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Surfing GB Chairman’s Statement

July 21, 2011

Many things have been said by many people, this is a very interesting read for all…

Chairman’s Statement of Surfing GB July 2011

Since its inception Surfing GB has faced many difficult times and decisions. We have constantly talked to members and over the months put together a plan to make Surfing GB a credible, stable and efficient national governing body with the help of Sport England.

We acknowledge with limited resources on voluntary time, sometimes the rumour treadmill works faster than us. As chairman of Surfing GB I would like to lay down some facts and more importantly the plans to create an NGB every surfer will be proud of.

* The current executive inherited a debt ridden BSA to an extent unknown to them prior to the election process, including an historic, undeclared VAT liability that meant that the organisation had
technically been insolvent for years.

* We designed a solution to ensure there was a continuation in services to members by liquidating the BSA and creating Surfing GB.

* The financial affairs of the BSA prior to its liquidation are still subject to investigation by the Liquidator and his report to the DTI. Whatever its recommendations, there is a legal ‘firewall’ between the liabilities of the BSA and Surfing GB. Contrary to some claims, Surfing GB has no legal liability for any of the debts, or to the unpaid creditors of the BSA.

* With the support of the Sport and Recreational Alliance and Sport England we were able to access an “Impact and Improvement” fund to ensure Surfing GB was established in compliance with the strict constitutional, legal, financial, governance, management and policy criteria set out by Sport England.

The full award letter is available on request (chris.thomson@surfinggb.com)

* The award letter set out in detail the specific purposes for which the funding was approved, and attached strict conditions to how Sport England’s funding was to be used for the purpose of
establishing Surfing GB. It could not be used for any other purpose other than those purposes
approved and set out in the award letter. As with any grant funding, this was monitored by Sport
England to ensure that the funding was used for the specific purposes for which it had been awarded.

* This funding was approved after a rigorous and detailed assessment by both the Finance and Legal departments of Sport England.

* An important part of the work carried out under the Impact and Improvement funding was producing all of the documentation necessary to ensure that Surfing GB could go through the process of formal recognition as a National Governing Body. The British Surfing Association had never actually gone through the formal recognition process, and there are certain stages that this process has to go through that can’t be shortcut, and Surfing GB is working towards formal recognition as the NGB for British Surfing.

* A very large amount of our time was taken up with the urgent need to review the coaching
qualification structure, which had been introduced in 2009 as accredited by BSA/UKCC. We were
concerned about the lowering of safety and competence standards required, particularly in relation to the extent to which skills were transferable from other sports under UKCC’s Prior Accredited Learning. When it was confirmed that the courses had not been accredited by UKCC, which invalidated those qualifications, we took immediate steps to introduce a new Level 1 and are about to introduce a new Level 2 course.

In response to a growing demand for coaching qualifications that would allow British surf coaches to be employed across the world, we developed the new coaching courses in collaboration with the ISA. We have already been running the new Level 1 courses for some months, and plan for the ISA level 2 courses to start in October 2011, with additional bolt on Surfing GB workshops specialising in different areas of coaching from longboarding to working with children. This flexible modular approach will allow the surf coach to tailor his/her CV to fit the type of coaching he/she wants to do.

* As part of our broadening of courses on offer, we have created a Sports Fitness workshop alongside top strength and conditioning educator Lee Stanbury on behalf of Surfing GB.

* We secured a deal from the top creative design company Why Not Associates, which will provide a rebrand and corporate identity for Surfing GB which will be live from September 2011.

* In line with the new brand we are in the final stages of re-launching a website that is database driven.The benefits of which are:

o Online payments
o Automated renewals for memberships of coaches, schools and individual members.
o Log in area to allow you to maintain your correct details
o Log in area to register for events, contests and courses

* From this database we will be able to communicate regularly and directly to the different
memberships at Surfing GB via e-newsletters.

* Calypso signed a new 5 year contract as the principal sponsor of Surfing GB and sponsor of Calypso Team GB for the World Junior Surfing Games until 2016. Quiksilver, Billabong, Rip Curl and Protest have all confirmed their sponsorship of Surfing GB. We are in talks with more companies, as surfing is still not recognised as a sport for government funding. Something we would like to change and work towards once our first stage changes, including the formal recognition of Surfing GB as a National Governing Body, have taken shape.

