Royal Marines Association North Devon

ONCE A MARINE ALWAYS A MARINE

THE ROYAL MARINES ASSOCIATION

 

RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS OF A TRUSTEES’ MEETING HELD IN THE TRUSTEES DINING ROOM, THE ROYAL MARINES MUSEUM

 

Thursday 24 November 2016 at 0930 hours

 

Present:                        Mr R Bell JP (Chair)                                                Chairman

                                    Brigadier M P Ellis OBE (Retd) (CE)                        Chief Executive

                                    Lt Col E C Musto RM (EM)                                    Corps Secretary

                                    WO1 (RSM P S Gilby RM                                    Corps RSM

                                    WO1 (RSM) C Riach RM (CR)                                    Corps Representative

                                    WO1 D Egan RM                                                Specialist - Welfare

Mrs K Richardson OBE (KR)                                    Specialist – Families

Mr G Salvetti                                                             Specialist – Legal

Mr B R Reading (BR)                                                Specialist - Investment

                                    Mr P Deacon (PD)                                                Northern Region

                                    Mr R N Eales (RE)                                                Midlands Region

                                    Mr T A Galsworthy (TG)                                                East Anglia Region

                                    Mr P G Richardson (PR)                                    South East Region

                                    Mr D Sargent (DS)                                                South West Region

                                    Lt Col C Wilson RM (Retd) (CW)                                    RMA PDO

                       

In Attendance:                        Mr John Harris-Burland            Mindworks Marketing Ltd

                                    Ms Emma Livingstone            Mindworks Marketing Ltd

                                    Ms Vivien Lebbon            Mindworks Marketing Ltd

                                    Maj C March RM (Retd)            Principal Veteran Support Officer

                                    Mrs W Sheen             RMA Welfare Grants Officer

                                    Ms R Davies            RMA Finance Manager

                                                                                                            

Apologies were received from: Messrs A Bennett, P Sheridan, R Crawley.

 

Item 1. Opening Remarks.

 

1.   The Chairman welcomed all to the meeting and reminded everyone of the very full agenda and the resultant need to keep to the point in discussions.  He noted the apologies received, as recorded above.

 

Item 2.  Minutes of the Last Meeting and Matters Arising

 

2.   The following points were raised:

            

a.   Page 2, sub-para 4d:  The Chairman asked about progress with this action. Only one Branch’s (RMA Portsmouth) annual return remains outstanding. Hon Treasurer would provide a draft letter for CE warning the Branch of potential sanctions if this matter is not concluded swiftly (see para 2b of F & GP Committee Mtg 3 Nov 16 RoP).

 

                                                                                                            Action: AB/ CE

 

b.   Page 2, sub-para 4 g, first line: typographical error:  ‘proved’ should read ‘provided’. CW to amend.

 

c.   Page 6, para 17: RM Cadet membership of RMA. CW reported that there has been no progress with this matter since alerting HQ MSSC in the summer to the lack of uptake by RM Cadets. He had been invited to attend A Coy (W & SW RM Cadets) Staff Conference on 7 Jan 17 and would raise the matter there. Similarly, RE will be at a meeting of eastern District Cadets on 27 Nov 17 and would ask about it. KR suggested asking Admiral Clink to prompt HQ MSSC to resolve this matter.

 

                                                                                                            Action: CW/RE 

 

d.  P 6, para 20. The Chairman asked whether Central Office had heard if there had been any take–up by the membership into Serve On. CW answered that there had been no news.  It was agreed that Serve On should be asked for news updates about its activities so that the recruiting message can be periodically refreshed and re-published.

 

                                                                                                            Action: CW

 

e.  Page 9. Para 40. As a supplementary to this paragraph, the Chairman asked whether the cycle of Trustees resignations/(re-)elections for RMA Ltd should start in the New Year.  CW undertook to scrutinise the Articles and provide a short brief on how and when the cycle should be instigated.

 

                                                                                                            Action: CW

 

3.   On conclusion of the discussion, the Minutes of the last meeting were accepted as a true record of events.

                                                                                               

Proposed: Lt Col E C Musto RM

                                                                                                Seconded: Mr T Galsworthy

                                                                                                Carried unanimously

 

Item 3. Report from F&GP Committee

 

4.   The key matters arising from the last F & GP Committee meeting were as follows:

 

a.   Page 1, para 1 ‘Challenges’:  GS sought confirmation, given, that the departure of Riccardo Berogna from Central Office will bring about a review of staff workload in the office.  PD requested a vote of thanks to Riccardo for all his hard work be recorded.

 

b.   Page 4, sub-para e:  The Chairman referred to the costs of MWM’s services in relation to the forecast of the deficit for 2017, and urged Trustees to challenge MWM about this aspect of their service to the RMA at the appropriate moment of the meeting. Subsequent wide-ranging discussion questioned whether the charges for MWM and the website’s development would be rendered nugatory (despite forecast decreases from 2017 onwards) as convergence with The RM Charity proceeded. The Chief Executive agreed to scrutinise the costs and try to equate future expenditure on RMA website development to the effects of convergence with TRMC.

 

                                                                                                            Action: CE

 

c.   The Chairman continued the discussion by noting that there is much more to the website than just its pages, and that the automation it brings not only saves the Association money and time but critically delivers the facility and capacity for the achievement of many processes which have hitherto not been effected, notably the efficient and comprehensive management of an accurate membership database, something that is critical to our effective function. He also noted the fidelity with which the Central Office Finance Manager could now ensure that membership subscriptions were being paid and that we were now receiving not inconsiderable sums in donations that were note previously possible. He reminded Trustees that the fact that these finance and membership management functions along with the ability for access to a trusted source of invaluable information on a wide array of matters that supports the Corps Family and not least the ease with which they could access timely welfare support through the site were all delivering services to the Corps Family that were not previously possible. Nonetheless, concern about the deficit was expressed around the table, despite limited optimism about the possibility of such one-off windfalls as a donation from The Roast Beef Lunch.  KR said that she and Renee Davies had met to discuss routes to additional funding and that this work was continuing.  She advised of the need to bid to a major grant giving charity such as FIMT (noting that such charities stipulate that grants must be for ab initio projects rather than supplements to revenue). CE reminded the Board that TRMC would employ a bid-writer from early 2017, and that CE TRMC had agreed that RMA would have access to call on his/her skills.  The Chairman concluded the discussion by asking about progress with the establishment of Direct Debit (DD) subscription payment.  The Board was told that RMA Ltd’s bank account should be opened by the end of the week, and that this would allow the change to DD to be initiated, although the Board noted and agreed that instructions about changing would have to be sent to every member.

 

                                                                                                            Action: CE/RD/CW

 

d.   Page 5, sub-para 8c: GS noted that there was no reference in the discussion about RMA subscriptions about legacy giving. CE reminded the Board that the Association has periodically advertised for such giving, as do RNRMC & TRMC.  It was agreed that a coordinated approach across all 3 charities should be sought.

 

                                                                                                            Action: CE  

 

5.  The Minutes of the last F&GP Committee meeting were accepted.

                                                                                                              Proposed: Mr B R Reading

                                                                                                              Seconded: Mr T Galsworthy

                                                                                                             Carried unanimously

 

Item 4. Update Brief by Mr J Harris-Burland on website.

 

6.   MWM’s presentation is at Annexes  A and A1 for reference. The following points are of particular note:

 

a.  JH-B acknowledged the work of RD and the Central Office team in keeping track of subscription payments and trying to bring the arrears up to date. He suggested that, despite the team’s robust efforts, this could take about a year, not allowing for the introduction of DD. Automation of renewal reminders is helping with the process, saving approximately 11 staff working days per month.

 

b.  In answer to the Chairman asking how soon the website would be ready to process DD, MWM stated that it should be ready in about 1 month. Nonetheless, implementation of the change could take about 2-3 years across the Association.

 

c.   Discussion was generated about whether the Association could make its members use DD, to which the answer was ‘no’. However, it should be presented online as the easiest and preferred method, while still allowing other choices.

 

 d.   An automatic reminder process is now in place that prompts non-Standing Order subscribers to renew their membership.  Approximately 1,000 such reminders have been sent.

 

e.   Seven hundred and fifty new members have joined online, saving about 2-3 weeks staff time that would otherwise have been needed to register individual details on the database manually.   Gift Aid opt-in planning now in place as well as an automated four yearly renewal prompt, something that was not being effected previously but is required. Following direction given at the previous Trustees’ meeting, a recent strategy workshop with the Central Office team had started to refine and develop the RMA offer with the intention of attracting more and younger applicants; this better defined offer will be a key part of the website. Steps were being taken to feed news to an automatic online version of the RepNet. £600 revenue has been generated from Google advertising.

 

6.  CE opened discussion after the briefing by making the point that Riccardo’s departure has prompted a review of the position’s role.  It will become focussed on the membership secretary, bringing the necessary database management skills in-house, taking back some work that is currently done by MWM as part of the development process.

 

a.   GS stated his approval of what had been done to date, and asked what percentages of the annual £135,000 fees relate to development, testing and meetings.  JHB replied that £20,000 was spent on penetration testing, vital to safeguard members’ details, but that he did not have such figures to hand, and would provide a full answer as soon as he could. 

 

b.    KR asked what the Association is receiving for its money.  She wanted to understand whether additional charges were made for every meeting or engagement with MWM. JHB offered to provide the budgeting spreadsheet for Trustee scrutiny later and explained the charges in the following manner:

 

i.   A monthly fee covered all engagement and contact between the RMA and MWM, allowing for general enquiries, marketing support, advice and guidance and strategy support.

ii.   Website development was itemised with the Chief Executive at the start of the year, but not all items were chosen.  Additional projects were costed on top of the monthly retainer (e.g the poppy on the website for Remembrance, which necessarily required design and work to ensure no copywrite was infringed, for example). 

 

c.   Further discussion ensued about the detailed operation and use of the website by Branch Secretaries, and specific technical difficulties that had arisen. The Chairman directed all Regional Trustees to tell their Branch Secretaries that they should inform Central Office/MWM when they encountered such difficulties. He also directed that the Branch Secretaries’ guide to use of the website should be sent out again.

 

Action: CW

 

d.  CE closed the discussion by reminding the Board that it was critical that individual members take responsibility for their own RMA membership, preferably by doing so online because of the amount of work created for Central Office by dealing with ‘grouped-up’ membership payments submitted by Branches. CE undertook to scrutinise costs with JHB, who said he understood the concerns about this sum in relation to the forecast deficit, but stated that CE is free to choose the level of MWM support at the start of 2017. Post meeting note: a brief showing projected work and costs to continue the professionalisation and development of the Association accompanies these Minutes.

 

                                                                                                                        Action: CE

 

 

Item 5. Central Office Staff Updates.

 

7.   CE introduced the item by explaining that it originated from the staff updates provided at the monthly meetings, and that the aim was to keep Trustees informed of Central Office work and therefore what exercises the RMA staff, by offering them a précis of what had been on their desks in the weeks before each Board meeting.

 

a.  Finance Manager (Renée Davies). RD explained that she had been occupied with the following subjects in the preceding weeks:

 

  • Finalising accounts of end of financial year 2016.
  • Uploading accounts to Charity Commission to ensure compliance with regulations.
  • Preparing for audit of 2016 accounts early in 2017.
  • Processing Gift Aid (£8,000 for Apr to Sep).
  • Analysing and selecting DD providers in preparation for modernisation in 2017.
  • Manually registering standing order payments on the database (as reflected on bank statement).
    • Reconciliation of SOs (new database functionality is making such reconciliation easier).
  • Working to prompt under-payers and ‘lost’ members to bring in owed annual subscription income as well as clear subscription arrears.
  • Dispatching Branch accounts proformas and associated advice.
  • Preparing for Incorporation by:
    • Opening RMA Ltd’s bank account (very laborious and slow due to banking processes)
    • Registering RMA Ltd with HMRC for VAT/PAYE/Gift Aid (noting that all Gift Aid registrations will have to be re-signed under RMA Ltd)
    • P45s for staff as part of transfer from unincorporated RMA to RMA Ltd.
  • Preparing for RMA insurance renewal review at end Dec 16.
  • Working with KR to identify other sources of income for the RMA
  • Purchase of a portable PayPal machine to modernise payments at functions/events.
  • Reminders and emphasis of the new stream of funds that could be generated for the RMA if members and their families use the online Easyfundraising scheme when purchasing items.
  • Data protection responsibilities.  
  • Regular analysis of cashflow and income/expenditure.

