NSW Bridge Association Transition - Frequently Asked Questions
The NSW Bridge Association (NSWBA) is going through a restructure that will result in the separation of its two functions, that of being the state body for bridge in NSW and a large Sydney based Bridge Club.
These changes, and the tasks needed to create two independent bridge bodies, have given rise to a number of questions. Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked ones (FAQs).
Please note: The terms BNSW and Club are used to describe the two proposed legal entities rather than their previous names such as SBC or NSWBA with its State Committee, Events Committee or Operations and Assets Committee. (For clarification, the name ‘Sydney Bridge Centre’ is simply a trading name for NSWBA).
What prompted the strategic review in 2022 in the first place?
Two main factors were involved:
- growing dissatisfaction of Affiliated Clubs with the services provided by the NSWBA
- sharp decline in the membership numbers of SBC that led to growing concerns about financial viability.
What were the key findings of the strategic review?
There were two main hurdles identified that prevent NSWBA from fulfilling its main obligation which is ‘promoting bridge in NSW’:
- The structure of NSWBA is dysfunctional and no longer appropriate, because:
- Affiliated Clubs do not have voting rights and
- SBC is restricted in its capacity to act in the best interest of its members
- The reluctance to review the uses and financial viability of the Goulburn St property in an honest and pragmatic way
How do you plan to restructure NSWBA?
The plan is to create two new and separate entities:
- A new Sydney Bridge Club (Club) with a separate board solely focussed on members’ needs.
- A new State peak body for Bridge in NSW (BNSW). Its members will be all the Affiliated Bridge Clubs in NSW.
Why do we need a state peak body and what does it do?
A peak body is an advocacy organisation for groups with similar interests, in this instance Bridge. It is established to take leadership in developing standards and processes, codes of conduct, to provide training and to act in the interest of all members.
The new State peak body BNSW will be responsible for promoting Bridge in NSW, helping it evolve, providing training to teachers and directors and other support services to Bridge clubs across NSW, running competitive events, as well as selecting and supporting representative teams.
What would change with this restructure? What would be the purpose of two organisations?There would be two separate organisations with more focussed goals and objectives aligning to what are priorities for a bridge club versus what are priorities for a state peak body. Below is a summary of the Purpose and Objectives of Club and BNSW:
Club PurposeBe a thriving Bridge club providing social, educational and competitive bridge playing opportunities.
- Facilitate an inclusive, accessible and friendly Bridge club and community
- Provide opportunities for participation in Bridge playing at all skills levels
- Foster the development of Bridge playing skills
- Work to ensure the overall success and sustainability of the club
Bridge NSW PurposeFoster a vibrant and inclusive Bridge playing community across NSW through leadership, advocacy and support.
Bridge NSW Objectives
- Advance the playing and enjoyment of Bridge
- Drive the development of Bridge skills
- Support Bridge clubs to be successful
Who is responsible for managing the overall restructure?
The NSWBA Council has delegated authority to the Transition Committee to oversee the restructure of NSWBA. The Transition Committee role is to guide the two Proxy Boards (Club and State) through the transition process.
It ensures council decisions are implemented and facilitates communications between all parties.
The Transition Committee members are:
- Dagmar Neumann - Project Leader
- Mary Anne Loveridge - Chair of the Club Proxy Board
- Jeff Newton - Deputy Chair of the Club Proxy Board
- Glenda Parmenter - Chair of the State Proxy Board
- Rakesh Kumar - Deputy Chair of the State Proxy Board
- Jake Andrew - Transition Program Manager
Why do we have two Proxy Boards?
The two proxy boards ensure that the interests of both entities, club and state, are represented. A refreshed set of Purpose & Objectives will guide their decisions and ensure the best initiatives.
How did Council choose members of the Transition Committee and Proxy Boards?
Early in the project we put out a call for volunteers with special skill sets, particularly people that have experience in how to grow a business, understand finances, and build strategies to ensure long-term success. We have been fortunate to attract high calibre candidates who have impressive skills and background. We are doubly lucky that these volunteers have the management experience we need, are passionate and committed, and generously donate very large amounts of time to ensure a successful future for Bridge, at club and state level.
If NSWBA is separating into two organisations, what’s going to happen with the joint assets and liabilities?
There will be a fair division of the assets of NSWBA between the Club and the BNSW.
FAIR is defined as ‘ensuring that both organisations will be set up for a successful future’.
What will happen with the NSWBA premises at 162 Goulburn Street?
The Goulburn Street property is not being sold. The future board will ensure that we make best use of the premises for a thriving bridge club.
Is the Sydney Bridge Centre closing?
No, SBC is absolutely not closing. There will be some changes and improvements over time. A lot will remain the same.
- We will still be able to enjoy social and competitive bridge at 162 Goulburn Street.
- We will still have access to workshops and other learning opportunities (beginners, intermediate and advanced) at 162 Goulburn Street.
- Our relaxed and friendly bridge options such as Sunday Funday will still be offered.
Does this mean Club members will need to play at Canada Bay?
No, play will continue as usual in Goulburn Street.
I am a Tournament player. How will I be affected?
- The new state peak body will continue to offer tournament and congress play opportunities. Tournament players will benefit from a renewed peak body with fresh ideas that will deliver high quality events, both online and face-to-face. Several major tournaments and finals will continue to be played at the Club.
- The Club recognises the importance of current tournament players who are Club members and plans to develop pathways for future tournament players. The Club will run Qualifying events for State Championship finals and are investigating high quality playing opportunities at the Club for these members.
Is the NSWBA situation different from other states? And what is happening there?
Over the past decades each Australian state has made this transition. Victoria is also in the process of making this change, but they started before NSW. NSWBA is building on the experiences of other state bodies.
How will I get information about the changes?
Other than the frequent updates from council and the project team we are hoping to schedule townhall meetings and Q&A sessions. Please don’t hesitate to submit your questions at any time.
How can I have input into this decision-making process?
- Please send questions and feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Please attend the upcoming townhalls and Q&A sessions.
- Members will vote on the Separation Plan at a General Meeting.
- Affiliated Clubs can also provide input through their Regional Representatives or Zonal Councillors.