OxVox COMMITTEE MEETING
Date: Friday 28th October 2016 (held at Oxford and County Bowls Club, Oxford).
Attendees: Michael North (MN), Matt Cavill (MC), Terry Winter (TW), Jem Faulkner (JF), Graham Butler (GB), Simon Bradbury (SB), Trevor Lambert (TL).
Apologies: Colin Barson (CB), Maurice Earp (ME).
Start: 7.15pm. Finish. 9.45pm.
1. Actions from the Minutes of the last meeting held on Friday 23rd September 2016
(a) The minutes of the last meeting were agreed with no outstanding items.
2. Finance Updates
(a) TW reported that the Trust bank balance stood at over £11,000 and that there were still monies to be drawn down from PayPal. This is a strong financial position.
(b) TW confirmed that he had paid the annual subscription to Supporters Direct (£100). There was no request for a donation this year.
(c) All the new bank mandates have now been activated. Cheque signatories are confirmed as – MN, TL, TW and GB.
(d) The ‘frozen’ savings account (community fund) that was highlighted some months ago will now be closed and the monies transferred into the main current account. TW will action this.
(e) PayPal notifications were discussed and it was agreed that these should go directly to TW. TL will organise this.
(f) TW issued cheques to TL which reimbursed monies spent on the recent members’ meeting (food and room hire).
(g) We are still awaiting invoices for player sponsorships from the club. JF will chase this up.
(h) MN requested monies for additional boxes for the storage of programmes. This was agreed and TW will liaise with MN to action payment (circa £70).
(a) The meeting reviewed and approved a new confidentiality agreement for committee members. It was agreed that this will implemented when the new committee is formed after the AGM in March 2017.
4. Membership and Communication
(a) We minuted 678 members at the last meeting on 21st September. Since then there has been a flurry of activity and the membership total, as at 28th October, now stands at 795, a rise of 117 (17%) in the last month.
(b) This means that we have already comfortably exceeded our previously stated target of 750 members by the time of the next AGM in March 2017.
(c) The number of non junior members has now risen to 678.
(d) It was agreed to set a new (challenging!) target of 1000 members by the AGM in March 2017.
(e) The key tasks for the coming months are:
Keeping up with adding new members to the system and getting membership packs out to them in a timely manner.
Resolving any errors and shortcomings in the membership information e.g. bouncing or missing email addresses.
Continuing to provide regular information by email to members, and considering what we can add e.g. Supporters Direct news bulletins etc.
Evaluating the new ITWM system versus the use of MailChimp, for suitability for our purposes, and migrating to one system or the other without interrupting our service to members.
(f) Given the spike in new members, attention over the last month has almost exclusively been on keeping up with demand. Giving attention to the other items is a priority for the next month or so.
(g) OxVox Website: SB now has details of the website login from TL.
(H) JF will speak with Liam/Katherine regarding replacing the ‘shop’ section on the web site with a news area where we can upload meeting minutes etc.
(I) The meeting agreed to run a members’ survey on ‘proposed’ changes at the EFL. The survey will be organised for February 2017 and will be in plenty of time to influence the EFL AGM which is in June and will be attended by Darryl Eales and Greig Box Turnbull.
(j) The meeting discussed the weekly OxVox Column in the Oxford Mail. We need more contributors, but we will also use the column for ‘stadium news’ as the ‘project’ develops.
5. OxVox Q&A with Thames Valley Police
A meeting was held between OxVox and Thames Valley Police (TVP). GB updated the committee on this meeting and the minutes are as follows:
Attendees: Graham Butler (OxVox), Matt Sulley – Operations Sergeant (TVP) & Simon Gray – Dedicated Football Officer (Oxford United) (TVP)
Q: Does Thames Valley Police have an involvement in ABCs?
A: TVP has no involvement in the process for Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABC). These are used by Oxford United, TVP has no involvement in the process, TVP mentioned that quite a few clubs are now using this kind of thing to stamp out unacceptable behaviour, i.e. smoking in the stadium, drinking in the stands and being aggressive towards staff and stewards.
ABCs can be used by the club for fans that are coming off a banning order. The club can refuse entry into the ground if someone refuses to sign up to the contract.
TVP will assist the stewards if a fan on an ABC refuses to leave the stadium.
Currently there are 9 Oxford United fans serving banning orders.
Q: How closely do Thames Valley Police work with Oxford United with regards to policing of fixtures and information sharing?