 

i. GS stated, on behalf of the Board, that he was amazed at what RD did and offered sincerest thanks for her commitment and dedication. He established from RD that she has no backup in the office, although CE explained that Sam Singleton of TRMC has limited ability to cover for RD if necessary. RD added that Standard Operating Procedures for the Finance Manager do not exist, and it was agreed that such a document should be created.

 

                                                                                                                        Action: CW/RD

 

ii.   Discussion moved to Gift Aid, and it was ascertained that, while a member’s agreement to apply it lasts for 4 years, that agreement will have to be transferred to RMA Ltd. It will be the individual’s responsibility, but it will not happen without a prompt and subsequent instruction.

 

iii.   GS sought to understand why collective payment of Branch and RMA subscriptions is a problem. RD explained that it is laborious, time consuming, and frequently hard to understand (and therefore open to error) who has paid what. It was for that reason that Central Office had earlier this year directed Branches in a letter to deal with their members’ Branch subscriptions, and to impress upon individuals that it was their responsibility to manage their own RMA membership, preferably through the website. RD quoted the example of a Branch that had collected its subscription (Branch & RMA) in January this year, but the payment had not reached Central Office until November, by which time members who thought that they had paid their subscriptions were receiving automatic renewal notices because of the time lag, with resultant confusion and additional work to sort the matter out. Furthermore, members were receiving membership cards that reflected their centrally recorded renewal date only months before the end of the year as some Branches were not submitting timely payments, all of which added confusion, irritation and unnecessary work.

 

iv.  In answer to GS asking whether any Branches did not comply with Association accounting regulations, RD said there had only been one this year (RMA Portsmouth), but that most are noticeably improving and being helpful by submitting the necessary documents on time.

 

v.   KR asked RD whether she had any concerns about the cost of MWM, to which RD replied that she had in the past received bills for what she thought had been monthly meetings but that the CE had addressed this.

 

vi. RE sought clarification about the arrangements for S/O payments to the new company. RD answered that they will have to be changed to be in favour of RMA Ltd, but that the RMA’s bank account will continue for some time to allow for deposits to that account. Members will be notified of the need to amend their S/Os when they renew annually.

 

vii. The Chairman brought RD’s appearance at the meeting to a close by echoing GS’s gratitude to her for all she does for the RMA.

 

b.  Principal Veteran Support Officer (Cameron March [CM]).  The central points of CM’s brief were as follows:

 

i.   CM stated that the Veterans’ Support network had taken on 165 new cases in 2016. It had proved impossible in just 3 cases to offer the desired level of support.

 

ii.   He was pursuing the development of an “app” to be made available to all those leaving the Corps with a focus on transition and the support that is available having left the Service.

 

iii.   Former RSM Tom Coyle now works for RMSN on call, focusing on work necessary taking appeal cases against Armed Forces Compensation Scheme rulings.  He highlighted a recent very significant success in overturning an original derisory award and the immediate and through life benefit that this successful appeal had made to a retired RM and his family.

 

iv.   RMSN “Support Officers’’ course starting in Feb 17, with 13 volunteers only 8 hours after announcing it on the RMA website.

 

v.   He outlined the new initiative for the treatment, of mental illness (including post traumatic stress) that was termed the ‘Provision of Manageable Hope’. Aim is to provide therapy for those in need in working 15 days. He emphasised that no one else is delivering such a prompt service for this increasingly high profile and sensitive need. A full description is at Annex B.

 

 

c.   RMA Welfare Grants Officer (Wendy Sheen). WS opened her brief by continuing the Provision of Manageable Hope theme, informing the Board that 8 cases requiring therapy had been supported to the tune of £6,000 since March 2016. Funding comes from The RM Charity (TRMC).  She added that 30 welfare cases have been initiated through contact being made online this year, which is proving the success of this new facility (emphasising that this was being used across the full age range and that it was allowing members to express their welfare problem without the embarrassment of face-to-face contact, yet in a modern way and when they had time to do so.  WS provided statistics for welfare work on behalf of TRMC but delivered by the RMA, which are supplied at Annex B.  She drew attention to the wide spectrum of reasons for grant applications, and noted that the capacity to support may diminish if the effects of ‘charity fatigue’ filter through; £33,000 is left in her budget for this calendar year, demanding an application from TRMC for increased funds.

 

i.  RD emphasised the length of time WS and John Reed (RMA Welfare Assistant) spend on the phone talking to welfare applicants, and the nature of the cases they deal with, to which KR raised the point about how and if Wendy ‘unloads’ about the cases that cross her desk at the end of the day. WS said that she did not, and had not, ever really thought about it.  CE would take advice about implementing formal safeguarding for RMA welfare staff.

 

                                                                                                            Action: CE

 

ii.  CRSM stated that he believed the RMA did not do enough to publicise this outstanding work, and that the Association should have posters in Cdo Units and announcements on social media about it.  CW agreed, adding that he thought this subject should be emphasised far more than it is in RMA recruiting material as the cheapest insurance policy in which anyone could invest.  The chairman thanked WS, and John Reed through her, on behalf of all the Trustees, for all the work they do on behalf of the Corps Family, and asked CE to investigate how this aspect of the RMA can be better publicised.

 

                                                                                                            Action: CE

 

Item 6.   Risk Management

 

8.   At BRR’s suggestion before the meeting, Risk 7.2, as an unmitigated risk was discussed (‘The variety of demand [in RMA welfare work] needing agile response’ and the associated explanation that there is no standard answer to the wide variety of individual welfare case applications, which could lead to a wrong response). Discussion revealed that there are no staff Standing Operating Procedures which can be referred to for guidance, particularly should a key staff member be unavailable and neither is there any financial back up to increase staff resilience should it be required.  It was also noted that there are PR sensitivities in TRMC about the profile of RMA welfare activity which is enabled by TRMC funds, all of which provided yet more reasons for convergence.  It was agreed that CW would re-write the risk to reflect the arrival of John Reed on the welfare team, the executive’s concerns about timeliness, the appropriate response to an applicant and staff safeguarding.

 

                                                                                                                                    Action: CW

 

Item 7. RMA/TRMC Convergence  

 

9.  The Chairman introduced the item by recapping that previous discussion on this subject had concluded that the linked charity model was preferred for convergence between the RMA and TRMC.  However, after both charities had received generally inconclusive legal advice about merging, CE had, the week before, met Harvey Grenville of the Charity Commission (CC) to seek his advice about what would be acceptable to the CC.

 

10.  CE reported that CC had stated that full merger was acceptable, and was probably the best option for the two charities. CC provided examples of other military charities that had successfully achieved this.

 

11.  A short discussion followed reflecting consensus that collectively the charities need to reach a point where there is just one brand and that this matter should be driven hard to a conclusion. The Chairman then suggested that a Trustees’ Working/Steering Group (WG), on which he should sit, and chaired by an independent individual from the serving Corps (possibly DCGRM, although EM pointed out his already burdensome workload), or recently retired, be established to explore what the results of a full merger might look like. 

 

                                                                                                                        Proposed: Mr G Salvetti

                                                                                                                        Seconded: Mr R N Eales

                                                                                                                        Carried unanimously

 

12.  The Corps RSM volunteered to sit on the WG as a supernumerary, and it was agreed that the Chairman would choose the WG members. 

 

Item 8.  RMA Development Updates

 

13.  8.1.   Incorporation. CW briefed the Board that steady, if slow, progress toward Incorporation was being made.  The main sticking point at present was opening RMA Ltd’s bank account, which was taking Barclays an inordinate length of time (partly because of having to obtain all Trustees’/Directors’ addresses), without which RD could not register the new legal entity with HMRC for VAT/PAYE/Gift Aid.  Assurances head been given by Barclays that the account would be in place by 25 Nov. CW had met Coffin Mew’s head of Employment Law to discuss TUPE regulations as they would affect the RMA’s small number of staff, and had been provided with a set of templated letters that need to be exchanged between RMA Trustees and RMA Ltd Directors concerning the details of transfer to the new legal entity.  CW stated that he was reasonably confident that, depending on the opening of the new bank account, RMA Ltd would formally be able to begin operations on 1 Jan 17.  A brief discussion about insurance costs of for RMA Ltd revealed that while RMA will have insurance cover against retrospective legal claims, this will delay the anticipated decrease in insurance costs for RMA Ltd resulting from Incorporation.  

 

14.   8.2RMA Branch Secretary’s Aide Memoire.   CW explained that the Aide Memoire, despite having been published in the summer, was only edition 1 and was still a work in progress. At least 2 Branch Secretaries had pointed out that the document did not cover RMA disciplinary processes in any depth, and this should be addressed.  It was agreed that notice should be given to Branch Secretaries to submit amendments to Edition 1, particularly about disciplinary procedures, by 30 January 2017 to GS & CW, who will then create an updated working draft.

 

                                                                                                                                    Action: CW

 

15.   8.3.  RM Shop (Including Globe & Laurel Licensing).   Joe Lane was unable to be present due to retail pressures in the run up to Black Friday and Christmas. CE delivered the facts and figures supplied by him, at Annex C for reference.  With reference to the problems with its website being faced by the RM Shop, GS advised that there are clear signs of breach of contract by the provider and that it should be terminated as soon as possible: if allowed to continue, the Shop will be waiving termination rights.

 

16.  DE pointed out that an opportunity is being missed by not having advertisements for the Shop and indeed the RMA on Top Table lunch invitations. RSM agreed and undertook to follow up the idea.

 

                                                                                                                                    Action: CRSM

 

17. BRR suggested that the RMA might wish to obtain the Shop’s dividend earlier than usual in 2017, in view of plans for convergence by 2018, which might dilute its effect for the RMA. He also enquired about a previous suggestion that the Shop should be run as Community Interest Company, but CE explained that the Shop’s Board had considered the matter but determined that priority was to set the business running successfully as currently set up. 

 

18.  Serving Corps (from Item 10, Regional Matters). The Chairman brought this item forward to allow CRSM to leave early to meet another commitment.  

 

a.   CRSM reported that while not as overtly deployed on high profile operations the Corps is busier than ever, with elements of 3 Cdo Bde RM spread around the world on different tasks.

 

b.   There will be one more court martial for the ‘initiations ‘ that took place in certain Units up to 2.5 years ago. The Corps has taken significant steps to curb this sort of appalling behaviour and instil an improved ethos across the board.

 

c.   Corps is being told to lose up to 560 posts to help RN overcome its chronic manpower shortages.  Savings will be achieved through natural wastage. Subject remains under discussion in Navy Command HQ/MOD.

 

d.   The announcement of the sale of most RM estate in Plymouth and SW came as a surprise to the Corps. Subject is now being discussed at high level.  No plans in evidence for the major rebuild and relocation required resulting from this announcement.

 

e.   The Corps might see its first females in ground combat roles as early as joining the YO batch in Sep 18.  First recruit intake could be Jan 19.

 

f.   No announcement from CCRC about Sgt Blackman.

 

g.   At 6,724 strong, the Corps constitutes 4% of UK Defence manpower.

 

h.   RM Band Service has completed 1,400 engagements worldwide this year, as well as maintaining its operational chemical, biological, nuclear and radiation defence commitment to 3 Cdo Bde RM, and providing medical support in RFA Argus.

