April 2016 Trustee Minutes

Scottish Terrier Emergency Care Scheme
Held on 24th April 2016.

Mere Parish Club, Warrington Road, Mere, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 0PU In attendance: Jim Clegg, Joy Gower, Karl Hahm, Linda Kennerley, Sheila Maw, Isla Reid, Nick Sanders, Gillian Simms. In attendance (reconvened meeting after AGM): Barbara Boyce, Jim Clegg, Joy Gower, Karl Hahm, Catherine Marchbank, Sheila Maw, Rob McLeod, Isla Reid, Nick Sanders, Gillian Simms.

1. Apologies.
Jennifer Rowland. Jennifer had emailed Isla Reid and asked that her message be read out to the trustees and included in the minutes. Jennifer had decided to withdraw her application for re-election as a trustee and also wished to resign as the welfare co-ordinator for South Wales. Her full message is included in Annex A.

2. Approval of the minutes from the previous meeting held on Sunday 21st February 2016.
Three requests for amendments were raised:

Isla Reid noted that Annex 2 appended to the minutes, differed from what had been handed out at the previous meeting, and asked for clarification. Karl replied that he had deleted column 4 so that the table fitted onto A4 portrait. She asked if the full document could be appended.

Although Jim Clegg had not attended the meeting on 21st February 2016 he asked if the wording under item 5 could be changed from “Jim Clegg had instructed Nick Sanders to contact Rob McLeod” to “Jim Clegg had asked Nick Sanders to contact Rob McLeod”.

Jim Clegg wished to clarify that the proposal to offer an award to the Breed Clubs, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of STECS, was initiated by him and not Jennifer Rowland, as stated by her (Item 6 Breed Award refers). He would send some proposed wording to Karl Hahm to enable him to amend the minutes.

It was proposed that subject to the above amendments the minutes should be approved. Proposed by Linda Kennerley and seconded by Sheila Maw. Agreed unanimously.

3. Actions and matters arising from the previous meeting held on 21st February 2016

3.1 Letter to Local Authority and SSPCA re puppy farm in Scotland (IR / GS).
Isla Reid confirmed that she had spoken to both the Local Authority and the SSPCA. The Local Authority had replied and commented that their responsibility was to merely check the adequacy of the premises for the granting of a licence.

The SSPCA had asked if Isla wished to make a formal complaint and asked whether she had any evidence to enable them to investigate her complaint. After some discussion it was considered that there should be sufficient evidence that sick puppies are being bred and sold to enable the SSPCA to conduct an investigation. It was also agreed that further correspondence with the SSPCA on this matter should be under the umbrella of STECS rather than from an individual member or group of members.

Action: Isla Reid to lodge a formal complaint with the SSPCA on behalf of STECS.

3.2 Invite Bee Duffy to become a member and Northern Ireland re-homer (IR/NS).
Isla Reid and Karl Hahm confirmed that Bee Duffy had now joined STECS as a member. As Bee Duffy’s membership had only been confirmed on Thursday 21st April 2016, Nick Sanders advised that he had not yet had the opportunity to invite her to become a re-homer.

Action carried forward.

3.3 Letter to a member about rehoming of Scottish Dogs (IR).
Isla Reid confirmed that she had written to the member concerned and Isla read out the letter she had sent. The member had not responded to Isla but had, written to Karl Hahm and asked him to read out a short statement to the trustees.

Karl read out the statement, the headline point being that in that person’s opinion, the letter from Isla had included a number of untruths. The member also stated that the assessment of her unsuitability for adopting the dog was predicated on a number of unsubstantiated facts and, therefore, questioned why the chairman approached the member in the first place, if she had so many reservations about placing the dog with that member.

The member had also asked Karl Hahm to emphasise to the trustees that the issue was one of poor customer service and lack of communication. It was not (as some trustees had assumed) a case of “sour grapes” because STECS were unable to provide her with a dog on the day in question. Jim Clegg reminded everyone that good customer service and communication starts with the completion of an application form and all the required documentation, including a home visit form. From the previous minutes it appeared that this had not been done in this case. The member concerned had also advised Karl Hahm that they now considered the matter closed.
Action closed.

