RSPBA tables Order Paper, showing £323,595; proposals include paying directors and a new five-judge format
The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association has issued its 43-page Order Paper in advance of the organization’s annual general meeting, showing assets increasing to £631,000 and cash liquidity of £323,595, following a return to a more familiar competition season after a two-year pandemic-induced shutdown that paralyzed most of the pipe band world.
In the Order Paper (a procedural document required in the UK outlining an organization’s financials, reports from committees, business developments and motions put forward by members), several rule changes are to be considered at the meeting.
Of particular interest, the association is resurrecting its attempt, first made in 2020, to provide a monetary allowance for RSPBA directors to be paid when they attend competitions. Despite being rejected by the membership three years ago, the order paper outlines a lengthy list of reasons as to why its directors deserve to be paid, namely, “The director is supporting the event promoter at a championship, they are not performing management duties as a trustee of the association.”
Directors, who are also “trustees” of the association, are prohibited from earning a wage, salary or remuneration, according to the RSPBA’s Articles of Association and Scottish charity law. Still, they can have their expenses covered and payment for “services.” The Order Paper states: “The Directors do not receive remuneration for their role as Charity Trustees. The remuneration of other key management is set by the Board of Directors using benchmarks of similar posts in the sector and current market forces.”
Another rationale for compensating board members attending competitions is: “The director is supporting the event promoter at a championship, they are not performing management duties as a trustee of the association.”
The first prize for the Grade 1 World Pipe Band Champion is reportedly less than £2,000. Bands are not remunerated in any way or compensated for travel.
Though the RSPBA does not typically disclose prize purses for major championships, the first prize for the Grade 1 World Pipe Band Champion is reportedly less than £2,000. Bands are not remunerated in any way or compensated for travel.
Of particular interest to competing bands is a motion coming from the RSPBA’s vocal and powerful Northern Ireland branch calling for two ensemble judges, one a certified piping judge, the other a drumming judge, and both with ensemble certification.
The two judges’ ensemble scores would be combined for a single ensemble mark counted toward the final result: “The ensemble placing will be a combined total of both ensemble judges; placings but should be detailed on the summary sheets separately and also as a combined placing.”
The “static start” piloted in 2022 (at four small contests and one major, bands didn’t march in, but started from their circle position) is to be scrapped if the members agree at the AGM. “All bands and adjudicators have been polled and as a result the Music Board has agreed that in the 2023 competition season, Grade 4B bands will return to previous status quo.”
As reported previously, John Hughes has been nominated for the Vice-Chair position. The motion was proposed by the London & South England branch and seconded by the Hughes’s home Lothian & Borders branch. Hughes served as Vice-Chair of the organization for several years, notably for overseeing the controversial extensive renovation of the RSPBA’s headquarters at 45 Washington Street, Glasgow, part of which was destroyed by fire in 2017.
The organization spent reserve funds and took out loans to complete the project, counting on revenues from the 2020 competition season to restore its finances. The unexpected two-year shutdown brought financial challenges, but the 2022 season has rejuvenated the coffers. “The Members of the Board of Directors consider the financial position of the Association to be sound,” the Order Paper concludes.
The RSPBA reported that the most of the five major championships operated at a profit. The Scottish and British championships showed a small gain for the association, while the World Championship continued to be a cash cow, resulting in a net of £155,215 for the world’s most powerful piping and drumming association.
On the other hand, the European and UK championships each operated at a loss, with the European in the hole by approximately £17,000.
As the Order Paper is a summary of the previous year, there was very little discussion of the cancelled 2023 British Championships, which brought in nearly £78,000 (with a net profit of about £8,000) in 2022.
It is assumed that the plan for a reduced four-championship 2023 season will be a topic of lively discussion at the March 7th annual general meeting that only member bands and designated officials are permitted to attend. The £323,595 in cash reserves will likely prompt questions as to why a new location for the British could not be secured for a year, even if it meant the organization having to hold the event for its member bands at a loss.