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Venue: Field Studies Centre

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Sylvia Moys (committee Member), Tony Thomas (committee Member), Mark Castle (FSC, CEO), Colin Buttery (Director, Open Spaces) and Jo Hurst (Business Manager, Open Spaces).

 

The Chairman then conveyed his thanks to Barbara Newman who, as a member of the Epping Forest Committee for over twenty-years, had been closely involved with the work of the Epping Forest Joint Consultative Committee. He also referenced the sad passing of Peter Adams MBE in April 2018, who had served as a Verderer since 1997.

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2.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Minutes:

There were none.

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3.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 55 KB

To agree the minutes of the last meeting, held on 20 October 2017.

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Minutes:

The Committee considered and approved the minutes of the last meeting of the Epping Forest Joint Consultative Committee held on 20 October 2017.

 

Resolved – That the minutes of the last meeting of the Epping Forest Joint Consultative Committee held on 20 October 2017 be approved as an accurate record.

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4.

FSC REPORT ON 2017 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Report of the Field Studies Council.

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Minutes:

Helen Robertson (Centre Manager, FSC Epping Forest) introduced a report setting out the work of the Field Studies Centre in 2017, although it was noted that the last update report had been presented in October 2017 so some of the data had already been provided. 

 

It was noted that 2017 was the first full year under new management, and with a restructured team who delivered courses to 20,830 learners, meeting or exceeding the expectations of 98.9% of customers. Of these, 2,513 (12.1%) attended as a subsidised learner. With reference to a number highlights of the year, as set out in the report, and which demonstrated the FSC’s work regionally and across all South West sites, it was noted that 2017 had been very successful and there had been a significant increase in community engagement.

 

With reference to customer feedback, those present were advised that whilst all visitors were asked to provide feedback, it was not always given but that which was received continued to be positive with 98.9% of customers stating that the Centre met or exceeded their expectations.  The most regularly used words of “fun” and “learning” highlighted the impact the Centre had on visitors. 

 

In respect of the external awards and badging that the Centre had received to date, it was noted that the Carbon Trust Standards applied to the charity as a whole and the Centre therefore had a role to play in contributing to the reduction of CO2 year on year and attainment of the award.

 

In closing, the Centre Manager stressed the on-going importance of the successful partnership with the City of London, not only in terms of its grant but also the provision and maintenance of the building and the support provided by Members and Officers to ensure that high quality teaching to a

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5.

FSC 2017 YEAR END AND 2018 BUDGET pdf icon PDF 368 KB

Report of the Field Studies Council.

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Minutes:

The Committee considered the 2017 Year End budget and noted, following an introduction by Geoff Brown (FSC Honorary Treasurer), that the FSC contributed a higher proportion than the City Corporation towards the costs of FSC Epping Forest and good value was certainly being achieved. Members were advised that there was a drive to regionalise some of the FSC’s activities following the appointment of a new Chief Executive in March and implementation of a number of changes across the organisation which were expected to conclude later in the month.  Whilst these changes were expected to realise savings, it was also hoped that the Heads of Regions would be able to play a more significant role on the Senior Leadership Team. Richard Walker (FSC Director of Finance) confirmed that the focus was on reducing costs, although the Committee noted that FSC Epping Forest did not contribute to any centralised property costs.

 

In respect of the 2018 budget, it was noted that this had been submitted to the October meeting of the Joint Consultative Committee.

 

Resolved – That the report be noted.

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6.

FSC REPORT ON 2018 TO DATE pdf icon PDF 600 KB

 

Report of the Field Studies Council.

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Minutes:

Members of the Committee considered a report of the Centre Manager and noted a summary of the achievements of FSC Epping Forest, based on the period January 2018 until May 2018. Members were informed that the Centre continued to deliver high quality learning opportunities in Epping Forest, working together with the City of London. During the period of January to May Officers delivered first hand experiences to 7,788 learners, in line with expectations. This was expected to continue the exceed the target of over 20,000 learners in 2018.

 

It was noted that following the arrival of a new CEO at the FSC in March 2018, a new vision (up to 2025) had been developed which focussed on “getting kids outdoors and understanding the environment and well-being”.  Whilst the document and the key themes had been agreed by the Trustees, the vision, which complemented the Epping Forest Management Plan and the City Corporation’s Corporate Strategy, had not yet been rolled out.  Members noted that whilst the health and well-being strands were not new in respect of the Centre’s work, they would now be more proactively profiled. The Centre Manager advised those present that work was underway via the Head Office to identify linkage with wider strategies such as the London Environment Strategy and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ 25-year plan.

 

With regards to key activities to date, the Centre Manager explained that weekday morning activities for toddlers, after school sessions for primary school children and family activities at weekends had now been rolled out. In respect of resources and publications, over 1000 tree ID postcards had been handed out over the past year, with 240 provided for the Essex Healthy Schools Programme award ceremony. Whilst the postcards were published internally the Centre Manager commented that any suggestions around

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Field Studies Centre - Cyclical Works Programme pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Report of the Director of Open Spaces.

