Date: Saturday 28th April 2012
Venue: Britannia Stadium
Representatives of the Club:- Tony Scholes - Chief Executive, Adrian Hurst - Head of Community, Steve Buxton - PR Consultant, Margaret Stringer - P.A. to Tony Scholes.
Supporters Council Representatives:- Richard Doe, Brian Shaw, Ken Toft, Angela Smith, John Slaney, Julia Zuk, Malcolm Clarke, Richard Lowe, Julie Milton
Apologies: Richard Beswick, Runar Kvvernen (Norway Supporters Club)
Introduction & Welcome: Tony Scholes welcomed everyone to the meeting; he congratulated the members of the Council on their election and thanked them for the commitment they were making to the Council and the Club.
Tony said that it was his sincere hope that the forming of the Supporters Council would be a major step for the Club and its Supporters. Further more, it would build on the fantastic last 5 years that the Club and supporters have enjoyed. The Supporters Council's engagement with the supporters and the Club would help to embed and enhance what he believed was already a strong relationship.
Tony reiterated the purpose of the Council - to act as an effective forum for dialogue between the Club and Supporters. Representatives could bring general supporters views to the forum for discussion and the Club could bring ideas and initiatives. Whilst he stressed that the Council was not a decision making body, he believed that it would, by providing an effective forum for debate and dialogue, assist the Club in making correct and fair decisions and policy judgements.
Tony stated that this is your Supporters Council, but that from the Club's point of view we are absolutely committed to making this work, and will give the support required.
The meeting was then opened for general discussion:-
Richard Lowe asked how often the meetings would be, Tony replied that he felt the meetings should be held 3 - 4 times a year, taking into account that everyone needs to travel, and may not always be available to attend, but it was open to discussion, and up to you.
Officers: It was agreed that, at this stage the only officers needed are a Chair and Vice-Chair because the Council will not be controlling a budget and the Club have offered to handle the administration. Malcolm Clarke proposed and it was agreed that these positions should be "Acting" until the full Council is elected. Malcolm Clarke was appointed as Acting Chairman, and Richard Lowe was appointed as Acting Vice Chairman.
It was noted that half the Council members elected in the General seats would serve 2 years, and half for 1 year in the first instance depending on the number of votes they received in the elections. The Club will announce who these are.
Margaret Stringer was asked and agreed to take on the role of taking the minutes of future meetings.
Election of Specialist Seats: It was agreed that these positions need to be filled as soon as possible. Julia Zuk pointed out that it was pure chance that there were three female members elected to the Council, Julia also asked about having an over 65s representative on the Council to ensure a full range of supporters were represented.
It was agreed that candidates who were unsuccessful in being elected to the Council for one of the General Seats will be deemed to be nominated for one of the Specialist Seats, unless they notify the Club to the contrary.
Steve Buxton agreed to begin the process for supporters to apply for the Specialist Seats, it would be communicated that the nominations for the Specialist Seats category has been reopened. Nominations would be accepted up until midnight on Thursday 11th May.
Engagement Process: Deadline for submitting items for the agenda; it was agreed that because many supporters are not local and communication could be a problem for some, 2 weeks would be allowed to enable consultation with members. All items to be submitted within the 2 week period.
The Council discussed holding meetings away from the Club, to discuss any matters that were communicated to them that need to be brought to the Clubs attention. Brian Shaw asked if the Club would help to facilitate these meetings. Tony Scholes agreed that the Club would be prepared to support and help the Council with administration.
It was agreed that the minutes of any meetings would be communicated as soon as possible after the meeting, following approval by the Chair of the meeting, rather than waiting until the next meeting to agree them. The possibility of a webpage being set up for the Council to post messages to be viewed by supporters was discussed, and the Club agreed to investigate this.
Richard Lowe suggested that there should be a general explanation of the order in which the meetings would run i.e. process, operation procedure, protocol etc. Also the committee agreed there would be a Code of Conduct to adhere to, this was for the committee to decide and communicate to each member. Richard agreed to draft a proposal for both items for consideration.
Julia Milton said that she thought that as soon as the Council was up and running it needed to be communicated to the people in the stands, there was a need to engage with the other supporters and to be totally transparent about what the Council was about.
Supporter Liaison Officer: Malcolm asked how the Club had progressed regarding appointing a Supporter Liaison Officer (SLO), as it was now a requirement to the Club being granted an UEFA Licence.
Tony Scholes informed the Council that Adrian Hurst had been appointed as the SLO as an interim measure.He said that he thought that the SLO role was a good thing in principle. However, he is concerned that many aspects of the role as defined by UEFA would be a backwards step for the Club and he wished to consider the nature of the role further before making an external appointment.He further explained that this was an area that the Supporters Council may wish to become involved in - both in terms of defining the role and in the selection and appointment process
Malcolm asked for the document from UEFA outlining the role of the SLO to be e-mailed to all Council members to see how the role would work, and for discussion at the next meeting.
Adrian Hurst is due to meet with Cathy Long from the P.L. to discuss further exactly what may be involved in this role, Adrian will communicate with everyone after this meeting.
Brand Guidelines: Steve Buxton issued a pack to all members to outline the suggested brand guidelines for each branch of the Supporters Club. Steve has had a number of requests from various people asking if there were any guidelines. Steve also informed the Council members that he would arrange for material to be sent to them after each game to distribute to their members i.e. pictures for publication. Steve stressed that the Club don't want to tell you how to operate within your branch, but we do want to help wherever we can.
Tony Scholes thanked everyone for the input to the meeting and for taking the time to help to get things up and running.
Malcolm Clarke said that the committee are committed to this initiative and will help the Club to make it work.
Date of next meeting: June was suggested as a possible date for the next meeting, everyone was asked to communicate their holiday arrangements to enable a suitable date to be found.