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Outcomes from the Board Meeting 25 March

The Board met in person at ANZAC House and by Teams video.  Due respects were made to the fallen.

Royal Commission into Veteran Suicides

Greg Melick, RSL National President joined the meeting to discuss the Royal Commission into Veteran Suicides.

The Board agreed its position on the Royal Commission was to support its establishment and provide resources and input as necessary to ensure its success, whilst continuing to advocate for the adoption of recommendations from prior inquiries.

ANZAC Day Sydney CBD March

  • The Board received a briefing on the current state of the ANZAC Day Sydney CBD march. The State Secretary and Events Manager’s hard work, as well as the hard work of the sub-Branches was acknowledged. RSL NSW continues to work with key stakeholders to ensure a successful and safe event, ensuring compliance with the conditions of the Public Health Order exemption.
  • The Board considered the risk assessment which had been reviewed by the Audit & Risk Committee and will review an updated risk assessment in a fortnight and just before the event. The Board agreed that every effort should be made to ensure that the Anzac Day 2021 CBD march be held noting that this would need to be done within the parameters of the Public Health Order Exemption.
  • A circular by the State Secretary was distributed on 25 March which provides more detail regarding the Sydney march and sub-Branch events. Please access the RSL NSW website for guidance and let ANZAC House know what your sub-Branch is planning.

President’s Report

The President provided an update on feedback received and observations made across the sub-Branch network since the last Board meeting in February:

  • Not all sub-Branches are demonstrating that they understand how to manage conflicts of interest, being without registers, not including conflicts declarations in their minutes and not asking persons declaring conflicts to absent themselves from meetings. Development of common templates for sub-Branches was discussed.
  • Challenges with ANZAC Day commemoration events are being experienced across the State with some sub-Branches having difficulty dealing with local councils.
  • There has been general support for the Board’s direction to end sub-Branch Executives/Trustees also holding RSL Club Ltd Board positions.
  • Registrations are coming in for the ANZAC Day Sydney CBD march. Many rural members have expressed their intention to remain local to support their own areas following drought, bushfires and now floods.

CEO’s Report  

The CEO was an apology with the CFO attending as Acting CEO.

Strategic Plan – The CEO continues to present the strategic plan to regional sub-Branches. Progress has been made with Goals 2 and 5 however funding of the plan is still an unknown. A major article on the Strategic Plan is planned to be published in the June issue of Reveille as well as face-to-face engagement with sub-Branches in the Sydney metropolitan area will continue. Further progress has been made with the “Aggregated Investment Management Model.” Establishment of a contributions pool and mechanism for contributions requires development.

Operational Matters

The Board noted several updates on operational matters, including:

Member Portal – Development of the Member Portal is underway to provide members access to internal communications and other key resources.

ANZAC House – The lease at 341 George St ends in September 2021. New premises are being sought in Sydney CBD. Recruitment is underway for critical staff roles including a Risk and Compliance Officer.

Committee Reports

The following committees met prior to the Board meeting and the minutes and papers were presented to the Board.

1.Audit and Risk Committee

Sub-Branch Contributions Updated – The acting CEO provided feedback on the outcome of the information session held by Anzac House for selected sub-Branches seeking contributions from them to assist with the reduction of the deficit and encouraged further engagement with the sub-Branches to address the financial situation.

Aggregated Investment Management Model – Feedback from sub-Branches has indicated that the “pooled funding model” concept was unclear and the use of the word “pooled” was causing confusion. The Board agreed to change the name to Aggregated Investment Management Model and asked that two key issues be clarified with sub-Branches. Firstly that investment by sub-Branches is voluntary and secondly that ownership of the assets remain with the sub-Branches, including any returns on investment. Updates on the development of the model will be circulated in due course.

FY2021/22 Audit. The Board appointed Ernst & Young to conduct the RSL NSW year end audit.

Audit and Risk Committee Independent members. The Audit & Risk Committee will seek to appoint two independent members to the committee once a skills assessment has been completed.

2.Selections Committee

The Board approved the awarding of a 100 Year sub-Branch certificate for Alstonville RSL Sub-Branch.

District Presidents Council Meeting

A DPC meeting was also held at ANZAC House and via Teams on 24 March 2021 and attended by RSL NSW President and Chair. The Chair and President updated the Board about the outcomes of the DPC meeting as follows:

  • The three steering committees to be established (for Constitutional Review, District Rationalisation and 2020 Board Election Review) were generally met with approval and the structure to include DPC nominees and an independent chair was also positively received.
  • The DPC requested clarification and consideration on the policy regarding Conflicts with Clubs before it be formalised as follows:
    • The definition of ‘Clubs’
    • Which sub-Branch positions are included and excluded from the policy
    • Whether the policy applied to District Presidents who do not hold positions within sub-Branches
    • Whether the commencement date could be reviewed to allow more time for transition.
  • Further work will be done to address the points above and the policy will be reviewed by the Board at its May meeting. The policy however remains in place and any concerns will continue to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

RSL LifeCare

The Board received an update from the Member Representative. It was noted that the RSL LifeCare GM Veteran Services had attended the National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Symposium in Canberra and was to attend the NSW roundtable. It was noted that RSL LifeCare was proposing to increase the number of Claims & Advocacy Advisors. The Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre is progressing well with a development application underway. Temporary accommodation has been secured and services through the Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre is due to commence in the region with the appointment of a Centre Manager and Veteran Support Coordinator. Recruitment for a Claims Advisor is underway.

Property

The Board approved a Gulgong property to be marketed for sale with offers to be submitted to RSL Custodian for consideration prior to the entry into sale contracts.

Discipline

The Board noted the status of matters before the Tribunal.

There were no recommendations received from the Tribunal

Future Meeting

The next meeting is scheduled for 28 May 2021.

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