3.4 International Breed Conference. Update (SM).
Sheila Maw updated the meeting. The event is planned to take place over three days from Saturday 4th March to Monday 6th March 2017. It will be held at the Royal Court Hotel, Coventry. On the Saturday there will be a championship dog show and on the Sunday there will be a number of speakers talking about the breed standard. On the Monday there will be grooming and handling workshops, together with a slot for Sheila Maw and Isla Reid to make a presentation about the work of STECS. Anne Dauncey the organiser had agreed that STECS could have a promotional stand selling Scottie merchandise. STECS had pledged £500 to help fund the event.

Sheila commented that some of the breed clubs felt that the admission charges for the event were expensive. Karl Hahm had a copy of the agenda and booking form which he would circulate to the trustees.

It was agreed that the precise participation of STECS would be discussed and decided at the next trustee meeting.
Action: add to the agenda of the next trustee meeting.

3.5 Advert for more rehoming volunteers. Response from Spring Newsletter (NS / LK)
An advertisement for volunteers had been included in the Spring Newsletter. Linda Kennerley gave a summary of the responses to date:

David Billing has offered to take over the welfare co-ordinator role for Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

New re-homers to work with David Billing are Karen Watton (Leicestershire) and Jane Johnson (Derbyshire). Jane and John Parsons have volunteered to distribute publicity cards.

Juliet Watling has volunteered to rep for Liz Bradley. Liz has already taken her onboard.

Rod Lea who lives in Holbeach, Lincolnshire has volunteered to become a re-homer. He is happy to work directly with Catherine Marchbank.

Debra Armstrong who lives in Cambridgeshire volunteered to distribute publicity cards. Her details have been provided to Shirley Evans.

Action closed subject to continued monitoring of sufficient area coverage.

3.6 Member request for fund raising event in East Anglia (KH)
Karl Hahm confirmed that he had written to the member and suggested that she (a) uses her local knowledge to find a suitable potential venue, and (b) contacts Joy Gower to discuss the possibility of an event in 2017. Neither Karl nor Joy had received any further communication.
Action closed.

3.7 Invitation to Karen Clayton to host the 2016 Christmas Party (JG)
Joy Gower confirmed that she had approached Karen Clayton and asked if she would be prepared to host the Christmas Party. Karen did not wish to get involved. This was required as an action at the last Trustees meeting. Linda Kennerley had subsequently spoken to Karen Clayton. Karen had apparently expressed her surprise at being asked for a second time when she had already made it known that she did not wish to be involved
Action closed. However, a volunteer to host the Christmas party is still required.

3.8 Set up STECS eBay charity account (JG)
Joy Gower confirmed that the STECS eBay charity account had been set up and people were already using it. Karl Hahm apologised for sounding like a stuck record but he also took this opportunity to again raise the matter of the STECS Facebook Auction page that had been created. The page has now been inactive for approximately 18 months and no money has ever been received from the person involved. Joy Gower stated that she had tried to contact this person in November to enquire about any money due to STECS. She had received a very curt response. A number of the trustees knew of this person and it was agreed that it was not worth pursuing the person for any money that had been raised in the name of STECS. However, in future, no one unconnected with the charity should be allowed to use the STECS name for this type of fund raising. Returning to the specific agenda item, it was agreed that the new eBay account should be publicised on the STECS website and Facebook page.
Action: Joy Gower to produce an “advert” and send to Stuart Platt (website) and Gill Simms (Facebook).

3.9 Co-option of Trustees – Secretary position
There had been no application for the vacant Secretary post. It was agreed that the trustee meeting should be reconvened after the AGM when the outcome of the trustee elections was known.

