Trustee meeting 21 October

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Nov 182011
 

At the trustee meeting on 21 October the following discussions took place:

1. Funding of Remap

An email had gone out to all panels following up on trustees’ discussion about the future funding of Remap and proceedings at the AGM. The email confirmed the Chairman’s statement at the AGM that the best way forward was for panels to transfer excess funds over one year’s expenditure to form a fund that would be used to support Remap. This also addressed the problem of some fund handling not being SORP-compliant. A two-way flow of funds between panels and the investment fund was envisaged to avoid problems with panels having cash flow issues for example on larger projects. The money would be placed in a separate COIF account set up specially to hold contributions from panel reserves and inputs into it and payments out of it would be made transparent to panels. Holding the money in this way would also make it possible to account for restricted funds as required by SORP, and for this purpose it was essential to ask panels to provide documentation relating to donor-imposed restrictions.

As promised, further consultation with panels would take place about how the process would work in practice and the use to which the ‘common investment fund’ could be put to best support panels In the first instance it was envisaged that the panel contribution to central expenditure, this year agreed at £40k, could simply be drawn down from the account, but it still needed to be agreed how panel contributions would be set once excess reserves had been allocated towards stated aims and objectives. There was also an issue of how panel expenditure was assessed and recorded. It was decided that there must be a simple process to enable money to be transferred to any panel requiring support from the common investment fund. Contributions from panels as well as subsequent payments to panels would be recorded and cash flow history relating to the common fund made available to panels. This process would be the responsibility of the CEO.

2. Improving panel support

The CEO reported on the new materials that had been prepared: case cards, presentation folders and exhibition banners. Panels had been notified via the blog of everything that was available.

Only six case cards had so far been prepared, but the objective was to build up a large library of cards, every panel’s work being represented if possible. Panels would be invited to submit information and pictures to make this possible.

There was discussion about how many exhibition banners to have made to enable panels to have access to them when required without logistical problems. The CEO was asked to ensure sufficient sets were ordered to make this possible. The cost of these would come from the common fund.

The CEO also reported on the number of panels which had said they were seeking a new chairman. There was some discussion of forms of assistance that could be given. It was agreed that everything possible should be done to bring forward a training scheme for panel chairmen, and the CEO was asked to look into frequency of panel meetings and attendance at them as part of the panel profile that might underlie panels getting into difficulties. In addition, progress was needed to guidance to panels on obtaining new recruits.

3. Working with disability charities

The trustees had before them a paper setting out a potential project which had been put to the Department of Health for funding. The project was a new way of identifying people who needed Remap’s help and of planning the form of help which best suited them. The objective was to expand Remap’s reach by working in a way which provided the organisations concerned with a solid evidence base of benefits to clients rather than their having to rely on anecdotal accounts of success. This would encourage them to refer more cases to Remap.

The trustees agreed that the rationale for working in this way was strong, and that it was the right way to go even if this particular funding application was unsuccessful. The CEO emphasised that it needed to be piloted in a few panels initially, ones which were willing to make slight changes to the way they worked in order to give the outputs required by the referring organisations. The two key challenges were to have a process for identifying the true need and to have a second process for obtaining a greater amount of structured feedback from the client.

Several trustees said their panels would participate. The CEO said that the project would require additional resources, and if the funding application to provide such were unsuccessful than the project’s future would depend either on another application or on the network being convinced that it was the right way to invest in Remap’s future.

4. Management accounts

The trustees had before them the management accounts to the end of September 2011. The Hon Treasurer noted that expenditure was very much in line with the budget, other than regional expenditure being higher than anticipated because of regional meetings. £28k had so far been received from the legacy promised in early 2010, the delay in which had been a key factor in the cash flow problem towards the end of that year. A further £4k was expected. This made a total of £32k against the amount of £40k which was the amount anticipated by the solicitors for the donor before the problem selling the flat arose. Income at the half-way point of the year stood at almost £74k, with further grants promised that would bring the total up to £115k. This did not include amounts transferred by panels to the centre, which could not count as income since it was technically an internal transfer.

The Hon Treasurer reported that the financial position was better than it was at the same point in the previous year. However, the CEO said that Remap was losing its fundraiser, Jill Homewood, for four months at the beginning of 2012, due to hospital treatment and a period of unpaid leave following it. This would necessitate taking on a temporary replacement (at no greater cost), but it and all the external factors meant that fundraising would remain a matter of concern.

5. Investment of Remap funds

The trustees considered the subject of investment of Remap funds, and in particular an investment that had been made by a panel in an offshore bond. Given the trustees’ responsibility for the management of money and Charity Commission guidance on investment, it was decided that this bond was not a suitable investment for Remap. The trustees resolved to ask the panel concerned to immediately repatriate all the money invested in the bond to their UK current account.

