Welcome to the AGM 2021 page.
It is a shame that we are having to conduct our AGM remotely again this year, but we hope to be back with an in-person AGM in 2022.
AGM 2021 voting results
The voting in the 2021 AGM was as follows:
A total of 1,260 votes these, 766 (60.8%) were in favour of the motions voted on and 488 (38.7%) were proxy votes, which authorised the Chairman to vote on behalf of the member. There were 6 abstentions (0.5%) and no votes against. The votes are broken down as follows:
- The 2019-2020 AGM minutes were agreed. Of the 180 votes cast, 179 were in favour of accepting the minutes. 70 of these were proxy votes cast on members’ behalf by the Chairman. There were no votes against and one abstention.
- The Trustees’ Report for 2020 was accepted by members. All of the 180 votes cast were in favour, of which 70 were proxy votes. There were no abstentions.
- The Financial Statements for 2020 were accepted by members. All of the 180 votes cast were in favour, of which 74 were proxy votes. There were no abstentions.
- Members voted to appoint Bishop Fleming of Sutton Harbour, Plymouth as accountants and independent examiners for 2021. Of the 180 votes cast, 178 were in favour, 68 were proxy votes, and there were two abstentions.
- Members voted in favour of authorising the DPA Trustees to make certain defined administrative changes to the DPA Constitution. Of the 180 votes cast, 177 were in favour, of which 69 were proxy votes. There were three abstentions.
- Members voted overwhelmingly for those standing for election, as follows:
|Proxy votes “For”||67||69|
|Sub-total – Votes “For”||180||180|
|Total votes cast||180||180|
The Trustees would like to thank everyone who took part in the AGM voting and hope to return to holding a face-to-face meeting in May 2022.
Questions for the Trustees
Three questions were submitted to the Trustees. They are shown below with their answers:
Does the DPA have a view on the DNPA plastering the Moor with intrusive yellow signs telling the public what they must not do, mostly not parking motor homes overnight? Permanent notice bearing posts have been erected on the common which seems to herald an ongoing policy of publicising the byelaws even after the Covid emergency. This seems to be a disproportionate reaction by the Park, and why have the traditional wooden signs been superseded by garish yellow plastic?
The DPA is aware of a proliferation of signs at car parks during and after the Covid lockdowns explaining the byelaws, many informing that overnight stays in motorhomes prohibited. Signs have also appeared on walking routes on the Moor, saying ‘No Camping, No Fires, No BBQ’s.’ The consultation on the revision of the byelaws has commenced on 20 September and will close on 1 November 2021. The trustees will be considering the byelaws at their October meeting and a response to the DNPA consultation will be submitted. As the byelaws are clearly in need of revision due to the issues which have recently arisen, so any changes which are then made will need to be communicated to the public and how they are then to be enforced. The question of the visual impact of signage will be part of the DPA submission and we will ask the DNPA to look at all options, to reduce the impact of signage, and to effectively communicate messages using all available methods, including messaging through their website, advising people to plan their visit before they arrive and where they will stay, for example, and social media messaging.
The Trustees consider that reserves should be £110K, compared with the current level of free reserves of £58K, implying that there is a need to generate surpluses in order to increase free reserves. However, the Association has £1.47m of unrestricted investments, an increase of £233K over the 9 months of the report. How have Trustees reached the decision that this amount should be retained as investment, rather than partially realised in order to increase free reserves to the target level.
When the budget for the financial period ending 31st December 2020 was approved, it included assumptions on the level of revenue that would be generated from a combination of membership subscriptions and monthly withdrawals of investment income. It also identified the need for an additional “top-up” of around £50k, to be withdrawn from our investment holdings. Together, these sums would comprise the “reserves” figure of £110k.
The first half of 2020 was characterised by financial uncertainty and volatility. In March, a growing understanding of how serious the covid pandemic would become caused a significant fall in financial markets, giving rise to concerns over the impact that this would have upon the value of our investments. In addition, our advisers felt there was a possibility that company dividends would be greatly reduced later in the year. In this event, the return on the investments might not generate the reserves income needed to meet the DPA’s budgeted working capital requirements.
In the light of the above, we carried out a thorough review of the DPA’s income, expenditure and cash flow in May 2020, aimed at determining whether we could continue to draw investment income at the budgeted level and whether or not we should take the top-up withdrawal. This review identified cost savings, as well as areas where expenditure could be re-phased and postponed. The decision was taken to proceed as planned with our planned monthly investment withdrawals and postpone making a decision on the top-up until things became clearer.
In addition to these mitigation measures, further expenditure reductions occurred due to delays to a number of the projects which we had committed to funding support. The combined effect of these events was that, at the start of the final quarter of the year, we were still not certain whether we would need to proceed with the plan to withdraw £50k from our investments to top up our reserves.
At that point, we finally received a long-anticipated legacy payment of around £51k. After discussions with our trustees and financial advisers, the decision was made to hold this payment in cash to meet our expenditure requirements, rather than withdraw investment funds to top-up the reserves.
Next month, the DPA’s trustees will launch the budgeting process for financial year 2022. Whilst it is quite likely that the level of free reserves will continue to be approximately one year’s expenditure, the actual amount may differ from the 2020 and 2021 requirements. As we start to come out of the covid restrictions, we are already starting to see the pace of the projects we are funding pick up; the trustees will also be reviewing the DPA’s priorities for the next few years, and this could well result in an increase in anticipated expenditure levels, which may have to be met by withdrawing funds from our investment holdings.
Finally, the £233k increase in the value of our investments was solely due to the rise in the value of the DPA’s portfolio, as our investment managers out-performed the recovery of the stock market during the period.
Bearing in mind the investments on the balance sheet I would suggest funds be used
1 – to improve car parks with signage urging people to not despoil the park
2 – fighting any infringement of the Park due to new planning rules
3 – buy the Plume of Feathers
At their October meeting, the DPA’s trustees will launch a review of the Association’s strategy and future direction. The suggestions contained in the above question will be added to the discussion of a list of possible spending priorities.
Correction to AGM Proxy Appointment and Voting Form
A member has brought to our attention that the heading on the AGM Proxy Appointment and Voting Form incorrectly refers to the “AGM 2020”. This is a typographical error and should, of course, have read “AGM 2021”. The dates shown in the remainder of the document are correct. We apologise for any confusion that this may have caused.
Full version of the Trustees Report and Accounts
To download the full version of the Trustees Report and Accounts for the year ending 31st December 2020 please click here.
Amendment to the Constitution
In the AGM pack mailed out to members we mentioned that the Trustees need to correct a drafting error in the Constitution. This is to do with the way Trustees can make decisions if they are unable to meet in person. The proposed amendment can be found here.
To see the Trustee profiles please click here.