Annual General Meeting, Thursday 7th November 2019
The Iron Duke, 11 Avery Row, Mayfair, London, W1
More than 30 SPR members squeezed into a private room at the Iron Duke pub in Mayfair, happily ensuring that there was a quorum which would allow the meeting to vote on decisions.
Oliver Kummerfeldt, SPR Chair over the past year, began by setting out the Society’s achievements in the last twelve months. Seminars and social events had continued to be the main focus of activities, with 22 such meetings taking place, which were well attended and received. New venues for the Summer Drinks and SPR Quiz proved to be popular and site visits booked up rapidly. The decision not to hold the Golf Day – taken because it was seen to only appeal to a limited number of members – was controversial. A replacement activity will be considered for 2020.
There was some debate on whether the SPR should continue its financial support for ERES, which is seen as relatively expensive given that relatively few members attend its conference. Andrew Smith explained that the Society has a seat on the ERES board, which should theoretically help build links with academics, an important objective for SPR. Kummerfeldt indicated that he would try to negotiate a new deal with ERES, which will suit the SPR’s needs better going forward.
Describing the Society’s plans for the year ahead, incoming Chair Tom Duncan explained that a key aim would be to make incremental gains in its day-to-day running, based on the observation that SPR activities are generally well received by the members. It will also be important to focus on building relationships with event sponsors, as they provide a part of the Society’s income that has come increasingly under pressure in recent years. There would also be a review of the SPR website and the online offer to members.
The need to grow sponsorship was also highlighted in Honorary Treasurer James Purvis’s presentation of the Society’s financial position. The SPR continues to have a healthy account balance, which has been intentionally trimmed over recent years by the committee’s policy of running a small loss – amounting to around £1,000 for the past year. A similar position is planned in next year’s budget, although there will be specific changes including holding an SPR Research Course and a new social event to replace the golf.