A significant part of today's Socitm Board Meeting, held at Hillingdon Council offices in Uxbridge, was given over to the presentation of our Auditor's annual report.
The year 2008 saw a considerable reduction in Socitm's cost of sales and administrative expenses; the outturn position now looks like a surplus of around Â£12,000; (following a deficit of around Â£325,000 in 2007) after writing off bad debt.
Unsurprisingly, interest earned on our bank balance was lower than the previous year - down from around Â£50,000 to Â£32,000 - and we were advised that we need to manage our treasury better. In the current environment, we should be looking to maximise returns by long-term investment (of our cash reserves) in the money market. We noted that the Society again made an operating loss if we exclude interest received.
Christine presented, and we discussed, a good deal of other advice on diverse matters, such as redundancy policy, cash reserves policy, risk analysis procedures, the register of interests and fraud policy.
Much of this was related to her update on the 2009 Companies Act, from which it's clear that we must review our articles of association.
We learned that Socitm is due monies for work it undertook on an EU funded iSCAN project. Unfortunately, some expenditure cannot be reclaimed.
As we had not kept the boarding pass for a flight made in connection with the project, although we had the invoice and receipt for the airfare, the EU refused payment - even 'though the official refusing payment had met our representative at the airport, and could therefore personally vouch for the fact that the flight was undertaken!
Some other noteworthy items were:
- We received, and agreed, a paper proposing the formation of a web professionals' community within Socitm, developed following a workshop with Web Managers from across Government and the third sector and commended by the Membership Board.
- We agreed that the expressions of interest for the London-based Policy role will be reviewed online and that Adrian and I will complete the recruitment process in accordance with the Board's guidance. It was also clarified that this will initially be a 12 month contract.
- We reviewed progress on the Business Partnership proposals. Following the issuance of a draft opportunity / value matrix, some very strong interest has been registered, and the Commercial Board was authorised to complete some initial partnerships.
- Following the implementation of our new CRM, Socitm officers have been raving about the new facilities and functionality that's now available. The CMS is now being prioritised.
- Around 70 bookings for the Spring National Conference have now been received (excluding those involved in running the conference). We are aiming for at least double that number of delegates, and about to commence marketing proper, using the CRM functionality that's now available to send an electronic "flyer" to members.
- We are rescheduling all board meetings to improve the timing and business process flow. With a few exceptions, this year, the Membership Board will be on the second Wednesday of each month, the Commercial Board will be on the third Wednesday and main board meetings will be on last Wednesdays.
Further information will be in this month's President's Report, due by the end of next week.