 

19.   CE reported that he had had a profitable engagement with the new Corps Colonel, Lt Col Gary Green RM, and had offered him RMA support for his nationwide marketing and recruiting tasks.  Corps Col was receptive to proposals that Regions & Branches could reinforce his recruiting effort where they are present. CE asked Regional Trustees to tell him dates of their main events in 2017 where such recruiting might be appropriate, and urged them to include RM Cadets in their planning. He finished by stating that if they can plan events around Corps Col’s presence in their areas, so much the better.

                                                                                                            Action: Regional Trustees

 

20. Item 8.  8.4. Homeport Magazine.  Returning to the Agenda, CE related a personal experience about an interaction between him and a member that reflected the confusion that exists in some quarters of the Association about which magazines and publications belong to which part of the Corps community. However, putting despair aside, he reported that he is receiving increasingly positive reviews about Homeport, and reminded the Board that it reaches an audience of in excess of 30,000, consisting of a younger demographic than the RMA Magazine could ever have reached. He reminded Regional Trustees in particular, and the Board as a whole, that the Central Office team is still writing or actively pursuing most of the articles that appear in Homeport, and that interesting family-orientated features are needed from across the Association.  DS asked whether it was still planned that Trustees will review the introduction of Homeport some time in 2017; CE confirmed that it was.

 

21.   8.5.  One Member, One Vote (OMOV).   CE stated that original plans for OMOV rehearsal to have been run earlier this year had not been achieved.  He said that he was working to refresh the process of establishing the mechanics of OMOV with Integrity Print to prepare for AGM 2017.

 

22.   8.6.   New Branches: Hong Kong & RMA Football Club.  CE told the Board that as a by-product of a very successful TRMC fundraising dinner in Hong Kong, a former RM who is keen to set up a Branch there had contacted him.  Further developments awaited.  CRSM reported that he is encouraging the establishment of the RMA Football Club, and would be further encouraging other sports groups to form RMA Branches at the RM Sports awards that evening. CE closed the subject by asking Trustees to consider for the next meeting how interest groups/virtual Branches should be represented on the Board of Trustees.

 

                                                                                                                        Action: All Trustees

 

23.   8.7.   RMA Contributions to the Globe & Laurel.   DS delivered the findings of the Working Group that had been set up to consider RMA articles in the Globe & Laurel magazine.  The review of its work and findings are at Annex D.  DS stated that he would be happy to take on recommendations 11 & 12; he added that as nothing is heard from HQ Roll members in the magazine, they ought to be invited to contribute as well.  CE agreed to take this suggestion for action.

                                                                                                                        Action: CE

 

24.   DS concluded his report by stating that Branches are interested in what other Branches are doing, which makes the RMA pages a good shop window both for Branches and the RMA.    In ensuing discussion, KR suggested that an article about each member of CO staff might be of value, including Mark Ormrod and Joe Lane. She added that NFF used to have a slot in the Globe & Laurel, therefore should the Homeport be advertised in the magazine?  PD suggested using the RMA section in the magazine to promote the welfare success stories; DE agreed but added the caveat that permission would need to be sought before use of specific cases with names.  CE added the suggestion that virtual Branches should be encouraged to contribute to the journal.  DS ended the discussion by offering that many articles are written by RMA members that do not appear in the RMA section, and suggested that this should be remedied.  The Chairman thanked the members of the working group for all the work they had done, which had been illuminating.

 

25.   8.8 Digital Marketing. Held over until next meeting to enable PS’s involvement, as the originator of the paper.

 

                                                                                                                        Action: CE/PS

 

26.   8.9.   Alternate Funding Sources . Covered in sub-paragraph 4c above.

 

27.  Item 9.  Bye-Laws.  CW opened the discussion by stating that no members had submitted any suggested amendments. He added that the Bye-Laws needed a section that covered the RMA disciplinary process, e.g. how to dismiss poorly behaved members from Branches, or at what point does non-payment of Branch subscription warrant removal form the Branch roll.

 

28.   CW drew attention to the only draft amendment in the document, in paragraph 7.5 that covers Affiliated membership:

 

“7.5.1.   All Full Members of the RAFA and Army Associations or former members of these Services who do not belong to their local or national Associations but who seek the comradeship of the RMA.  This includes those Army Associations that possess a strong historical connection with the Royal Marines, such as the Queen’s Regiment and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.”

 

Discussion then followed about the fact that the Bye-Laws made no allowance for those who had never been in the Armed Forces but who nonetheless wished to support the RMA. CE strongly expressed his view that this membership category is unnecessary; Affiliated members, and RMA supporters who have not served could equally be described as individuals “who share the values and ethos of the Royal Marines”. He went on to suggest abolishing the Affiliated category, in the interest of simplification and of saving the cost of producing yet another variation of RMA membership card, and having 2 ‘active’ membership categories: Full and Associate.

 

29.  RE then asked why the Association does not give Affiliated and Associated members the right to speak and/or vote. No answer was forthcoming.  It was suggested that if the Association moves to just the 2 membership categories, Full members should be allowed to speak and vote and that Associate should be allowed to speak but would not receive the privilege of voting.

 

30.  The Chairman directed CE and PDO to consider the effect of reducing RMA membership to only 2 categories and associated voting rights, and to report to the Board at the next meeting.

 

Action: CE/PDO

 

31.   BR drew attention to paragraph 14.2.4 of the Bye-Laws, suggesting that it needed to be reviewed:

 

“Not more than five members from the Headquarters Roll or as selected by the Board.  Officers and Trustees from the Branch Rolls shall be invited to be ex-Officio members by the Officers of the Board for their professional knowledge of, for example, Legal Affairs, Investment Management, Welfare (Armed Forces), Human Resources and Marketing and Fundraising and who shall be known as the Ex-Officio Members.”

 

32.  The Chairman directed that the paragraph be amended to read: “Not more than five members shall be invited to be ex-Officio members…”.  Discussion then followed about the need, or otherwise, for 5 ex-officio trustees, or whether more were needed.  With BR standing down from the Board on his retirement from the RM, perhaps a Virtual Branch representative should be co-opted, but the Board recognised that the methods of choosing such a Trustee had not yet been developed. KR suggested establishing a working group to to decide what skills should be represented amongst ex-officio members, including conducting a gap analysis of skills that might be lacking in the Board.  RE suggested studying the expertise embodied in the RM Charity’s Board. The Chairman directed the Chief Executive to explore this subject and report to the Board at its next meeting.

                                                                                                                        Action: CE

Item 10.  Regional Matters.

33.   Northern Region. PD noted that it is only 18 months until the Zeebrugge 100 commemorations and asked for a coordinated approach to them between the Corps and RMA, quoting the RMA dinner in the Adelphi Hotel and RMR Merseyside’s separate diner. Corps Sec explained the RM Heritage & Ethos Committee and its remit to de-conflict and/or prioritise forthcoming Corps support to RMA events.  He asked PD to to provide a summary of what the plans are to date so that coordination can be initiated, as well as urging him to engage with RMR Merseyside to broach the subject of the dinner and provision of support for the commemorations and move plans for the events forward, while keeping Corps Sec & Central Office informed of progress.

 

34.   Midland Region. RE requested that RMA Grimsby & Cleethorpes Branch be renamed to become RMA Lincolnshire Branch. This is because the old name appears to limit people who live elsewhere in Lincolnshire other than Grimsby & Cleethorpes from joining their Branch.

 

                                                                                                Proposed: Mr R Eales

                                                                                                Seconded: Mr D Sargent

                                                                                                Carried Unanimously

 

a.   RE informed the Board that RMA Birmingham Branch is closing because of lack of numbers and other age-related difficulties.  CE repeated the suggestion from RMA East of Scotland’s temporary President that each Branch should consider holding meetings at different locations in their respective Regions around the year, thus spreading awareness of the Association in different localities.  There was further discussion about Central Office informing Branches of HQ Roll members in their areas; CE suggested that Branches interested in this strategy should send him the letter that they want distributed and he will do so.

 

                                                                                    Action: Regional Trustees

 

b.   RE asked for a plug for the National Memorial Arboretum Parade on 11 Jun 17 to be made by Central Office. It was agreed that announcements would be placed on the website and RepNet early in 2017, and that RE would write a short article about the event for Homeport.

 

                                                                                    Action: RE/CE

 

c.   RE wished to record his thanks to CRSM for attending the Midlands Region Trafalgar Night Diner and commended him to all Branches as a superb ambassador for both the Corps and the RMA.

 

35.   SW Region.  DS reported that he was going to RMA Mid-Devon Branch in his role as a Trustee to answer some unusual questions form that branch, and sought guidance, which was supplied by CE, about why the RM Band had been provided with football strips by the RMA.

 

36.   SE Region. PR stated that Gravesend Branch is ceasing operations for the same reasons as RMA Birmingham.  He went on to warn the Board that SE Region will need a new Secretary, President and Treasurer in Apr 17. PR also observed that it was difficult to recruit new members within the Region, and finished his report by saying that the Deal Pantomime 2016 will have given £110,000 to TRMC.

 

37.   East Anglia Region (EAR).  TG announced that a profit of £700 had been made on Darrel’s Day (DD) 2016, which had been divided between EAR and the trustees of Landguard Fort. With regard to DD 17, planning was still going on; Suffolk Armed Forces Week would culminate in Armed Forces day on Saturday 24 June 17, with DD 17 on Sunday 25 June. Invitations to take part in the day and to witness it had been issued to re-enactors, the RNLMC and the Netherlands Ambassador to the UK. 

 

Item 11. AOB.

38.   MFM 2017.  CE explained that a new system of hosting guests of the Corps Family would be in place for MFM 2017: the Corps Sec would allocate the RMA spaces for a limited number of its guests in one of 2 boxes being hosted by CGRM on the Saturday night, and either Chairman or CE would be part of the RM hosting party. CE asked for nominations for guests as soon as possible.  

 

39.    Central Office Management. CW stated that the Chief Executive email inbox was such a burden on Central Office administration, and that so many enquiries or messages sent to it were often missed because no one actually ’owns’ the account, that it would be changed in the first fortnight of 2017.  The plan was for the account to be closed and all other Central Office email addresses would reflect the specialist fields of the staff, so that enquires could be sent to the most appropriate person. The newly established post of Membership Assistant would be the custodian of ‘[email protected]’, which would field all those messages not sent specifically to other staff members.

 

40.   RMHS.  CE reported that the RMHS’s Secretary’s note at Annex E explains the RMHS perspective fully.

 

41.   Fisher House Christmas Lunch Invitation. CE asked for 1 volunteer from the Board to represent the RMA at Fisher House’s forthcoming Christmas Lunch. Post-meeting note: WO1 Danny Egan RM and WO2 “Brum” Taylor RM (Naval Service Representative at QEH Birmingham) attended.

 

42.   Corps Colonel. CE reiterated his earlier request that, if possible, Regional events should be coordinated to reinforce events at which personnel from the Corps Colonel’s department would represent the RM.   

 

43.  Major Event in 2017. CE referred to ’The Roast Beef Lunch’, to be held at the Hurlingham Club in early 2017. It is expected that the CGRM, Corps RSM and serving RM hierarchy will be invited, and that a donation to the RMA of more then £100,000 may be made in due course. The RMA Operations Manager was requested to ensure that the clear benefits of hosting at this event by the serving Corps was addressed and coordinated.

 

                                                                                                                        Action: Ops Manager

 

44.   WO1 Bruce Riach RM. The Chairman noted that today’s meeting would be WO1 Riach’s last as a Trustee of the RMA, as he headed towards retirement at the end of year. The Chairman wished to record his thanks to WO1 Riach for all that he had done for the RMA, the RMA Trustees Board and as a Director of the RM Shop, and for bringing his experience, wit, humour and intelligence to the table: he would be sorely missed.

