2013 March

Summary of Trustees Meeting Mere

17th March 2013

Present: Elizabeth Payne, Sheila Maw, Nicholas Sanders, Isla Reid, Jim Clegg, Ronald Clements, Linda Kennerley and Shirley Evans.

1. Apologies: From Anne Green, Liz Bradley, Anne Dauncey and Karl Hahm.

2. Previous minutes 25th November 2012: The minutes of the previous meeting held on 25th November were agreed without alteration.

3. Update on actions arising from the previous Trustees meeting held on 25th November 2012:

3.1 Pilot Behavioural Scheme: Jim Clegg reported that he had had no reply from Trevor Cooper regarding training, and stated that he thought that we would have to consider some form of training in order to comply with “Health and Safety”, and to reflect comments made by Sheila Maw at previous meetings. The consensus of opinion was that the Pilot Behavioural Scheme seemed to be working very well, and various examples of this were cited. Nick Sanders has updated the online form for registering dogs coming in and out of STECS. Jim suggested a further box to allow ongoing assessment for problematic dogs as soon as possible. A discussion followed regarding methods of recording. Jim suggested that there should be a review of the whole procedure in September when it would have been in place for a year, and this was agreed. Action: Nick Sanders to include a third box on online return sheet and a full review of Pilot Behavioural Scheme to be completed at the Trustee’s meeting in September.

3.2 Governing Document Update: Having received the first working draft of the update it was agreed that this large undertaking is very important. Isla Reid suggested therefore that there should be perhaps a whole Trustee meeting devoted to this matter, and suggested that it be held after the AGM, 2013. This would still give ample time for discussion and agreement before ratification by the Charity Commission and OSCR. It is hoped that the changes would be able to go before the 2014 AGM. There was a discussion as to whether a “power meeting” should take place for this, separate to the normal September meeting. General consensus was that this was probably a good thing, perhaps incorporating an overnight stay at an appropriate location. It was noted that the cost to STECS of this type of meeting would in the long run be less expensive for STECS, as Trustees who travel long distances to attend the meeting would not be doing this twice. Action: Trustees to decide at the next meeting how best to proceed with this.

3.3 Future Trustee Meetings: In the light of the previous item, venues and dates will be confirmed at the next Trustee meeting. It is anticipated that a full complement of members would be at that meeting, so agreement could best be reached then. Action: Trustees to consider the ideas and suggestions in item 3.2 with a view to agreeing on dates and possible venues.

3.4 Chairman’s Update and STECS Research Fund: Sheila Maw reported that there is still difficulty in collecting sufficient numbers of swab tests, and was concerned that some swab kits had neither been used nor returned. She had put an article into the spring/ summer newsletter to inform membership of this in the hope of either having the swab kits used or returned. The research into liver enzymes has started and she informed us that she had had some very detailed information from a member who was replying to the ad. This member sent nearly 100 pages of tests, bills etc. Sheila sent this information to the Researcher. Linda Kennerley noted that American research was also being carried out into this matter, and Sheila was able to inform us that the vet at Cambridge University was in contact with her friend, a vet in charge of this research in America. No comparisons have been as yet carried out as the Researcher has not progressed enough for any results, which we know might take years to achieve! David Kennerley is to be asked to place information regarding information gathering from vets on to the website. There were no plans for the Researcher to address the members at the next AGM, which had been mooted at a previous Trustee meeting. No money has yet been asked from STECS. Jim Clegg asked if Karl had received any “terms of reference” for the research money held by STECS, and so far this seems not to have happened. There was a general discussion on the gene pool for Scotties in Britain. Action: David Kennerley to put an announcement regarding swap kits on the website.

3.5 0845 Numbers: Nick Sanders stated that there were difficulties in giving all Welfare Co-ordinators a 0845 number, as the company wished to hold credit card details for this. The Trustees were divided as to the necessity for 0845 numbers, Shirley Evans liked it, as did Jim Clegg, and the obvious benefit of transferring a call was mentioned. However, it was decided that if any Welfare Co-ordinator wished a 0845 number they should contact Nick who would deal with this. Action: Nick Sanders to make Welfare Co-ordinators aware of the possibility of 0845 numbers.

3.6 Letter from a STECS Member: Isla Reid reminded Trustees that they had each received a copy of the letter that had been sent to a member, and was able to inform them that, although not overly happy, the member had accepted the results of the investigation into the complaint. The Member had indicated that a formal reply would be sent to the secretary, but to date a letter has not been received. Isla pointed out that although some Trustees saw this complaint as a “storm in a teacup”, it did highlight that communications among Trustees sometimes fell short of good practice. As there is another item, (8), dealing with this matter, Isla said that she would go into this matter more fully at that point. No further action required.

