Board Report: October 2019

Hi Everyone,

The October Board meeting was held in Wellington on Friday 18th October.  

This was the first Board meeting since the AGM, so we welcomed new Independent Appointed Board member Phil Holden to his first Board meeting.  Phil brings a very strong mix of governance and commercial experience so we look forward to his contribution!  We also welcomed new President Marilyn Moffatt to her first meeting.  It is great to have someone with Marilyn’s experience and skills around the Board table.

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!  This will be my final year in the role as I look to stand down at the next AGM after nine years on the Board. 

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

  • 2019 AGM:  The Board approved the draft minutes of the 2019 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 provides a great platform to celebrate our success, was an awesome evening and we extend our congratulations to all the award recipients.
  • 2019 AGM Club Chairs Workshop:  The Board reviewed the notes from the Workshop that had already been circulated to clubs. There were some very interesting topics and good discussion – with a clear steer for SLSNZ on priorities for the future that are being incorporated into the next phase of planning.  I would like to extend my thanks all those who attended the Workshop.  It was also great once again to see the BP Leaders for Life participants take part and contributing to the direction and future of surf life saving in NZ.
  • Board roles & committees.  As well as my re-appointment, the Board made a number of other decisions.  At this point we have decided to again not appoint a Deputy Chairman.  Richard Briggs will continue to lead the Audit & Risk Committee, and will be assisted by Mark Robberds and Phil Holden.  Myself, Paul Carlyon and Vanessa Winning will be the delegates in the Board to Board meetings with SLS Northern.   The Remuneration committee will be myself, Richard Briggs and Kate Barry-Piceno.  There will be one change to the Board representatives on the SLSNZ Foundation with Kelvyn Eglinton replacing Trevor Taylor, with Trevor moving into an Independent Trustee role replacing Joe Pope.  Peter Fitzsimmons continues on as the other Independent Trustee and I am continuing on as the other Board representative. 
  • The Board noted the bad, but expected news that funding from the NZ Lottery Grants Board had been reduced from last year, which is driven by the lack of Lotto jackpots in the year leading up to June 2019.  While the insurance subsidies will be maintained at last year’s levels, the ‘bonus’ payment that has been paid with Club Support grants for the last two years will not be paid this year, so this aspect of club funding reduces to ‘normal’ levels.  While this is disappointing – from a timing perspective it does provide further evidence to support the arguments for Central Government Funding.  On that front the Board noted that this work remains on track with a milestone of late November for submission to Treasury.
  • 2020/21 Strategic Plan.  With the Club Chairs Workshop at the AGM now completed, the planning for 2020/21 is well underway.  The Board agreed on the remaining timetable for the work required to get a final draft plan and budget ready for the Board Planning session being held on 14 February.  In the meantime any further club feedback on the draft One Page Plan is still very welcome.  We also discussed the format and topics that could be used for the planning day, with a strong desire to focus on the longer term potential and opportunities of the movement.
  • Club Chairs Survey.  This was the first meeting that the Board had as a group to discuss the results of the Club Chairs Survey.  The Board noted the good response rate and thanks those clubs who took part.  The upcoming round of Regional Club Chairs meetings now provide further opportunity to dig further into those results to identify actions to address the ‘work on’ areas for SLSNZ – such as in the area of club support. 
  • International Team Travel.  In light of a security scare early in the trip to South Africa the Board reviewed the security plans for the Black Fins and Junior Black Fins.  The Board commended team management for the thoroughness of their planning and discussed the need for improved visibility of the Board to future competition venues especially given the Board is ultimately accountable for the safety of teams sent overseas.
  • Staff Survey results.  The Board noted the results of the annual staff survey.  While overall the results remain very positive there are still some areas with opportunities for improvement that Management are now prioritising.
  • Sport Innovation.  This was an interesting topic as SLSNZ gets more requests to support clubs, individual members and third parties to help run new types of surf sports events.  When running events the membership drive SLSNZ to run events to high standards with pre-defined rules, health & safety requirements, entry processes, along with processes for appointing officials and event managers etc and it would be a natural reaction to impose those same requirements on all events SLSNZ is asked to assist with – which is not typically conducive to innovation!  From a Board philosophical perspective it is about finding the right balance – being able to provide support but still expect those running these new events to be accountable for the standards (particularly health & safety) so that any reputational risk to the movement is minimised.  So it is less about mandates and sanctioning events and more about guidelines, and being very clear who is taking responsibility for what.
  • Diversity.  This was one of the topics that got good discussion time at the AGM Club Chairs Workshop and an area where the Board would like to see more work done at all levels.  We have a number of good starting points in terms of age and gender diversity in the wider membership, but we need to see this expand into our many committees and leadership roles and we have requested management take a deep dive into this to drive change.  We want to see everyone within the membership having the confidence to put themselves forward for opportunities, which from feedback is not always the case at the moment.  We also want to see us develop more cultural capability within the organisation, something we find ourselves in a catchup mode on.  Watch for more happening in this space in the future.
  • Finance.  And as always it would not be a Board meeting if we didn’t talk about money!!  Attached are the regular SLSNZ Financial Reports for the first three months of 2019/20.  These show a Net Operating Surplus of $0.538m, which is $3.526m behind of budget primarily due to the late receipt of Lion Foundation and the NZ Lottery Grants Board funding (since received but less than budgeted).  As such the large YTD variance is mainly due to timing variations that will mostly correct next month, but in time the funding shortfalls will impact the full year forecast.  A full explanation of the YTD variance is in the attached Financial Summary Dashboard. 

    The latest forecast for the full year Net Operating Surplus was done before the NZLGB shortfall was known, so this is still sitting at $689,686 which is $53,145 below budgeted levels.

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

Yours in surf,

Brent Warner
Surf Life Saving New Zealand