BSSF CONGRESS MINUTES
BSSF Annual Congress
RAF Henlow, 17th October 1999
Tim Alcock - BSSF
Andrew Steel - BSSF
Cliff Webb - BSSF
Peter Clarke - BSSF
Wing Cdr Peter Rooney - BSSF
John Q'Grady - BSA/BSSF
Graham Bell - BSSF
Fiona McLean - BSSF
John Shaw - BSSF
Bruce Crawford - Snowsport Scotland
Stephen Gray - Snowsport Scotland
Peter Bates - Snowsport Scotland
Dr. Rob Broughton - Snowsport Wales
Sandra Bainbridge - Snowsport Wales
Alan Bainbridge - Snowsport Wales
Richard Berry - Skiers Trust of GB
Kay Bates - Freestyle Committee
Mike Head - BARSC
Susie Berry - BARSC
Jim Hewitt - BARSC
Wing Cdr Dick Taplin - CSWSA
David Morris - CSWSA
John Hill - ESC
Derek Metters - ESC
Alan Ashfield - ESC
Dave Renouf - BASI
Peter Mitchell - BSSF
Paddy Field - BSSF (attempted by attend but was stuck in a traffic jam)
Tim Alcock opened the meeting and explained the proposed programme for the day. He introduced the Board members, who each made a short presentation on their particular area of responsibility.
i) Peter Rooney - Disciplines Director
ii) Cliff Webb Events Director
As well as the BSSF events themselves, Cliff is also particularly interested in their media promotion. TV footage taken by Cliff at The 1999 British Land Junior & Children's Championships in Tignes circulated and used by both regional terrestrial stations and satellite programmers. Perhaps more significantly, the BSSF now has its own film, available for marketing purposes and will be able to build up a library.
It takes time and effort to generate both media interest and sponsorship.
Cliff introduced some media statistics. In March this year, skiing and snowboarding achieved 130 hours - 6% of all sport on terrestrial and satellite channels in the UK (Football 18%). This footage concentrated largely on international events and competitors, we must focus more attention on our own events and competitors.
An Events Executive is currently being formed and will hopefully drive our events forward.
iii) John O'Grady - Snowboard Director
John's presentation also focussed on development - specifically the concept of centres of excellence. Notes attached
iv) Tim Alcock - Chairman.
Apologies from Peter Mitchell - PR & Sponsorship
Exchequer funding for 1999/2000 has been confirmed at £186k. Although this represents a cut, the reduction is less than we might have expected. UK Sport are one of our biggest sponsors and their representative Emyr Roberts sends his apologies today, having offered to attend if it was felt necessary, and attends most Board Meetings.
The British Land Company PLC have increased their support for the Alpine Team programme and Championships and have indicated that this leve1 of support will continue until the next Olympics. New sponsorship for the Alpine Team has also been attracted from Morgan Stanley Dean Witter.
Nevica continue to sponsor the Alpine Team with clothing. Audi (UK) have come in as Vehicle sponsors to the Alpine Team. We very much hope that the current two car deal will be extended in the coning months. This type of sponsorship in kind amounts to an approximate value of £125k. A reception was held in June in recognition of the contributions made by British Land, Nevica and Audi.
An Alpine results document, based on the successes of last season has been produced. These will now be used to approach individual sponsors with a view to syndicating personal sponsorship off individual athletes.
A similar leaflet with a request for donations will be circulated with the next SCGB Ski and Board magazine.
Freestyle will produce a similar leaflet and it is hoped that the water ramp will boost Freestyle and new commercial sponsors will be forthcoming.
Last year, The British Land Company PLC funded a dedicated PR company - MH&P. They made a presentation to us for the coming year, however despite the quality of their service, it was felt that, given our limited budgets, the money would be better directed to a Team programme. The SCGB have a new PR officer with whom we are working closely. The BOA have now appointed a PR individual dedicated to winter sports, Phillip Pope, an ex journalist.
Andrew Steel - Deputy Chairman
Andrew has been working on the interface between coaches, athletes and Board, and has had meetings with a number of coaches this week.
He has also been orchestrating the office move to the "Inn on the Hill" building at Midlothian Ski Centre. There are a number of advantages to the move; we will benefit from being closer to the grass roots; we will cut overheads by sharing with SNSC; we can free up the capital tied up in the building.
