Revive & Thrive Board Meeting Minutes are made publicly available as part of our founding principles of Transparency, Openness and Inclusivity for all places
Non-Executive Director Revive & Thrive Board Meeting Minutes
16th January 2017
Present: Mark Barnes – Revive & Thrive (MB), Matt Powell – Revive & Thrive (MP), Alison Bowcott-McGrath – Pinpointer (ABM), Cherry Shine – Wolverhampton BID (CS), Jeremy Rucker – City Dressing (JR), Karen Wild – Basingstoke BID (KW), Mark Brodermann – OurLocal.Town (MBr), Melanie Palmer – Solihull BID (MPa), Nigel Reed – Weymouth BID (NR), Susan Shaw – Richmond Borough Council (SS)
Apologies: Kim Cassidy – Nottingham Trent University, Jon Walton – Plymouth City Centre Company
|1||Overview & Introductions – Revive & Thrive Board Meeting Minutes||Decisions|
|MB welcomed everyone to the meeting and after a round of introductions said that he was pleased that the new R&T non-exec Board was representative of all aspects of place management.|
|2||Revive & Thrive so far and the future – Revive & Thrive Board Meeting Minutes|
|MB gave an overview of R&T’s history, explaining that it came about by inspiring actions rather than policy. Early and more recent competitions and calls to action have helped cement R&T’s reputation and we have now arrived at a point where we are filling a void that has been left in place management support, with the demise of some organisations and the restructuring of others
He explained that R&T has an ever-growing suite of benefits and skills and that the directors have always wanted to work in collaboration with existing organisations but have had difficulty engaging with similar orgainsations with the same intended outcomes
But, it has been hard to effectively convey the message of what R&T is about and that is why the directors have chosen to effectively gift the company to the industry, sharing governance and future direction of travel with this new, non-exec board as the directors feel that the best people to decide what is best for UK places are those directly engaged in managing them.
The directors are fully committed to making R&T a success and feel that, with the support of the board and the input of the directors, R&T can become the best solution for all UK places.
JR pointed out that it remains the responsibility of R&T directors to make decisions on the future of R&T and that the board’s role is to advise them on doing that.
MB agreed with that and highlighted that the intention is to do this publicly and transparently.
MPa stated that is was good that R&T is seeking to be transparent with no prospect of having any hidden agendas.
|3||Why is support for UK places so important right now and what is needed? Revive & Thrive Board Meeting Minutes|
| MB highlighted recent discussions that have been taking place on social media and questioned whether R&T should be seeking to replicate a similar model to existing organisations or continuing to develop our own way of doing things.
JR suggested that R&T should be seeking to become an organisation that Government comes to for advice and that as membership grows R&T will become a more natural port of call for policy makers.
SS highlighted that there is a general lack of knowledge and understanding, particularly from local authorities, of the important role of BIDs. London is well served with expertise and influencers, but there are still gaps in support for place management nationwide which R&T could possibly fill.
NR pointed to his experience locally there is a real lack of understanding within some departments in the local authority with only gradual improvement as a BID progresses and that this tends to be the experience in all towns or localities where there is only one BID.
MB pointed out that other, good models of place management exist and that BIDs are not the end game for all places but that BIDs should be front and centre of UK place-making, inspiring other places.
KW stated that part of the problem with this lack of understanding is that BIDs are seen as a solution without those wanting them necessarily understanding what they do or what they would achieve locally. There need to be clear reasons to introduce a BID.
SS reiterated that it is equally important to support areas that don’t have BIDs or where BIDs are not feasible and also that industrial BIDs get overlooked too much.
MB asked the board if BIDs should be the sole focus for Revive & Thrive, with the response being that no, they shouldn’t.
ABM pointed out that BIDs at all levels of development and maturity still need support and that all towns need something different and questioned who is there to support them (should be R&T).
MB asked the board if R&T should respond to the Rocket Science research as a discreet piece of work or as R&T’s reason for being.
