We hope this Branch Review finds you safe and well.
Obviously, with the current situation, we cannot hold our planned AGM event, which was going to feature how a worldwide Bristol based event, The Wildscreen Festival, is managed. However, we still wanted to report to our members what the branch has done over the last year, and to look forward to the current year. So, this newsletter will replace the Chairman’s and Treasurer’s Reports that we normally present at the AGM.
As a way of introduction, a reminder that the mission statement from our business plan is focused on two key aims. Firstly, to meet your needs as branch members we host events intended to share good practice in project management across a wide range of industry sectors in order to support your professional development. Note that we rely on your comments on the event evaluation sheets to determine the subject matter to be covered in events – that is why we take them so seriously.
Secondly, the Branch also supports HQ to meet the APM’s corporate business plan objectives and policy. Branches have a key role helping to deliver the APM’s strategy and vision that “All Projects Succeed”, and to promote ChPP at Branch events.
We have a very vibrant and dedicated committee who help to organise events across the South Wales and West of England region:
- Martin Gosden - Chairman
- Claire Mills - Secretary
- Gary Mainwaring - Treasurer, South Wales Chapter
- Allan Reid - South Wales Chapter
- Julian Harris - Cornwall, Devon & Somerset Chapter
- Nina Hartley - Cornwall, Devon & Somerset Chapter
- Peter Wakeling - Corporate Member Liaison
- Mike Kimmins - Professional Development
- Bruce Phillips - Education Network Rep, PM Challenge Competition Head
- Paul Johnson - Newcomer Rep, PM Challenge Competition Deputy Head
- Stevie Gosling - Diversity Rep
APM also provides the Branch with excellent support; Ellie Breakwell, as Branch Co-ordinator, and Catherine Bendell, Branch Administrator. Ellie took over from Charlotte Bevan, our previous Co-ordinator, in January 2020.
So, what have we done over the last year?
We have held 18 evening events against a target of 19. Our last physical event was held on 12th March, and we had to postpone the event planned for 19th March due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Two Branch Corporate Advisory Group (BCAG) meetings were held with Higher Educational Institutes (HEIs) and Corporate Members working together for mutual benefit. The BCAG members worked very hard to plan and stage our first major South West PM Conference on 24th June 19, and it was a great success with 114 attendees.
We were really pleased to launch our 6th annual PM Challenge competition on 23rd October with 13 teams this year: three teams from Airbus/UWE, two teams each from Babcock DST and from Turner & Townsend, and one team each from Atkins, Frazer Nash, Ultra Electronics, I3-Works, Jacobs and Rolls Royce. Unfortunately, Rolls Royce had to withdraw following Stage 1 of the competition.
We have worked with several SIGs to host events, and also INCOSE. In collaboration with the People SIG, our annual one-day seminar, Project manager to leader seminar: The what, why and how on 27th November, focused on Leadership and attracted 111 attendees.
Member attendance at events was up on last year, from 891 to 966. However, “no show” rates are still an issue. We realise that life sometimes gets in the way of personal development, but please do let us know if you are unable to attend - it helps us spend our budget (funded by your membership fees) for event catering more effectively.
Membership has grown to 4056, from just over 3779, and the number of Corporate Partners and Affiliates registered in the SWWE region is 41, down from 42.
We have produced less Branch Newsletters over the year, but have countered this by setting up a Twitter account to advertise events and to suggest a tip of the month. We also post event newsletter articles for each event on the Branch Web Site, together with the presentations, whenever possible.
Regarding HEIs, we have continued to work with the University of the West of England, University of South Wales Newport, and are looking to improve contacts with other Universities - but this is not proving easy. We continue to strengthen links between Corporates and HEIs through the BCAG.
Our Newcomers’ strategy includes introductory level events and networking, allowing less experienced members to get together with our grey beards and explore the opportunities provided by the profession.
Looking ahead to the current year, we anticipate challenges arising from the current uncertainties and social distancing restrictions. Consequently, we have cancelled all physical events until at least 2021. As a replacement, the APM has been organising a programme of CPD Webinars each week for members. Several of our planned events have been included in this programme. We are continuing to plan and prepare for events for when the restrictions are eased, but obviously we will not meet our business plan targets this year.
The PM Challenge competition was completed, but our Finals Night was held virtually on 13th May, with our four finalists - Atkins, Babcock, Babcock DST and Frazer Nash - presenting remotely. Overall the evening went very well and the Winner was announced as Team Aztec, from Atkins, working with Chipping Sodbury Rotary Club on a Health and Well Being Event, and the Story Board Winner as Team Equilateral, a joint AirBus/UWE team, working with charity Headway to improve their marketing profile, . Very well done to all the teams who took part.
A virtual BCAG meeting was held on 22nd April, with presentations from Ibis House and discussion on the planning of the South West Conference. A BCAG Steering Group is planning this year’s South West Conference to take place during October. Planning and preparation are progressing well. More details to follow soon.
There is a lot going on at APM as well. A few highlights are:
- ChPP is going well with over 1184 awards, 93 of which are overseas. The majority now are taking Route 3.
- APM Learning – online learning resources structured against the BoK 7 topics – which is continuing to expand.
- APM Hub was launched. This peer to peer platform is designed to help members get in touch and interact.
- APM Project Fundamentals and Project Management Qualifications have been aligned with BOK 7 and exams are now online.
Regarding branch finances, our performance against the FY 2019/2020 budget is as follows:
Branch Allocation - £25,888
Branch expenditure - £17,905
We fell just short of our income target, the majority of income arising from the 2020 South West Conference and the Leadership one-day events. Expenditure was 30% below budget, primarily due to the generous support of our Corporate members in hosting both evening events and BCAG meetings – this is much appreciated.
The branch has been allocated a core budget of £17,500 for FY 2020/2021, only 2% lower than the expenditure for FY 2019/2020. We will also have access to an “APM Additional Activity Pot” to supplement our branch core budget as the year progresses and when funds are required to complete suitable activities.
To close, the Branch Election process is online this year. Nominations opened on 1st May, and will close on 1st July. An on-line election will take place between 2nd and 16th July, with the committee confirmed on 16th July. The current committee are very keen to continue and have nominated themselves. The officer roles - Chair, Treasurer and Secretary - will be confirmed at the first Committee Meeting.
Martin Gosden SWWE Branch Chair
Gary Mainwaring SWWE Branch Treasurer