3.7 Current availability for outside funding for charities. Jim Clegg informed the meeting that grants and awards are available to charities from a variety of sources including the Kennel Club Breed Rescue, Petplan and the Association of Dog and Cat Homes. These grants are available for charities to use for items such as equipment. It was agreed that STECS should join ADCH at a cost of £25.00 per annum. Ron Clements felt that STECS’s bank balance might be a consideration for awarding grants, but the prevailing opinion was that if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Action: Secretary to apply for STECS to become an Associate member of ADCH.

3.8 Kennelgarth Book – Reprint. Sheila Maw reported that there was no progress whatsoever in this matter, and her advice was that we should not proceed as further with this request. She had offered the clipping book, but had had no response. No further action required.

3.9 Introduction of S.U.S.I.E. – An online database system for STECS. Shirley Evans outlined the workings of this database, which she is currently using to facilitate her micro chipping responsibility. She and Linda Kennerley agreed that it was invaluable in finding lost dogs, as well as holding information on dogs coming in and out of STECS. It was password protected, and as far as Shirley was concerned, it did not contravene the Data Protection Act. Jim Clegg was concerned about access, and whether we were complying with the Data Protection Act, and said he would do further research. There was also discussion as to who should have access to the database and Isla Reid wondered what would happen to the information if Shirley for some reason did not continue in her present position. Shirley assured her that the database would be available to whoever required it. Nick Sanders said that he would transfer his information to Shirley for inclusion in S.U.S.I.E. Jim Clegg went on to say that if Nick updated his online records section there might not be any requirement for it also to go to S.U.S.I.E. and there was general agreement with this. However, Shirley stated that the services of S.U.S.I.E. were available, and that her intention was simply to inform Trustees about its existence and to make it available to those who want to use it. If any Trustee wished to have a password to access it then she would happily provide one. Isla asked if Shirley and Nick could back up their files on a regular basis to the Secretary and the Chairman in the way that Karl Hahm, the Treasurer does, and this was acceptable. Linda Kennerley reminded us all that Nick’s system only worked if all welfare co-ordinators regularly filled in the online form to record dogs coming in and out. A proposal was made that Nick Sanders would update the online records on STECS website, and we would consider its effectiveness in September. Action: Review effectiveness in September.

3.10 STECS Archive: Isla Reid asked that if any members had any items that were of interest to STECS she would be happy to receive them. Ron Clements said that there were many items belonging to Nellie Holland in Joe Holland’s possession. These items were accounted for, and their future is assured. No further action required.

4. Current position regarding the Re-Homing packs including insurance information.

Linda Kennerley had made up a specimen re-homing pack which included the insurance information, but said that the cost to send these out was over £1.00. It was suggested that these packs could be handed to each co-ordinator, and that if any had to be sent, they could reduce some of the items to cut down on costs. This was agreed by all Trustees. Action: Linda Kennerley to distribute agreement Re-Homing packs to Welfare Co-ordinators at the AGM.

5. Agreement of proposed minutes of the 2012 AGM for submission for approval at the 2013 AGM.

The Trustees were all in agreement that these minutes be made available to members at the AGM on 28th April, 2013. Isla also agreed to be responsible for making up voting papers, if required for AGM. She also ascertained the Karl usually produced a statement of accounts for the AGM, and that these would also be available at the AGM. No further action required.

6. Written advice from Charity Commission regarding STECS’s ‘duty of care’ to volunteers as it relates to training, equipment, transportation of dogs and insurance cover for the use of vehicles used for STECS purposes.

Jim Clegg outlined his conversation with his insurance company regarding a) the insurance position of volunteers transporting dogs on STECS’ behalf, and b) the safe transportation of dogs in STECS’ temporary care. He was informed by his insurance company that he was categorised as a volunteer worker as an occupation, and as he had informed his insurers of this then the dogs would be covered by his insurance. Isla Reid had also contacted her insurance company when renewing her policy and had received similar advice, but that the dogs should be transported in properly mounted cages, or cages firmly fastened in the vehicle. With this information Jim Clegg contacted his insurance company again, with regard to cages. He stated that if we were carrying STECS or a friend’s dog, then these dogs were regarded as livestock, and it was the driver/ owner’s responsibility for their safety and a cage was the best option. Sheila Maw said that if a dog was indirectly responsible for an accident, by being loose in a car, or escaping in the event of an accident, the owner/ driver was responsible. Linda Kennerley stated that she would check with a friend involved in insurance to try to find out what her position was. It was suggested that all welfare co-ordinators contact their insurance companies to ascertain their own position. Action: Isla to contact Karl Hahm to ascertain STECS insurance position, if any, on this matter at the next meeting.

