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Constitution and Rules

Note from John East, President of the Club, on the changes to the interface arrangements between the Old Pauline Club (OPC) and the School set out in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which follows on the link below.

I have prepared this note by way of explanation of the background and rationale behind the changes introduced to the relationship between OPC and the School by the MoU, both to provide general information, but also in an attempt to alleviate any concern or confusion felt by any Old Paulines as a result of various e-mails and Linked-in postings that have been circulated amongst some of our community during the first half of this year.

Rather more than a year and a half ago, the Chairman of the Governors challenged John Dennis and myself as the then President and Deputy President of the OPC as to the purposes and functions of the OPC and its value to the School. It would be fair to say that this arose primarily out of the decision by the School and the vision of the Governors concerning the need to establish what in the end will need to be a substantial Bursary Fund in order to achieve the School’s ambition of providing many more assisted places to students of modest means than it is currently able to do.

As part of that ambition, the School naturally has been looking at all aspects of its budgets and accounts very carefully, including the donation of approximately 1% of school fees that it has, up to now, been giving to the OPC each year. Initially, there were some serious misconceptions on the part of the Governors that the bulk of this donation went towards supporting our Affiliated Clubs that play their sport at Thames Ditton as well as Colets Sports and Leisure Club itself (“Colets”). This misunderstanding has now been cleared up (it was explained that Thames Ditton, the Affiliated Clubs that use the facilities there and Colets are, taken together, wholly self- financing) and the OPC’s application of the annual donation from the School has been much more clearly explained, with the result that the Governors have accepted that the OPC is run responsibly, efficiently and significantly for the benefit of the School.

Since then there have been two distinct strands that have led towards the establishment of the new arrangements that have been set down in the Memorandum of Understanding. The first strand is the School’s appointment of a Development Director, who is running a newly established Development Office into which the OPC Club office has moved, such that the School’s development and fund raising activities and the OPC friend raising activities will in future emanate from the same office, albeit with different branding. The second strand is that the High Master has consistently made it clear that he strongly supports a vibrant, active and autonomous Old Boys’ association which will continue to be supported financially by the School (albeit in a lesser amount as many of the OPC’s expenses will now be absorbed into the new Development Office and so paid for directly by the School) and which should be run, as now, by enthusiastic volunteers, but supported by a professionally run and staffed Development Office.

I should clarify, as the concern has been raised, that there is absolutely no question of the School having any access to, or taking over, any of the OPC’s assets, which are completely outside the ambit of these discussions. The OPC’s financial reserves and its assets at Thames Ditton remain fully within its control and it is made clear in the MoU that the OPC’s income derived from the Thames Ditton site (including, e.g., any rent payable to OPC by Colets) is entirely outside the scope of the arrangements . The primary financial implication of the new arrangements as far as the OPC’s accounts are concerned, as mentioned above, is that in future the Club will receive a somewhat lesser annual donation from the School, whilst the School will assume responsibility for many of the OPC’s current expenses. To the extent that there are cost synergies arising out of the new arrangements, the savings derived therefrom will in effect be put towards defraying some of the costs of the new Development Office.

The MoU specifies that if the OPC still derives a surplus out of this reduced donation (after allowing for a proper allocation to prudent reserves) that surplus will be paid into a new OPC Charitable Fund (referred to in more detail below) to be used for the charitable purposes of the School. (By way of example, if the School give OPC a donation of £60,000 - the exact amount of the donation will be negotiated each year, but currently it is in this range - in any year and if the OPC spend £55,000 and allocate £4,000 to reserves, then OPC will pay the remaining £1,000 to this charitable fund. The purpose of this arrangement is twofold - both to ensure that the School does not need to be overly concerned about the exact level of its donation to OPC each year as it will ultimately receive back any excess, and also to ensure that the School does not donate funds to OPC which are simply used to boost unnecessarily or inappropriately OPC Reserves).

In support of the desire of the School to have a vibrant, active and autonomous Old Boys’ association, the MoU emphasises the OPC’s continuing role in producing our communications (OP News magazines, eNews, etc.), in arranging and perhaps extending the wide array of business and social events that we now carry on, in organising our own finances and in the production and sale of our merchandise, as well as supporting our Affiliated Clubs and Branches. Of course the OPC will also carry on its usual administrative activities in providing the interface with Old Paulines generally.

Whilst, as both a matter of administrative convenience and overall cost saving, the School’s Development Office and the Old Pauline office will be merged under the overall control of the Development Director, it is the intention that, to the vast majority of Old Paulines, any change in the arrangements and to the service provided by the Club to its members will be virtually invisible and it is anticipated that OPC will carry on very much as it has done throughout its recent history. The Club’s current Manager has been appointed as Communications Manager in the new office and will continue to work seamlessly for the Club. The integrated Development Office, which will include a base for the Hon Secretary, will be moving this summer to new accommodation within the School.

The Memorandum of Understanding also provides, for the first time, for the establishment of an Old Pauline Charitable Fund (which will be part of the overall Restricted Charitable Funds run by the School) into which, if they so wish, Old Paulines may choose to direct donations that they intend to make to the School, thereby emphasising the value to the School of the Old Pauline network. That fund will, as mentioned above, also receive the unused surplus arising out of the donation made by the School to OPC in any given year.

The Main Committee has fully endorsed these arrangements as the start of a much more co-operative arrangement with the School under which the OPC’s friend raising and other activities will be fully supported by a professionally run and staffed Development Office set up to drive the School’s relationship with the whole of the wider Pauline Community. It is for all the above reasons that the concept behind the MoU, and the document itself,  was resoundingly approved by the  Main Committee after lengthy discussions amongst themselves and with the School during the first  part of the 2013/4 School year.

I do hope that you will find this explanation of the changes to the arrangements between OPC and the School both clear and helpful.
 

John East
President OP Club

May 2014

 

Click on the following links:

 

Memorandum of Understanding

 

Rules of the Club

 

New Science Block

Address: Lonsdale Road, Barnes, London SW13 9JT • Tel: 020 8746 5390 • Email: opcadmin@stpaulsschool.org.uk