4. 2016 AGM procedures
Isla Reid advised the trustees that due to work commitments on the previous day, Peter Duncan, one of the trustee candidates, was unable to attend the AGM. It was agreed that a volunteer(s) not related to, or connected to, any of the trustee candidates should be invited to act as the teller(s). It was agreed that if Elizabeth Payne and Susan Bamford were attending they should be invited to count the votes for both the trustee applications and the three motions. It was reconfirmed and agreed that the trustee candidate who received the 5th highest number of votes would be invited to be co-opted for a period of 12 months.

5. Spring Newsletter. Feedback and options for further improvement
It was generally agreed that there had been a further improvement in the Newsletter.

Notwithstanding the above, Karl Hahm stated that he was very disappointed that the express instructions of the trustees were not carried out.

The two articles that were ranked 1st and 2nd by the trustees at the previous meeting had not been included. In particular, the article about STECS attending Discover Dogs would have given the magazine more balance. Gill Simms commented that both the excluded articles had been written by her and there was no point in her writing any more articles if they were not going to be included. Isla Reid gave an explanation of why the articles had not been included. She explained that there had been communication delays with Bee. The deadline for printing was imminent and Isla noticed that two important adverts for STECS events had been missed out. Isla then had to remove an article to provide space for the omitted articles. This involved the minimum reorganisation to the laid down pages.

It finally came to a decision between Robbie’s Road Trip and the article about Dyson and Bonnie. Isla opted for including the article written by a member as opposed to a trustee. She made it clear that the decision was her responsibility. She had informed Gill and though very disappointed, Gill understood.

6. Discussion to establish involvement and Trustees responsibilities in relation to Welfare Booklets and all Re-homing documents (JC)
Jim Clegg stated that this item also directly related to item 7. Jim informed the trustees that he was concerned about the publication of the Welfare booklets without prior approval being given by the trustees. Some examples were:

The instructions for microchipping are wrong. Instead of saying “please try” it should say “must”.

The solicitor acting for STECS had stated that the wording of the Welfare booklets was poor.

A brief discussion then took place about the accountability of the Welfare Officer and the Welfare Committee. Nick Sanders, the Welfare Officer, accepted and agreed that all re-homing forms and booklets should be approved by the trustees before they are published. It was agreed that an action to redraft the Welfare booklets would be included in the next trustee meeting. On that understanding, Jim Clegg would speak to Rob McLeod and they would withdraw the motion he had proposed to be discussed at the AGM.

Action: include review, update and trustee approval of Welfare booklets at the next trustee meeting

7. Clarification from Jim Clegg of the comments included in his Email to trustees dated 27th March 2016. (LK/NS)
Linda Kennerley and Nick Sanders had asked for this item to be added to the agenda, as they wished for further clarity from Jim Clegg to explain what was meant in his recent email. This agenda item also related to item 6. Other than the examples of his concern expressed by Jim Clegg under item 6, this agenda item was not specifically discussed. The chairman, Isla Reid, suggested the meeting move on to agenda item number 8, as time was pressing and she considered item 8 was very important.

8. Confidentiality with specific reference to Facebook posting. (IR)
Isla Reid informed the trustees that a member had posted a copy of a strictly confidential email on the STECS Facebook page. The email was from her to Sheila Maw. In Isla’s opinion the publication of the email had brought STECS into disrepute.

Karl Hahm provided the background of the circumstances that triggered the member to post the email on Facebook.

Isla stated that the member’s action was wholly inappropriate and she wanted a written apology from the person concerned. She felt that the member had acted very unprofessionally by posting a confidential email from her to Sheila on the STECS Facebook page. However aggrieved, the member had no right to use the STECS Facebook page as a method of publicly airing personal feelings.

Following this item it was agreed to adjourn the meeting and reconvene after the AGM. At this point Linda Kennerley took the opportunity to hand in her resignation. A brief discussion between the remaining trustees took place and it was agreed that a further candidate (the person who came in 6th place) would be co-opted for 12 months.

– – – –

The meeting reconvened after the AGM. Joy Gower and Gill Simms had been re-elected as trustees. Rob McLeod and Catherine Marchbank had also been elected for a full term of three years and joined the meeting. The two candidates who received the 5th and 6th highest number of votes were Barbara Boyce and Peter Duncan.