 

45.  There being no further business, the Chairman closed the meeting at 15:10 pm.

 

July

 

 

THE ROYAL MARINES ASSOCIATION

 

RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS OF A TRUSTEES’ MEETING HELD IN THE TRUSTEES DINING ROOM, THE ROYAL MARINES MUSEUM

 

Thursday 21 July 2016 at 1000 hours

 

Present:            Mr R Bell JP (Chair)                        Chairman

                  Brigadier M P Ellis OBE (CE)                  Chief Executive

                  Lt Col E C Musto RM (EM)                  Corps Secretary

                  WO1(RSM) C Riach RM (CR)                  Corps Representative

Mrs K Richardson OBE (KR)                  Specialist – Families

Mr R Crawley (RC)                        RMA Scotland

                  Mr P Deacon (PD)                        Northern Region

                  Mr R N Eales (RE)                              Midlands Region

                  Mr T A Galsworthy (TG)                        East Anglia Region

                  Mr P G Richardson (PR)                  South East Region (Desig)

                  Mr D Sargent (DS)                        South West Region

                  Mr W L B Briers      (BB)                        Southern Region

Mr B R Reading (BR)                        Specialist - Investment

                  Lt Col C Wilson RM (Retd) (CW)                  RMA PDO

           

In Attendance:            Mr A Bennett      Honorary Treasurer

                  Mr P Sheridan      Specialist - Fundraising

                  Mr G Salvetti       Specialist - Legal

                  Mr John Harris-Burland      Mindworks Marketing Ltd

                  Ms Emma Livingstone      Mindworks Marketing Ltd

                  Mr R Puttock      RMA Ops Manager

                  Mr P Rose      CE, Serve On

                  Mr D Dunford      Serve On

                  Mr C Elsdon      Serve On

                  Lt Col I Grant RM (Retd) (IG)      Hon Sec RMHS

                                                      

Apologies were received from: WO1 (RSM) P S Gilby RM; WO1 D Egan RM; Mr T A Busby;

 

Item 1. Opening Remarks.

 

1.   The Chairman welcomed all to the meeting and reminded everyone of the very full agenda and the resultant need to keep to the point in discussions.  He asked for agreement for future meetings to begin at 0930 hrs in order to afford the maximum time for discussion of the many weighty topics now appearing on the Agenda, to which there was general consensus.  He offered a warm welcome to Paul Richardson who will relieve Tom Busby as South East Region’s Trustee at AGM 2016.

 

Item 2.  Minutes of the Last Meeting and Matters Arising

 

2.   Page 9 paragraph 36: DS asked whether any further consideration had been given to his question about revising the Drysdale Trophy conditions to offer incentives for fundraising to a wider audience.  CE stated that while fundraising is not one of the RMA’s Objects, due consideration had been given to this matter and that with effect from this year The RM Charity (TRMC) would make 3 awards to the Branches that have raised the most funds for the RM Charity Appeal, which meant that the award of the Drysdale Trophy would remain as currently managed.  While it was accepted that DS’s proposal was about better recognising individuals’ efforts, the imminent increased recognition by TRMC of RMA Branch efforts reflects how much more closely intertwined than ever before we are becoming, bringing an increased ability to recognise both collective and individual efforts; CE undertook to work with CE TRMC to get recognition for the most successful individual fundraisers as well as the Branches. 

Action: CE

 

3.  With the exception of a few minor typographical errors to be corrected, the Minutes of the last meeting were accepted as true record of events.

                                                Proposed: Mr D Sargent

                                                Seconded: Lt Col EC Musto RM

                                                Carried unanimously

 

Item 3. Report from F & GP Committee

 

4.   The key matters arising from the last F & GP Committee meeting were as follows:

 

a.   Page 4 para 6: BR emphasised the point made in this paragraph about potential losses to the RM Shop should the need for it to obtain a licence to sell items carrying the Globe & Laurel badge and concomitant royalties on these items be enforced. CE stated that he had asked DCGRM to raise the argument with MoD against this regulation.

 

b.   Page 2 para 10: AB advised that family day out tickets should be advertised in Homeport and on the website.

Action: CE

 

 

c.   Page 2 para 14: BR emphasised that in his view the Association’s finances are tight and that any additional capital expenditure should be given the most careful consideration. It was agreed that the Association’s self-sufficiency was high priority, and that to this end subscriptions, although not intended to increase before a Direct Debit system was in place, should be considered at November’s Board meeting.

Action: CE/AB/RD

 

d.   Page 3 para 15: the Chairman asked whether there was any update about Branches not having submitted their annual returns to Central office.

Post meeting Note: Very significant progress has been made on this matter over recent years, nevertheless there is a handful of Branches (and one Region) from which annual reports remain outstanding.  Regional Trustees would be contacted directly to take this matter forward.

 

Action: AB/RD

 

e.   Page 3 para 16: GS questioned the notion expressed in this paragraph that it was acceptable to give money to other charities given the parlous state of the RMA’s funds highlighted by BR.  Overall opinion was that it was acceptable to donate money to other military charities that support the RMA’s Objects by offering specialist care to RMs.  DS made the point that this section of the paragraph should read that Branches should ask Central Office to donate money to other appropriate charities on their behalf.

Action: PDO

 

f.   PD offered a document in his possession that explained the rules about fundraising for inclusion in the Branch Secretary’s Aide Memoire. 

 

g.   Page 4 paras 23-26.  GS reflected upon the very poor service proved to the RM Shop by its new website designer and provider and asked whether any punitive measures had been taken. CE explained that the provider had appeared before the Shop’s Board at its previous meeting and the subject would be discussed again at Board’s next meeting on Mon 25 Jul; Joe Lane was keen to distance himself from the main contractor, although he had confidence in the subcontractor finishing the job.  The provider is making a monthly payment to the Shop in recompose for his failings.  

 

5.  The Minutes of the last F&GP Committee meeting were accepted.

                                                                                            Proposed: Mr W L B Briers

                                                                                            Seconded: Mr T Galsworthy

                                                                                           Carried unanimously

 

Item 4. Update Brief by Mr J Harris-Burland on website.

 

6.   MWM’s presentation is at Annex A for reference. The following points are of particular note for future attention:

 

a.   The current confused situation about subscription levels and renewals was highlighted, as well as the difficulty of contacting those without an email address. MWM was working on this.  Currently, it was assessed that as much as £60k is being “lost” by incorrect or no subscription payments.

 

b.   In discussion, PD observed that there is significant confusion in Branches about how subscription payment are made and to whom. He suggested putting some concise information on the website’s FAQ pages.  In subsequent discussion it was agreed that assembling such information would take careful thought, and the arrival of Direct Debits would make a difference, although not everyone would be using this payment method and there would be little point in collating such information in the hoped-for short time before DD is introduced.  However, something needed to be done to improve the collection of the backlog of subscription payments. PS suggested recruiting injured RMs to assist Central Office staff with this task, which was received with general approval. BR asserted that the subject of RMA subscription payments should be inserted into future F&GP Committee agendas as a permanent item.

Action: PDO/AB/RD

 

c.   On the subject of recruitment, CE asked Regional Trustees to remind their Branches to upload their own material and to update their galleries to show current information and news, to help keep the website vibrant and relevant; preventing the site appearing tired by showing time expired material. JH-B confirmed that video clips can now be uploaded to the website for recruiting and advertising purposes. PD advised all to seek out some film work by former RM Matt (Jonah) Jones as being very good material in support of the RMA.  It was agreed that the RMA’s offer, particularly to the young recruit, needs to be more highly developed and clearly publicised on the website.  PS suggested generating income through ‘click through’ company advertising on the website. The Chairman asked him to write a short paper to explain this idea more fully and circulate it before the next meeting on 24 Nov.

 

Action: PS

 

Item 6.  Risk. 

 

7.   The Chairman requested CE and PDO to email Trustees asking them to review the Risk Register prior to the next meeting and submit any amendments that they think are necessary, with rationale, so that these suggestions can be distributed for consideration at least 2 weeks before the meeting.  BR suggested that Risk 5.2 (Lack of conformity amongst Branches) be discussed, as in his opinion the risk as described was not rated high enough and the mitigation was too complacent. It was agreed that the risk should be re-rated to 8 (high) and the mitigation to 6 (medium), and that because of the nature of the risk, the mitigation would probably never be graded as ‘low’. The Chairman directed CE & PDO to consider how the currency of the Risk Register could be maintained in the longer term.   

                                                                  Action: CE/PDO

 

Item 5.   Independent Audit of RMA Website Costs. 

 

8.   CE explained that Greenwich Hospital had been approached for a significant grant towards the costs of developing the RMA’s website in 2016/17, but had expressed concern at the costs set out in the bid.  CE had consequently engaged an independent website designer to assess the situation, who reported that in his view of the scope and capability of the website, the costs incurred by the RMA demonstrated value for money and that they were proportionate.  Add to this the following unprompted comment from RNRMC’s new Marketing Director and he believed that the value that we are getting has been clearly emphasised, which helps to give confidence about the investment of time and resources that has been made to date by Trustees in the website which benefits not only our members but the whole Corps Family:

 

“I wanted to take the time to congratulate you and the team for the excellent new RMA website. Clearly, a lot of thought and effort has gone into making this a ‘one stop shop’ for Association members and a fantastic vehicle for branches to post news, events and give them a professional front end. There is a great deal to keep users on the site and, crucially, to keep coming back to it. Hailing from a membership organisation role myself, I know just how important it is to breathe new life and refreshment into the organisation if members are to remain engaged and committed and new ones are to be recruited. I happen to think that you have, at a stroke, achieved a double whammy here – many congrats on a really impressive platform from which I have no doubts the RMA will soar to new heights!”

 

Item 7.  Convergence/Merger. 

 

9.   The Chairman introduced this item by stating that he desired Trustees to deliver clear direction at this meeting to CE about which convergence model to follow. CE explained that after much effort, he had received the most accurate legal advice that he could and that, consequently, the models in the spotlight were primarily those of linked or subsidiary charity.

 

10.  Subsequent discussion was generally in favour of the Linked Charity model, with the following key points noted and recorded:

     

a.   RNRMC Chairman is supportive of merger, and TRMC Chairman is ready to consider it.

 

      b.   RMA’s assets will remain with the Association under the Linked Charity model.

     

c.   The option depends on the proposed new Board that would [strategically] guide both TRMC and RMA Ltd being made-up of the same Trustees (the precise make up of the Board and matters such as Trustee selection will need to be subject to detailed work and subsequent agreement of all the current Boards).

 

      d.   Linked Charity will be as close to the Chairman’s originally stated aim of protecting the brand       and ensuring business as usual for the RMA; the brand should remain in the name ‘RMA - the Royal       Marines Charity’, which clearly puts the Association’s name to the forefront.

 

      e.   The linked charity’s overarching Board will operate at a high strategic level. It was envisaged that a Membership Council would run the RMA’s day-to-day business, so that the attention given to membership issues was unaffected by the merger and remained in the specific control of the membership.

 

f.   In response to concerns that safeguards must be in place to ensure the top level Board of the RNRMC cannot dismiss the linked charity’s Board, CE explained the ARNO/RNOC linked charity arrangements and that dismissal of a Board by the Sole corporate member (as RNRMC would be to RMA – TRMC) should be considered as a “nuclear option”: and specifically that a Board would have had to do something grossly negligent, dishonest or foolish to trigger such dismissal. He added that in the ARNO/RNOC model, ARNO sits outside the RNRMC’s umbrella, in the same way as would RMA Ltd in the RMA - TRMC model. The ARNO/RNOC model sets the precedent.

 

g.   Nonetheless, persuading the membership that the RMA is joining another major organisation but remaining independent will need to be carefully argued and communicated.

 

11.  The Chairman put the motion that CE should be authorised to open discussions with TRMC & RNRMC to explore convergence based on the Linked Charity model.

 

Proposed: Mr G Salvetti

                                                      Seconded: Mr D Sargent

                                                      Carried with 1 abstention

 

Item 8.  Bye-Law Amendments.  

