Below is a summary of the BARLA Chairman’s report to the Open Age Council meeting held at the George Hotel Huddersfield.
BARLA are fully aware of the problem which started with RL Services refusing to answer our phone line BARLA and constantly advising people that no one from the Association was available. RL Services even had the phone number transferred to themselves without consultation or permission and are steadfastly refusing to return the number or answer the calls with BARLA RL Services which department do you require as suggested by BARLA, however this was rejected by the Rugby League.
BARLA has pursued a full time officer for over 2 years without success. Only when RL Services were asked to leave West Yorkshire House 6 months ago was an offer put forward however it was for one person on a part time basis working from RL Services office.
BARLA requires officers dedicated to us and who understand our problems. At this moment in time 2 positive initiatives are available for the Board of Management to discuss at the next meeting. *
IT Support and Database
This does exist and is in a secure location as required by Law. The access codes are known to the following BARLA personnel S Allison (Chair) J Strother (EX Vice Chair) N Hollingsworth (Secretary) S manning (PRO) C Land (Finance Control)
BARLA have been working on the insurance issue for over 4 years ever since the General assembly rejected the last RL offer. We were therefore appalled to read in the trade press that the RL without consultation had approached our Broker and agreed a policy blatantly misleading our members with press statements which were then circulated via RL Services to our members with the offer to make up the £86000.00 surplus, knowing full well that this conflicted with the BARLA Constitution which stated that all premiums have to be paid to BARLA (8.3). The offer to make up the surplus depended on the policy been transferred to the RFL.
This created massive confusion and delayed the BARLA insurance details been finalized until 19th October. However BARLA persevered with a policy that exceeds the RFL policy at no extra cost to our clubs or leagues and without the shortfall of £86000.00 in some cases the premiums are cheaper than last year.
I will leave you to form your own conclusions.
All new systems have hiccups and hopefully they have now been resolved for next year.
The BARLA handbook has been compiled for the last 6 years by Rugby League Services. We were advised in September that this year it would not be possible due to the World Cup. Despite the valiant efforts of unpaid volunteers we failed in our efforts to compile the handbook. RL Services eventually made an offer of assistance in late December which we have accepted.
West Yorkshire House
In November 2007 a strategy meeting of the full Board was held regards the problem with RFL and RL Services. All the Board was in attendance and voted unanimously with the exception of one member who resigned shortly after. BARLA had various problems including the telephone as mentioned previously, the refusal of the RFL to pay the rates. National Youth league, Community Lions and a general ill feeling between the two bodies i.e. 25.1 now section 3 being constantly ignored i.e. RL services exist to facilitate BARLA’s needs and fund our services in return the RFL would guest in West Yorkshire House free of charge.
It was even suggested that BARLA should move into the cellar.
2007-2008 BARLA incurred rates charges due to a letter from RL Services sent without authorisation to the local Authority. A total of £15000 (currently £6250 following negotiation for a discount) we had previously had 100% discretionary rate relief. The RFL declined to negotiate.
The RFL requested financial input into child protection and monies towards postage. We reminded them of our agreement.
Dec 2007 Vice Chair composed a letter rescinding our agreement. Dec 28 2007 G Tasker advises us that RL services are leaving West Yorkshire House. (Our intention was to force the RFL into discussion). The Vice Chair asked the Chair to attend West Yorkshire House on 7th May when RL Services vacated the building. The Chair secures the building with new locks.
22nd May 2008 the Board instruct the chair to find a tenant with a unanimous vote.
June 2008 Board advised of proposed Tenant. The Board authorised the refurbishment and repairs required to the building and annexe. All the rubbish and debris left by RL Services is cleared.
The Chair was authorised by a unanimous vote to conduct all negotiations and make decisions on the Boards behalf to finalise the tenancy i.e. surveyors solicitors contractors etc. Both the Finance committee and the Board were given regular updates on progress.
The Chair outlined the agreement reached with the prospective new tenant. However there have been delays mainly due to the new regulations regards leasing and letting of commercial properties and adhering to BARLA financial procedures. The final requirement is the domestic and commercial energy certificate which has now been applied for.
The letting of the building is a sound commercial investment in the future of BARLA.
BARLA in Disarray?
Some positives have been achieved over the last 3 years. A professional Accountant has been appointed BARLA Treasurer. The last 3 consecutive years have showed a financial surplus resulting in the 50% discount on all club fees along with the abolishment of all fees for children under 11 years of age.
Insurance cover has increase by £110,000 with no extra cost to the clubs. The clubs can also access local advice and assistance in most areas.
The Birth of the affinity group resulting in new income streams for BARLA leagues and clubs
A Representative structure now covering U18s U19s U21s U23s and Open Age meaning more players, coaches and management that ever before obtaining representative honours which promotes BARLA and Amateur Rugby league.
More Sponsors want to be involved with BARLA. I.e. Unison £30,000 over the next 3 years for international rugby. Northern Rail wants discussions on extending their current sponsorship of BARLA Youth and Junior finals. Utmost Insurance Services and their associated affinity partners. We also have a major sponsor of £75000 if BARLA achieve charitable status which we are working on.
The return of Yorkshire Juniors although only as associate member’s
The decision of North West Counties youth and Juniors to opt for associate membership. Likewise the National Conference League.
Delays in the handbook and the issue of the insurance certificates (this will not happen next year.)
Lack of communication between Board of management and clubs this is a priority to resolve with a proposal in place for the next Board meeting.
*The positive extra initiatives as previously mentioned have now been ratified by BARLA Board of management.
1. BARLA FORUM – www.barla-forum.org.uk designed primarily to make A BARLA communication tool for clubs - members and all interested parties in Amateur Rugby League to discuss all relevant matters in an open and constructive, transparent environment.
2. The introduction of a 24 hour call line 24/7
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Registration date : 2009-01-22