* In the spring of 2011 Surfing GB acquired three new, professional and experienced executives;
o Rob Whitney (North Devon) – Regional Development
o Mike Thomas (Cornwall Sport Partnership) – Compliance
o Dr Mel Hudson-Smith (Plymouth University) – Performance Measurement

* Surfing GB’s administration and head office will move to a city centre office in Exeter and form the new headquarters. After talks with members, surveys and discussions the two key areas for change were;
o To move from being Newquay – centric to being a more nationally-focused body
o To improve administration of membership services

* We will be appointing two new part time job-shared admin roles, with the appropriate range and
level of skills, and a management post in Exeter, within existing budgets.

* In 2012 Surfing GB will be appointing a Chief Executive Officer, being based in Exeter our catchment area for a skilled CEO is much larger than Newquay.

* All posts at SGB will in future be subject to proper employment processes and procedures. All job opportunities will be advertised, and appointment procedures will be transparent and accountable. Policies and protocols relating to this will be put up on the website prior to the relocation to Exeter.

* Exeter is well served by rail and motorway links, and within 3 hours of London, Bristol, the Midlands, South Wales and the South West, making it a much more accessible location for a national governing body.

* Surfing GB is developing new strong relationship with Surfers against Sewage and the UK Pro Surf Tour to create a stronger voice for UK surfers when it comes to clean seas and surfing contests. Something the BSA stayed clear of, as there was a historic mistrust among those was believed the SAS and UKPST were competition to the BSA.

* The rumours regarding the “sacking” of our current operation manager are false and untrue.

* Whilst Joanne Hillman worked for the BSA for 7 years, her employment with the BSA ceased when it went into liquidation on 19 January, when she was made redundant. Her employment with Surfing GB began on 1 February. It would not be appropriate to divulge the terms of her severance from Surfing GB, but I can confirm that they are much more generous than those specified by employment law.

* The new online database will take over 60% of the Operations Manager’s work load. The relocation of the head office to Exeter and other changes to the adminstrative requirements of the organisation will mean that the current post of Operations Manager in Newquay, as set out in its job description, is no longer required.

* The various roles of Team Manager, Contest Director and Judge which Joanne Hillman took on over her years with the BSA and has continued to take on, were never part of her job description as Operations Manager. We welcome Ms Hillman to apply for the position of team coach or team
manager when these positions arise, alongside other suitably qualified and experienced candidates.

* In the last 24 hours we have been told that the former BSA office should never have been used by the BSA over the years to run courses, or even have as an office. The area was funded by Objective One, and the old BSA office should never have had any commercial connection as it was for community use only. Just another skeleton in the closet. Surfing GB will continue its discussions with the landlord of the fistral site, to look at ways in which its plans to develop a High Performance Centre in Newquay, with ring fenced investment outside of the surfing industry can be carried forward.

We understand with a serious change in direction for an organisation in the final stages of becoming a National Governing Body that some confusion can come from hearsay and gossip, some of which is sadly driven by some who would prefer to have no NGB at all rather than accept the need to change the old culture of the BSA.

As chairman I have taken on board comments from both sides of the fence and I believe we are working towards the type of NGB that British surfing needs, and more importantly the majority of surfers wants. I also hope this outlines what has been done, and no decision is a knee jerk reaction. We only want what you want. An NGB that is stable; it won’t fall to its knees when one or two people leave or go on holiday and is financially solvent. One that is credible; open information, open communication and open for constructive discussion. An NGB that is efficient; a slick administration team, backed by an up-to-date database system with online payments and self-management of memberships and a good team on the end of the phone.

Changing the culture of an organisation doesn’t come over night. But within a matter of months we will have our “stage 1” process of change finalised. The next step will be:

* To strengthen the regional representatives and youth/coaching projects all over the UK
* We will be working closer with local authorities to come up with a national surf school scheme
* We will be hiring a CEO to work from Exeter alongside the two admin roles and line manager.
* To grow out the sub-committees and strategic partnerships, so Surfing GB can do more governing, rather than “doing”.

I am more than happy to answer any questions, queries and receive feedback about Surfing GB, so please do let me know via chris.thomson@surfinggb.com

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