 

12.   PDO explained the background to the proposed Bye-Law amendments, focussing as they did largely on the membership section and having emerged from the revision of the Branch Secretary’s Aide memoire.  After a short discussion, it was agreed that the sentence in paragraph 7.4.10 stating that Associate Members may not hold office as a Trustee should be removed.

 

13.  After a short discussion about Local Membership of Branches in which it was again agreed that this anomalous category should be deleted because of the confusion it causes about subscription payments and people taking advantage of the RMA, the acceptance of the proposed amendments would now be subject to a vote at AGM.

 

                                                      Proposed: Mr R Crawley

                                                      Seconded: Mr R Eales

                                                      Carried unanimously

                                                      (conditional on agreed                                                                   amendment)

 

14.   Item 9.  Trustees Report for FY 2015-16.   After page by page review of the draft Trustees’ Report for FY 15-16, the Chairman put the motion that the draft report should be accepted and prepared for dispatch.

 

                                                      Proposed: Mr W L B Briers

                                                      Seconded: Mr B R Reading

                                                      Carried unanimously

 

Item 10.  RMA Development Updates.  

 

15.   Item 10.7.   RMA Reunion & Corps Family Weekend.  RMA Ops Manager gave a most positive and comprehensive belief about the research and review work conducted into the proposal that Trustees should consider RMA Reunion joining with CTRM Families Day; in order that the event should become the Corps Family Weekend.  Intention is to hold first of such weekends on 27/28 Jul 17:

·      CE stated that the RMA could encourage closer links to the serving Corps. He briefed that it was becoming increasingly difficult and costly to access CTCRM, to gain uniformed support and in-service equipment and this proposal served to draw us closer to the serving Corps and that this proposal would be more cost effective than if RMA Reunion remains a stand-alone event.

·      WO1 (RSM) Riach’s local research agrees with that of others which revealed very little cost difference for accommodation and coach hire between July and Sep. Local hoteliers were reported to be willing to take early bookings from RMA members for July 17.

·      Concept is perfect example of “Harnessing the Corps Family” – serving Marines and their families could benefit from enjoying RMA activities, as well as RMA members gaining access to those events set up by CTCRM to entertain their own families. The RMA contribution would stand to introduce a new audience to RM Band Concerts and would provide a valuable platform to encourage new members to join the RMA.

·      KR observed that children’s desires at such events drive what their parents do and see.  She suggested a working group is formed to consider what child-attractive events the RMA could organise to bring young families to the RMA and to ensure effective coordination with those planned and set up by CTCRM.

Action: KR/Ops Man

·      RC raised the concern that with this event planned to be so soon after the Spean Bridge parade, it was likely that fewer Scottish members would feel they can afford to come south for the weekend away. Discussion followed about dates of events in the annual RMA cycle. PDO reported DCGRM’s request to try to de-conflict the Deal Memorial Concert and Spean Bridge parade in order to allow more readily available high level support from the serving Corps.

Action: CE/Ops Man

·      Ops Man concluded the discussion by stating that while Reunion is a terrific event, it has now achieved plateau and was now all that it ever can be. The Corps Family Weekend would enable it to grow significantly in scope and attraction.

·      The Chairman put the motion that planning to develop the Corps Family Weekend to include RMA Reunion should proceed and that the first such weekend should take place on 22-23 Jul 17.

                                                      Proposed: Mr W L B Briers

                                                      Seconded: Lt Col E Musto RM

                                                      Carried with 1 abstention

     

16.   Item 10.1.   Branch Secretary’s Aide Memoire.  PDO stated that after considerable and protracted research and review, the revised version of the Aide Memoire was ready for publication. The following points were made in discussion:

·      PD stated that the document should contain fundraising guidance for Branches and offered to send some material that he had prepared previously for inclusion. He also offered to send guidelines about the conduct former RMs’ funerals. 

Action: PD/PDO

·      DS requested that work should be done to ensure that the statement about the Association’s Objects to reflect the most up-to-date Objects as endorsed by the Charity Commission (and that these should be the same as those shown in the Bye-Laws).

Action: PDO

·      TG proposed that instead of quoting Bye-laws verbatim, Secretaries should be referred to the relevant Bye-Law to look up themselves – this would ensure that the Secretaries Guide would be likely to remain accurate and not need to be changed as frequently.

·      RE asked whether the duties of Branch President were covered, and undertook to write them himself.

Action: RE

·      It was noted that reference to the President’s Award being presented at AGM was now incorrect: it benefits from being presented in front of the larger audience before the evening band Concert on the Saturday evening of Reunion.

Action: PDO

·      It was agreed that a covering letter should be sent with the Aide Memoire to explain its use to Branch Secretaries.

Action CE/PDO

 

17.   10.2.   RM Cadets.   PDO explained that he had heard from a RM Cadet Adult Volunteer SNCO Instructor that nothing had been forthcoming to the Cadets under his charge about membership of the RMA, despite the launch of the scheme in March and the dispatch to RM Cadet Company Commanders of 279 application forms. It would appear that the Coy Comds had not progressed the project. PDO had asked Lt Col Steve Crawley (SCC) RMR and CSgt Paul Allen in HQMSSC to remind Coy Comds to get the project under way.  The Chair requested MSSC should be invited to put an announcement about it on their website and Facebook pages as this might drive a more coordinated response. 

Action: PDO

 

18.   Item 10.3.  RM Shop.  CE explained that despite severe difficulties with developing its new website, due to the failure of the prime contractor to deliver it (see F&GP Cttee Meeting Minutes), there were many positives to report about the RM Shop.  It has recently opened a ‘branch’ in 1 AGRM in the Tamar Building in Devonport [known as the Rigid Trader], was in the process of opening a joint outlet with 30 Cdo and would be opening another outlet in 40 Cdo RM in the autumn.  The shop is receiving strong support from the Corps, in particular 30 Cdo IX Gp RM and the doubters of last year have increasingly come around to accept it. The website sub-contractor and Joe Lane (JL) have developed a good relationship, and the website should be fully operational in time to facilitate the best possible sales in the critical trading period of the autumn build towards Christmas. PS asked whether the shop was intending to use ASOS/Boohoo or Amazon as shopping platforms, to which CE answered that JL was hoping to get onto Amazon and asked PS to advise JL about the potential opportunities and benefits getting on the ASOS platform.   

Action: PS

 

19.   Item 10.4.   Homeport.   CE stated that the RMA has a good relationship with Homeport. He added that he is still looking for good quality articles to put in the magazine that reflect what the RMA does (as opposed to the G&L ‘Branch Report’ type of feature), and asked that they be sent direct to him or to the Homeport editor, Sarah Woods at: [email protected]

 

20.   Item 10.6.   Brief by Staff of ‘Serve On’.  The board was pleased to receive a brief from staff of ‘Serve On’, introduced by its Chair of Trustees, Paul Rose.  Messrs Craig Elsdon and Dave Dunford then delivered the detailed briefing, which amplified and explained the statements in the meeting’s preliminary reading about ‘Serve On’ sent to Trustees.  The briefers than answered the Board’s questions.  The overall tenor of discussion focused on the fact that Serve On is a fledgling charity and Trustees sought reassurance that such things as safety equipment for volunteers, protection (both physical and mental), rigorous training programmes and insurance are in place.  Despite notes of caution mostly centred on the charity’s nascent condition, the Chairman put down a motion that the RMA should signpost its members to ‘Serve On’ in the hope that it will offer the opportunity to face similar demanding challenges to those encountered in Service life to our former RMs and that they might contribute to their new civilian communities in unexpected but rewarding ways, using the skills honed in their military careers to excellent use. 

 

                                                      Proposed: Mr R Eales

                                                      Seconded: Mr B Reading

                                                      Carried unanimously

 

21.   Item 10.5.   One Member, One Vote (to include clarification of the 2016 AGM procedure).  CE explained that as the Association is still operating as an unincorporated charity, voting at this year’s AGM would remain based on the Branch delegate system, as only with Incorporation comes One Member One Vote.  However, at AGM 2016, the electronic voting system exposed to Trustees through the recent trial would be used to allow all Branches cast their votes in this way, if they so wished. Postal voting and voting on the day would remain options.  CE & PDO would ensure all Branches received appropriate instructions before AGM. 

Action: CE/PDO

 

22.   Item 10.8. Application to establish RMA USMC Branch.  CE explained that the Branch has been established and is the RMA’s next virtual Branch. The aim is to attract our audience in the USA as well as encouraging those Royal Marines as may wish to join this Branch with their USMC brethren. PS offered to contact a relative of his who is a former USAF Colonel and a senior Veterans’ Affairs official in USA, asking him to advertise this Branch through his channels in America.

Action: PS

 

23.   Item 10.9.   Brief from Trustees’ Working Group on RMA Contribution to G&L.   DS, as Chair of the Working Group, stated that he was not yet in apposition to offer any report: the Group had asked Branches to give their views on the present RMA G&L contributions and he was still awaiting responses.  DS briefed that upon receipt of views from Branches, and after Trustee consideration and discussion he expected to be able to make recommendations to the Board.  The Chair directed the WG to report to the next Trustees’ Meeting on 24 Nov 16. 

Action DS.

 

Item 11. Regional Matters (including Serving Corps).  

 

24.   Northern Region. PD wished to place on record his Region’s and Branch’s thanks to RMA Scotland, Ops Man and the serving Corps for such an excellently organised event over the weekend of the Spean Bridge Parade.

 

25.   Midlands Region.

·      RE announced that RMA Bicester and District wishes to change its name to RMA Oxon & Bucks to reflect its wider recruiting area and the resultant extensively distributed nature of its membership.

·      RE recorded his sincere thanks for Ops man for running the NMA Parade in June and ensuring it was such a successful event. He noted, however that numbers were down and suggested that this might have been due to those not online feeling unable to purchase tickets, as well as those who could help paying their own money for tickets. 

o   CE stated that a process to enable 3rd parties to buy tickets for others on line was in place; he also briefed that event tickets could still be bought over the phone from Central Office, though this would incur an additional administration charge (both to encourage on-line purchase as well as to help improve cost effectiveness of RMA staff). He asked RE to discuss this further with Ops Man, should that be necessary.  He added that Branch Secretaries were successfully managing centralised online ticket purchases for their members.

Action: RE/Ops Man

·      RE drew the Board’s attention to the fact that one of his members wishes to initiate a Sarawak memorial in Malaysia.  He was advised that this was a matter for the RM Heritage & Ethos Committee and an appropriate business case for such a memorial should be submitted through RE and Central Office to the Committee. The Chairman advised that after the protracted difficulties experienced with the putative Crete memorial, the correct procedures for initiating new memorials overseas must be followed. Corps Secretary would advise RE of the details.

Action: Corps Sec.

 

26.   South West Region.  DS announced that the SW Regional meeting had recently been held and that the main item for feedback was that of online ticketing. He also warned that questions would be asked about the introduction of the Corps Family Weekend in place of RMA Reunion.

 

27.   Southern Region.  BB reminded the Board that both RMA Windsor and Guildford are in danger of losing their meeting venues due to infrastructure development plans.

 

28.   East Anglia Region.   TG reported that a full return of EAR officers had been made at the recent Regional AGM.  He noted that due to a good weather day this years event was better supported by the public however not enough RMA members attended/supported Darrel’s Day. He further reported that a BBC film crew had been at the event, output from which is expected to be broadcast in Mar 17. CE observed that Central Office had bid to the Corps for support for DD 17 (and passed on Mark Rundle’s letter to DCGRM concerning the 2017 350th anniversary which he noted was linked to Suffolk Armed Forces Weekend); this bid had been acknowledged by DGRM, Corps Col and HQ RM Band Service, but that capacity for support is limited and will be determined by what assets are available. He added that due to MoD funding constraints and increasingly rigorous application of regulations, uniform support for RMA events will become ever more restricted for the foreseeable future (and as reported earlier was likely to be increasingly costly).