MPa stated that the Rocket Science research was very comprehensive and that R&T would need a dedicated officer in charge of this area of work but that this person would need to have clout to make it successful.
SS said that it seems like a good opportunity but that she had concerns about the level of resource it would require from R&T, given the past experiences of ATCM and BBIDs. She also said that she had a concern about trying to create something that would be fit for purpose taking resource away from other parts of the company.
MB questioned whether R&T should be proposing an industry standard for places. He explained that we have a huge network and resource behind us and that we could be using this to create a standard that would provide clarity to the industry.
MBr pointed out that, while it was a good report, it was solely focused on BIDs and that it also proposes a single body to represent the industry. Where would that leave R&T?
NR said that there is still too much focus on BBIDs and ATCM. The industry wants a voice for BIDs, engagement and quality assurance. It needs a good organisation that it can refer to as a source of reference for best practice.
CS highlighted that sharing of best practice is a role that R&T performs well already.
MPa suggested that R&T still needs to find its identity and that its timeliness and accessibility give it the edge as an organisation that is delivery-focused.
Decision: that R&T continues to keep a wide focus on all UK places, not just BIDs.
Decision: that R&T needs to consider the Rocket Science outcomes as a discreet piece of work rather than have it become the sole focus of the organisation.
|4||Governance and functions of Revive & Thrive – Revive & Thrive Board Meeting Minutes|
|MB moved the conversation on to actions as current online debates only serve to grow a perception that R&T, ATCM and BBIDs are only talking about what’s best for them and not the industry as a whole. R&T’s desire is to focus on what we do next.
MB asked the board to consider whether R&T could and should carry on offering delivery services as well as being a membership organisation, with the proviso that we would commit to being 100% transparent about how delivery and membership complement each other.
ABM stated that there are two clear arms to R&T, the corporate/income generating side and the membership/support side. There is no issue with this, as long as it is clear.
JR said that the only potential conflict would be where R&T is working with businesses that also offer the same service.
MB said that R&T would commit to sharing publicly any tenders it was applying for and that, for the directors, this is more about what happens to the company’s income, that the directors are committed to re-investing it rather than being driven by private profit.
SS said that it would remain difficult to have the required range of staff, directors and resources without having the ability to generate income. She used the example of successful Chamber of Commerce that have multiple income streams as being a potential model to consider.
MPa agreed that R&T still needs to generate sustainable income.
MB asked the board if there is a need at this stage to consider converting R&T’s company status to a CIC or similar.
The board unanimously agreed that there was no need for this.
Decision: that for the time being, R&T continues delivery and membership with each supporting the other.
Decision: no change to R&T company structure is needed at this stage.
|5.||Events, Advisory Board and Regional Representatives – Revive & Thrive Board Meeting Minutes|
|MB gave an overview of this year’s planned events, starting with the Local Legends Conference in Northwich on 2/3 March.
The purpose of Local Legends campaign is to highlight and promote the great stories about how individuals and groups are working together to deliver successful projects in places for the greater good of their communities. This campaign is not about awarding prizes but about sharing great ideas and best practice. It is a two-year campaign which is currently at the “inspiring” stage and will move on to “planning and doing”, “delivery” and “achieving”.
He invited the board to join in, to nominate themselves or others and to feed in to how the campaign is going.
MB reported that response to our invitation to join the Advisory Board has been good and that a meeting of that will be arranged in due course.
Regional Representatives network is also growing and we have our first regional meeting arranged for Exeter on 17 March.
We are looking to organise a schedule of events which will be all about getting place makers in a room and inspiring each other. He suggested to MPa that R&T could help and support her network, BIDs Central in such a way, explaining that the preferred route is to feed in to existing networks rather than creating a duplicate series of events.
The second R&T conference for 2017 will hopefully take place in Leeds in the autumn though this is still under discussion.
ABM reminded MB that the Revo conference is due to take place in Liverpool in September.
Can we change to MPa stressed that regional meetings should not involve any hard sell from external companies and retain its focus on advisory services. All meetings need to maintain a strong focus to generate attendance.