6. Websites

The Chairman reported that Remapedia was being redone in Joomla. The data input/editing facility was in place and he had had a demonstration and felt it was working well. The CEO reported that the main website was being completely revised with the benefit of a new content management system. It would contain much more information and be easier to update. The work was expected to be complete and the new site launched in late November.

7. Regional meetings

It was agreed that following the regional meetings earlier in the year, at which it was agreed that regional meetings were a good idea which should be encouraged, steps should be taken to ensure a further series was held.

8. AGM

Various possible venues were discussed, and it was agreed to investigate the Derby Railway Museum and the Space Centre in Leicester.

9. Amendment to the Articles of Association

It had emerged that it was desirable to amend the articles of association to state specifically that they excluded the application of the model articles for charitable companies. This would most easily be done by obtaining a written resolution in accordance with paragraph 11 of Remap’s articles. The agreement in writing of 75% of the panels would be required, and this should not be a problem given that it would not change anything, it was merely a clarification of what was the case anyway.

The trustees resolved to set this process in motion without delay.

10. Date of meetings in 2012

The meetings for 2012 were set at:

Friday 20 January
Friday 11 May
Friday 19 October

Trustee meeting 13 May 2011

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Jun 082011
 

New trustees

We are delighted to report that two new trustees were appointed at the meeting. They are Les Brown, chairman of the South Bucks panel, and Maurice Elliot, chairman of the Derby & Burton panel. Les and Maurice are already making a valuable contribution, as well as being a great pleasure to work with. Those members who do not know them will have an opportunity to meet them at the AGM on June 25.

Regional meeting report

The main business of this meeting was to consider a report covering the eight regional meetings which had been held and consider how to go forward on the basis of what had been learned. The meetings had been attended by a total of 111 people from 64 different panels. At each one the chairman had given an overview of the decline (measured for this purpose purely by reported job numbers) in the lower half of panels that was masked by the constantly improving performance of the upper half; problems caused by excessive holdings of reserves; the need for panels to contribute to future funding to help stabilise income; the options for assessing contributions; the role of central office and the costs it incurred; and where the trustees wanted to take Remap.

A common theme throughout the meetings was dissatisfaction with communications within Remap, and the trustees accepted this. They felt that there must be more emphasis on consistent communications, and, in particular in the current situation, by explaining fully why investment was needed and on what they intended to spend the money that was being sought. There was a clear need to demonstrate that there was a ‘roadmap’ showing the route to where both trustees and panels wanted the charity to go.

Order of business at the AGM

The proceedings would this year start with the Awards, which would give certainty of timing for the person who would this year be presenting the Awards, Sir Bert Massie. The AGM proper would start with the approval of minutes and the adoption of the annual report and the accounts, the first substantial item on the AGM agenda being the presentation on the future of Remap and a statement of the trustees’ objectives, based on the report of the regional meetings. The membership would be asked to support  the way forward. This would be followed by re-election of trustees. After lunch there would be a meeting of panel officers.

Co-operation with Sheffield University re Devices for Dignity

Remap have been invited to become involved with initiatives based at Sheffield University to promote assistive technology: specifically, Devices for Dignity (D4D), Assistive Technology Investment Broker (ATIB) and Realise, which is similar to ATIB but exclusively focused on software. The initiatives are focused on bringing together users, clinicians, industry, the voluntary sector and academics to drive forward innovative new products, processes and services to help disabled people preserve their independence and dignity.

The trustees feel this would be valuable for Remap; D4D and its sister initiatives have similar aims to Remap, and an involvement would offer a useful way to raise our profile and pursue our objectives.  There is considerable interest in D4D in Remapedia; they see it as a better source of information than any other body in the field possesses on what disabled people’s needs are, and are anxious to explore the possibility of panels working with them to ensure relevant themes are highlighted when projects are entered into Remapedia.

We have also been invited to join their expert network, the advisory group they call on when they are looking at a product idea.

Sheffield panel

Maurice Elliot presented a report on his progress in setting up a panel in Sheffield. He had focused first on finding officers, and had secured both a chairman and a secretary/treasurer. He expected to get two or three engineers on board shortly, at which stage he felt the new panel could be launched.

Promotional activity had included advertising with Voluntary Action Sheffield for the different types of volunteer, an interview with Radio Sheffield, articles published in the 50+ club newsletter and in the Sheffield Star, posters put up in local libraries and leaflets distributed among local model engineering clubs. He was trying to get an interview with Yorkshire TV, and had contacted IMechE, the IET and the Sheffield Inventors Club.

Maurice’s splendid efforts will be documented to help with the setting up of new panels and help to re-invigorate existing ones.

