Last night saw members from across the world gather in the Princess Alexandra Hall for ROSL's Annual General Meeting, which provided them a chance to speak to Central Council members and the Senior Leadership Team about the future direction of the organisation.
The evening began with the National Anthem, performed by former AMC prizewinner Chad Vindin piano, followed by a welcome from outgoing Chairman Sir David Brewer, in his last official engagement at ROSL.
This was followed by a report on 2018's accounts (available on the Member Portal) by Honorary Treasurer Richard Harbord and CFO Alexis Corzberg, which highlighted the need for the organisation to create surpluses in future years, to pay for much-needed maintenance works at our London clubhouse. This report was followed by the adoption of the accounts and the appointment of auditors haysmacintyre for 2019.
Vice Chair Professor Meryl Dean then announced the appointment of ROSL's new Chairman, Alexander Downer AC. He will first attend the Annual Music Competition Gold Medal Final on 30 May, get your tickets here.
This was followed by the retirement of Pamela Voice and Frank Wibaut from Central Council, whom we thank wholeheartedly for their many years of devoted service to ROSL. In their place, Martyn Kingsford and Monica Seeley join Central Council.
Next, Deputy Chair Anne Wilkinson and Central Council member Anjola Adeniyi reported on the progress of the ongoing Governance Review, which aims to simplify, clarify and update ROSL's management, something that has remained unchanged since 1998 and needs streamlining to better meet today's standards of governance.
Finally, Director-General Diana Owen reported on the current operations of ROSL, the work being undertaken to improve our IT systems, the formulation of a 10-year maintenance programme, which addresses the large backlog in works that need addressing to meet modern compliance and health and safety standards.
Now it was the turn of members to ask questions, with the significant rise in membership subscription fees being one of the first raised. Diana and Meryl explained this large correction was needed due to the historic underinvestment in the clubhouse, coupled with rising costs, and that particularly the Country UK was increased to correct the growing gap between it and the London rate which has occurred over previous years, due to the flat percentage rise across all membership grades.
One question asked about the future of the Restaurant, which has been closed since January. Diana explained that Graysons and the ROSL team were looking into possible options for its future, but the decision not to reopen the Restaurant was due to very low usage. Graysons are working to improve the menu options available in the Brabourne Room in the meantime, as well as improve the choice of hot food available in the Duke of York Bar and garden over the summer, when the Restaurant has been very little used anyway in previous years. It is still available for breakfast everyday and other private events. Watch this space.
After several more questions asking about possible sporting facilities, the excellent visual arts programme, and more, the AGM was formally concluded and members were invited to join the Senior Leadership Team and Central Council members for drinks, where they could ask more questions.