A: Police are in very frequent contact with the club, at least weekly, and in the days running up to a game contact can be multiple times a day, specifically with the Club Safety Officer. Police also have less frequent meetings with Mr Eales and Mr Box-Turnbull.
Following problems at games, the Police work closely with the club to help drive forward improvements, and identify and prosecute offenders if criminal offences have been committed.
Questions relating to Millwall FC matches
Q: Did Thames Valley Police ask for a 1pm kick off?
A: Yes. Thames Valley Police requested for the kick to be brought forward, this was agreed with the club by Mick Brown, not long after the fixtures were announced in June.
Matt Sulley informed me that if kick off is moved to midday or before then the home club are responsible for the away team’s hotel expenses.
Q: Have lessons been learnt from last season’s match? Why were Millwall fans walked past the Blackbird pub?
A: Lessons have been learnt from last season’s match, changes will be made. Thames Valley Police will recommend the levels of policing to the club. It is the club’s decision what options they choose.
With regards to Millwall fans being taken past the Blackbird pub, this route was chosen due to it being the most direct route to the ground and also the safest. The other option would have been to take the fans through the housing estates where families would be and so it was decided to keep the Millwall fans out of those areas.
There are 4 different categories of match in regards to policing.
Spotters Only – There is no charge for spotters to be at games. Category A – Low Category B – Medium Category C – High
Oxford United have decided to employ additional security from TSG who look like Police Officers but have no links to any police force. Their staff have handcuffs and spray.
Q: Family Stand – Were Thames Valley Police involved in the moving of the Family stand from the South Stand to the North Stand? Any thoughts?
A: Thames Valley Police were notified of the change via the Safety Advisory Group. TVP raised concerns about this at the time.
Q: Do Thames Valley Police ask for a reduced number of away ticket allocation?
A: Thames Valley Police have said the club is a business and therefore have no involvement in allocation, they can advise the club on the number of safety measures that need to be place for whatever the club decides to allocate to the away team.
Q: Why do Thames Valley Police and other forces video fans throughout certain matches?
A: The Police film some elements of the ground in order to obtain evidence relating to specific individuals in the interests of both preventing and detecting crime. Police also record crowd movement and behaviour which can impact on safety, and the Police can then present information to the club so lessons can be learnt and safety improved. Video footage can be shared with relevant agencies, such as the Safety Advisory Group.
Q: Are Thames Valley Police happy with regular meetings and ad hoc dialogue throughout the season?
A: Thames Valley Police have said they are happy for regular meetings with Oxvox and also they are happy for us to raise ad hoc issues at any time via email or phone.
[End of report of meeting with TVP]
(a) The meeting discussed at length the updated situation regarding the proposed acquisition of the stadium by a Community Group/Trust or similar.
(b) JF/TW updated the committee on all the most recent meetings with Firoz Kassam, Oxford City Council and Darryl Eales.
(c) Meetings with Supporters Direct and Wrenbridge Sports have also continued and their specialist advice and support is seen as invaluable as the project progresses. JF is meeting with Wrenbridge again on the 10th November.
(d) It was confirmed that Wrenbridge are advising on potential revenue streams both pre and post acquisition as well as stadium development opportunities.
(d) Future meeting dates with Firoz Kassam were discussed and agreed.
(e) JF confirmed he is to meet again with Oxford City Council on the 3rd November.
(f) JF/TW stressed how positive and constructive all the meetings had been and that the willingness of all parties to make things happen is clear. With all parties now on the same page, the next steps are to be focused on time frames, but it was stressed that this will not be a short process.
(g) Member feedback has been very positive and the ‘news’ has certainly had an impact on new member growth over the last few weeks!
(h) The committee were reminded of the sensitive nature of the current negotiations and that the need for confidentiality was very important.
7. General Updates
(a) JF to pick up on the Blue Plaque project at the Britannia Inn.
(b) We need to pick up with the club on the creation of 2 x fan liaison officers. This does not appear to have been communicated?
(c) Safe standing will be discussed once we have a better view of the timeframe relating to stadium ownership.
(d) It was discussed that social media communication from the club has dwindled dramatically since Sarah Gooding left. This will be discussed at the upcoming meeting with the OUFC Commercial team.
(e) There are rumours that Yellow Player may be moving to live feeds in the future? JF to check.
The meeting ended at 9.45pm