Model Engineering Exhibition

Tony Tricker contacted the chairman to say that Remap have been invited to take a stand free of charge at this exhibition in January 2012 at Alexandra Palace. We intend to take advantage of this opportunity to try to boost recruitment.

Funding and finance

Although Remap faced difficulties last summer when charitable funding became extremely challenging and a delay in promised legacy money threatened cash flow, hard work on the fundraising front paid off, and fundraising from charitable trusts and from individuals turned out better than had been cautiously forecast. £81k was raised from trusts – budgeted figure was £45K – and over £17k from individuals which was a slight rise on the budget of £15K. This enabled a small surplus to be achieved at the end of the year. For the year 2011 – 2012 £80,200 has so far been raised or promised.

Job numbers for 2010/11

Job numbers for the year are 3756, a 6% drop on last year’s figure. This is disappointing but unsurprising in all the circumstances.

Trustee meeting 13 May 2011

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Jun 072011
 

Regional meeting report

The main business of this meeting was to consider a report covering the eight regional meetings which had been held and consider how to go forward on the basis of what had been learned. The meetings had been attended by a total of 111 people from 64 different panels. At each one the chairman had given an overview of the decline (measured for this purpose purely by reported job numbers) in the lower half of panels that was masked by the constantly improving performance of the upper half; problems caused by excessive holdings of reserves; the need for panels to contribute to future funding to help stabilise income; the options for assessing contributions; the role of central office and the costs it incurred; and where the trustees wanted to take Remap.

A common theme throughout the meetings was dissatisfaction with communications within Remap, and the trustees accepted this. They felt that there must be more emphasis on consistent communications, and, in particular in the current situation, by explaining fully why investment was needed and on what they intended to spend the money that was being sought. There was a clear need to demonstrate that there was a ‘roadmap’ showing the route to where both trustees and panels wanted the charity to go.

Order of business at the AGM

The proceedings would this year start with the Awards, which would give certainty of timing for the person who would this year be presenting the Awards, Sir Bert Massie. The AGM proper would start with the approval of minutes and the adoption of the annual report and the accounts, the first substantial item on the AGM agenda being the presentation on the future of Remap and a statement of the trustees’ objectives, based on the report of the regional meetings. The membership would be asked to support  the way forward. This would be followed by re-election of trustees. After lunch there would be a meeting of panel officers.

Co-operation with Sheffield University re Devices for Dignity

Remap have been invited to become involved with initiatives based at Sheffield University to promote assistive technology: specifically, Devices for Dignity (D4D), Assistive Technology Investment Broker (ATIB) and Realise, which is similar to ATIB but exclusively focused on software. The initiatives are focused on bringing together users, clinicians, industry, the voluntary sector and academics to drive forward innovative new products, processes and services to help disabled people preserve their independence and dignity.

The trustees feel this would be valuable for Remap; D4D and its sister initiatives have similar aims to Remap, and an involvement would offer a useful way to raise our profile and pursue our objectives.  There is considerable interest in D4D in Remapedia; they see it as a better source of information than any other body in the field possesses on what disabled people’s needs are, and are anxious to explore the possibility of panels working with them to ensure relevant themes are highlighted when projects are entered into Remapedia.

We have also been invited to join their expert network, the advisory group they call on when they are looking at a product idea.

Sheffield panel

Maurice Elliot presented a report on his progress in setting up a panel in Sheffield. He had focused first on finding officers, and had secured both a chairman and a secretary/treasurer. He expected to get two or three engineers on board shortly, at which stage he felt the new panel could be launched.

Promotional activity had included advertising with Voluntary Action Sheffield for the different types of volunteer, an interview with Radio Sheffield, articles published in the 50+ club newsletter and in the Sheffield Star, posters put up in local libraries and leaflets distributed among local model engineering clubs. He was trying to get an interview with Yorkshire TV, and had contacted IMechE, the IET and the Sheffield Inventors Club.

Maurice’s splendid efforts will be documented to help with the setting up of new panels and help to re-invigorate existing ones.

Model Engineering Exhibition

Tony Tricker contacted the chairman to say that Remap have been invited to take a stand free of charge at this exhibition in January 2012 at Alexandra Palace. We intend to take advantage of this opportunity to try to boost recruitment.

Funding and finance

Although Remap faced difficulties last summer when charitable funding became extremely challenging and a delay in promised legacy money threatened cash flow, hard work on the fundraising front paid off, and fundraising from charitable trusts and from individuals turned out better than had been cautiously forecast. £81k was raised from trusts – budgeted figure was £45K – and over £17k from individuals which was a slight rise on the budget of £15K. This enabled a small surplus to be achieved at the end of the year. For the year 2011 – 2012 £80,200 has so far been raised or promised.