 

29.   South East Region.  PR reported that the region’s branches are not all strong; also that plans are being made for a Corps Birthday Dinner at RAF Manston.

 

30.   RMA Scotland. NSTR

 

31.   HQ Role: NSTR.

 

32.   Serving Corps. 

·      CR reported that the new CGRM (Maj Gen MacGowan) has set out his priorities on assuming his appointment: managing the amphibious capability; discipline in the RM; assisting RN with manpower difficulties; participation in MoD studies of combined high level HQs; Op Atalanta (Red Sea piracy); harnessing the Corps’ talent; introduction of women in ground close combat roles to the Corps in 2019 (none of the Corps’ pass-in standards associated with the award of the green beret to change); and, most relevant to the Board and the membership, so his words are produced in full here, “Maintain the RM network, not least with critical support from the RMA and the RM Charity, to ensure the wellbeing of the RM family and its interests.  The Corps and its wider family have a network that is the envy of many and it is vital to our wellbeing, both now and for our collective future.  I have many to thank for this and it is now my job to play my part in enriching it even further.  The serving Corps, the RMA, the RM Charity, the RM Museum and the RM Cadets lie at the heart of this network, which reaches out to each of our families, our communities and the nation at large.  We have an excellent brand that many of our fellow citizens recognise and wish to associate themselves with; this is a huge strength and one which we ignore at our peril.  The RM Band Service provides a focus for this network in so many ways and plays such a powerful role in presenting a positive RM public face; its continued investment is another top priority.”

·      CR summarised the Corps’ current commitments as being relentlessly busy and widely dispersed around the globe, and finished by thanking the RMA for its continuous support to the Corps.

 

33.   Support by the Serving Corps the RMA. PDO outlined a request made of him by DCGRM at a recent meeting to ensure that bids for support to RMA events by the serving Corps be submitted as early as possible. He added that he would put out a calling note to the Association for bids for support up to Spring 2017 as soon as he was able.  He added that DCGRM and RMA had agreed that in light of the MoD funding restrictions mentioned in para 24e above, for planning purposes and enabling a strong uniformed showing on each occasion, regular RM support would be provided to 4 RMA events per year: Graspan, NMA, Spean Bridge and RMA Reunion, with a fifth event being considered rotating annually around the Regions subject to submission of a persuasive business case by RMA Trustees. Thus, there is every likelihood of EAR being supported in 2017 for Darrel’s Day on this basis, but in 2018 it will be the turn of another Region; though it was expected that favourable consideration would be given to a submission for support to expected Northern Region centenary commemorations of the Zeebrugge raid.

 

Item 12.  Any Other Business.

 

34.   Drysdale Trophy. Discussed at paragraph 2 above.

 

35.   Remuneration Committee Terms of Reference.  There being no comments on the proposed Remuneration Committee TORs, the Chairman put their acceptance to the vote.

 

                                                      Proposed: Mr D Sargent

                                                      Seconded: Mr B Reading

                                                      Carried unanimously

36.   LIBOR (or other funding sources). To await next meeting.

 

37.   Royal Marines Historical Society (RMHS) as new “Branch” of the RMA.  Ian Grant, as Secretary of the RMHS presented the paper sent before the meeting to Trustees discussing the idea of RMHS becoming a Branch of the RMA and obtaining space on the RMA’s website.  It was noted that developing such a space would be a 3 stage operation, of which RHMS would pay the first 2 phases; payment for development of the more complex 3rd phase (memorials and graves database) would be for negotiation.  In subsequent discussion, all agreed that a presence for RMHS on the RMA’s website would be a significant advantage to both parties, but the main topic of discussion was that of Honorary membership of the RMA for a limited number of RMHS members, proposed as a method of allowing the few RMHS members who would not otherwise benefit from RMA membership but who add significant benefit to the RMHS (specifically members of academia, especially those from other countries). Most discussion focused on the principle that it would be unfair to give free membership to these few people when we are putting out a strong message around the Corps Family that all have to have paid RMA membership subscriptions if they wish to enjoy its benefits.  

 

38.  Discussion concluded with the suggestion that the Chairman or Chief Executive would be invited to the next RMHS Council meeting to discuss this subject more fully and endeavour to reach an agreement about it. The Chairman suggested IG go back and offer RMA membership to those who are paid up and those who don’t want to remain on an RMHS Associate subscription list without access to RMA Website. IG undertook to hone the understanding of RMHS membership figures such that any potential cost impact on the RMA might be better quantified.

Action: IG

 

39.  Charity Commission Focus as Regulator.  PDO reported that he had listened to a compelling brief from the CEof the Charity Commission (CC) while at the Cobseo AGM.  In the brief, she explained that funding constraints and recent major charity failings have forced the CC into a more regulatory role.  She also emphasised the importance of Trustees having a full understanding of their responsibilities and taking a robust approach towards the governance of their charity.  A copy of the presentation is at Annex B.  The Chairman asked all Trustees to ensure they read CC3 Flagship Guidance to Trustees on the CC website.

 

40.  CE completed this item by explaining that the next step towards Incorporation, as soon as the Charity Commission had registered RMA Ltd as charity, would be the transfer of assets from the unincorporated Association into the new legal entity, an audit of the new charity and alignment of FY with TRMC.

 

41.  RM Shop as a Community Interest Company (CIC).  BR asked CE to engage with the RM Shop Board in light of the Coffin Mew suggestion that the RM Shop consider the advantages of becoming a CIC such that the RMA Board might better understand their perspective and advice.

 

42.  There being no further business, the Chairman closed the meeting at 1627 hours.

To locate  a set of minutes look at the list below and scroll down to locate.

Minutes posted in latest first:

July

April

 

April

 

Thursday 21 April 2016 at 0930 hours

 

Present:                        Mr R Bell JP (Chair)                                                Chairman

                                    Brigadier M P Ellis OBE (CE)                                    Chief Executive

                                    Lt Col E C Musto RM (EM)                                    Corps Secretary

                                    WO1(RSM) C Riach RM (CR)                                    Corps Representative

Mrs K Richardson OBE (KR)                                    Specialist – Families

Mr R Crawley (RC)                                                Scotland Region

                                    Mr P Deacon (PD)                                                Northern Region

                                    Mr T A Galsworthy (TG)                                                East Anglia Region

                                    Mr D Sargent (DS)                                                South West Region

                                    Mr W L B Briers            (BB)                                                Southern Region

Mr G Salvetti (GS)                                                 Specialist – Legal

Mr B R Reading                                                 Specialist - Investment

                                    Lt Col C Wilson RM (Retd) (CW)                                    RMA PDO

                       

In Attendance:                        Mr Oliver Larminie            Newton Investment Management

                                    Mr John Harris-Burland            Mindworks Marketing Ltd

                                    Ms Emma Livingstone            Mindworks Marketing Ltd

                                    Ms R Davies            RMA Finance Manager

                                                                       

Apologies were received from: WO1 (RSM) P S Gilby RM; WO1 D Egan RM; Mr R Eales; WO2 A Bennett RM; Mr T A Busby; Mr P Sheridan.

 

Pre Meeting Briefing. 

 

1.  The Chairman welcomed on behalf of the Board Mr Oliver Larminie of Newton Investment Management. Mr Larminie provided a comprehensive overview and summary of the performance of the RMA’s investments with Newton, covering global economic circumstances as they affect the fund and offered detail on the funds’ performance.

 

2.   Overall, in a globally challenging economic climate, the fund is doing reasonably well, being a medium risk portfolio for long-term investment by a charity.  It would not be expected to fall as far as many other indices. Being asked whether the RMA is taking enough risk with this fund in terms of improving the return, Mr Larminie replied that the fund is invested in long-term portfolios in which [through considerable long term review and breadth of research] Newton believes, and these are not portfolios that are likely to go bust. The additional point was made that if the Association wishes to spend money on capital projects, it should invest in shorter-term “close-in” portfolios.  In summary, Mr Larminie offered the assessment that in difficult economic circumstances the RMA’s investments were performing as well as could be expected and, while there was no room for complacency, there was space for contentment.

 

3.  The Chairman thanks Mr Larminie for his clear and detailed brief and for taking the time to deliver it.  Mr Larminie concluded his briefing at 1010 hrs, at which point the main meeting began.  (Post meeting note:  CW holds some spare copies of Mr Larminie’s briefing booklet should they be needed).

 

 

 

 

 

Item 1. Opening Remarks.

 

4.   The Chairman wished to record Birthday greeting to Her Majesty the Queen on behalf of the Board. He went on to say that today’s was full agenda reflecting the several challenges facing the Association and reminded all present to do their best to maintain the timings shown on the Agenda. 

 

Item 2.  Minutes of the Last Meeting and Matters Arising

 

5.   PD wished to note that, with reference to Item 45 of the Minutes, he remains unsure whether there will be another Meet the Marines event in his Borough during 2016, the recruiters having missed an opportunity to gather willing volunteers in 2015.  CR undertook to check plans for recruiting tours with the Corps RSM. 

 

                                                                                                            Action: CR

 

6. KR noted that it was inappropriate for John Harris-Burland to be on the Minutes’ distribution list. (Post- meeting note: distribution error corrected; removed by CW)

 

7.   The Minutes of the last meeting were accepted as true record of events.

                                                                                                Proposed: Mr D Sargent

                                                                                                Seconded: Mr T Galsworthy

                                                                                                Carried unanimously

 

Item 3. Report from F & GP Committee (to include FY adjustment decision, MOD licensing)

 

8.   The Chairman invited comments page-by-page about the Minutes of the F & GP Committee meeting of 22 Mar 16. The following comments are pertinent:

 

a.  The Chairman asked about progress under paragraph 3a of Item 2 of the Minutes (Branches not submitting financial accounts to central office). CE stated that he had just approved a letter to be sent to the 15 Branches in question. BB asked that Regional Trustees of the relevant Branches be kept informed of the progress of this matter.

                                                                                                Action: CE

 

(Post meeting note: letter sent to Branches and appropriate Regional Trustees 21 Apr 16)

 

b.   Page 2, paragraph 3d – membership packs to Trustees. This item has not been followed up. PDO to action.

                                                                                                Action: CW

 

c.  Page 3, paragraph 6 under item 4: BR commented that all trustees have the opportunity to hear a regular report from the investment manager.  This led to discussion about Trustee training, its importance and how to introduce it comprehensively.  The Chairman believed that there were plenty of online courses. KR suggested that at the following week’s naval charities’ round-table meeting, the RMA should find out if those charities are doing any such training and, if so, piggy-back onto it.

 

                                                                                                Action: CE

 

d.  Page 3, paragraph 7a under Item 5: CE stated that The RM Charity had been very generous in it grant to the RMA. He added that Greenwich Hospital had also provided a most generous £10,000 grant to the RMA as a contribution to the further development costs for the website.  However, as CE Greenwich Hospital had expressed concern about the scale of those costs; CE said that it was for Trustees to decide whether the costs were appropriate or not and act accordingly. The Chairman interjected that other RN Charities had used MWM quite happily, and CE reinforced this observation by reminding Trustees of MWM’s overall experience with the Naval Service, and their collective early decision about the company not being the cheapest available but that they were assessed to give value for money. KR stated that she was still concerned about the costs and suggested seeking 3rd party assessment, to which CE replied that this was already in hand through an independent source.

 

9.  The Minutes of the last F&GP Committee meeting were accepted.

                                                                                                              Proposed: Mr T Galsworthy

                                                                                                              Seconded: Mr B R Reading

                                                                                                             Carried unanimously

 

 

 

 

Item 4. Update Brief by Mr J Harris-Burland on website.

 

10.   MWM presentation is at Annex A for reference. Of particular interest, but for cautious use, are the statistics contained in it.

 

11.  JH-B reminded Trustees that the original intent was to build a website better than any other military charity’s. He asserted, to general agreement, that it is now very good and is becoming part of the RMA’s offering as a hub for the Corps family.

