Ray Castle opened the meeting at 11.00am and thanked everyone for attending [53 present].

Review and approve last years minutes, including Chairman and Treasurers reports.

John Calladene proposed acceptance and Ken Hope seconded. Joan Suckling raised a point in matters arising from these minutes, reference our refusal to include obituary notices in the Newsletter. Ray countered this by saying we had discussed this at length and held to our decision NOT to include these notices in the Newsletter having checked how other IBM Retirees Clubs handled this issue. We did however, repeat what was agreed after the 2005 AGM and following Committee meeting, that if a member of the Committee was approached by a family member of the deceased to alert IBM friends to the passing of a loved one or funeral arrangements we would be happy to do so via our Email distribution list.

Chairman's Report

This is attached to these minutes as Appendix 1, but Ray particularly asked that a vote of thanks was due to Barry Wiggins and Gordon Jones for their efforts on our behalf in keeping a close eye on our finances and membership list. Ray also made a request to all members with Email to visit our website for the monthly Newsletter and not reply on manual distribution as the numbers are rising again.

Treasurer's Report

This is attached to these minutes - a particular figure which bears repeating is the 519 total attendance of events for 2005 which is considerably higher than 2004. We received a grant of £12,350 for 374 members and our membership number now stands at 413. Barry did add that we have not to date received this years grant.

In taking questions Jean Eysenck asked why we could not increase the numbers for the trip to Germany when 9 names were on the wait list, and did the Committee see this expenditure as fair to the membership. Ray answered this by pointing out that a large number of our membership were enthusiastic about overseas trips and there is always a break even point for numbers as the limit on subsidy for such a trip is £2K.

Joan Suckling commented that the majority of people booking on these events are couples and the first guest is taking advantage of the subsidy too - should the singles be considered more?

Barry replied by pointing out that even when Joan was Club Secretary she should remember well the survey carried out by Pat Hay as Chair at the time and got 13 out of 300 replies for suggestions on ideas for more outings to better suit everyone.

John Milton asked if the overseas trips could be cut down for more local trips or make the overseas trips shorter.

Ray Castle added from the feedback received from membership there was a subtle change in emphasis and price no longer seemed to be an issue, particularly with the introduction of budget air fairs. In addition so many of the well known local trips have been tried and tested and we have to push out the borders further.

A member from the back of the room then countered these comments by saying that there had typically only been a 5-10% take up on events for the IBM Club when we were all working.

Dave Dagley then asked what was the % of total subsidy spent on foreign trips? Barry was able to answer 25%. Phil Franklin then asked if Barry could in future mention in his treasurers report the number of members participating in such trips.

To return to her point about availability of places on events Jean Eysenck asked if the total number of places available for any given event could be mentioned when advertising in the Newsletter.

Jean Eysenck proposed acceptance of the Treasurers report and Bob Parker seconded.

Election of Committee

The present Committee of 12 were returned in total by a show of hands at today's meeting.


Ray Castle as Chairman then went on to explain what he had instigated to protect the Committee against any insurance counter claims. This he called Governance and explained that the age and size of the club is constantly changing and so is legislation and there was a considerable degree of risk to committee members organising events. He went on to explain that the following areas have been addressed and we were satisfied that everything had been done to safeguard us and obtain best value for money:-

In April 2004 the Club Constitution was reviewed and placed on-line for all membership to view.

On the question of Indemnity and Liability Ray Castle wrote to IBM and after the agreed assessment and audit of our methods for organising trips for our membership, on 18th October 2004 received confirmation in writing that we were covered under IBM Public Liability Insurance held by IBM WT.

Risk Management was discussed at the following Committee meeting and it was agreed that to place a disclaimer on our booking forms would serve no useful purpose. Joan Suckling asked if personal travel insurance should still be taken out by individuals and the answer was YES.


