At this year's AGM, Carrie Lees presented a series of resolutions for consideration that Marshall had been working on before he died. All resolutions were passed which now leaves them for consideration by the Board of Trustees.
Dear Fellow Members of HPT
Over the past months Marshall had many conversations with Members (including with members of the Board) about HPT issues and he thought that the forthcoming AGM provided an opportunity to air a number oftopics to find out:
He concluded that the best way to make this happen was to frame a series of Resolutions which the Chairperson can invite the Members who are present at the AGM (plus any proxies they may hold) to vote for, to vote against or to abstain from.
Accordingly, you will find a detailed written explanation of the 16 Resolutions in the AGM papers. This took more than 2 months and went through umpteen drafts before he finalised it on 11 January.
Now I will be proposing them at the AGM on 26 February and I thank Tim Coulton for his continued support as seconder.
I hope you will find time to read this document carefully during the weeks before the AGM and that you will come to the AGM with a pretty clear idea of which resolutions you are personally keen on and which ones you are either against or indifferent to.
The Members of HPT acting through their elected Board have the overall (incllegal) responsibility for the HPT Company. But it is not reasonable for the Members to dictate what action the Board should take to give effect to the Priority Issues that the Members have expressed in the voting at the AGM. However we should expect the Board to treat seriously any resolutions that are passed and report back to the Members within a reasonable time (say three months) - what they have accepted and what they have rejected giving their reasons. In that open way the Members can continue to feel confident in the Board we have elected.
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in compliance with the objects for which HPT was established as set out in Article 3(A) of the Memorandum of Association:
(The complete Memorandum of Association is appended plus a sketch map showing the Local Community withih the larger user Catchment Area)
Reserve 4 places on the Board for appointed "local community trustees" - eg: two local councillors, reps of the two leading residents associations (HamSoc and HHA) and reps of leading local charities (eg: HFAC, Greenwood Centre, Hampton Hill Playhouse, etc). The other 8 places would continue to be filled by election/co-option by the Members as now. A change to the Articles will be required to reserve certain places on the Board in this way.
(There will be some Members fearful that a larger Board could increase the tendency to "all talk/no action". That is understandable. However, Resolution 2.1: Appoint a paid "Clerk to the Trustees" will more than counteract that and will have additional benefits.)
Introduce a new policy aim to enable every Hampton and Hampton Hill child to swim a length by age 11. (Such a target will not be easy to achieve as the national average is 50%).
Vigorously promote a comprehensive "Access for all" policy. Provide a lift to the firstfloor terrace/cafe. And take actions to identify additional disabilities that can be accommodated and to positively encourage more people with disabilities to use the pool.
Issue a newsletter to the 25,000 local inhabitants once a year and consult their views. (Currently only the views of Members and pool users are consulted.)
Find out how many of the 25,000 locals actually use Hampton Pool and take promotional steps to increase this percentage.
Hold at least one Members' only Open Forum per year separate from the AGM.
In 2007, the YMCA brought extra and more professional resources which have transformed operationsboth the user experience and the popularity of Hampton Pool. They are paid for under the terms of the Management Agreement. An injection of professional resource would, in the same way, transform the governance of HPT, the local Community Charity Company which has the overall responsibility for Hampton Pool. Accordingly:
Appoint a paid "Clerk to the Trustees"
A fuller explanation and reasons are given in an appendix. In summary such a person (who need not be fulltime):
HPT has enough income and funds to pay for such an appointment. And HFAC who have provided funds of £350K to HPT since 1991, has a paid Clerk to the Trustees and so is a model example.
Hampton Pool has experienced serious financial crises (with potential risk of closure) at least three times in the last 30 years (1983/5, 2000/1 and 2009) and its current success should not be taken for granted. It depends on three supporting legs:
And it is the Members of HPT acting through their elected Board who have total oversight & legal responsibility for all three.
