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RESPONSE TO CLUB'S PROPOSALS




RESPONSE TO CLUB'S PROPOSALS

At a meeting between the TUST Chairman and Secretary and directors George Edwards and Mel Hayman last week, the club's proposals for an Independent Steering Group and renewed meetings between TUST and the club were tabled.



Following feedback received at our AGM and consideration of the proposals and related conditions, the TUST board have now sent the response below to the directors.



For reference, we also include the club's original statement at the bottom of this bulletin.



 

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TUST letter to club directors



Further to our meeting last Thursday, the TUST board has now had the opportunity to consider the paper that you tabled which was also discussed with members at our AGM on Thursday evening.  TUST welcomes the proposals set out by the club subject to clarification of a few key points.


 


We agree that it is time to look to the future rather than back and in this spirit we welcome the opportunity to build a fresh and productive relationship with the club’s directors.


 


Independent Steering Group


We note that the club has already published its proposals for an Independent Steering Group.  We believe that the success of the Group will depend on the democratic appointment of its members, independent of the club.  We understand from our discussion on Thursday that this will be the case and look forward to seeing details of how this is to be achieved.


 


To give the Group the credence it requires, TUST would suggest that it should be structured along the lines of the Fan Advisory Boards (FAB), which have come out of the Fan-led Review.  If Torquay are to rise to the National League and the EFL in the coming years then this sort of engagement will be required under the independent regulator anyway, and so the club can be said to be getting a head start on things and future proofing their setup for when the requirements change upon promotion.


 


Requirements for a FAB are to;

  • operate according to written terms of reference registered with the regulator (IREF), which should be based on a standard IREF template (which may be varied to allow flexibility according to local circumstances if so requested by supporters and the club)

  • consist of 5 - 12 members appointed according to a democratic process

  • have a Chair appointed from among its members on a seasonal basis

  • have reserved seats for representatives from key supporter groups including: representatives of the body holding the Golden Share (TUST), equality, diversity and inclusion representatives, youth supporters and international supporters (if relevant)

  • members should be subject to retirement by rotation, ensuring both that there is a regular turnover of members but also that at any one time there will be a number of experienced members on the FAB.

  • hold at least quarterly meetings with club executives, with guaranteed attendance from the club CEO or equivalent twice per year

 


TUST/TUAFC liaison meetings


We welcome the proposed return of regular meetings and suggest that their frequency should be mutually agreed as the relationship develops.


 


We recognise that all engagement between TUST and the club should be on a professional and respectful basis and we are disappointed that the club felt the need to specify this when it is a given in any such relationship.  We endorse the adoption of an appropriate Code of Conduct and terms of reference, preferably in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding as adopted by many clubs.


 


Can you please provide clarification on the following points;


 


That ‘meetings with TUAFC board representatives’ means at least one TUAFC board member will attend.


 


What the restriction on ‘publishing an opinion’ means.  Clearly both TUST and its board members as individuals need to be able to express opinions, always in a respectful way in accordance with the Code of Conduct.  TUST has a social media policy which sets out guidance on how we use such platforms both as a board member and as an individual.


 


Agreed notes of the meetings to be available to our members, whilst recognising that on occasions there may be confidential items which cannot be published.


 


 


In conclusion, TUST welcomes the club’s proposal to arrange a meeting of TUST board representatives and the TUAFC board to consider how the club and TUST can work to improve the club’s communications, its reputation, influence and supporters’ experience.  As we agreed on Thursday, we all have the same ambitions and goals.


 


We look forward to hearing from you.



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Club statement issued on 30th November in full:



In talking to the supporters at home and away games it is clear TUST’s actions prior to and following the Fans Forum have resulted in a division between supporters – those that like the TUST and those that don’t.



TUST have decided based on a small number of supporters 150 – 50 in attendance and 100 on zoom to hold a protest. Everyone has the right to free speech, to their opinion and have the right to vent their emotions positive and negative but being personal, aggressive, and threatening is not acceptable.



We have taken on board what TUST Board, TUST members and other supporters have said in relation to communication and have introduced an online fans forum. We believe an online Fans Forum will allow the opportunity of all supporters to ask a question without worrying about what others will say or how they will react. This is the first phase of improving communication.



The second phase is to ensure that all supporters are represented therefore we are going to encourage an independent Supporters’ Steering Group, which we will assist in setting up and will include representatives of the following groups: Over 60’s – Men – Women – Under 18’s – Disability -Travelling Away Supporters and a TUST representative, if TUST agree to show respect to the owner, the board and its employees.



Once set up this will be an independent Supporters’ Steering Group which will have monthly meetings with board representatives and Club representatives. This will ensure that all supporters are represented equally.



We will reintroduce Monthly TUST meetings with board representatives if TUST can agree to the following:



1) We establish basic principles required to make dialogue possible.



a) An agreed code of conduct for engagement/dialogue with TUAFC Board. – we do not wish to silence dissent of the Club or management, direction, but need to ensure that disrespectful and personal remarks are not made by any individual within the management, governance of TUST and not encouraging or condoning any action by others to the same



b) Respect between TUST and TUAFC Board – no comments on person, character, background or publishing an opinion.



c) Agreed notes of meetings (both parties).



2) Based on this we will arrange a meeting of TUST Board and TUAFC Board to consider;  How the Club and TUST can work to improve the Club’s performance, its reputation and influence and the supporters experience.







 


SUPPORT TUST - SUPPORT YOUR COMMUNITY


 





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