AGM 2020 Minutes
Minutes of Leathermarket JMB AGM 30th September 2020
Held via Zoom due to Covid-19 restrictions on group gatherings
29 JMB members attended. An attendance list is held by the Leathermarket JMB.
The meeting was also attended by co-opted directors, Leathermarket JMB staff, auditor Peter Hudson (Kreston Reeves), ward councillors, and Southwark Council officer Alex Heslop.
- JMB Chair’s Welcome
JMB Chair Christine Parsons welcomed attendees, and apologies were recorded. It was noted that the meeting had reached the quorum of at least 25 members.
JMB Manager Andy Bates introduced the process and protocols for managing the virtual meeting via Zoom.
- JMB Chair’s Report
JMB Chair Christine Parsons said that she was immensely proud of the way that the Leathermarket JMB community had responded to the Covid-19 pandemic. Especially, with regard to the food and urgent help programme. She thanked directors, volunteers, and staff for all of their work during the pandemic and thanked residents for their patience while the office doors were closed.
- 2019/20 Audited Accounts
Berni McEwan presented the annual accounts and noted that the full set of accounts (along with the annual report) were available on the Leathermarket JMB website.
The JMB reported a surplus of £1.1 million during the financial year, as the JMB is lining up funding for a surge in major works schemes beginning in 2021.
Auditor Peter Hudson, of Kreston Reeves, reported that the audit was clean with the accounts representing a true and fair view of the state of the JMB accounts. He reported that some minor tweaks had been recommended where internal systems had changed.
Members were invited to vote to accept the annual accounts – 24 votes in favour, 2 abstentions.
- Reappointment of Auditors
JMB Finance Manager Berni McEwan recommended the reappointment of the auditors Kreston Reeves, indicating that they make constructive suggestions to improve the JMB’s processes.
John Paul Maytum proposed the reappointment of Kreston Reeves as the auditor and Liam McGrath seconded the motion.
Members were invited to vote to reappoint auditors Kreston Reeves for the upcoming year – 21 votes in favour, 2 abstentions.
- Manager’s Report
JMB Manager Andy Bates presented the JMB’s Business Plan objectives and key building blocks.
Andy reported that Covid-19 has been a challenge for everyone but that there had been an excellent response from the JMB community, directors, volunteers, and staff.
The JMB has also undertaken a major reorganisation of how it delivers its services, with Resident Services Officers now serving as the first point of contact for residents. The JMB has also taken on responsibility for most homeowner services. Performance against Key Performance Indicators are summarised in the Annual Report, but it was noted that a combination of Covid-19 disruption and the reorganisation of services has meant that the JMB’s priority has been maintaining, rather than improving, performance this year.
Andy also reported on the equalities impact assessment of the JMB’s work on individuals with protected characteristics. He noted that the CBS’s building programme is also contributing to meeting housing needs among groups with protected characteristics on the JMB’s estates.
It was reported that rent and homeowner charge collection remains strong, which means that the JMB is able to renew services that would have a profound effect on residents’ quality of life if they fail, i.e. communal heating systems and lifts.
- Ratification of directors
The following residents nominated by open ballots within each tenants and residents association were presented for ratification:
- Bermondsey Street: Martina Moh & Liam McGrath
- Decima Street: Daniel Kanu & Donna Hyllam
- Crosby, Lockyer & Hamilton: Christine Parsons & vacancy
- Kipling: Clive Shaw & Nick Zuppar
- Lawson: Debbie Walsh & Jacqui Roche.
Each of the nominated directors made a brief statement of their interest in serving as a director.
Christine Parsons proposed ratification of the directors and Sarah Hatchard seconded it.
Members were invited to vote to agree the JMB directors nominated by the 5 tenants and residents associations – 25 votes in favour, 1 against.
- Resolution for Continuation of the JMB
At each AGM members are asked whether they wish the JMB to continue. This is in addition to the formal continuation ballot every five years.
Members were invited to vote on the continuation of the JMB – 25 votes in favour, 1 abstention.
- Contribution from Southwark Councillors
Councillors Damian O’Brien and Humaira Ali gave an update on behalf of the councillors for the London Bridge ward. Cllr Damian O’Brien reported on the Greener Bermondsey group, the Bermondsey Street festival, planning applications for tall buildings on St. Thomas Street, potential uses of CIL money, and the trial to partially pedestrianize Bermondsey Street. He also noted that there were approximately 1500 tulip bulbs remaining to be planted in the local area, if any residents were interested.
