Kagyu Dechen Buddhism Trustee meetings

Simon Rowan, one of the Trustees of our charity, reports on recent meetings:

24 March 2019

The March Trustees meeting covered a number of regular items including review of risks and policies, a Finance Committee update and news from the Centres and Groups.

The final quarter accounts for 2018 were approved and we discussed the reserves we hold, i.e. the minimum amount of money we need to have in our accounts to deal with unexpected events. We agreed to discuss this again following a decision regarding the renewal of the mortgage arrangements for the Harrogate centre which comes to the end of its current five year deal next February. The interest we are currently paying on this mortgage seems on the high side and we are investigating better deals that may be available.

It was noted that the amount in standing orders that Kagyu Ling received in 2018 was lower than in 2017.

Some slight amendments to the Risk Register were made to reflect actual practice and Paul Hadden was asked to update some parts of the Conflict of Interest Policy to improve the wording and remove references to some American terms as the original Policy was based on a US Dechen Foundation document.

It was agreed that our policies and procedures need to more visible to the sangha and visitors. The Centre Coordinators were tasked to look into this and report back at a future meeting.

Jonathan Macaskill, Centre Co-Ordinator for Kagyu Ling in Manchester, reported that newly introduced “Mainly Meditation” sessions have proved popular with attendances of around 20 to 30 at each of the events.

23 September 2018

This was the 3rd meeting of the year and as routine as they come.  For example, we again discussed finding a better deal on insurance when the present three year agreement comes up for renewal next year.  We also had a brief update on how the planned budget is going – all is well with no overspends happening, so nothing of concern.  Standing items included the risk register and any new Health and Safety issues, of which there were none reported.

Paul had circulated guidelines for the Dechen bank account (one of those the Trustees oversee) prior to the meeting and gave a quick overview of procedures now in place.  This account funds activities related to the wider Dechen community, such as the Dechen Website and our community’s involvement with the European Buddhist Union.  The money in this account is contributed by all the Dechen Centres and not just those governed by the Kagyu Dechen Buddhism Trust.

I gave an update on our progress on GDPR related activities, namely getting people to give consent to be on our various email lists.  Good progress has been made but some follow up work is still needed to ensure that these are correct.

We ended with a reminder that the yearly circulation of the relevant policies to all group leaders will be due soon and that an up to date contact list needs to provided for this.

10 June 2018

The June Trustees meeting, which sadly no longer co-insides with the Garden party, was well attended with Andrew and Paul Skyping in as usual. It is always a challenge to get the tech working prior to the start but it all ran smoothly for once.

A very straightforward session with one of the most exciting agenda items being the approval of last year’s accounts. This is a legal requirement and if anyone is interested these are all available on the Charity Commission website.  The current accounts will not arrive there for a few months yet but previous ones can be viewed. Viera’s role in the preparation of the accounts is vital and she is now involved in introducing a new accounts system which will hopefully make the process much simpler. Thank you Viera.

We also revisited the popular subject of GDPR and how compliance is going.  Sadly, more work by your blogger and others is required – watch out for the next thrilling instalment. Other important topics, such as renewal of our insurance which we are currently reviewing to hopefully get a better price, was discussed briefly and will be returned to at the next meeting.  We are currently halfway through a three-year policy.

We also looked at new activities and discussed potential new places to promote Buddhism in the North West.  We will return for a fuller discussion on this in our Autumn meeting.

18 March 2018

This was the first of our meetings this year. Paul Haddon always joins us via SKYPE from the US but, due to the snow, we had a record 4 trustees attending via SKYPE.

Trustee meetings are very business/ procedural orientated and the spring meeting always reviews the Risk Register. We have to look at the risks to the Centres and Groups with regard to such things as finance (e.g., will we able to pay our bills and are we keeping to the spending plans) and legal matters.

Which brings us to another exciting item – the data protection policy and privacy notice. A draft of this new policy, taking into account the changes arising from the new General Data Protection Regulations, was circulated prior to the meeting and was approved with some minor amendments. Some people left the meeting with more jobs as a result of this, I was rewarded with the new title of Data Controller but I know that is not how I will be referred to!

If you’d like to know more about our Board of Trustees check out this page.