence why I am continuing to be write this report!. 

The Board meeting itself covered a number of key topics, which I will summarise below:

  • 2017 AGM:  The Board approved the draft minutes of the 2017 AGM (attached) which will now go to the next AGM for ratification.  A big thanks to all those clubs who attended.  The Awards of Excellence dinner was a great event and my congratulations to all the award recipients.
  • AGM Club Chairs Workshop:  The Board reviewed the notes from the Workshop and approved them for circulation (also attached).  There are some important actions in those that now get passed on to Management to undertake - and we discussed in particular the next steps in projects to look into a new consultation/ decision making process and the work that needs to be done to look into the management of risk of head injuries in IRB's.  The feedback on Strategic Direction was also noted and will be incorporated in the planning process leading into the Board signoff of the 2018/19 Strategic Plan in February.  I would like to thank all those who attended the Workshop.  Given some of the issues discussed and the emotion leading up to the day I found the session very constructive and positive.  It was also great to see the BP Leaders for Life participants take part - the future of the organisation is in good hands!
  • Board roles & committees.  As well as my re-appointment the Board made a number of other decisions.  At this stage we have decided to again not appoint a Deputy Chairman, but will review that in February.  Joe Pope was appointed as an Independent Trustee on the SLSNZ Foundation, allowing him to continue now that his Board appointed term has come to an end.  At this time it was not felt necessary to appoint another Board member as a Trustee with myself and Trevor Taylor already there.  Peter Fitzsimmons is the other independent Trustee.  Graham Crombie will continue to lead the Audit & Risk Committee, and will be assisted by Paul Carlyon in that area.  Myself, Trevor Taylor and Vanessa Winning will continue as the delegates in the Board to Board meetings with SLS Northern Region.  We also have some other small groups of Board members who will work with the CEO around some specific topics.
  • Sustainability.  The Board noted the good news with additional funding to be received from the NZ Lottery Grants Board, and the ability to increase funding to clubs for operational grants and subsidise the increased insurance premiums.  However it was noted that this was likely to be a 'one-off' event and cannot be anticipated to be the new 'normal'.  As such there is still pressure on SLSNZ and clubs to make sure the work is done now to fill the gap in 2018/19 revenues if the NZLGB money does drop back to normal levels.  The Board tasked the CEO to evaluate the capacity SLSNZ has to deliver this revenue growth and not be too conservative in looking at what resources may be needed in the future in this area.

    The Board noted the work that was going on around the country in working with Councils, who are all in the middle of their Long Term Plans.  This is an important time as Councils are core partners for Surf Life Saving at a number of levels, and these relationships need to be maintained and enhanced.

    The Board also noted progress being made with the SLSNZ Foundation, in terms of working with key influencers to test the collateral, messaging and identification of prospective donors.  More work will now go into the bequest programme to assess the level of resourcing needed for this.

    We also discussed the new Government and the messages we will look to give them as we enter a new era of politics in NZ.
  • Health and Safety.  The Board looked at the first report for the season on serious incidents involving members.  While numbers are low they continue to remind that vigilance and care is needed in IRB and Nipper training. The Board has also asked Management to send out a reminder to clubs on what the policy is around the use of helmets in all- terrain vehicles (quad bikes and side-by-sides).  There has been no change to the policy, but there is movement from side-by-side manufacturers to say that in their brands helmets are required and clubs need to be aware of this.

And as always there was a review of the SLSNZ financial position.  Attached are the regular SLSNZ Financial Reports for the first three months of 2017/18.  These show a Net Operating Surplus of $0.412 million, which is $805,000 ahead of budget.  This variance is nearly all due to timing variations, in particular the early receipt of some grant revenue and billing of councils for Regional Lifeguard services.  A full explanation of these is in the attached Financial Summary Dashboard.  More relevant is the latest forecast the full year Net Operating Surplus which is running slightly below budgeted levels at $103,000 (budget is $120,000).  The Board also noted the Audit Report from the SLSNZ Auditors on the 2016/17 Financial Statements and were pleased that there were no issues of any significance identified as part of the audit.

The next Board meeting will be held in Wellington on Friday 15th December. 

Subsequently to the Board meeting, I would like to comment on an article some of you may have seen circulating online written by a journalist who was sexually assaulted when a member of a surf life saving club.  This was in the context of women across the world speaking out in the 'Me too' movement since the Weinstein allegations surfaced.  While the incidents mentioned happened over 9 years ago, it is still a timely reminder for clubs to make sure they have appropriate 'Member Protection' protocols in place.  Most concerning about the incidents was that a complaint was made to the Club Chairman, and nothing was done about it.  I would like to think this would be a different story today, but these situations can be very difficult and clubs need to think through how such a process would take place if it happened, and where people can go to safely with any concerns they may have.

If anyone needs some information below is a link to the SLSNZ Member Protection Guidelines on the SLSNZ website.  There are also a number of tools available there that clubs can use.


And that is enough for me for this month.  Until my next update……

Yours in surf,

Brent Warner
Surf Life Saving New Zealand