Make your vote count on our AGM proposals

This statement from our President has been released to clarify proposals put forward ahead of our AGM which is being held this Saturday (22nd June) starting at 1.30pm at the Scottish Sprint weekend.

I have been made aware that support is being sought to vote against the proposal on levies and feel that it is only right that I say something ahead of the AGM. The AGM notice posted on the SOA website includes a link to the AGM booklet which includes a number of proposals that will be tabled at the meeting.

The proposals for increasing income from membership fees and event levies

The proposals are:

  1. To increase senior membership fees by £2 pa from 2020
  2. To increase junior membership fees by £2 pa from 2020
  3. To simplify the levy system and charge a levy of 10% on all Regional and National events (the SOA levy is currently £1/senior and £0.4/junior on events where the entry fees exceed £10 per senior).

These are independent (i.e. you can vote Yes/ No for each proposal).

Rationale for increasing income from fees and levies

Over the years we have increased the size of our staff team significantly. sportscotland give us ca. £85,000 pa and this covers the costs of RDOs, coaching and other development expenditure. The Board believes that this support is important to develop the grassroots but it does come with strings attached. Most importantly we are expected to have an effective organisation and are audited regularly to make sure this is happening.

The rest of the team help us run an effective organisation (the COO (Fiona Keir), 50% of the Event Manager (Colin Matheson), the Admin Assistant (Fran Britain) and the Communications and Marketing Manager (Paul Rayner)). In 2019 this work will cost us approximately £80,000 and in the future will have to be funded from non sportscotland income. We currently have an income of £30,000 from membership fees and levies, and from the Scottish 6 Days.

We have built up surplus reserves over the last few years because we have not fully utilised our sportscotland investment and sportscotland have asked us to invest any surplus this year. There is some flexibility but we forecast that we need to increase income from the sport over the next few years to manage this.

The proposals are forecast to raise approximately £10,000pa. We should have published the results of the finance survey more clearly (for which I apologise) but the results (below) showed support for increasing the levy by 10% on regional and national events which is why we have tabled proposal 3.   

In October we will be presenting a new strategy to sportscotland, with a view to securing development funding for the next 4 years. We have many challenges such as our demographics but the feedback we have had from you is that you want a vibrant and sustainable sport. If we want sportscotland’s help with this then our judgement is that we need to show that are prepared to do our part.

How to vote

If you cannot be at the AGM please vote using the proxy voting form. All proxy voting forms must be signed and mailed to Glenmore Lodge to arrive by the 21st June or can be scanned (or photographed) and emailed to fiona@scottish-orienteering.org. Please note that other means of proxy voting do not count.

The Board are also orienteers and volunteers

Finally I would like to point out that the folk on the SOA Board are mainly orienteers. We are unpaid volunteers trying to put something back into the sport and are often doing this in addition to working and undertaking other volunteer roles such as organising, planning and controlling, or simply helping out at events. Over the last year or so we have been doing our best to consult with all of you to seek your opinions on what is best for the sport, rather than being influenced by a few individuals with strong opinions. We have done our best to test proposals (e.g. in Score and via surveys), have done our best to put them forward transparently and have discussed them thoughtfully and at length. This has included a special effort this year to arrange the AGM so that we can get as many members along as possible. I will be the first to acknowledge that we don’t always get this right but seeing written accusations that we are being deliberately sneaky and underhand seems extremely unfair and in the long run is likely to lead to the loss of goodwill on the part of these volunteers.

Richard Oxlade, President of the Scottish Orienteering Association