Steinmeyer Legacy Interim Committee
Meeting at 6.30 p.m. on Thursday, 29 June 2017
Dundurn Hall, Comrie Parish Church
Attending: Murray Lauchlan; Joan Carmichael; Judy McDowall; Ian Pinkerton; Mairi Philp; Joyce Carnegie; Hugh Rose; Neill Aitken; Lynne Douglas; Agnes Drysdale; Jane Reid; Ken Heiser; Colin Sears; Andrew Reid
Apologies: John King; Leigh Doy; Gordon McCartney; Phil Tipping; Lorna Ramsay; Jenny Tod; Sandra Bacon; Jimmy Laing; Janice Donaldson, Stephanie Cameron
- Minutes of Interim Committee Meeting 10.5.17
The minutes of the meeting were approved with an amendment, which had been submitted by Lorna Ramsay, and the inclusion of reference to the offer by Neill Aitken to lead work examining the survey proposals made concerning mobility/transport.
- Matters Arising from the Minutes
- Survey Analysis Report – public information
It was noted that the Survey Analysis Report had been widely circulated including through the Comrie Facebook Page, the Comrie Community Website and CDT website, and there had also been an article in the Strathearn Herald summarising the survey findings.
- Working Group volunteers
Andrew Reid said that he had circulated a request for working group volunteers, with 7 subsequently attending the meeting at Comrie Medical Centre concerning support and care issues, but, in addition to Neill Aitken working on transport issues, only one other person had offered to work in the other four areas: Mobility/Transport; Social Places; Village Environment; Leisure/Activities. Interim Committee members said that they had not received this email communication.
- Meeting with Health and Social Work 13.6.17
Murray Lauchlan thanked Stephanie Cameron for her comprehensive note of the meeting with NHS staff – in the absence of the local Social Work manager, who had sent apologies. The meeting had covered a range of important topics, as reported in its minutes, including information and communication about local services and resources.
- Information and Communications
The Interim Committee considered the potential for providing information through Outlook (the Parish Magazine), the Quair, the Medical Centre Newsletter, material available through the Comrie Chemists, producing leaflets, publishing a loose-leaf updatable Directory, and enhancing the Abbeyfield funded work of Leigh Doy, and raised the question about legacy funding for some of these developments. Joan Carmichael and Ken Heiser both spoke in favour of funding the establishment of a one-stop shop in the shopping area, and it was suggested that sessional work might be delivered there from a number of sources, including the Perth Citizens Advice Bureau.
It was suggested that legacy spending proposals for any of these ideas concerning information and communications would need to be agreed at a public meeting. Neill Aitken said that he did not believe a public meeting was necessary for minor expenditure. Other committee members expressed the view that the legacy group needed to follow village decision-making.
- Strategic spending options
Andrew Reid said that there were various possible overall legacy spending policy options, which should be put to the public meeting for a decision, with one of them recommended by the Interim Committee. These options included:
- Total commitment to short/medium term improvement development;
- Partial commitment (50%) between improvements and financial investments;
- Total commitment to investments – interest to Common Good Fund (elderly).
Ian Pinkerton said he saw options A and C as representing all policy positions at either end of a spectrum, with option B offering a compromise between them. Neill Aitken disagreed with the inclusion of the fixed percentage at 50% in option B. Hugh Rose wanted a formal committee to establish the policy. It was agreed that the policy direction for legacy spend should be decided at a public meeting in the autumn.
It was noted that the legacy funds had been held in a restricted CDT account, ring fenced for legacy related developments, since their transfer to Comrie in July 2016. Hugh Rose proposed that the legacy funds should be invested immediately in order to generate more interest than was being accrued through the existing Triodos Bank account. It was agreed to give this matter further consideration within the context of the general policy agreed at the public meeting.
The Interim Committee discussed what should be the legal status of the Steinmeyer Legacy Group. Agnes Drysdale highlighted the fact that Comrie Development Trust had been appointed as executors by Heinrich Steinmeyer himself. She wondered what the legal implications would be of seeking any change of responsibility from what was set out in the Will, although she felt that the governance arrangements should match what was best for the proper use of the legacy.