Job numbers for 2010/11

Job numbers for the year are 3756, a 6% drop on last year’s figure. This is disappointing but unsurprising in all the circumstances.

Report on meeting held 21 January 2011

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Feb 232011
 

At the trustee meeting on Friday 21 January 2011, the trustees had two guests,

Maurice Elliot, chairman of the Derby panel, and Les Brown, chairman of the South Bucks panel, who have been put forward as prospective trustees.

The Hon Treasurer, Richard Cserjen, was happier about the financial situation than he had been last October. The John Ellerman Foundation had promised Remap £20,000 a year for the next two years, and there had been smaller successes with other charitable trusts. In addition, £35,000 had been transferred by a number of panels into the central account following discussions in late 2010 when there was considerable concern about central finances.

Discussion took place about keeping the cost of trustee meetings down by aiming for just 3 meetings a year and supplementing them where necessary with telephone conferences.

The most important issue facing the trustees was the response from panels to

the paper on the future of Remap which had been circulated to panels in late November. The CEO reported that because the flat fee had generated some strong opposition, an exercise had been carried out to show how the burden would fall if the basis were the number of jobs done or the number of volunteers per panel. Another idea was for panels to pay a percentage of what they held in reserves that was over and above their annual expenditure.

It was agreed that a range of options be put to panels with a view to making a decision by June. In the meantime, a series of regional meetings was being arranged to give all panels an opportunity to express their views.

Two other items of interest were a recent meeting with Help for Heroes which was attended by the CEO and Les Brown. The objective was to discuss how Remap might be able to help wounded ex-servicemen. In addition, Help for Heroes, an outstandingly successful charity at fundraising, had some useful tips on building a network of supporters.

The CEO also reported that Remap had had an offer from a local college to produce a DVD which could be used for fundraising purposes. Production of material is already under way, starting with some footage of West Kent volunteer Dave Eate, who is raising money for Remap by attempting to stand for one minute. His appeal is featured on the Just Giving website, www.justgiving.com.

Trustee Meeting 6 March

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Mar 072010
 

The Trustee meeting today fortunately did not require the arctic expedition clothing evident at the last meeting.  Held as usual at the Institute of Measurement the main items on the agenda were ISA checks and communications within Remap.  As you are all probably aware we originally thought that virtually all Remap members would require ISA registration.  Although new guidance is yet to be produced by the ISA following the Singleton review in December it is now clear that only some Remap members will require to register with the ISA.  Further details are in the ISA entry on this Blog.

Communications throughout Remap, both between Panels and Head Office and between Panels themselves is vital.  The loss of the Regional Organiser network has reduced feedback from Panels somewhat but on the other hand contact between Head Office and Panels has increased.  We discussed ways of encouraging inter Panel links  as well as ways of disseminating information between HQ and Panels more effectively (this Blog is part of that strategy).  You will hear more of our ideas on this subject at the AGM.

Trustee Meeting – Jan 2010

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Feb 072010
 

The Remap Trustee meetings are usually held in the Institute of Measurement & Control Instiute of measurement and control in Gower St.  They are held here as it is much easier for the Trustees from the frozen north (Watford and beyond) and the wild west to get to than is the Head Office in Kemsing.

The January meeting involved a variety of garb more normally associated with the Highlands or Dartmoor than London as a collection of stout boots and hiking poles clattered their way up the stairs as assorted Trustees battled their way through the snow.

This was the first meeting under the new Chairman whose first executive decision was to confiscate the biscuits.  Unfortunately Steve Bloor made a flanking attack aided by HQ Staff and recaptured them.

The main subjects of the day (apart from biscuit control)  were the progress with incorporation, training for new members and newly appointed Panel Officers, and the AGM. 

Progress on incorporation is going well.  At the time of the meeting we were waiting for the solicitors comments and these were received a day or two later. 

Training is becoming an increasingly important subject.  There will be a more formal paper coming out for you all in the near future but a number of people who should have been good recruits for Remap but who either left after attending one or two meetings or who never turned up at all mentioned the lack of material about the detail of what was expected of them as being a significant disincentive to joining Remap.  Similarly Panel members taking on posts within the Panel often find little support as they take on the new responsibility.  We hope to establish a set of on-line training programmes to help in both these areas.

Discussion on the AGM concerned the need to get the proposed articles of association (the document which, for an incorporated body, replaces our constitution) out to Panels in good time for them to be able to read and as questions about them before the meeting.  We would like as many individuals as possible to turn as well as Panel representatives and also for Panels to bring along examples of their work to show to others.  It was also decided to have a short afternoon session after the main meeting for Panel Officers to discuss with them some of the proposals for training in the future.