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Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Director of Open Spaces and Heritage relative to the 20-Year Plan and the Cyclical Works Programme (CWP) at the Epping Forest Field Studies Centre which was managed by the City Surveyor’s Department and covered a number of operational and domestic buildings at the site including the “Qvist Building”, the timber classroom and staff accommodation.

 

Members noted the works that were included in the CWP for 2018/19 at the Centre including boiler, flooring, radiator and kitchen replacement works in various buildings and doors/windows replacement in the oil store.  It was noted that the 20-Year Plan did not include frequent low-level maintenance such as gutter cleaning and fire alarm testing and such work was undertaken on-site in collaboration with the FSC.  The large-scale works were managed by the City Surveyor’s Department with funds allocated by the Corporate Asset Sub (Finance) Committee. In response to a query regarding timescales for completion of works, the Centre Manager confirmed that officers from the City Surveyor’s Department had visited the Centre to consider the spending priorities and matters were very much in hand and progressing. 

 

In noting the importance of the 20-Year Plan and the CWP, Ms White commented on the FSC’s commitment, as a sustainable and progressive organisation, to reducing carbon and the need to share FSC research and best practice with partners and visitors in the future.  The Superintendent commented on the City Corporation’s commitment and how action to address the carbon issue was increasingly important given the declining health of the forest.

 

On behalf of FSC, Mark Bolland (Director of Operations, FSC), welcomed the 20-Year Plan and the very real long-term investment in infrastructure the City Corporation was making at FSC Epping Forest.   He commented that operationally, the works allowed the FSC to be more forward

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8.

Commemorating 50 years of FSC Epping Forest in 2021

Minutes:

The Centre Manager referred to the 50-year commemorations in 2021 following the start of the partnership agreement between the FSC and the City Corporation in 1970 and the opening of the FSC in Epping in 1971.  It was agreed that early discussions about how the anniversary should be marked were important, as was the opportunity to celebrate the longevity of the partnership and the impact the Centre continues to have on people around and beyond the forest boundaries. In noting that it was important to mark both dates as part of the commemoration, it was suggested that the replacement of the timber classroom with a solid and more sustainable unit would be ideal.  A Trustee suggested that 2020 could be reflected in a celebration of people, those that have benefited from the learning offer via the partnership since 1970 and 2021 could be marked by a celebration of the building. With reference to the concept of installing a tree-tower looking out across the forest, a Trustee reflected on the impact of stepping into the Forest after a short tube journey from the City and how one could quickly become immersed in the depths of the Forest and how this aspect might instead be the focus of the future celebrations.

 

In order to progress matters, it was agreed that, with the full support of the City Corporation and the Trustees, the FSC and the Superintendent should have further discussions and return to the Committee’s next meeting with a range of options and potential cost implications.  It was noted that scope for future fund-raising to support the commemorative activities should be explored in due course, once suitable options and celebratory activities had been agreed.

 

Resolved – That:-

(i)            the discussion be noted; and

(ii)           a report, setting out options for commemorative activities/events

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9.

Questions relating to the work of the committee

Minutes:

There were none.

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10.

Any other business

Minutes:

With the Chairman’s consent, the following items of business were also considered:-

 

(i)     Constitutional Arrangements

 

With reference to the Counterpart Agreement which was last revised in 2001, it was suggested that the Agreement, which should be reviewed and, if necessary, updated every ten years, was in need of review, particularly as the funding arrangements within the document had since been superseded. It was noted that there were currently no terms of reference for the Joint Consultative Committee or an established position in respect of quoracy.

 

In noting the suggestion made that consideration of other existing delivery partnership agreements might be beneficial during the review process, Helen Robertson and Paul Thomson undertook to circulate the existing Counterpart Agreement to all Trustees for consideration; review the existing documentation; and submit a report and recommended revisions to the next meeting of the Joint Consultative Committee.

 

Resolved – That:-

(i)            the existing Counterpart Agreement be circulated to all Trustees for consideration;

(ii)           Helen Robertson and Paul Thomson review the existing documentation; and

(iii)          a report and recommended revisions to the Counterpart Agreement be submitted to the next meeting of the Joint Consultative Committee.

 

(ii)       Residential Development

 

In response to a query regarding a potential residential development at the Environmental Education Centre, Church Hill, those present were advised that the centre was now a trading service and no longer linked to schools.  It was noted that whilst the building was in a terrible state, there was the potential for it to be a very valuable residential site and it was possible, given the projects currently being delivered by the London Borough of Waltham Forest, that a redevelopment would proceed.  Helen Robertson advised those present that the centre already offered residential facilities in the form of camping, so a future residential offer would not be a

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

 


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