Summary of Trustees Meeting, 18th October 2015


Summary of Trustees Meeting Held on 18th October 2015. Chimney House Hotel, Congleton Road, Sandbach, Cheshire, CW11 4ST

In attendance: Sheila Maw, Karl Hahm, Nick Sanders, Gillian Simms, Joy Gower, Karen Clayton, Linda Kennerley.

1. Apologies. 

Jennifer Rowland, Isla Reid, James Clegg. It was agreed that in the absence of a chairman and secretary, Sheila Maw would chair the meeting and Karl Hahm would take the minutes.

2. Minutes from the previous meeting held on Sunday 26th April immediately prior to the AGM. 

There were no further comments or matters raised. The minutes as presented were agreed. Proposed by Gillian Simms. Seconded by Joy Gower. Passed unanimously.

3. Minutes from the previous meeting held on Sunday 26th April following the AGM. 

There were no further comments or matters raised. The minutes as presented were agreed. Proposed by Karl Hahm. Seconded by Gillian Simms. Passed unanimously.

4. Officers and Trustees. 

The current positions within STECS of Officers and Trustees were discussed and agreement reached regarding positions and responsibilities. Action: Karl Hahm to update the Charity Commission website.

Sheila Maw asked for a one minute silence in memory of Ron Clements and Jo Holland.

5. Co-option of Secretary. 

The charity currently did not have a secretary. After a very brief discussion Gillian Simms kindly volunteered to take on the role of secretary until the next AGM. The Officers and Trustees present gave assurance that they would of course fully support her, but hopefully there would be no contentious matters arising in the next six months. Action: Karl Hahm to contact Stuart Platt and ask him to update the STECS website and redirect the secretary@STECS emails to Gillian.

6. Matters arising from the previous meeting held on 26th April 2015 

6.1 Migration of STECS data held by Shirley Evans (NS) – Nick Sanders confirmed that he had now received a copy of the data base that was held by Shirley Evans. Therefore, we now had additional back up of the data. Action closed.

The uptake of Anilog was also discussed. To date, Nick Sanders is the only person using Anilog. It was agreed that as a next step Anilog would be rolled out to Gillian Simms. Once Gillian was familiar with the application and up and running, roll out to other Welfare Co-ordinators would be considered. Gillian would also hold a copy of Shirley’s database for additional back up.

Action – Nick Sanders to set Gillian up as a user on Anilog and send her a copy of Shirley’s database.

6.2 Progress on updating Welfare booklets (NS) – Nick Sanders confirmed that good progress had been made on updating the Welfare booklets and they were on target for issue by 30th November 2015. Just one or two points for further clarification remained together with inclusion of the behavioural policy.

Action – Nick Sanders to complete, update and issue to Welfare Co-ordinators and Trustees by 30th November 2015.

6.3 Confirmation that the issue with a re-homer has been resolved (NS) –Details had been removed from the back page of the Autumn Newsletter. However, the re-homer had not been informed beforehand that their services were no longer required. The re-homer had contacted Sheila Maw and expressed upset at being removed. It was agreed that Nick Sanders would write to the re-homer advising that their services were no longer required, together with an apology on behalf of the Trustees that this had not been previously communicated. Once the letter had been sent Joy Gower would send a gift from the STECS merchandise as a thank you for their contribution over the years.

Action – (1) Nick Sanders to write to the re-homer (cc Joy Gower), (2) Joy Gower to send the re-homer a gift on receipt of the copy letter from Nick.

6.4 Proposed award to breed clubs (JR) – this had originally been raised by Jennifer Rowland. However, as Jennifer had been unable to attend the Trustees meeting and was not in attendance to present her thoughts, it was agreed to close the matter and remove from future meeting agendas. Action closed.

6.5 Gift vouchers to be awarded to STECS representatives at Crufts (JG) – Joy Gower confirmed that this had been done. Action closed.

6.6 Update on rehoming of Irish dogs (NS) – the background to this action is that dogs travelling to the UK mainland from either Southern or Northern Ireland now need a pet passport. STECS do not have a welfare co-ordinator for Northern Ireland and for insurance reasons do not operate in Southern Ireland. There is, however, a member in Northern Ireland (Ian Keens from Omagh) who may be willing to become the Welfare Co-ordinator for Northern Ireland and also to take receipt of dogs from Southern Ireland. Action – Karen Clayton to contact Ian Keens to invite him to become a Welfare Co-ordinator. She will also make him aware that should he take any dogs into his care they must be retained for three weeks (to enable a pet passport to be obtained) before they could be moved to the UK mainland. If he accepts the role Karen will also put him in touch with her contacts in Southern Ireland.

7. Rehoming of dogs recently rescued. Establishment of facts, lessons learned and future mitigation to prevent recurrence of issues.

Jennifer Rowland was due to lead on this item as she was the person who had originally raised concerns as to the handling of the rehoming. As she was unable to attend the meeting it was discussed whether the matter should be carried over to the next meeting as per Jennifer’s request. It was, however, agreed that the rehoming of one dog should not be carried over and needed to be dealt with at this meeting.