 

12.  The key points of the discussion during and after JH-B’s Brief were as follows:

 

·       One quarter of membership has activated their account

·       Net membership growth is 74 per month – good but not good enough to hit target of 20,000 members by 2020.

·       CE explained that Cadet membership will be processed by paper applications from their Units.

·       The Chairman requested CE to place an article in Homeport and G & L inviting all those who have not done it to activate their online membership accounts, as well as sending a letter to Branch Secretaries (copy to Regional Trustees) to enlist their help with this.

Action: CE

·       Can link to the RM Lottery be provided? CE asked whether it was more appropriate to link to the RM Shop Lottery, and stated that he would consider these choices.

Action: CE

·       GS made the point that the website should reflect the inclusive nature of the RMA, as proclaimed in the Bye-Laws, by making it easy for members of the Corps family who are not RMs to join, to which JH-B agreed. GS also identified the need to discuss signposting to external agencies through the website, with reference to frequency of updating, due diligence etc, which was also accepted as a subject to tackled in future months.

Action: CE/GS/JH-B 

·       Various concerns were raised about the new membership card, specifically its weight, appearance and the fact that some expiry dates had been reached by the time members received the card.

o   CE explained why the card needs to be lighter (cost of production and practical ability to automate and fulfil new membership as well as annual updates in the future) and asserted that although the Corps colours were not on the new card, the branding was very strong, both on front and back, reflecting the Trustees approved RMA branding [which is also being echoed by The RM Charity]. He added that printing the Corps values on the rear of the card was being considered, and finished by saying that while he understands the complaints, much of the new card’s overall design is about controlling costs (old card was very expensive and laborious to produce through a hand operated card machine). 

·       KR asked why the projected spend for 2016 was so much more than that for 2015, to which the explanation that the website is being significantly developed was offered.  The Chairman asked JH-B to give a detailed brief on this development at the next meeting.

Action: CE/JH-B

·       TG asked how the membership finds out about new developments. CE said that it is done through the website, RepNets, emails to Branch Secretaries and articles in G&L and Homeport. The chairman suggested that some “teasers” could be placed in the RepNet announcing new developments and clicking on a link to demonstrate them.

Action: CE/JH-B

Item 5. Risk

13. PDO explained that he had updated 2 x risks (4.2 – Inappropriate Financial Processes and 5.3 -Data Protection Failure) in the 3x3 Trend tracker to reflect the fact that in his view they had stabilised due to, respectively, actions taken by the Hon Treasurer over the last year and the high level of security for membership details being managed by MWM.  As part of the suggested way ahead to examine random risks from the Risk Register in order to ensure its currency, BR asked PDO about Risk 1.3, “Subsidiary or other charity operations…in the same space endanger RMA's reputation”. PDO stated that this risk could be considered to have diminished due to the erosion of the profile of many of the “competitor” charities established during the Telic & Herrick years, and that he would amend the Register to reflect this. The Chairman gave his support to BR’s suggested method of examining the risk register at each meeting.

                                                                                                                        Action: CW

Item 7. (brought forward) Bye-Laws

13. PDO explained that, while amending the Branch Secretaries’ Aide Memoire, some membership anomalies had been identified that led to some proposed changes in the Bye-Laws.  He also thanked BB for his submission to include a new Bye-Law allowing Regional Grants for the conduct of Association business and to promote its efficiency and effectiveness.  GS also suggested that the proposed new Bye-Law should be linked to Bye-Law 14.2.3, which defines Regional Trustees.  CW undertook to send all Trustees a new copy of the proposed amendments in which the red text showing them will stand out better. This proposed amendment is at Annex B to these Minutes.

                                                                                                                        Action: CW

14. CE explained that the proposed amendments should not be decided upon now, but should be considered by all for finalising at the next Trustees’ meeting.  There was, however, general agreement, led by GS, that the Bye-Law allowing “local membership” of the RMA was the source of considerable and continuous  confusion, that it was an out-dated concept/provision and that it should be deleted.

Item 6. Convergence/Merger

15.  The Chairman provided a background reminder about why convergence with The RM Charity was being considered and repeated his determination that before, during and after merger business should continue as normal for the RMA’s Branches and the RMA’s brand should be maintained.  He suggested that the name of the merged organisation will be “RMA-The Royal Marines Charity” and that it remained a non-negotiable point that the membership at Branch level should not see any difference in their experience of RMA membership as a consequence of the proposed merger. Furthermore, that he had agreed this point with the Chairs of The RM Charity and the RNRMC and, importantly, that they both understood this provision and both supported it as an acceptable proposed position against which to proceed.

16.   CE then explained that the convergence paper sent to Trustees’ in preparation for the meeting had been agreed by him and the CEs of RNRMC and The RM Charity.  He noted that The RM Charity is part of the RMRNMC and that the RMA will become part of the RNRMC when it merges with The RM Charity. He went on to examine the 5 options for organisational and governance framework that was distributed before the meeting (attached as Annex C to these Minutes for reference). In doing so, he explained that, after legal advice the previous day from a charity law associate of Coffin Mew, only 3 were considered appropriate for the new structure: Models 1, 4 and 5.  He then clarified that as a consequence of this advice, Model 4 which had hitherto been considered a split legal entity in Charity Commission terms was in fact a “linked charity”, whereas Model 5, which had been thought to represent a linked charity, is known as a “subsidiary model”. The legal advice received previously recommended this model as the best option for the RMA in the future merged body, probably with 2 Trustees on the main Board, while Model 4 was considered sub-optimal because it was considered that the single Board of Trustees would not have the breadth of experience to direct both organisations adequately, which could have unwanted consequences for both organisations.

17. The discussion that followed CE’s exposition contained the following key points;            

a.   Worry about the main board in Model 5 having total control over the subsidiary charity board, and thus a loss of independence and being held hostage to the goodwill of another charity, was expressed by several Board members on different occasions throughout the discussion, as was the opinion that safeguards for the RMA’s inalienable rights and the way in which the Association conducts its business should be built into its Articles.

b. BR felt that much would depend on the kind of entity that the RMA would become under this arrangement and that there would be a need to ensure that its funds and assets, including the RM Shop, were retained under its own control.

c.   GS expressed concern that while the intentions of the initial main Board might be benign, a change of personalities could be a matter of grave concern for the subsidiary charity. BR responded that structures needed to be sound to prevent such personality-driven effect. CE asserted that if merger did not occur and the status quo was maintained, the RMA would have to generate its own income, thus automatically competing with The RM Charity.

d.   CR drew the discussion to a close by reminding all that the CGRM had previously directed that the RMA had to become the central hub of the Corps Family and offer it full support. We should be going forward not back over old ground to discuss again what had been previously considered and decided. The RMA should not be afraid of change. The Chairman, CE and PD supported his view, while acknowledging that the devil is in the detail. The Chairman added that many members are happy to raise money for The RM Charity, demonstrating the inextricable link between it and the RMA, therefore we must move forward together.

e.   CE stated that work was in progress by him and his fellow CEOs to write a ‘Benefit to All’ brief as part of the examination of the convergence options. He undertook that legal advice would be sought about the best merged organisation option facing the RMA and the concomitant safeguards that must be identified and given teeth. He also emphasised that the beneficiary of both Charities was the “Corps Family”, we should therefore have faith that the focus and interest of Trustees into the future would endure and that the RMA should be confident of its place at the heart of that Corps Family.   

                                                                                                            Action: CE

Item 8. RMA Development Updates.

18.  Item 8 - 4 (Brought Forward) Review of impact of over-80s subscriptions proposal.

a.   The Chairman gave the background to this item with which all were familiar, originating as it does from RMA City of Glasgow’s proposal at last AGM that members of the RMA aged 80+ should continue to have free membership under the new subscription rules. This proposal had sunsequently been backed by RMA Welwyn Garden City.

b. RD ran through the paper she had prepared on this subject, which showed conclusively that if free membership were offered to the over 80 cohort (including existing over 80s), the total aggregate loss of income to the RMA by 2021 (when they would number 173) would be £28,284.  Equally, the current annual loss to the RMA of the 1,374 existing over 80 members not paying the discounted £12 rate is £16,488.

c. The Chairman noted that part of the pervious discussion had been about income shortfalls and opened the subject to the floor.

i. RC stated that RMA City of Glasgow will pay its over 80s’ subscriptions.

ii.  PD stated that views from his region were that younger people have more outgoings than the senior cohort, and felt that for them to pay was appropriate.

iii.   DS offered that the elderly are generally well looked after by the State and other institutions and that in the RMA they should pay the same as others.

iv. BB agreed that the over 80s should pay the discounted subscription rate.

d.   The Chairman put the proposal to the Board that every RMA member should pay the recently agreed subscription charges (except the members who are already over 80).

                                                                                    Proposed: Mr D Sargent

                                                                                    Seconded: Mr W L B Briers

                                                                                    Carried unanimously

           

19.   Item 8-1.  Northern Region Recruiting Initiative

 

            a.   PD stated that the Northern Region is not proposing any further recruiting initiative until

further notice.

 

 

20.  Item 8-2 Policies and Procedures Manual/Branch Secretaries Aide Memoire.

 

a.   CW said that no progress had been made with the Policies and Procedures Manual due to time constraints and capacity, but the Branch Secretaries’ aide memoire was being re-written and would be sent to Mr Jumper Collings of Exeter Branch who had offered his experience to review the first draft. It should be ready for dispatch by the end of the first week in May.

 

21.   Item 8-3. RM Cadet Membership.

 

a.   CE described to the Board the launch of the initiative at the Cadets’ Gibraltar Cup competition at CTCRM in late March and said that Central Office is waiting for the first batch of paper applications from RM Cadet Units to arrive.  He aired his idea for the RM Shop to source a RMA membership lapel badge specifically for RM Cadets.  The Chairman supported this idea and suggested that this would be a good presentation to the first RM cadet to join the Association.

 

22.   Item 8-5.  RM Shop.

 

a.   CE told Trustees that the next Board meeting for the RM Shop would be on Mon 25 Apr and noted that this would be another 12 month financial year for the Shop; the plan to shorten the FY to align with The RM Charity had been thwarted by the slow responses to our requests to register as an incorporated body, initially by the Cabinet Office and now the Charity Commission. The updated accounts would be presented to the next F&GP.

 

b.   The Cloud 1990 system underpinning the Shop’s new website is not being delivered as designed and is delaying the Shop’s expansion plan (CE added that, in light of some criticism, Trustees should perhaps reflect upon the success of the RMA’s website as delivered by Mindworks). Cloud 1990 MD will explain the situation at the next RM Shop Board meeting.

 

c.   It was expected that Joe Lane might seek a loan [in the region of £8,000] to buy stock in order to set up 1AGRM UIF shop on 18 May. This was planned to be a pilot scheme for more shops in RM establishments, and might even expand into RN areas. The RM Shop is planned to amalgamate with 30 Cdo IX Gp RM shop in the summer, and plans to open a 40 Cdo RM UIF shop solely stocked by the RM Shop in September.  CE agreed that a proper business case was required for a loan of this size and would find out more at the next week’s Shop Board meeting.

 

e.   Notes of caution were sounded, offering the opinion that the RM Shop must be properly established and running correctly before it expands into other retail areas. In particular, CR and BR voiced the similar concerns that Joe Lane, although doing a brilliant job, is virtually a one man band and if he is unavailable, much of these plans will be affected.  Perhaps investment to ensure staff resilience and consolidation would secure improvement and should come before expansion.

 

f.  GS made the point about Tim Healy’s serious car accident that SSP can, in no-fault claim cases be reclaimed.  There might be a contractual clause in his contract that the employee will recover on his employers’ behalf costs from the culpable party.    CE would investigate this matter with Joe Lane and the Shop Board.

