Roger Bray gave his last Hon. Treasurer's report to Council. The Independent Examiner had approved the 2013 accounts, which show a surplus of about £11,500, though that comes down to about £5,800 after adjustment for exceptional factors, depreciation and inflation. However, the budget for 2014 and projection for 2015 are both for adjusted losses of about £7,500, so it was agreed to increase the subscriptions of both clubs and individual associates to fully reflect inflation over the last two years, but leave the rate of tournament levy unchanged, before the effect of any restructuring proposals. The lawn and ball hire rate is to be reviewed by the Management Committee in July, once data collected from clubs has been analysed.
Decisions taken following discussion of the Hon. Secretary's report should result in minutes of Council and its committees being confirmed closer to the date of their meetings and published generally to Individual Associates on the CA's website.
The main item of business was consideration of a paper prepared by the Chairman, Jeff Dawson, following the discussion at the club conferences of the Federation Working Party's report. The first section summarised the views expressed, though it was recognised that there was inevitably some divergence of opinion. Section B contained a number of recommendations, and the final section some notes concerning them. The first recommendation, that constitutional amendments should be proposed to the CA's AGM in October to enable Federations to become members of the CA, was agreed. Discussions with Federations are to continue to see if there is sufficient support to make this just a first step in combining the Federations and the CA into a single federated organisation, or to require their member clubs to be at least affiliate members of the CA. The issue of possible boundary changes will also be dealt with separately.
However, a decision on the proposal to ask the AGM for permission to increase the per-capita rate for club membership of the CA above inflation, in a series of four annual increments, leading to all club members becoming individual non-tournament members of the CA, was deferred to a special Council meeting in July, with a view to then calling a Special General Meeting in the Spring of 2015 after further consultation. More detailed financial analysis is needed to model the effects of possible proposals that would get closer to the objective of all club members being able to play in tournaments and receiving at least some paper copies of the Gazette. A significant issue is how accommodate the wide range of clubs with different sizes and subscription levels. It was agreed that if all club members did become members of the CA, then clubs themselves would no longer need voting rights.
The other significant topic resulted in a decision to advertise for an International Performance Director, to develop and drive a programme designed to ensure improved (initially) AC performance on the international stage in the short, medium and long term.