Peter Clarke - Finance Director
Q & A Session
BASI are also looking at forming an Alpine base and would be interested in any further BSSF developments in that respect.
Dave also reported on the breakthrough which now allows BASI instructors to work legally in France, Austria & Italy, subject to a harmonisation test. The first such conversion course will be in St Christoph in December.
He expressed his concerns regarding the deficit budget. Peter Clarke explained that this year only actual known income had been included in the budget. There had been no estimate made for new income as a result of sponsorship initiatives and we anticipate that there will in fact be a small surplus by the year end.
Asked for clarification on Masters section of the performance plan It was agreed that Masters is a category, which applies to all snowsports although in Great Britain, registered masters are currently restricted to alpine.
The Board confirmed that it needs to continue to ratify policy from sub-committees, such as the TD Forum and Executive sub committees.
An organisation plan would be helpful and will be produced for display on the BSSF web site, which is to be found at www.complete-skier.com
Kay questioned why freestyle had been omitted from the promotional leaflet. The first leaflet had been produced solely as a tool for the Alpine Team. This had then been used as the basis for the donation leaflet to save on printing costs. Snowboard athletes with top 10 World Cup results had been included.
The Freestyle contribution to the main budget and salaries was questioned and will be reviewed.
Kay also wished to clarify that the Home Nations - or at least Scotland select a Snowboard Team. Although squads are formed under various banners, they all in fact compete as GBR.
How does the new Board now interface with its volunteers?
Full minutes of Board meetings are published
Information on BSSF web site
BSSF will re-activate executive sub-committees
Regional centres of excellence are proposed
Biennial Congress allows membership a voice.
Steven queried the concept of Centres of Excellence. In order to function, they must cover all snowsports.
Peter Clarke confirmed that all the profits of the East Calder property sale, after last season's deficit is cleared, will form a contingency fund.
Bruce argued that the World Class Plan should have been sent to the member groups for consultation before submission, not least because they must also submit an operational plan which should dovetail with the BSSF's plan.
Peter Rooney explained that all member groups would be circulated with a copy of the plan. We expect this first submission to be returned with comments before a final version is accepted.
The congress then broke into three discussion groups.
Feedback on Discussion Groups
a) Performance Coaching and Athlete Performance
Peter Bates reported that there is now a British performance coaching qualification in place and administered by Snowsport Scotland. Additional tutors appointed by other groups must meet the same standards. The qualification continues to be improved. Snowsport Scotland have obtained lottery funding for some coaches to go to Canada, where the model course was devised, to complete their coaching education.
There is no formal British freestyle qualification and therefore there are no British performance coaches. Freestyle rely on foreign coaches and facilities at an international level.
British artificial slope qualifications, including a moguls version, have been introduced.
We must now devise a water ramp qualification further to the development of the ramp in Sheffield. Robin Wallace has already commenced this task.
A pilot course in snowboard coaching will begin this year, although we are a long way off producing a snowboard performance coach, mainly as a result of the relative infancy of the sport itself.
There is currently not enough interest to warrant a dedicated British Nordic qualification and it is in fact cheaper to educate interested individuals abroad.
The selection process was discussed. The selection process, and particularly the pathway from Home Nation squad into the British Team needs clarification.
John O'Grady expressed his concerns about the ownership of qualifications. They must be a British qualification. Steven Gray confirmed that the Alpine qualification is now badged "British". Courses relating to sports other than alpine are being developed and will be rebadged when they are ready.
Contrary to public belief, there is no need for any HN registered coach, wishing to take part in an APC course, to join Snowsport Scotland. Graham confirmed that most of those attending the last APC course in Tignes were English and had not been forced to pay Snowsport Scotland membership fees. Bruce Crawford quoted from the Scottish coaching handbook, where this information is clearly stated. The standards must be equivalent - the course content must be the same and the tutors must be of the same high standard. The course must be developed and must be updated across the board. DT pointed out that organisations, other than Home Nations may wish to run their own APC course. Notice of courses should go out to the whole membership, not just the Home Nations.
