Simon Luxmoore delivers KC yearly report
SIMON Luxmoore reported on the club’s activities in the past year and its membership.
“On behalf of the Board, I’m pleased to report on the activities of the KC since its last annual general meeting in May 2016. This report complements the Annual Report which was sent to you prior to this meeting along with a document outlining what the KC does for dog health.
In addition to these reports, I would like to give members the following updates. I shall start with an update on the three property matters which are still in progress.
Firstly, with regards to Aylesbury, our new building has been constructed and was delivered on time by the contractors yesterday. We will now instigate a period of fit out for the building with the plan being that our Aylesbury staff will be able to move across to the new building by the end of September this year. We have been able to negotiate a surrender of our existing lease with the landlord, which allows us to give one month’s notice to leave our existing premises.
With regards to the development of our property at Emblehope & Burngrange Estate, our planned maintenance programme continues to move forward and our new gamekeeper, Raymond Holt, and his wife Ann are now in place. Work has commenced in readiness for the start of the shooting season from September 1, 2017. We are now open to take bookings from clubs interested in taking days and we have already staged a successful championship Bloodhound trial, held last February.
And thirdly, the proposed purchase of a site at Chepstow Racecourse. Further to the membership voting at the last SGM for the club to enter into a joint venture with Northern Racing to build an Activities Centre at the racecourse, the club’s due diligence process is coming to an end and we await the final reports from our advisors in order to move forward with this project.
As also agreed by the members at the special general meeting last November, we have made several changes to our governance. The three new business committees are very much up and running already. These are the Finance Committee, Audit & Risk Committee and Performance and Remuneration Committee. A working party is being set up to look at the governance of the sporting side of our activities, beginning with the work of the Activities Committee, Field Trials Committee and Show Executive Committee.
Another new group which has been formed is the Election Panel, which will meet potential members of the KC not very well known to the Board or as the Board sees fit. This Election Panel will comprise current members of the Club Committee as well as former Board members. Any objections received regarding candidates will be reviewed by the Election Panel and a recommendation made to the Board. It is intended that this should shorten the process of becoming a member which is currently taking nine-12 months and in some cases even longer.
I am extremely pleased to advise the members that the KC was recently reassessed by Investors In People for the fourth time and that we passed the assessment with flying colours. We received an extremely positive report from the Assessor and I will like to congratulate everyone involved in this great achievement.
Another recent achievement that we are very proud of is the introduction of the new Judges Competency Framework. The new system deals with the education, approval and listing of every level of judge, from those who aspire to judge, right through to open show judges and those who go on to award CCs and judge championship show groups, and best in show.
The new framework will be launched in January 2019, run alongside the current system for a three-year transition period, and be fully operational from January 2022. This education will involve mentoring and ringside observation by breed experts and be supported by a network of Breed Education Co-ordinators who will help facilitate learning.
For some time now, we have indicated that the way dog show judges are educated needs to change. It is generally accepted that change is necessary due to a range of deficiencies in the current process – problems for show societies identifying available and competent judges, open shows being poorly supported, and lack of seminar opportunities and transparency in the approval processes.
The new system will promote efficiency while at the same time encouraging quality learning – based not on the number of dogs judged but on the judge demonstrating their competency to their peers. We believe that this has to be very good news indeed for anyone who wishes either to become a dog judge or to progress further up the judging ladder.
Also on the subject of judging, the KC has reached a new agreement with the FCI on the mutual recognition of judges, which was signed on the first day of Crufts this year. Under the terms of the new agreement, all judges resident in a FCI member country will fill out a contract to judge at a championship show in the UK. No nominations to judge under the old agreement received by the KC after April this year will be accepted.
The contract states that all nominations will continue to be subject to the approval of the Board, will need to be completed by all judges (not just nominees judging their first breed) and will be used for judges awarding CCs and judging groups and best In show at KC licensed championship shows, and for UK judges to award CACIBs and judge groups and BIS at FCI shows.