7.1 Issue with the recent rehoming of this dog. 

The background to the issue was summarised. Jennifer Rowland had raised an issue with this and summarised her concerns in an email:

I feel that as a collectively accountable body, we have no set policy/procedure in any respect regarding the rehoming of Scotties to either Trustees/Rehomers. I personally feel it is wrong to expect people/members to support STECS without it being absolutely clear about how we work should a dog be adopted this way. I also feel we have a moral and ethical responsibility to the people who hand the dogs over to us. I feel it should be clear to anyone who may wish to know, from the Charity Commission to Joe Bloggs. As Trustees we need the protection of parameters, which will allow flexibility as well as clarity. This is not meant to apportion blame but to improve things for all concerned both canine and human.

A detailed discussion of the facts surrounding the rehoming took place. Karen Clayton, Linda Kennerley and Nick Sanders explained in detail to the other Trustees the sequence of events and what procedures had been followed. In conclusion it was agreed that the lessons learned and recommendations for the future were:

(1) In the first instance an attempt should always be made to rehome a dog in the area in which it is handed in. If no home is available the adjoining area(s) should be contacted next to ascertain if there are any potential homes in that area. The movement of dogs should be minimised to reduce the stress of rehoming.

(2) This matter was strictly a welfare one and any concerns should have been channelled through the Welfare Officer. Other Welfare Co-ordinators, Trustees or Officers should not bypass the Welfare Officer and undermine his position.

(3) The Trustees and other key individuals in the charity need to be whiter than white. They must not put themselves in a position where they could be accused of theft, receiving a personal benefit from the charity, or “cherry picking”. Therefore, in future any Welfare Co-ordinator or Trustee who wishes to adopt a dog should first obtain approval from the Welfare Officer. Action – Nick Sanders to update the welfare handbook to include the rule for adoption of dogs by Trustees and Welfare Co-ordinators.

8. Exclusion of two Members next steps 

It was agreed that no further communication with these Members was required prior to the next Trustee meeting. It was noted that if it is agreed at the next meeting that a motion will be put to the AGM to exclude them from membership, then the motion will need to be included in the AGM agenda, which in turn will be included with the Spring Newsletter. The motion will, therefore, be seen by all 800 members. The Governing Document states that the full text of the motion needs to be included. Action: Potential motion to be drafted.

9. Autumn Newsletter feedback, greater Trustee control and suggestions for improvement 

Karl Hahm thanked Joy Gower for organising the printing via Stuart Platt. The quality of the printing and paper was very good. It was generally agreed that the Autumn Newsletter content was an improvement on the Spring edition but, there was still room for further improvement. Karl had dealt directly with the editor to produce the Autumn edition. Next year is the 40th anniversary of STECS and it was agreed to add an additional 4 pages to the Spring Newsletter. Some of the space on the 4 additional pages will include the background and history of STECS. Twelve pages of content should enable a sufficient variety of articles ensuring that at least something is of interest to everyone. The incremental cost of the additional printing is negligible and it would not change the postage price. The Autumn Newsletter weighed in at 198g and the next post price change is 250g. It was agreed that the Trustees need to see and approve the content before it is published. Therefore, the following timetable was agreed: Action – all of the Trustees accepted that the Newsletter can only be as good as the content provided and they all had a responsibility to ensure that they contributed. It was, therefore, agreed that each Trustee would assist re material for the Newsletter. Action – Karl Hahm to contact the editor to set out the Spring 2016 timetable.

10. Christmas Party 

Karen Clayton kindly agreed to take primary responsibility for the Christmas Party. It was agreed that this year the refreshments should include some savoury items such as sausage rolls for example. It was also agreed that: Action: Karen Clayton will check with James Clegg if he is willing to be Santa again. If not, could he return the STECS Santa suit? Action: Sheila Maw will ask Jo Clements if she wished to attend. It was discussed but agreed that the charity should not promote the Christmas Party via individual emails to members. The members had not given permission to be contacted by email for marketing purposes.

11. STECS Research Fund / Animal Welfare trust bladder cancer research 

It was agreed that a £500 donation would be made from the research fund to the work of the Animal Welfare Trust towards their bladder cancer research. Action: Karl Hahm to issue a payment of £500.

12. Date and location of next meeting 

The Trustees were pleased with the venue of the meeting. It was very easy to find, very close to the motorway, good parking and pleasant facilities. They agreed that the venue should be used at the next meeting which will be held on Sunday 28th February 2016. Action: Karl Hahm to book the Chimney House Hotel, Sandbach for the next Trustee meeting.

13 Other business 

Anne Dauncey is arranging a three day international breed conference in 2017 and is looking for sponsors and participants. It was discussed and agreed that STECS would be very interested in participating, but at this stage should not commit to any financial sponsorship. Action: Sheila Maw to contact Anne Dauncey and confirm that STECS are very interested in taking part, and to obtain any further information that may be available.

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