John O'Grady questioned whether the job of administering the British coaching scheme could be moved over to BSSF. It seems sensible for Snowsport Scotland to continue running the British system in the short term.
Mike Head enquired what mechanisms are in place to ensure that all coaches of British Teams are adequately qualified. All current British Team coaches have a coaching qualification. Two of them hold the highest Austrian qualification, which takes three years to complete. In the past, experienced, yet unqualified coaches have been encouraged to gain qualifications.
Other existing qualifications are not comparable to the APC qualification. Existing qualifications continue to be recognised, although an upgrade to APC is not possible without completing the full course. Refresher courses must also be looked into.
The Canadian model was used because of its linguistic compatibility and similarities in the structure of skiing in the two countries.
Benny Hill stated that many ESC coaches did not have the money to take part in the APC course.
b) Development Issues
Regional Centres of Excellence
A British Alpine Base is a long term goal. It was the view of the discussion group that Centres of Excellence will be difficult to staff andwill be geographically difficult to place. Naming some centres of excellence may devalue other facilities. The issue needs further exploration.
In Europe, there are regional centres and specialist schools in each region. Our needs are not exactly the same as those in Alpine nations. Mike Head asked if the intention was to produce more athletes or help existing athletes? - If not, there is no point.
Alan Ashfield suggested a zonal system to optimise accessibility in a country with regions as large as those in England. Naturally, standardsmust be maintained throughout.
Steven Gray suggested that if the coaches were suitably qualified, the clubs will have a higher standard of coaching and there will be no need for regional centres.
We should concentrate on a clear pathway for selection and a viable talent identification system and information needs to be circulated more widely and effectively. A working party should be formed to aid the Performance Director in these jobs. This will consist of John O'Grady, Bruce Crawford, Alan Ashfield and Graham Bell. A flyer should be produced to show the clear pathway through for distribution at all ski centres, clubs, etc in the UK. This should be funded by the trade. The working party will accept that as its first task
c) Communication, Public Relations and Fund Raising
Sponsorship and PR are inextricably linked. There are parochial tensions between different nations, clubs and events, who all compete for limited available sponsorship. There should be an overall BSSF policy for sponsorship. Umbrella sponsorships may be appropriate - sponsor of the
whole circuit, all Team clothing, IT, etc.
We must concentrate in giving our sponsors good value. Not all sponsors are looking for the same type of return, i.e. some are looking for publicity, others an opportunity to entertain clients.
The PR network needs to be improved to spread information to a wider audience and more work needs to be done to open up links to the regional press.
We should develop a common IT strategy which should extend to clubs.
CW expressed his opinion that he felt a greater general willingness among the group to work together.
John O'Grady stated that in Snowboard it is easier to get an event sponsor than a Team sponsor.
Dick Taplin suggests that looking for small amounts of money - say up to £5000 - is often in the gift of a Chief Executive, while bigger sponsorships must go through more official channels.
Andrew Steel stated that smaller sponsors are looking for feedback on what has happened to that money. Tim Alcock stated that the Board are now looking to find sponsors for individual athletes, where athletes provide feedback on their programmes.
Andrew Steel summarised, stating that he felt that it has been a very constructive meeting. Feedback is welcome throughout the year. Member Groups should not feel that they need to wait for Congress to be heard.
The purpose of today's meeting had been as follows:-
To introduce the new Board of Directors
To explain where we are and where we hope to go
To involve the Members in the process
To discuss various issues of relevance
From the Congress we can take the following:-
The standard of British coaching and coaching systems continues to develop.
Quality tutors for APC are being sought and trained and registered members of any group may gain access to these courses.
Information on courses will be more widely circulated and will be publicised on our web site
The selection pathway will be clarified and more widely publicised.
Although our financial circumstances have improved, financial prudence will be a major goal this season.
Sponsorship - either cash or in kind - will now be sought for all sections of our business. The Skiers Trust of Great Britain also provide for charitable donations.
We must improve our PR network.
Development issues, such as the proposed centres of excellence and the selection pathway need more thought and discussion before they can be put in place. A working group has been formed to take this forward.
The congress had provoked many constructive discussions and delegates had demonstrated greater mutual confidence than in the past. Externally, we must present a cohesive picture of our aims.