 

                                                                                                            Action: CE

 

g.   CR finished the discussion by sharing his experience that CTC worried about the RM Shop’s support and the risk of it taking over in their bases, but they have been very pleased with the support, stock and profit margin delivered to date.

 

h.  CE explained the current difficult situation about the MOD imposed intent that the RMA takes out a licence to sell goods branded with the Globe and Laurel, copyright of which is owned by S of S for Defence, as well as pay royalties of 10% + VAT on the gross sales price of every such item sold. He said that DCGRM would lead with his support to conduct a long-term campaign about this iniquity to mitigate the impact on the Association.

 

23. Item 8-6. Homeport Magazine.

 

a.   CE said that the 2nd edition containing RMA news was about to be published. He understood the feedback that there was too little RM content, and that this was no longer the RMA’s magazine, but he contended that this innovation should not be taken in isolation: it is but one strand of a whole communication pack. It is also focussed on families and the younger generation, in an attempt to attract that kind of readership. He reminded Trustees one reason for the change was to free up Wendy’s time to concentrate on welfare delivery; additionally the change in the magazine would save the RMA £13,000 a year, which would be a significant contribution to self-sufficiency for the Association.  He added that he had received no contribution from anyone for articles for the magazine – he, the CE had been chasing every feature.  The contribution to this magazine can only become more interesting with contributions form the Corps Family. He asked for constructive and positive criticism containing ideas for improvement instead of that which had been received so far, which was simply negative and entirely unhelpful and appeared to simply denigrate change.

 

b.   Trustees offered the following views from their Regions:

 

i.   DS reported that in SW, the new magazine is unpopular, being perceived as not the RMA’s magazine, and the need to search through it to find the RMA pages, which are then filled with advertisements. DS’s personal view was that it needs time to bed in for people to become accustomed to it and that it should be reviewed in 12 months.  CE agreed with this view, and added that it points to the need to survey the membership again.  He asked about deadline for articles, to which CE responded that deadlines will be forwarded, but articles can be sent to Central Office at any time, as long as they were interesting and stimulating.

                                                                                                Action CE

                                   

ii.  TG stated that views in EAR are evenly split; there are some criticisms, but also a lot of people appreciate the scope and content of articles in the magazine. However, there is some harking back to the old magazine; CE made the point the Homeport is free to the membership and, to all intents and purposes, to the RMA. Further, that members were free to purchase the G&L, which contained material focused solely on the Corps and a large RMA section.

 

iii.   PD stated that the same reactions had been received in Northern Region. 

 

iv.   GS supported the magazine, saying that he thought the concept was brilliant.

 

v.   The Chairman reminded all that in the early days of the previous RMA magazine, it was terrible but improved over time and asked all Regional Trustees to explain the reasoning behind it to their Branches and to seek contributions from their members.

 

b.   CE went on to suggest that what was needed was a change in the style of RMA contributions to the Globe and Laurel, making them more interesting and appealing to the magazine’s wider readership. He asked for Trustees to volunteer to form a working party that should consider what the content should be and what the readership wants to see, and to make recommendations.  KR, TG, PD, DS and BB kindly volunteered to undertake this work. The chairman thanked them all for being willing to take on an extra task and asked that their recommendations be presented at the next Trustees meeting on 21 July.

 

 24.   Item 8-7. One Member One Vote (OMOV)

 

a. CE explained that as the RMA is not yet an incorporated charity limited by guarantee due to the delays to date and that it continues to face from the Charity Commission, OMOV will only apply when Incorporation is complete (this is because all those eligible to vote will only then be members of the new legal entity under company law definition).  Therefore, (assuming progress with the application to the Charity Commission continues to be glacial) branch delegates will called to attend AGM 2016.  However, at this AGM, a trial electronic voting system in preparation for OMOV will be piloted.

 

                                                                                                            Action CE

 

25.  Item 8-8. Boot Force.

 

a.   CW explained that CE and he had met Duncan Christie-Miller for a follow up meeting to his initial brief at the previous Trustees’ meeting to explore how the scheme might be initiated and implemented. Unfortunately, it did not appear that at this stage of the RMA’s development that it could be done without taking on additional staff. As such activities as proposed by the Boot Force idea ultra vires the Association’s charitable objects, it does not seem practical to attempt to follow up the idea at present.

 

b.   The Chairman put a proposal to the meeting that Boot Force should not be progressed and that the CE should communicate this to DC-M.

 

                                                                                                            Proposed: Mr G Salvetti

                                                                                                            Seconded: Mr P deacon

                                                                                                            Carried unanimously

                                                                                                           

Action CE

 

Item 9. Regional Matters

 

26.   Northern Region    

 

a.   PD alluded to the period of reorganisation and harmonisation that he has initiated in NR in order to remind certain Branches what the RMA is and is not about; in the process, the disciplinary conditions in the Bye-Laws have been used.   He referred to Mr Brotherhood’s crusade about Branches having to pay marginal costs for RM Buglers to attend events such as commemorations of VC winners, and said that he had told Mr Brotherhood that he could pursue his claim but in his name as private individual only, not as an RM member or in the Association’s name, otherwise PD would initiate disciplinary proceedings against him.

 

b.   PD asked whether the Zeebrugge Parade in Merseyside could be viewed as a primary RMA event so that it might attract more support.  A discussion about the level of support allowed to such events according to the tri-Service JSP 813 ensued, which led to a decision to remind DCGRM of his earlier undertaking to ask MOD to allow such things as commemorations of VC winders to be considered as a “Category 1 event”, paid for out of the public purse. All agreed that the Liverpool Zeebrugge memorial is a major event (Mersey Transport takes one of its ferries out of service for the day in support of the event) that probably does merit a level of support that it does not currently receive. 

                                                                                                                        Action: CE/CW

 

c.   CE also made the point that this reads across directly to Maj Rick Hall RM’s paper suggesting a review of Corps Memorable Dates. He added a note of caution however, about the Ops Manager’s capacity to take on responsibility for coordination of another major RMA event at a time of the year in which he was already extremely busy. This proposal demanded further careful consideration.

 

                                                                                                                        Action: CE/OM

 

27.   SW Region.  DS stated that 3 x RMA members in SW Region had been presented with the Legion d’Honneur, complete with BBC and ITV coverage. He advised that the TV companies are interested in this kind of story and that others with Legion d’Honneur recipients in the Regions and Branches should let their local TV offices know if a formal presentation is in the offing.  CE reminded all of the planned tea-time reception for all Legion d’Honneur recipients at the Corps Museum at the conclusion of Commando Action day on 2 Jun16.

 

28.   Southern Region.    BB announced that he had stood down as Chair of the Region at its AGM in March. Mr Sharky Ward had assumed the post, and Mr Patrick Patrick Hopper had taken over as Secretary. BB recorded his concern about the SR Treasurer and asked to be given a list of those Branches in SR that needed advice and assistance.

 

29. East Anglia Region.  

 

a.   TG advised the meeting that Cambridge Branch is struggling on with its 5 aged members who still meet regularly. Region is considering ways to recruit more members and offer to help them. CE said that he will ensure that a recruiting announcement goes out on a forthcoming RepNet,

                                                                                                                        Action: CE/OM

 

b.   TG announced that the RM Band had just pulled out of Darell’s day, so the organisers will have to fall back on a Cadet Force Band.  He added the request for an RM Band at the 2017 event had been rejected as it falls on Armed Forces day 2017 and the Bands are already committed elsewhere.  He was advised by the Chairman and CE to consider bidding for the RMA band, possibly to perform a concert and offer their ‘1664 Drummers’.

 

30. Scotland and Northern Ireland Region.  RC announced that RMA Glasgow’s membership is increasing.

 

31.  Serving Corps.

 

a.   CR alluded to the unpleasant Courts Martial of RMs to be held this year and said that the first was likely to finish by 22 Apr, but there would almost certainly be 2 more before the summer. CTCRM is now reinforcing ethics in military life as a special subject, looking at it holistically and examining peer group pressure versus standing up for what is right.

 

b.  With ref to Sgt Blackman, he said the case was now in the hands of the Criminal Cases Review Commission and could be heard in a week or a year’s time: it depends on the Commission’s  workload and the priorities for other cases to be reviewed.

 

c.   CGRM’s supersession would take place on 3 June, when Brig MacGowan would become CGRM.  It is expected that Col Tanner (currently Captain Portsmouth Naval base) would take over as Comdt CTCRM by mid Sep.

 

d.   Recruiting is strong. An announcement about women in ground combat roles is expected in July; the Corps will accept what is decided, but training and commando course standards will not drop.

 

e.   The Corps is extremely busy worldwide. There are more groups of RMs from various Units in the Mediterranean than ever before, employed on a wide variety of duties. 

 

f.    CR concluded his brief by reminding all to tell their Branches that if uniformed RM support is desired, bids should go to Central Office and to him as early as possible.

 

Item 10. Any Other Business.

 

32.  Eligibility for Branch Standard Bearer (see paragraph 34 ROD Trustees’ Meeting 19 Mar 15). CE explained that for a variety of reasons, this subject had not been concluded and he wished to do so now.  After some discussion in which it was generally agreed that it is better to have Standard on parade than not, the Chairman suggested the motion that it is at Branches’ discretion to allow a non-Royal Marine to carry the Standard, as long as they are appropriately attired (including headgear).

 

                                                                                                            Proposed:  Mr WLB Briers

                                                                                                            Seconded: Mr R Crawley

                                                                                                            Carried, with one vote against.

 

33.   Application to establish a USMC Branch.  The Chairman referred to the correspondence between him and Mr Mike Allen proposing the establishment of a USMC Branch of the RMA, to be based in London, although it would be a virtual Branch. DS noted that RMA North Devon contains a very active and supportive former USMC. The Chairman put the proposal to the vote.

 

                                                                                                            Proposed: Mr D Sargent

                                                                                                            Seconded: Mr P Deacon

                                                                                                            Carried unanimously.

 

34.  Marking 60th Anniversary of Op Musketeer at RMA Reunion 2016. RC reminded the meeting that veterans of the Suez operation led the Reunion parade on its 50th anniversary, and asked whether anything similar had been planned for this year. The Corps Sec stated that a diner at RMB Stonehouse was being planned to mark Op Musketeer and the 10th anniversary of Herrick IV. CE said that he would consider how this anniversary might be marked by the RMA.

                                                                                                           

                                                                                                            Action: CE/OM

 

35.   Virtual Branch Governance.  RC stated that he had heard concerns mentioned about whether meetings were being properly convened and recorded, and voting procedures followed correctly.   CE undertook to draft a letter to the Secretaries and Chairs of virtual Branches to point out that they need to comply with meeting rules and that records are kept for all to see.

 

                                                                                                            Action: CE

 

36.   Drysdale Trophy.  DS asserted that the Drysdale Trophy currently being awarded annually to EAR on almost every occasion, as a factor of money raised divided by the number of Branches in the Region, is no longer an incentive to anyone to raise funds.  He suggested that it should be awarded to an individual or group that has done a charitable deed of a certain standard or level in the year.  CE noted this point and said he would consider its validity in the context of the Association’s charitable objects.

 

                                                                                                            Action: CE  

 

37.  Remuneration Committee (see paragraph 15 of Record of Proceedings of Trustees’ Meeting 3 Dec 15). GS stated that the TORs for the proposed Remuneration Committee were complete and he asked for volunteers to sit on the Committee. KR, DS and RC volunteered; it was decided that RC’s travel costs meant that he was too expensive for such a task.

 

                                                                                                            Action: GS/KR/DS

 

38.   LIBOR Funding.  CR asked whether there was any opportunity to seek LIBOR funding for any RMA projects, or from any other source. KR said that she had seen something on this subject and would let all know when she had found it.

 

                                                                                                            Action: KR

 

39.  There being no further business, the Chairman closed the meeting at 1555 hours.

 

DONM:

 

F&GP:             14 Jun 16; 1 Nov 16.

Trustees:            21 Jul 16; 24 Nov 16