YMCA operates in accordance with an annual plan agreed with and monitored by the HPT Board. YMCA is at the sharp end - serving the users day in day out. Strengthen the role of YMCA accordingly:
Assign marketing responsibility to the YMCA (including publishing a regular user newsletter which also announces forthcoming events, etc)
Make YMCA responsible for consultation with users. Method & frequency of user consultation would be part ofthe annual plan agreed with HPT with the results being fed back. Managing relationships with local community organizations, public bodies, LBRuT, grant giving bodies, etc is a matter for the HPT Board alone.
Have YMCA give the Annual Report on Operations at the HPT AGM and include that report as an addendum to the Directors' Annual Report & Accounts. Unleash the energy and creativity of volunteers and relieve the Board ofthe burden of hands-on fund raising. Accordingly:
Establish a separate organisation – Friends; of Hampton Pool- with its own governance & membership but with the sole objective of fund raising for HPT.
Many people (Members of HPT, Club members & users) volunteer their time and skills to fund raising events for Hampton Pool. They get a buzz out of that (rather than volunteering to be a Director) and significantly contribute to the financial strength of HPT. Major events such as Splash for Cash and Concerts have generated almost £200K since they were first conceived in 2001.
In April 2007 the YMCA was contracted to run Operations under the terms of a Management Agreement which expires in 3 years (April 2017). And it does so in accordance with plans agreed with and monitored by the HPT Board.
Although not legally obliged to do so, the HPT Board has decided in the name of due diligence to start an investigation of alternatives to the YMCA who could then takeover in 3 years time. As a result, HPT and YMCA are entering a period of uncertainty – sensible businesses best operate with rolling 1 year and 3 or 4 year business plans. To mitigate the harm from this uncertainty:
With YMCA agreement by April 2014, convert to a rolling contract with a 3 year visibility.
Then if HPT doesn't give notice by April 2014, YMCA would have continuity until April 2018 and so on. This would take the due diligence process off the critical path. And this rolling arrangement would be equally valid to any possible future new contractor.
The purpose of Due Diligence is to act with care and avoid harm to HPT. It is an involved & time consuming process involving skilled resources and which, if imperfectly carried out, could be counter productive.
Ask Baker Tilly to manage the Due Diligence process to ensure that appropriate skills and resources are applied.
Annual attendance is approaching 250,000 which is ten times that in 1985. It is the result of 365 day opening, much enhanced facilities which are better managed & presented and the wider awareness of Hampton Pool as a result of Concerts and other publicity.
Success can breed success but only up to a point that will be permitted under the Royal Parks licence, that is in harmony with the neighbouring surroundings, that can be contained within the physical limitations of the site (a given) & the existing buildings (which could be expanded) and that is consistent with the range of products/services on offer.
However today some aspects need attention as they are well below the standard set by the rest of what Hampton Pool has on offer. Accordingly:
As top priorities, make the Car Park safe (surface & lighting) and improve the Pool surround
The recent survey was more valuable in identifying user NEEDS than in finding out user opinions of the prepackaged SOLUTIONS that the Board had selected for their consideration. But all the NEEDS were not fully identified:
Also YMCA as operator and HPT itself have NEEDS – specifically an equipped multi-function meeting room suitable for Board & related meetings, training and even for use by other local charities (a use which might be supported by a major donor). A fuller explanation and reasons are given in an appendix.
Then after ALL the NEEDS have been identified, it is the specialized role of architects to take these identified NEEDS and to develop proposed SOLUTIONS. Accordingly:
Hire a firm of Architects to develop a Concept Plan covering ALL identified NEEDS which can be implemented in phases as financial resources become available.
Proposer: Carrie Lees (HPT Member)
Seconder: Tim Coulton (HPT Member)
27 January 2014
Hampton Pool was first opened in 1922. In the early 1980's LBRuT closed it as it was losing more money than the other pools in the Borough. But a vigorous local campaign convinced LBRuT and The Royal Parks that the Local Community had what it takes to re-open and run Hampton Pool. In effect LBRuT handed over responsibility to HPT. With hindsight and more by accident than design, it was a pioneering development. In recent times many Local Authorities have closed pools, sports centres, theatres, etc and handed over responsibility to not-for-profit contractors bypassing the Local Community who are just passive bystanders.