It became active on May 1, will be valid for five years and can be terminated by either side no less than six months before the expiry date. Changes to it can be made if both sides agree.
At last year’s AGM, I advised you that a review group has been set up to consider a number of matters with regards to German Shepherd Dogs. This resulted in a number of directives relating to the exhibition and judging of GSDs, which the KC has been putting in place since. Field officers have been attending championship shows to feedback on compliance with these directives.
One of the directives was that all CC judging contracts were suspended until such time as the judge had undergone an education programme. In March we announced that the education would take the form of a film and multiple choice exam on the KC Academy. The education is available free of charge, and anyone with an interest can view the film and take the exam.
There are also a number of other issues relating to GSDs which the Board has been considering since April of last year. However, all these are interlinked and a decision in one area could very well have unintended consequences for the other issues under consideration. Hence the Board is not unreasonably taking its time to reach its conclusions.
We need to ensure that the range of issues facing this breed is addressed sensibly to achieve the long-term aim of improvement in the breed with no risk of subsequent deterioration. And we are determined to work with the GSD community as a whole to ensure that this happens.
At last November’s SGM, I advised the members of our plans to host a major international congress of kennel clubs next month. I’m pleased to say that work on this has progressed well and we are looking forward to welcoming a large contingent of delegates from all over the world. Presently there are over 25 different countries due to attend, making it the most diverse meeting which the KC has held in many, many years.
Your KC Board has continued to work over the past 12 months in the interests of both its members and the dog world at large, be it in the fields of governance, dog health, judges education and member benefits. Together we are working for the future rather than simply sustaining and defending the past.
With registrations up last year, and again in the first quarter of 2017, and an increase in dog show entries generally, the Board believes that there is a positive feeling spreading across the world of dogs at the present time and we intend to continue to foster this through the decisions we take on your behalf.
I hope that this brief report, combined with the information previously circulated to members in the KC Annual Report gives members an insight into the wide variety of work which the staff and committees of the Kennel Club are undertaking at this time.
Item 15, membership:
As of yesterday, we had a total of 1,374 paying members, of whom 1,279 are ordinary members and 95 are overseas members. There are a further 68 people who are honorary life members or honorary members.
Now turning to the membership model itself. We ran a consultation piece on this in the December issue of the Kennel Gazette but sadly it failed to elicit many responses and any one agreed path forward. This is in keeping with the much wider survey of members carried out a few years ago, the key findings of which were that there appeared to be a high level of indifference among the members overall, but that membership of the KC should reflect achievement and contribution to the dog world.
Within this framework however, we believe that there is scope for the membership to be opened up further, and are seeking your agreement towards this end.
How might we do this? Although there was some support for a form of town and country membership, there was also some concern that creating different tiers of membership with voting rights may prove to be divisive, particularly with regards to the suggested three-year waiting period which was proposed. It would also make additional work for the office, costing a greater number of man hours.
Therefore a more straightforward proposal is suggested as follows:
- Remove the entry fee requirement, but retain the current annual fee of £150. It has been calculated that the current face value of the publications received by members totals £80 per person, though the actual cost of providing these publications to each member is actually higher. There is the Crufts entry pass benefit on top of this.
- Remove the limit on the number of members.
- Retain the current nomination, advertising and election process. Therefore, potential members would still be required to be nominated and seconded by existing members and would continue to be approved by the Board.
- Introduce a lower household membership fee of £250 per annum, instead of £300 for two people as at present. Each member would still have to be elected individually as at present.
We felt that the best way to engage with the members on these proposals was to begin with a discussion here at the AGM. If there is a general consensus, then the proposals could be produced formally at a SGM.
These proposals would require some further amendments to both the Articles of Association (membership numbers/entry fees) and the A rules (entry fee/membership amounts).
Who would like to speak on this matter?
Thank you for your input on this matter, (which will be brought back to the SGM in the autumn for further consideration). We will now move to the next item.