Notes from the '19 BD AGM

  • Written By: Winnie Murphy
  • Published: Mon, 16 Sep 2019 08:39

Interim Chair Linda Whetsone welcomed everyone and introduced the Board members to the audience before handing to Chief Executive Jason Brautigam (JB) for the formal business of the Annual General Meeting.

Apologies were read from Susie Cumine, David Trott and Peter & Sue Baxter before moving on to the resolutions as follows:

1. To elect the Chairman – Members present voted unanimously in favour of Linda Whetstone to be elected as Chairman, with no votes registered against. For the record, the proxy votes submitted were as follows; 75 for, 2 against and 2 void papers. The motion was therefore duly carried.

2. To elect the International Director - Members present voted unanimously in favour of Judy Harvey to be elected as International Director, with no votes registered against. For the record, the proxy votes submitted were 77 for and zero against. The motion was therefore duly carried.

3. To elect the Sports Operations Director – four candidates came forward and were subsequently approved by the Nominations Committee to go to the membership for election. An electronic ballot was held by independent company Mi-Voice who reported 1517 votes. The results were as follows:
Simon Bates – 538 votes
Sandy Phillips – 354 votes
Kelly Thompson – 311 votes
Ros Ingledew – 304 votes
Simon Bates was duly elected to the role of Sport Operations Director , with the appointment ratified unanimously by members present.

4. To receive the Financial Statements of British Dressage for the year ended 31 December 2018 and the Directors’ and Auditors’ Reports thereon.
Finance Director Caroline Godfrey ran through the accounts and reported turnover for BD was up 4% and a profit of £303,909 was returned. Iryndeep Kaur-Delay, Senior Statutory Auditor from KPMG updated the meeting and said there were no audit issues or changes to the presentation. They approved the accounts on 13 June 2019. The vote was put to the members present and carried unanimously.

5. To appoint, pending the outcome of the tender process, the chosen auditors of British Dressage and to authorise the Board to fix their remuneration.
A panel carried out an Audit Tender for our Auditors this year. KPMG elected not to tender but five companies were interviewed for best fit. Mazars were selected by the panel and subsequently approved by the Board. The vote was put to the members present and carried unanimously.

That was the end of the formal business and Linda then opened the Members’ Meeting where there were presentations from the CEO and Board members (see the pdf of the slides).

Points of note:
CEO: there will be no members’ forum on the new BD website. Costs are coming in at £16 – 24K for an appropriate site and the Board feel this money would be better spent elsewhere. BD will be using other social media channels more effectively for interactive content like webinars, Twitter/FB Q&A, etc.

Judges: Peter Storr emphasised that candidates in the current exam system will have opportunity in 2020 to finish their qualification and if unsuccessful, they’ll move to the new system in 2021.

International: Judy Harvey clarified that three horse and rider combinations will be in the team for the Tokyo Olympics with a fourth travelling reserve who may be substituted into the team for the Grand Prix Special to decide the team medals.

Sport Operations: Tamsyn Cowie explained the new 2020 Petplan Equine Area Festival venues were still being worked on and a mapping exercise was taking place to spread the venues so that members had fair access to an Area Festival.

Questions from the floor

Would BD consider aligning with the FEI on the vaccination rules of six months with a 21 day grace period?
JB – the final wording is still being worked on for the 2020 rules and he would ask the Board to look at it as well as a dispensation system for horses who have severe reactions.

With the new flu regulations, would BD consider a six month membership?
JB said he and the Board will look at a six monthly horse registrations.

With the new season split of two six monthly periods, how would BD ensure results are in in time for the three week entry window ahead of Regionals?
TC said the new IT system will help dramatically as the Phase IV priority is the upload of results into the database directly to speed up the process so there shouldn’t be the delays as previously. Lou Jones added that qualifications will be sent as they’re gained so members should be aware they’ve qualified.

Questions submitted prior to the meeting

50% of the BD Board has not contested an election, they’re appointed or elected unopposed – is this an issue?
JB said often the calibre of people who come forward mean they are the only applicant for vacancies. All roles are advertised and all applicants must go through a process with the Nominations Committee to make sure they’re fit for office so there are checks in place. As a volunteer role requiring a great deal of commitment, there may just be people who are unwilling to come forward –
the Board is only as good as those who come forward.

Some NGBs have 100% appointed boards whereas BD have a largely democratic process except where we need particular skillsets and have appointed Directors (as per the Mems and Arts) such as Suzanne Homewood in the new Business Development Director role. We may look to similar for an HR Director.

Would we consider using Mi-Voice for all elections so that members could take part in a simple yes or no vote where there is one candidate?
JB said it was a fair point and would be looked into.

Full formal minutes will be published in due course.