JR agreed that the point of a meeting can become lost if it is perceived as being a vehicle for commercial organisations to generate revenue.
SS agreed that regional meetings are valuable for networking and benchmarking and she pointed out that London ATCM meetings retain a value and that they do not involve a hard sell.
MB explained that R&T events are evolving from our previous Talking Towns events and that the focus has now changed. R&T still needs to secure sponsorship to cover food and other expenses but that they are no longer (and have not been for some time) hard sell.
The focus of R&T events remains ensuring that everyone who comes leaves with value and asked that the board check agendas as they come out to ensure that this is being maintained.
MB also asked board members to consider hosting or otherwise helping to arrange regional meetings.
Action: board members to feed in to Local Legends campaign as much as they can
Action: board members to scrutinise R&T meeting agendas for value
Action: board members to consider hosting or supporting regional meetings
|6.||Aspirations, objectives and actions for 2017 – Revive & Thrive Board Meeting Minutes|
|MB asked the board for a view on what R&T should be focusing on in 2017.
ABM suggested meeting face to face to make a plan of action, that it should have multiple focuses with set responsibilities.
CS agreed that there are many topics to cover as well as themes within which to share best practice.
SS pointed out that business rates will be a key focus for 2017.
MB highlighted that the VOA will be speaking at the Exeter meeting and are keen to come to other meetings.
MBr agreed that there should not be a single focus but highlighted that the board needs to agree its purpose and identify who it is serving. This, he felt, needs to be done as a priority.
CS is happy to host a meeting in Wolverhampton in February, before the next scheduled board meeting on 3 March.
KW explained that this could be difficult to attend and would prefer information circulated in advance of the next meeting.
MB proposed a working group composed of board members that can attend take this forward.
MPa reiterated that this group needs to establish its identity and understand why it exists. This needs to be done by March meeting.
JR suggested a questionnaire to board members to help understand R&D policy and initiatives for the working group to discuss .
Action: MB to draft purpose and identity document for board
Action: MB to create questionnaire for board to get their views on the non-exec board.
|7.||Publishing Board minutes online – Revive & Thrive Board Meeting Minutes|
|MB asked the board for permission to publish minutes of board meetings online.
This was agreed with the proviso that they be agreed by the board before publishing.
|Action: MB/MP to publish meeting minutes after securing board sign-off|
|8.||Feedback from Strategy Map – Revive & Thrive Board Meeting Minutes|
|MB asked for feedback on the R&T Strategy Map shared with the board last week.
Feedback was positive, with MPa pointing out that it now needs to lead to more solid references and outcomes.
|9.||AOB -Revive & Thrive Board Meeting Minutes|
|SS asked for more detail on recent social media activity.
MB detailed the reasons for Matt’s recent open letter on LinkedIn and highlighted the reponses. He stressed that R&T is very keen to work with and complement others but that efforts for better collaboration at national level have all come from R&T to date.
SS asked about R&T and the board’s view on the Rocket Science tender.
MB suggested that it could be seen as a distraction as R&T has a wider remit than BIDs.
MP’s view was that until the detail of the tender is known rather than being speculated upon, R&T needs to continue its direction of travel and only accommodate changes to the business or R&T’s practices if this becomes an imperative of the tender and if the board and directors feel that it is actually an opportunity worth pursuing.
MB reiterated that BIDs are an important aspect of the business but questioned the need to keep this as a separate entity or to farm out delivery work.
MPa agreed that a new company, in whichever branch of the business, would impact on its ability to deliver and therefore R&T’s likely success.
MB reminded the board that there is perhaps more that R&T can do for non-BID areas than for BIDs and that, as it stands today, the company can provide much for all types of place management structure.
MB concluded the meeting by thanking everyone for their attendance and reminded them that R&T is here to help them as well, however that help is needed. He stressed the opportunities available through Place magazine and gently reminded the couple yet to join to consider doing so and to feedback to us on membership pricing and benefits.
Action: board members to consider submitting articles for Place, consider joining R&T and feedback on R&T membership.