News from the Boardroom (2) April 2016

Board Room 1

Strengthening the Infrastructure

New Commercial Department

Fundamental to the continued success of the ELR’s development plan is the establishment of effective management of those areas that generate revenue and which in turn enables the ELR to develop and prosper.  Proactive oversight is essential of our retail, licenced, dining and marketing functions within the business in order to deliver in terms of service provision, quality, overall growth and cost control.

The ELR Board agreed to a proposal to create a Commercial Services Department and headed up by a Commercial Manager (new post) overseen by a volunteer Commercial Director. Because of the rapid increase in revenue which is spread out across a number of individually managed retail, and licenced outlets, it is necessary to secure better coordination of resources, ensure consistency of service delivery; delivery of year on year growth and crucially a new focus on management of costs.

The Commercial Manager will be responsible for:

  • Buffets Manager
  • Catering Manager
  • Marketing Manager
  • Retail Manager
  • Sales Manager
  • Buffer and Trackside Manager

The post will be advertised internally and externally.

Strengthening the Financial Team

Overall ELR revenues have rocketed from £1.4m in 2009 to around £3.20m in 2015. The impact of this rapid expansion has resulted in a significant increase in financial workloads such that the existing limited resources are now being stretched to impracticable and unsustainable limits.  This has led to a situation where scarce resources are now being used inefficiently.

As a result, the Finance Controller is only able to successfully perform low level day to day work on payroll, invoicing and accounting work, with little or no time being devoted to strategy or development of departmental budgets for heads of department to better manage their costs.

To address these problems the ELR Board agreed to the creation of two posts:

(i) – Finance Officer (de facto acting as deputy in the Finance Controller’s absence) – post holder will learn and take over responsibility for many of the day to day tasks currently being carried out by the Finance Controller.

(ii) – Accounts Clerk – post holder will assist in processing a range of day to day accounting functions.

Appointing these two posts will free up the Financial Controller to develop a more appropriate and robust financial management system for the growing size of ELR’s operations.

Carriage & Wagon 

Investment in traditional trade skills is essential in supporting the work of C&W. As part of our long skills development programme the Board agreed to the creation of an apprenticeship in general engineering and joinery disciplines. 

Chest Wheel Update

Following the floods on Boxing Day, the track has been stabilised with a 10mph speed limit being applied. We have now engaged a specialist company to carry out a geophysical survey of the site to establish what is causing this historical slip. Monitoring will be carried out over the next 12 months. After that period the company will provide some recommendations. Until we have a solution the 10mph stays in place.

Horncliffe

This site was also affected by the Boxing Day floods. As a result, the river moved some 8 metres closer to our track. A 10mph speed limited was applied. We now have an agreed operational plan. The ELR, the Environment Agency and Lancashire County Council are working in partnership to restore the collapsed embankment. This work should get underway in the next few weeks. The 10mph stays in place until this work is completed.

 

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