AGM Minutes 2012

Held at: Dunelm House, Durham, 21st April 2012
Chaired by: Jon Diamond (President)

The meeting opened at 6:18pm and those present were asked to sign the attendance sheet.

[1] Election of tellers

Graham Black and Jenny Radcliffe were appointed tellers.

[2] Minutes of the 2011 AGM

Minutes of the 2011 AGM were distributed and approved.

[3] Matters arising

There were no matters arising from the minutes.

[4] Officers', Membership Secretary's and Auditor's reports

Written reports were received from the President, Secretary and Treasurer, and the Membership Secretary and Auditor.

President's report

Jon reminded members that the paper newsletter was ceasing but noted that the information it had provided was available on the website (report if anything is missing) and that Jil Segerman intended to continue to produce an email version.

He drew members' attention to the Nihon Ki-in summer school which had been announced after his report had been written.

He specially thanked retiring council member Jenny Radcliffe, auditor Alison Bexfield, and membership secretary Phil Beck.

Membership Secretary's report

Phil Beck is standing down on 27th April. Paul Barnard is to take over.

Jon noted that membership was slightly down. Colin Maclennan (Clubs and Membership Committee chair) outlined his plans for autumn, in particular, freshers fair events at universities. Alan Thornton suggested targetting even younger players and Alison Bexfield suggested running events at school summer fairs. Francis Roads reminded the meeting that the Castledine-Barnes Trust supported Go for under-18s. Jenny Radcliffe and Toby Manning noted that the BGA were happy to help with material/boards/etc if given enough notice.

Secretary's report

Of particular note was the royalty of £1000 received from a Taiwanese company who licensed the use of the text of the Play Go booklet. Toby thanked all the people involved for producing such a clear and well put together booklet.

Treasurer's report

Toby explained that as there had been no accounts presented last year, his report covered two financial years. Due to difficulties with the handover from the previous treasurer it had taken some time for him to get on top of things but he was confident that the situation was now under control and that meaningful financial planning was now possible.

Inflation was shocking - 24% since 2006. There had been a £10398 loss in 2010 (distorted by spending sponsorship, so not too worrying) but also a £2691 loss in 2011. The BGA was still solvent but could not keep on hemorrhaging money. Even after the belt-tightening measures that had been taken, he believed increasing subscriptions/levies was necessary.

Subscription Rates Increase

Council agreed that subscription rates be increased by approximately 33% and the levy by a similar percentage.

Type 2006 Rate Proposed
2012 Rate
Percentage
Increase
Notes
Full UK £18 £24 33
Full (Europe) £20 £28 40 Currently £23
Full (Rest of World) £24 £32 33 Currently £28
Family £24 £32 33
UK Concession £11 £15 36

In response to a query about how BGA cash reserves were being utilised, Toby explained that much was locked in fixed-term bonds. He was open to suggestions on better investment options but given current economic conditions he would be suspicious of any proposal that offered a return of more than a few percent. He was happy with the cash flow situation.

Scott Owens asked how membership numbers would be affected by this large increase. Toby replied that it was unknown; maybe it should have been raised sooner. Jon noted that ability to provide direct member services would be unaffected as expenditure was proportional to the number of members. Andrew Kay asked why the proposed increase was more than inflation. Alison pointed out that if it wasn't, ability to perform outreach might be difficult as the BGA lost about £2000 from no longer having BGA Books income.

David Cantrell asked if 5-year memberships should be stopped, with the maximum reduced to 3 years. Jon said this was up to the membership. Toby had no strong feelings. Alison noted that income from multi-year memberships gave planning time if income dropped off. Jon noted that donations or legacies were always appreciated.

Andrew Thurman asked if more sponsorship was being sought. Toby said it was, and noted that the London Open had already found some. Council welcomed any leads. David Carter was putting together a sponsorship pack; members could talk to him. Andrew Kay suggested approaching the Confucius Institute. Roger Huyshe asked how to characterise BGA members to potential sponsors. Toby observed that being associated with Go might be useful to companies trying to break into far eastern markets as a method of networking. Jenny noted previous sponsorship from games companies and breweries.

Several members asked about an electronic journal both as an environmental and cost-cutting measure. Council would discuss this at a later date.