30 years later, Hampton Pool is operating more successfully than ever. HPT enjoys the continued confidence of LBRuTevidenced by an annual grant of approx £25K and of The Royal Parks under whose licence HPT operates.
The aim of the series of Resolutions is to reconnect HPT with its roots and purpose.
The Local Community is the steward of a remarkable asset that we enjoy right here on our doorstep. And many others from further afield enjoy it too and their support helps to sustain Hampton Pool.
As a Local Community – do we still have what it takes?
Resolution 8: Appoint a paid "Clerk to the Trustees"
In 2007, HPT made a big decision to offload the heavy work of operationally managing the Pool (of which employing staff is a major component) via a Management Agreement with YMCA. This has been very successful and business has boomed. Hampton Pool is no longer a "DIY shoestring" operation. The financial situation is no longer fragile, with a mixture of surpluses and deficits. HPT is now steadily solvent and in a position to do some upgrading in keeping with its mature position – a significant and widely known Charity both locally, in the Borough and for miles around. And in keeping HPT needs to be more consistent in its management performance which has varied during the past 30 years - not because of any lack of commitment or effort on the part of the Board but because ofthe changing amount of volunteer Board resources & skills that are available from time to time. 50 now is the right time to add some paid professional help in the form of a "Clerk to the Trustees" such as they have at HFAC.
It might be a half-time post (about 18 hours a week) and the time and cost might be shared with other local charities.
He /she would be available during the daytime (9-5) and could take part in important daytime meetings (eg with Council officials, Royal Parks officials and YMCA senior management at Surbiton). Most volunteer Trustees are not in a position to do this.
He/she should be able to hold serious conversations and wrangle with the Trustees, on an equal professional level and not merely play a junior admin assistant role. Equally he/she should be able to deal with Council Officials and the senior management team at YMCA, etc as a professional equal and not as an obviously junior person or enthusiastic amateur.
With a sound knowledge and understanding of charity law and company law, this person could effectively perform the role of Company 5ecretary/CEO and service the meetings of the Board and its committees.
This person would need a good rapport with the Chairperson and the other members of the Board. He/she would give real help to the volunteer Trustees, most of whom are "time poor" and struggling to fit their HPT work into their very busy timetables.
Whilst the above is not a full job spec, it does illustrate the role and skills and benefits that a "Clerk to the Trustees" would bring to HPT.
Understandably there will be Members especially those of long standing who well remember struggling through the "DIY shoestring" years and believe that it is "not done" for HPT to spend money for work done for HPT or the HPT Board. But nevertheless we now accept that we pay huge amounts for staff wages (via YMCA) and quite a lot to the people who provide marketing services, etc. And of course we have always paid for audit services (Baker Tilly).
The need today is clear and the financial situation of HPT is robust enough to meet the cost.
Resolution 16: Hire a firm of Architects to develop a Concept Plan covering ALL identified NEEDS which can be implemented in phases as financial resources become available.
Amongst many, an important NEED is providing a "home" for HPT, its Members and Trustees on site at Hampton Pool.
Whilst not intending to second guess what the Architects may propose, it is likely that any expansion would involve a building at the west end of the site.
Such a building could include a large well-equipped meeting room (say 25ft x 20ft) used for HPT Board and Committee meetings and also as a training room (for lifesaving, etc) and be hired out to anyone in the local community that might wish to use it - with HPT having first priority on bookings.
Such a building could include a room (say12ft x12ft) used as an office by the HPT Clerk to the Trustees with secure filing cabinets for confidential papers and documents that the law requires HPT to store.
A local builder (and former HPTTrustee) advises that good-quality building of this type currently costs about £900 per sq metre so an additional cost of less than £60K to any larger planned expansion. And because it would be a community use building, there maybe a good chance of substantial grants from one or more major donors.
Compiled by Marshall Lees with the support of Carrie Lees and contributions from other Members of long standing.
11 January 2014