AGM Feedback Five
February 27, 2017
MINUTES OF BRSC AGM on Thursday 16th February 2017.
Minutes of the 68th Annual General Meeting of Bristol Rovers Supporters Club held at The Memorial Stadium, Filton Avenue, Bristol on Thursday 16th February 2017.
Apologies: Dave Payne and Steve Brookfield.
CHAIRMAN’S OPENING REMARKS
Regrettably, I must open by recording the passing, only a few days ago, of our old friend Jean Shaw who has been a “fixture” on coach 1 to all of Rovers’ away games for many years, previously alongside her husband Ralph, a former committee member and Travel Organiser for the Club. Jean’s funeral will be held at the South Bristol Crematorium on the 2nd March and full details are available on the Supporters Club’s website.
Jean’s passing follows soon after the loss of former Chairman, long-standing committee member, Travel Organiser and club stalwart, Ron Batt. We understand that the Football Club will pay a tribute to all our departed friends at the final home game of the season against Millwall.
Meantime, the Supporters Club extends sincere condolences to the families and friends of Jean, Ron and all the members and supporters who have passed away during the last year.
(1). Election of two Tellers
(2). Minutes of last AGM
There being no matters arising from the minutes it was proposed by Pat Newport and seconded by Brian Wiltshire that the minutes of the 67th AGM be accepted as a true record of that meeting. These were accepted unanimously by the meeting.
(3). Chairman’s Report
There were no matters arising from the report. It was then proposed by Leanne Hawkins and seconded by Pete Pearce that the Chairman’s Report be accepted. This was accepted unanimously by the meeting.
(4). Financial Report and Accounts
The Chairman read out a statement in respect of our accounts for the year.
Members attention will be drawn to Note 8 in the statement of accounts presented to you this evening. Please remember that this is the twice-postponed 2016 AGM and the Financial Report before you now refers to the state of the Club’s accounts on the 30th June 2016. The accounts are in a far better state today. With regards to the misappropriation of funds mentioned in the report I can inform you that the Trustees, working in close collaboration with our Accountant, have retrieved the majority of the missing funds. Furthermore, the balance of funds still outstanding, along with all the extra legal and financial expenses incurred as a result of the loss, are now completely secure thanks to the Club having a first claim on a property that is presently on the market. The Trustees continue to work closely with our Accountants and Bankers in order to prevent the possibility of this sort of loss being repeated in the future.
The Avon & Somerset Police have made an arrest in connection with this matter and we understand that charges may be pending. Therefore we are not in a position to comment any further on this matter for the time being.
I can report that we are currently in negotiation with our bank account manager and Sue, Chris and myself (Secretary, Vice-Chairman and Chairman) have another meeting planned with her for next Thursday. At this moment in time the Supporters Club has £120,000 in our main account and all invoices have been paid. There are no outstanding bills to pay and the Share Scheme Account is untouched. However there are other accounts that require closure and we are presently moving money around to achieve a ‘slimming-down’. This is one of the matters we will be discussing with the bank next week. Meantime, with regards to the future we have quadrupled our hold on the accounts. At present all invoices are being paid electronically with Sue, (Secretary), setting-up payments and me, (Chairman), authorising them for immediate settlement. Chris, (Vice-Chairman), will also be able to authorise payments from next week and all three of us have 24-hour access to the Barclays accounts. We are employing Martin Hill, (who many of you will know as one of our coach stewards), as a book-keeper dealing with staff wages, income tax, P.A.Y.E. and V.A.T. etc. and also Doug Green, who is Treasurer to the Rovers’ Community Department, will issue monthly reports to the Committee so both will also need access to the accounts when we can set this up with Barclays. Our accountant Clive Farquhar already has viewing-access-only so members can rest assured that their money is now in safe hands.
We have been informed today that the property we have first claim on currently has two buyers lined up so I am confident that all the money due to us will be in our account very soon. The 2017 Financial Report should therefore be published on time with copies available to members for the next AGM, (due end September/early October), with all funds intact.
I apologise on behalf of the Committee for the loss reported this evening and trust that you will appreciate that everything possible has been done to correct things and to ensure that there will be no repeat. I therefore ask you to pass these accounts secure in the knowledge that everything will be corrected within a month or so.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to Clive for his excellent work, to my fellow trustees Chris and Sue for their efforts to put all this right and to Ken Masters for his support during what has been a most harrowing and worrying experience.
Brian Williams then asked why was one signatory able to move money around and out of the accounts? The chairman stated that he was not sure how this happened.
John Malyckyj stated that it appeared to him that it was a governance issue and there seemed to be no check on balances throughout the season. He also felt there needed to be a change in the rules for online banking signatories and the Chairman confirmed that this had already been put in place.
Terry Hopkins asked if we had had a book keeper in place. The Chairman replied no, and Mr Hopkins stated that he was pleased that we now had one.
Bernard Brain asked if we could publish the minutes of our monthly meetings on the website for transparency? Chairman stated that we could certainly consider this at our next meeting.
We were also asked if there were any other years when money had gone missing and replied that no there was not.
Clive Farquhar our auditor/accountant then gave a brief summary of what he had done on the matter and also James Taylor of Wards, our Solicitor, also gave a brief summary of the action that had been taken by the trustees following discovery of the misappropriation of funds.
John Malyckyj asked Clive when the money started to go missing. Clive replied the money went missing between July 2015 and November 2016.
Geoff Dunford stated that he wanted to congratulate the committee for their swift actions in getting the money recovered and their change in working operations to ensure it could not happen again.
It was proposed by Terry Hopkins and seconded by Brian Williams that that accounts be accepted. This was accepted unanimously by the meeting.
(5). BRSC Directors Report
There being no matters arising. It was proposed by Bill Daly and seconded by Leanne Hawkins that the Directors Report be accepted.
(6). Election of Members to the Committee
No external nominations having been received the following committee members offered themselves for re-election, David Thomas and Daryl Parsons. Both were prepared to continue their positions as outlined in Appendix 1.
(7). Amendment to Club Rules
There were none proposed by the committee. Phil Draper however stated that he was embarking, on behalf of the committee, a review of the constitution and rules of the committee since as they stand they are both unwieldy and lengthy. It will be a fully transparent process and will be put to the AGM next year.
(8). To consider Membership Fee
The Executive Committee propose to introduce an additional category of Membership from the start of the 2017/18 season. We seek membership approval to introduce an Under 21 Membership charged at the same rate as members aged over 65. This was agreed by the meeting.
Robert Wilcox asked if we had ever considered a family membership. Chris Walker stated we had but it was more difficult to administer.
(9). Any Other Business
We were asked who was overseeing the Treasurers job in the absence of a Treasurer. It was confirmed that it was Sue Williams (Secretary) and Jim Chappell (Chairman) with the guidance of Clive Farquhar our accountant.
(10). Result of Election for BRSC Director
The Supporters Club Business for the meeting having been completed Steve Hamer, Chairman of Bristol Rovers answered various questions put to him; this part of the meeting being chaired by Brian Seymour-Smith. This forum will also form part of the two forums per season that the football club have to hold with their fans as part of Football League rules.
Brian Seymour-Smith then thanked Clive Farquhar and James Taylor for attending the meeting. He then closed the meeting at 9 p.m. and thanked Steve Hamer for answering questions and thanked everyone for attending the meeting.