Joan Suckling asked why the itinerary had been changed for the Newcastle trip in June 2005 resulting in a five hour coach trip and less time to view Cragside House. Ray replied by saying a request had been received to view the Angel of the North and a slight deviation of plan was required.

Geoff Hope as a new member asked if we could cater for working partners when planning our events and the reply was that we are happy to cater for singles and do so regularly.

Ken Hope proposed a vote of thanks for Ray Castle for all his hard work and for conducting the meeting in such a professional manner.

The meeting closed at 12.45.

Appendix 1

IBM Retirees Club (Midlands)

Chairman's report to the Annual General Meeting - 16th March 2006

This report follows the same format as last year.

Firstly, welcome to the 2006 Annual General meeting of the Midlands IBM Retirees Club. It really is very rewarding to see so many of you here today and reflects well on the general good health of the club.

Our membership currently stands at 433, the significant increase over last year being due to number of employees taking up the option to leave IBM in the autumn of 2005. We are delighted to welcome these new members, and others transferring between clubs due to changes in personal circumstances. We of course loose members who move or pass away. This year has been no exception and we will sadly miss those members who were active supporters of our events. Our thanks to Gordon for all of his efforts in ensuring that we maintain a clean and accurate membership list and dealing so professionally and patiently with IBM.

This year we welcomed Simon Barrett as a co-opted member to the committee and we are grateful for the contribution that he has made so far. Last year I reported that in addition to the planning and organising of the many events we had taken the opportunity to look at the overall organisation of the club and the roles and responsibilities off the committee members and club officers. I am pleased to report that we are working well and that we are able to conduct our business co-operatively and efficiently, and with some humour. Also, the club constitution had been updated and posted on the web site and available for your review. I hope you did. There have been no changes this year. In 2005 we addressed the matter of governance of the club and I will report back to separately on this later in the meeting.

I am pleased to report that the majority of members now receive all communications electronically, and we of course benefit from significantly reduced postage costs. However the number of newsletters being sent by post is creeping up, in many cases to members who have an e-mail address in the data base, so please, if this includes you please can you move to electronic mail. This also helps reduce the chances of error in the manual copying and mail distribution process, particularly with missing attachments and booking forms.

Brian continues to improve the newsletter to make it more user friendly and also helps members with questions and problems, particularly with non-receipt of the newsletter. These are all investigated and to our knowledge all have been problems at the users end or with the users ISP. Brian does this willingly, but he is not a help desk and all members should ensure that they have exhausted all channels before making Brian the last point of contact and not the first. Thanks also for Brian for negotiating new service contracts with our suppliers. We have in hand a review of our technology platform and systems and will report back to you on this at the next AGM.

I indicated last year that our programme was subtlety changing to reflect an increased popularity in events that include lunch and of course include national and overseas short breaks. We also try to spread the events around the geographic area of our members more evenly in an attempt to encourage wider participation by providing closer, more convenient activities and we will also be introducing more add hoc events, some based on pub lunches and accessing local amenities to try to give everybody at least one local event in the year. In December we held our first overseas trip by air and this was very successful.

We will be looking at this again in our planning workshop in August to see if air travel does now present a realistic, affordable alternative mans of group travel. If yes, then many more exiting destinations and events become opportunities for inclusion in our programme.

My thanks to all of the committee for their support and good work, in particular Carole our secretary for organising us so well and keeping us informed, to Barry for doing such an outstanding job as Treasurer. Our finances remain in good shape due to Barry's diligence and hard work on behalf of all of us and this contribution should be recognised. We will start the committee's new year with a financial processes review with the focus on the administrative systems that we have in place for event finances reporting and reconciliation.

In closing may I repeat my belief that we the committee are in place on the behalf of you the membership? Hopefully we continue to get it right, in the main we seem to because we receive mostly good feedback and little criticism. Please, if this is not the case then let us know. We welcome feedback and suggestions and you can always call me or any other member of the committee if you want to talk.

Finally our thanks to you the members, you make it worthwhile and we look forward to another active and successful year.

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