9. Co-option of trustees
It was agreed that Barbara Boyce and Peter Duncan be invited to join the trustees for a period of 12 months until the next AGM. They would need to reapply at the next AGM. Barbara accepted and joined the meeting. Peter Duncan had been unable to attend the AGM (see item 4 above).

10. Co-option of secretary
After some discussion Jim Clegg agreed to take on the secretary role for a period of 12 months to the next AGM. Rob McLeod agreed to shadow him.

11. Other business Welfare payment
Nick Sanders informed the meeting that two dogs had recently been rehomed and the dogs were part of a batch that had been handed in. Both dogs had an ongoing ear infection and a vet had suggested that the dogs be referred to a specialist. Nick had agreed to this in principle on the understanding that the cost per dog would be approximately £300. The vet concerned was asked to provide an estimate to the treasurer, Karl Hahm.

The estimate per dog was £2,600 and this was for diagnosis only. This amount was outside the financial limits delegated to the Welfare Committee. Such levels of expenditure would need to be sanctioned by the trustees. The majority of the Welfare Committee also considered that a second opinion should be obtained before rushing into a referral, particularly as the dogs had already been treated and placed on a care plan by Cath Marchbank’s vet when they first came into STECS. As a consequence and on instruction of the Welfare Committee, Karl Hahm had cancelled the appointment. Karl advised the meeting that STECS had so far paid out almost £600 since the dogs were adopted in February. This did not include the cost of the initial treatment carried out by Cath’s vet. Cath Marchbank provided some additional information. The dogs were nearly 12 years old, and had been prone to ear infections for most of their lives and their ears needed regular cleaning and maintenance. After some discussion it was agreed that the dogs should be seen and thoroughly examined by Cath’s vet again. If treatment of the dogs’ condition was beyond their capability, the dogs could be referred to Thistle vets in Edinburgh. They were dermatology experts, considerably cheaper than Rutland Referrals and had recently successfully treated another STECS dog with an ear problem.
Action: Cath Marchbank to make arrangements for the dogs to be examined by
Rufford Vets.

12. Next Trustee Meeting
It was agreed, subject to people checking their diaries, that the next trustee meeting would be scheduled for Saturday 3rd September at the Chimney House Hotel, Congleton Road, Sandbach, Cheshire, CW11 4ST. END

Immediately following the closure of the meeting Nick Sanders handed in his resignation. He resigned as the Welfare Officer and welfare co-ordinator.

Annex A – Jennifer Rowland resignation

Text of email received from Jennifer Rowland:

“Dear Isla,

Following arduous and lengthy thought I wish to tender my resignation.
Please would you read this letter to the Trustees at the meeting prior to the AGM. I wish it to be included in the minutes.

Following considered and lengthy thought I wish to tender my resignation as a Trustee and Rehomer.

This is NOT because the contrived number of people wishing to become Trustees exceeds the available places but for the following reasons.

Sadly I feel that STECS is now basically run by a cohort of people. By this I mean the Welfare Committee whose priority is THEMSELVES. I could not work with people who not only make the rules up as they go along but feel they are untouchable in any decision they make. I feel it is morally and ethically wrong to ask the public to become members and support us financially, apply for dogs and go onto waiting lists and then keep dogs for ourselves and make excuses for doing so. Neither should we be a conveyor belt for dogs, in and out as quickly as possible.

The request for financial assistance from *a member* is indicative of what STECS has become i.e. not to put the dogs first and is appalling.

I feel that *a member* has some very valid arguments in *that person’s* sorry tale with STECS. It is nothing but jostling for power and point scoring and too far away from what really matters for me.

I have NEVER let a dog down in all my years in STECS before and after Nellie Holland’s death nor have I spoken badly about STECS in public as some have.

Finally I have personal reasons for my decision, which shall remain personal.
Jennifer Rowland”

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