Woodward outlines more prudent and responsive BPIF at AGM

Fresh BPIF chief executive Kathy Woodward has pledged to ensure the federation's finances are "fit for purpose" during her tenure, while doing more to attract new members to the organisation.

Speaking at the BPIF AGM meeting yesterday (14 July), Woodward said that clearing the remaining pension deficit off the federation’s balance sheet "would put us in a completely different position", and she also plans to move out of the costly Farringdon Road office in central London that is now home to just a handful of staff.

Woodward pledged to demonstrate that BPIF membership brought with it genuine added-value benefits. "I have loads of ideas about what I want to do, but want to know what you [members] want to do," she said. "I’m listening, I don’t want this to be prescriptive."

Plans to attract new members will not just be focused on larger, "big ticket" print groups. "We are a community that’s not just about the big boys – there are £1m-£15m turnover businesses that are doing the industry proud," she added. "We need mechanisms in place for communicating with smaller print businesses."

In the year to 31 March the BPIF’s total income slipped by 4% to £5.7m, mainly because of declining membership due to company closures. It reduced its deficit prior to pension costs to £138,000 (2010: £210,000), but pension charges of £130,000 pushed the figure up to £268,000.

Finance director Michael Gardner said a 16-year payment plan to clear the pension liability had been agreed with the trustees and was awaiting approval from the Pensions Regulator.

Outgoing president Rupert Middleton handed over the mantle to Pindar chairman Andrew Pindar, and said: "It is a measure of his support for and commitment to the BPIF that he’s here today in the midst of tough time for his own business."

Pindar quipped "at least I’ve got one job to do", and added: "In spite of my little local difficulties I have made myself available because I’m proud to take on this mantle, proud to be working for Kathy, and proud to take over from Rupert."

  • The BPIF and Unite have agreed to keep the Partnership at Work agreement (excluding support for a national wage agreement) in place until April 2012.
  • The BPIF has also resurrected the Young Managing Printers group due to popular demand.
  • Former Polestar group training director Darrin Stevens is working with the BPIF to develop a suite of management qualifications for the industry.