Councillor Helen Dennis also attended the early portion of the meeting on behalf of Chaucer ward.
- Motion from JMB member Richard Lee
Richard Lee presented a motion to undertake health checks on tenants and residents associations to see how well they are functioning and where more support from the JMB is needed. He noted that there needs to be a stronger mechanism to bring new tenants into contact with their TRAs. He also indicated that JMB staff view the TRAs as independent, but that the JMB’s model of governance relies heavily on well-functioning TRAs to ensure effective resident representation. Finally, he asked how the JMB provides a supportive framework for the TRAs. The JMB’s Communication & Participation subgroup includes in its terms of reference support for TRAs, and suggested that this group should carry out an evaluation of how TRAs are doing and what their support needs are.
Co-opted director Lee Page expressed support for the motivation behind the motion, with some minor amendments to the wording of the motion as circulated. He noted that the timescale of 3 months suggested was too short to be feasible, and also raised concerns about how much more influence TRAs could have in JMB governance, given that directors of the JMB are already elected by TRAs.
Other comments were received from members:
- Agreeing that the TRAs could use more support from the JMB
- Agreeing that the timescale of 3 months was too short to deliver the motion as proposed
- Noting that a similar exercise had been undertaken by the JMB 7 years ago and that further work could build on this initial exercise.
JMB director Debbie Walsh proposed a counter motion that the JMB’s Communication & Participation subgroup work with TRAs to produce an action plan for the JMB to provide more structured support to TRAs, where it is required to enhance their membership and ensure they have the necessary skills and support to remain a critical friend for the future.
JMB director Donna Hyllam spoke in support of this counter motion and some questions were raised about the timescale on which this counter motion had been raised.
Richard Lee indicated he was happy to accept the amendments proposed by Lee Page, to extend the timescale to at least 6 months and to remove the reference to more influence for TRAs. Debbie Walsh indicated that she would withdraw her counter motion on this basis, noting that not all TRAs face the challenges outlined in Richard Lee’s motion.
Members were invited to vote on Richard Lee’s motion with amendments as set out in the paragraph above – 15 votes in favour, 8 votes against.
- Motion from non-resident leaseholder Brendan O’Brien
Brendan O’Brien presented his motion to create a new director position for non-resident leaseholders nominated through the Homeowner Subcommittee (or by election by non-resident leaseholders). He noted that all people who have a contract with the landlord should have the opportunity to serve as a Director, as non-resident leaseholders are affected by service charges, major works, and estate decisions that affect them but are currently ineligible for effective representation in these decisions as part of the Board of Directors.
He also noted that non-resident leaseholders who are genuinely interested and involved in the area have valuable skills to contribute to the JMB Board, and that they are eligible to vote in the JMB’s continuation ballots.
Co-opted director Lee Page spoke on concerns about the motion. He indicated that as a community organisation, the membership of JMB directors should be rooted in the community as far as possible and that a residential requirement helps to facilitate this.
Other comments were received from members:
- Raising the question of whether non-resident leaseholders should be eligible for membership of the JMB if interested
- Emphasising the importance of representation from residents who are members of the community
- Acknowledging the contributions of some non-resident leaseholders to the JMB community over the years
- Noting that leaseholders are already represented on the JMB Board, in the form of resident leaseholders
- Arguing that having an elected representative acting on behalf of a small group of non-residents would be undemocratic
- Reminding members that important decisions on many of the issues in question are made at JMB subgroups where non-resident leaseholders are welcome
Christine Parsons recommended that the issue be brought back to the JMB Board for discussion, and that a Special General Meeting could later be called to decide on the issue. Brendan O’Brien requested that the vote on his motion still be brought forward. Christine Parsons noted that, as the Chair of the JMB Board, she recommended that members vote against the motion.
Members were invited to vote on Brendan O’Brien’s motion – 4 votes in favour, 17 votes against, 4 abstentions.
- Minutes of Last AGM Meeting
Members were asked to agree the minutes from the previous AGM. Debbie Walsh proposed that the minutes be agreed and Liam McGrath seconded the motion.
Members were invited to vote to agree the minutes – 16 votes in favour, 5 abstentions.
An update was requested on the heating and hot water issues on the Meakin Estate and Andy Bates gave an update.
- Meeting concluded
Christine Parsons thanked Jean Davies, Nick Pandey, Jackie Scorer, John Lynch, and Sean Jeannette for their services as directors throughout the year. Christine also thanked everyone for their contribution and invited members to get involved with the JMB’s subgroups if interested.