Neill Aitken said that the Legacy Group did not have to be part of CDT. He suggested the Legacy Group could operate under the charitable status of the Silver Circle, subject to: their agreement; and to the reorganisation of their committee. Joan Carmichael also said that there needs to be a stand-alone Steinmeyer Trust with charitable status. She thought that the CDT Board would be happy with that change. Ian Pinkerton asked what would happen if CDT became financially insolvent. He also felt there would be an advantage in the Legacy Group becoming a separate Trust, potentially attracting other local funding support, which would not be given to a CDT subgroup. Mairi Philp agreed with this view.
Agnes Drysdale felt that it would seem to people in Comrie that the process had gone back to square one if everything was put on hold to change the present legal status. Hugh Rose noted that CDT is both a registered company and registered charity, and that by functioning as a CDT Subcommittee, the Legacy Group would be saved the very lengthy time and considerable expense of registration processes, and would continue to operate almost entirely independently, whilst CDT would retain the role as accountable organisation with some representation on the Group. It was also noted that CDT would also be responsible for the annual process of independent audit both in relation to the Steinmeyer financial accounts and a section within the CDT Annual Report dealing with legacy developments.
Andrew Reid thought there would be merit in interim committee consideration of a short paper setting out the pros and cons of the legacy group as a CDT Subcommittee or a separate Trust. Judy McDowall said that she had a close relative in the legal profession who had written a book on these issues and might be able to offer useful advice.
It was agreed that it might be appropriate to move towards independent Trust status in due course. It was decided, in the immediate future, to seek to establish the formal Steinmeyer Legacy Group as a Subcommittee of CDT, benefiting from its status as a registered charity and company, and accepting that there would be CDT Board representation by at least one person on the Legacy Group, but with the Legacy Group continuing to operate almost entirely independently. Colin Sears emphasised the importance of identifying nominees for election to the Legacy Group. It was agreed that the terms of the Legacy Group should be set out in a jointly signed Memorandum of Understanding between the CDT Board and the Legacy Group. Whilst CDT would continue to have its relevant Memorandum and Articles of Association, the Steinmeyer Legacy Group should also have its own Rules on key matters of policy and procedure. Hugh Rose had already started work on these issues, and read out some of his initial draft text to the meeting and agreed to complete the draft.
It was agreed to establish a working group involving Hugh Rose, Joan Carmichael, Murray Lauchlan and Andrew Reid to complete material for Interim Committee consideration, discussions with the CDT Board, and final decision-making by a public meeting, providing:
- Aims and Principles to govern spending decisions;
- Spending directions;
- Rules for the Legacy Group, including – number of the members, officer positions, processes for committee membership nominations and elections, meeting procedures, conflict-of-interest references, financial management arrangements, nature of authority and lines of accountability;
- A Memorandum Of Understanding between the Legacy Group and CDT;
- Proposals for process of nomination and public meeting Legacy Group elections at public meetings;
- Future arrangements for consultations with and decisions by public meetings.
- Working Groups
Joan Carmichael expressed concern about the lack of progress and the requirement to make things happen. Hugh Rose said that development activity could only happen on the basis of proposals being made. Agnes Drysdale said that working groups need to be established to identify relevant background information. It was agreed to set up working groups to carry out feasibility studies against all of the proposals which come from local people in the survey, and Interim Group leads were identified:
Support/Care – Stephanie Cameron/John King?
Mobility/Transport – Neill Aitken;
Social Places – Joyce Carnegie/Ken Heiser
Village Environment – Lynn Douglas/Judy McDowall;
Leisure/Activities – Joyce Carnegie/Ken Heiser
It was noted that a large number of people had indicated, on the survey form, that they were willing to assist with legacy work, and there was potential contact them about being involved in the working group, which is related best to their own survey proposals. It was agreed to contact the people in the village, who had expressed an interest in active legacy work involvement.
- Next Steps
The next steps were identified as completing draft papers concerning:
The principles and direction for fund allocation and use;
- Rules for the make-up and operations of the Legacy Group;
- The Legacy Group’s relationship with CDT;
and for the five working groups to complete papers with information and views on:
The feasibility of implementing survey proposals; and
- Broad estimates of the cost of implementing survey proposals.
All of this material should be brought to the next meeting of the Interim Committee in September.
Final papers should then be taken to a public meeting for village decisions.
- Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting of the Interim Committee is planned for:
6.30 p.m. on Wednesday 6 September at Comrie Parish Church
 Subsequently checked – email sent on 27.5.17 to all interim committee members and the wider group of interested people.
 Main items discussed in meeting with NHS: Information and communication; community hub/one-stop shop; loneliness; men’s shed; transport; respite; dementia day service.