Toby moved for a vote on the first proposal from the Treasurer's report: That the "Proposed 2012 Subscription Rates" in the table above be adopted forthwith. The proposal was approved, with 28 in favour and 1 against.

Pension Concessions

Toby asked the meeting to consider his second proposal from the Treasurer's report: That the eligibility for pensioners receiving concession rates be changed from "those eligible to claim the Old-age pension" to "those in receipt of Pension Credit".

Jon explained that pension credit is a means tested benefit. The change would affect up to about 50 members.

Toby moved for a vote and the proposal was approved, with 14 in favour, 3 against and 10 abstentions.

Auditor's report

Alison Bexfield presented her report. Two years of accounts had been audited. Both showed an operating deficit with significant expenditure incurred on projects funded by past sponsorship income. Going forward, new sources of sponsorship were needed or other steps to balance the budget. She reminded tournament organisers to set realistic budgets.

Alison stepped down after 9 years as auditor. Jenny Radcliffe led the meeting in thanking her, and she was presented with a bottle of champagne by the president in recognition of her services.

[5] 2010 & 2011 accounts

2010 accounts

There were no questions or comments. The accounts were approved nem con.

2011 accounts

Several members asked if the accounts could be made available sooner. Council was hesitant to publish them online but agreed they could have been made available earlier in the Congress.

The accounts were approved nem con.

[6] Election of Officers and Auditor

position candidate
President Jon Diamond
Treasurer Toby Manning
Secretary Jonathan Chin
Hon. Auditor Phil Beck

All candidates were elected unopposed.

Phil Beck was not able to attend.

[7] Election of ordinary council members

position candidates
Council members Brian Brunswick
John Collins
Colin Maclennan
Paul Smith
Maria Tabor

All candidates were elected unopposed. Alan Thornton objected to Maria's election "on BBC grounds" (ie. that she was too young) but this was understood to be a joke.

Brian Brunswick, John Collins, Paul Smith, and Maria Tabor were not able to attend.

[8] Subscription Rates

Covered under Treasurer's report.

[9] Priorities for 2012

Jon presented Council's proposed priorities for 2012, previously announced in the the British Go Journal (#158). The five priorities were:

Club development

Colin had been contacting clubs and had received many suggestions about what they wanted from the BGA. The club organisers handbook was being updated.

BGA relevance to online players

Council asked for members help on how the BGA could be more useful to online players. The website was being made the focus but there had not been much feedback.

Membership drive

Ways of attracting new people to Go were being considered. In particular, freshers events were promising.

Youth development

Paul Smith (Youth Committee chair) was aiming to consolidate and focus on "living and breathing" clubs. Anyone interested in helping develop Go in schools and with under18s should contact Paul as he has many ideas but does not have enough time to follow them up alone.

Double figure kyus

The BGA aimed to encourage and nurture these players with a number of small initiatives including specific teaching and special tournaments.

David Cantrell thought more teaching days would be useful. Toby noted some funds were earmarked for grassroots development. Holding an event in Glasgow was mooted.

Edwin Brady wondered if the network of regional reps was relevant to organising events. Jon replied that the system had not been working well as sadly many regional reps had been very inactive and so this was now being run from the centre.

Combining teaching at tournaments was discussed. Reviewing games could be difficult due to the lack of game records.

Some Durham University members had found their home clubs very unwelcoming. Female members also felt uncomfortable going to some clubs. It was not obvious how to eliminate these problems but Council welcomed ideas.

[10] Any other business

Alison Bexfield announced that Letchworth Go Club proposed to host the 2013 Congress.

Jon noted that the BGA was considering organising the 2014 European Youth Go Congress, with Bognor Regis as a possible location.

Toby Manning called a vote of thanks to Andrew Thurman, Alice Ambrose-Griffith and Jenny Radcliffe and the others who organised and ran the Congress.

The meeting closed at 8:00pm.


Present

Richard Bentley; Alison Bexfield; Graham Black; Edwin Brady; David Cantrell; Jonathan Chin; Jim Clare; Jon Diamond; Ludan Fang; Kathryn Gray; Roger Huyshe; Andrew Kay; Toby Manning; Richard Mullens; Emma Nicholls; Scott Owens; Jenny Radcliffe; Francis Roads; Simon Shiu; Andrew Simons; Sandy Taylor; Alan Thornton; Andrew Thurman



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