7. Application for kennelling facilities in Scotland: Isla Reid outlined the sad tale of a rescue she had brought home who displayed such aggressive tendencies that she had to take it to the vet to be sedated before she could get it into a cage in her house. Following the procedure for aggressive dogs, she contacted Nick Sanders who arranged for Cath Marchbank to collect the dog the same day, which she did, which was a return journey of nearly 600 miles. As it was very apparent that a serious problem could arise if Cath had not been available, Isla decided that some sort of kennelling would have alleviated the problem, at least until Cath could come to collect the dog. It should be noted that there was no indication that the dog would behave in such a manner, but that Isla had not put the dog into a cage to transport it, something that she says will not happen again. A kennelling facility would have been a great benefit in this instance, but would also mean that if several dogs required re-homing in Scotland, the kennelling could be used as a temporary holding pen, though Linda Kennerley pointed out that this would be only if there was a glut of dogs, as had happened to Isla once before. Carol Annan, the Re-homer for West of Scotland is not able to assist as she doesn’t take rescue dogs into her kennels, for fear of contamination with her breeding stock. Isla’s local kennels are not prepared to house an aggressive dog, though in an emergency would kennel an overflow if necessary. Paul and Gill Simms who are re-homers for the Northumberland area indicated that if they had an excess of dogs, they would be happy to transport them to the kennels in Isla’s garden. Linda Kennerley said that there was no facility north of Cath Marchbank for dogs and that she supported the application. Isla had circulated information about the type of kennelling she is thinking about. Ron Clements suggested that a discount might be available as we are a charity, and might want further kennels in the future, though no one else seemed to want a similar kennel. Karl Hahm, in an email to Sheila, said that his concern was that if one person got kennels it might open the floodgates, though Linda and Nick agreed that there was no evidence to support this view. The Trustees had in the past sanctioned kennelling to two persons, Karen Evans, and Cath Marchbank, though Cath had not yet availed herself of the money promised. Isla has said she would prepare a foundation for the kennels, and if she ceased to be a welfare co-ordinator, she would either buy the kennels from STECS, or they could be transported elsewhere. The Trustees agreed with this request, with Ron Clements suggesting that Isla should look to buying the correct item as it might save money in the long run. Action: Isla Reid to get a quote for kennels and inform Karl Hahm and Sheila Maw of the cost.

An interesting conversation followed this decision, fuelled by Ron’s suggestion of a discount on the kennels. Various firms might be prepared to give STECS members a discount if we gave them some publicity. Though this was agreed as a good idea no decision was made as to whether firms should be contacted, and by whom.

8. Inter-Trustee Communications. Elizabeth Payne stated that she was unhappy that often she was not kept in the loop of what decisions were being made by members of STECS, and gave examples of advertising decisions, and events organised. Though she does not use a computer she feels that a telephone call or quick letter would suffice. Isla Reid recalled item 3.(6) and stated that the Trustees should always inform each other of anything that was happening, stressing that every decision that was made should not be mentioned but more important ones be made known to all Trustees. If this had happened then a member would not have had made a recent complaint. She also said that although Elizabeth is not in the habit of pulling rank, she is STECS President, and should be kept informed. Isla suggested that all information should come into the secretary and she would ensure that all Trustees were informed of any appropriate events. This proposal was agreed. Action: Information of any event of any importance should be sent to the Secretary, who will pass on the information to all the Trustees, and achieve a copy.

9. Trailer Use. Jim Clegg said that Ian Gower, the new sales and merchandise person had a four wheeled trailer which he was happy to use to store STECS items like our marquee, which is currently stored at Cath Marchbank’s house. This would perhaps make the marquee and any other items more readily available for using at regional events. Action: Jim to liaise with Cath and Ian Gower to firm up the arrangements.

10. AOB. a) Isla Reid informed Trustees about the ADCH conference to be held in May 2013, and asked if anyone would care to attend. Shirley Evans and Jim Clegg volunteered, and Isla promised to give them the appropriate information. Action: Isla to give Shirley and Jim the appropriate information and inform the ADCH of their attendance.

b) Nick Sanders has had a financial request for financial help for travelling costs for a lady to take her dog to Cambridge University Veterinary Hospital for specialist treatment for a tumour on his chin. She has previously had financial help for dental treatment for her three dogs and for emergency surgery for one dog. There was a long discussion on this subject without any real decision being made, though notionally the idea of paying something towards her bill was accepted. Action: Nick to contact Karl and agree a sum, then contact the lady in question regarding the decision made.

Meeting Closed 3.10pm

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