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Chairman update 18th September 2020

Council continue to hold regular meetings and I am grateful to each one of them for giving up their valuable time on a regular basis on behalf of all our Membership. Following on from my previous reports I have further updates.

 

Council vacancies

We have made progress since my previous updates with the appointment of Welsh Members to fill casual vacancies left by the resignations last June. Kevin Evans, Aled Owen and Robert Ellis have now become valuable regulars at our meetings. I am also pleased to report that Ellis Wyn Edwards has been appointed by Council to fill the casual vacancy of Welsh President. Wyn will serve as Welsh President until the 2021 International therefore completing the term of the resigning President. This will allow breathing space for election of the required office bearers to take place as per our Society Constitution. Candidates should submit their names prior to 1st April 2021 for election by Welsh Members at the Welsh National AGM. Meanwhile Council are delighted to welcome four very experienced and talented office bearers from Wales.

 

Major Trials

Council discussed the major trials planned for 2021 considering the continuing COVID-19 problems. Plans are in place to hold the four Nationals, the International and World Trial. There is a determination that the Nationals and International should go ahead if at all possible. It is very difficult to make concrete plans and statements when the goalposts are constantly changing on an almost weekly basis. Council have however discussed the possible options open to us if circumstances do not allow for our normal showcase events to take place. Worst case scenario is possibly a basic trial with only competitors and necessary officials attending, no spectators. If this was the case, live streaming could take the action to our Members. I emphasis these are only contingency plans at this stage.

Plans for the World Trial are also being kept under review and further information will be released in the coming weeks.

I thank all Members for their understanding and patience, and hopefully we can all look forward to normal service being resumed by our next trial season.

 

Open and Nursery Trials

Many Members who are running Open and Nursery trials are asking for more guidance. To this end one of our members who is a solicitor by profession, has very kindly volunteered his help to draw together the necessary guidance and advice that anyone running an outdoor sporting or leisure event needs to adhere to. The document will now be submitted to the appropriate Government department who deal with dispensations for outdoor leisure and sporting events. Approval from this department would give all committees and individuals organising trials the comfort that they are properly compliant. In addition to the overall guidance and advice, organisers need to ensure they have insurance cover and check if there are any local authority restrictions exclusive to their immediate area. We are hopeful that this document will go onto the Society website next week.

 

Open Trial Points

Council discussed the issue of when the award of points should resume for open trials. There is a fear among Members that we will end up with a generation of talented young dogs which cannot compete at forthcoming Nationals because they have not had the opportunity to gain the necessary points in open competition.

After considerable discussion it was decided to commence awarding of open points from 1st October 2020.

Council ask that Members exercise caution in travelling long distances to other areas in the pursuit of open points for their dogs.

Please see the ISDS website www.isds.org.uk/trials/trials-diary for clarification of how to ensure trials being hosted are considered as Qualifying trials for National trial points.

 

2021 AGM Castle Green Hotel

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 uncertainties, Council have made the decision to cancel the booking with the Castle Green Hotel in Kendal for the 2021 Society AGM. There is a considerable possibility that large gatherings of people will still not be able to meet by the end of January 2021.

The projected cost for 2021 was a minimum of £8,000, and the closer we get to the event date the higher the cost to the Society regarding cancellation terms and conditions, we would currently have to pay 25% of the projected cost if we were to cancel. However, fortunately we were still within the provisional booking stage with the hotel due to COVID-19, and therefore no loss has been incurred by the Society.

A suitable but much cheaper option for the Society is being investigated. You will be updated when any final arrangement is made.

Our provisional date for the 2021 AGM Directors meeting is Saturday 30th January.

 

Office

Our governance review is now underway, and Helen has provided information to Exact Consultants who are examining the structure and operation of our Society. Our initial part of the review covers understanding of our constitution, Society policies and procedures including the disciplinary procedure, staff contracts, staff job descriptions and office procedures.

Our office staff continue to be extremely busy with the everyday bread and butter duties of the Society, registering mating’s, pups, transfers etc, which are all running at high levels. Even without any downtime due to COVID-19, the work currently has a backlog of approximately four weeks. Council have authorised the temporary appointment (on a six-month contract) of a former records officer to assist with this backlog, and we have one member of staff currently off due to illness, but hopefully will return before too long.

The IT procedures used for the necessary recording have been in place for a considerable time and the necessary crosschecking for registrations and transfers is very time consuming. Our governance review will almost certainly highlight this shortcoming and it is felt that an IT audit is required going forward.

My thanks go to our TEO Helen for all her very sterling efforts on our behalf. There is a vast amount of work involved in getting our Society where it needs to be and inevitably most of it falls on Helen’s shoulders.

Thank you for your continued support.

Kind Regards

Ian Fleming

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