21st July 2016. WIA Reform Group – News Letter Number 12

Hello everyone,

We’ve a fair bit to report this week, so the newsletter is a little longer than normal. Since last week we’ve received a response from the WIA to our questions about the Financial Report and the Annual General Meeting.

You will recall we wrote to the board following the Annual General Meeting and their appalling lack of details with relation to many of the questions we asked. We highlighted a multitude of errors, which, on their own, may not sound too alarming, but when considered in totality lead to one simple conclusion:

 This board is exposing the WIA to unnecessary financial risk, particularly in relation to its agreement with the ACMA (Exam and Callsign Management Services).

Unsurprisingly, the Board accepted no responsibility for their errors and oversights. The one big take-away from this exercise is that the Board had no idea of these errors and would have continued on unwittingly had we not brought them to their attention.

Since Trainsafe took over the operation of the WIA National Office it seems that a multitude of business processes have failed. The Board has taken no effort to identify or remedy those issues even though a number of people have warned them. As equally concerning is that all Directors approved the Financial Report. Asleep at the wheel.

The watery answers confirm our suspicions that this Board has no real control over the financial management of WIA funds. The Board advised that it was not aware of any additional “misallocations”. Given they were unaware of the “misallocations”, (let’s call them what they are, financial reporting failures) we pointed out, we are not surprised that they remain unaware of additional problems. All this is following a statement from the President in February that the Institute’s accounts were in good order. Asleep at the wheel.

The other point the President made in his response is that contractor expenses had increased as the WIA is now using paid staff to perform work previously performed by volunteers.

You can all draw your own conclusions from that, but it’s our informed viewpoint that this is a direct result of a breakdown between volunteers and the National Office and certain Board members over the past 12 months. And it’s no coincidence that Trainsafe was playing an influential role during this period. A number of volunteers have contacted us and confirmed our concerns about this matter.

WIA members should want to volunteer; they should be encouraged and nurtured by the board. Sadly, too often the opposite is true. If you know any volunteers (current or retired) ask them for an “off the record” chat about their experiences.

What is the WIA Treasurer and Board doing to assure members that they have financial control over our funds?

The WIA Website no longer informs members of the Treasurer’s name. Who is the WIA Treasurer and does that person have the required skills and knowledge to manage the business appropriately? Does this mean this Board will be on its 5th Treasurer in 12 months?

The President advised us that the WIA would be releasing its half-yearly financial position shortly and its plans for increasing income. We will inspect this statement closely, and we encourage you to do the same.

The WIA Reform Group has studied the financial statements in detail and has considered the ongoing issue of profitability in the broader context of our hobby. It is our view that the following initiatives should be structured into a strategic plan and implemented immediately:

  • Implement a proper financial management function, a part of which would be to review monthly P&L results to identify profit leakage, unnecessary expenditure and opportunities for efficiency improvement. The Board must understand that they can’t wait another year to learn they have lost another $60,000.
  • Perform a robust and professional review of office costs and requirements. A review of the “Where does your $95 go?” highlights this as representing about 50% of all costs.
  • Initiate a strategy to progressively move Amateur Radio Magazine to a true digital magazine format. This would create massive cost savings and increased opportunity for advertising revenue.
  • Develop and implement a plan to address falling amateur and membership numbers; Every 100 new members represents about $10,000 in additional revenue.

The above points require an entirely new way of thinking about WIA’s business model. The incumbent board members (excluding the newer members) are clearly out-of-date with their skills and business acumen.

They continue to run our Institute with a 1980’s mindset. It is our informed opinion that Trainsafe created a multitude of problems since its appointment in August 2015, and until the WIA distances itself completely from that company and its directors it will be very difficult to address these issues.

We will continue lobbying for change. We will continue to call for an end to the arrogant, incompetent culture that has beset the board of the WIA.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.

Every week we get emails of support and we’ll continue to call this Board to account as well as making positive, consultative contributions to the future of the hobby. However, there are still many people who are unaware of the WIA Reform Group.

Forward this email to your local club and friends. Take a copy when you meet local amateurs for a coffee. If they contact Feedback@wiarg.org we can send them a newsletter direct.

Stay up-to-date with news and progress; – visit www.wiarg.org .
We’ll continue to challenge this Board and demand better results. A strong WIA is critical to protect our hobby. We encourage every radio amateur in Australia to be a member.

Until next week,
G.C. Dunstan VK4DU, C. Chapman VK3QB, R. Dollar VK8RD

PS. We don’t want to spam you. Send us an email if you’d prefer we remove you from our mailing list.