Report of March Council Meeting
Council met at Hurlingham, on the day of the boat race. The oarsmen were no doubt grateful that it was a calm, dull, day: the meeting was brighter, but, whilst smoothy conducted, it led to a stormier outcome.
Proceedings started with a welcome to the new CA Manager, Mark Suter, and business was adjourned before lunch for a presentation to his predecessor, Liz Larsson, in grateful appreciation of her decade of service. The late John Handy's faultless administration of the coaching committee was also recognised. Jeff Dawson and Michael Hague are to be awarded the Council Medal at the AGM in October and it was agreed to nominate Patricia Duke-Cox for election as a Vice-President of the Association.
The most significant matters arising were two items that were related by geography: the news that the West Midlands Federation seemed to be well on the way to reviving itself and that efforts were being made to get croquet on the schedule for the Commonwealth Games, when they are held in Birmingham in 2022.
The accounts were approved for submission to the AGM after the Treasurer, Peter Death, had explained that the approx £6,000 surplus on the current account was mainly because applications for development grants had been lower than anticipated. £18,000 had been transferred from the development fund to meet the salary and expenses of the National Development Officer, which it had been agreed to fund from reserves. Looking ahead, the main uncertainty was about subscription income following the membership changes. It was agreed to increase the per-capita subscription for larger clubs by £1 + RPI, in line with the mandate given by the 2015 SGM that approved them, but defer a decision about individual subscriptions until July, when the picture may become clearer. It was clarified that Standard Membership was an entitlement, rather than requirement, and the Management Committee was asked to review this.
A policy for advertising in the Croquet Gazette was quickly approved and a way forward for reporting the results of the quinquennial survey agreed. The idea of a "passporting" scheme for students and other young players, to help enable them to play at local clubs, was enthusiastically received and will be introduced once the details have been agreed, with a budget of £2-3,000 for the first year. Another measure agreed to assist younger players, specifically those who might play in the U21 GC World Championship to be held in Nottingham next year, is to reserve places to enable them to get experience in domestic tournaments which their rapidly increasing grade might not qualify them for.
The main business of the day came after lunch, when it was hoped that Strat Liddiard, Chairman of the Governance Working Party, would be able to present its proposals over an internet connection from Australia. Unfortunately the bandwidth was insufficient, so Council had only the executive summary that had been circulated to go on. There was general agreement that Council should be replaced by a smaller Policy and Scrutiny Board, but there was insufficient support for the proposed composition and method of election of the successor body, so subsequent motions to bring the changes into effect were not taken. Instead, the Management Committee was asked to establish a working party with the specific remit of addressing this issue, in the hope that the other proposals would be implemented once that logjam was cleared.