It is my pleasure to introduce the Annual Review 2011/12, which reflects not only the outstanding achievements over the past 12 months but also the challenges the management and staff have faced over the period – mainly as a result of the difficult prevailing economic climate. The success of the National Ice Centre and Capital FM Arena Nottingham is based on two key factors: firstly a Board of Directors who work collectively to give the business the strategic direction required, and, secondly, a talented, committed and innovative management team and staff, who strive every day to provide the highest levels of customer services to the tens of thousands of people visiting the venue every year. Please take the time to read this excellent review! R Michiel Stevenson OBE DL Hon LLD Hon MA
R Michiel Stevenson OBE DL Hon LLD Hon MA, Chairman, National Ice Centre Mich was born and educated in Nottingham and has been involved in the development and progress of the National Ice Centre since 1997, when the decision to replace the old Ice Stadium with a ground-breaking twin ice pad facility – incorporating a 10,000 seat arena – was taken. He has held numerous high profile positions within the City, including leading the formation of the Lace Market Heritage Trust, Chairman of the Galleries of Justice, Nottingham Waterside, and Nottingham Regeneration Limited. Awarded the OBE in 1998, he is currently Deputy Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire and has been awarded Honorary Degrees from the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University. In May 2005, Mich was admitted as an Honorary Freeman of the City of Nottingham, and in 2007 he was appointed to the National Board of Sport England.
The Board of the National Ice Centre R Michiel Stevenson, OBE DL, Chairman Councillor Malcolm Wood, Vice Chairman Councillor Brian Grocock Councillor Leon Unczur Councillor Alex Norris Melvin Egglenton David Hallam Peter Ellis Jo Bradley Ex-officio Members Hugh White, Nottingham City Council Anne Rippon, Sport England
CHIEF EXECUTIVE’S SUMMARY
“When the going gets tough, the tough get going!” This is a saying attributed to Joseph P Kennedy, father of USA President John F Kennedy, and immortalised in the Billy Ocean song of the same name, which became a world-wide hit in 1985. The phrase completely epitomises the culture and ‘can do’ attitude of managers and staff at the National Ice Centre/Capital FM Arena Nottingham who, once again, have risen above the prevailing ‘double dip’ economic climate to deliver another exceptional performance across all sectors of the business.
• A review of the public skating programme was undertaken and new sessions were introduced such as ‘Socialice’, provided exclusively for adults.
In times of economic hardship, it is widely recognised that the leisure sector is amongst the first to be hit as consumers reign in spend on non-essential items. In overall terms, the venue has delivered its best ever financial performance even though the final operating deficit was slightly more than £100,000. However, there were several mitigating factors relating to the final outturn that have to be taken into account - not least the employment of a Project Management team to oversee the bringing in-house of the ticketing operation in June 2012, and the appointment of a Retail and Merchandising Manager (plus support staff) ahead of delivering a direct service in respect of the merchandising for shows and events. These costs were unbudgeted for in the 2011/12 forecast however, the investment offers major revenue generation potential in 2012/13 and beyond. Importantly, the venue continued to be the flagship leisure operation of the City Council, generating an estimated £40m towards the local economy in areas such as hotel bed nights, retail sales, bars, clubs, restaurants and car parking in the city centre. The Management team and staff worked tirelessly to provide an amazing array of opportunities for the local community and also regionally and nationally. A synopsis of achievements are documented here.
• The creation of the Winter Wonderland at Christmas gave a seasonal feel to the National Ice Centre, which saw a 74% increase in public skating sessions over the festive period! • 10 competitors from the National Ice Centre competed in the British Championships for Figure Skating with some great results, which are detailed later in the Ice Sports section. • Synchronized skating teams went from strength to strength with medal positions in several international competitions. • The GB Short Track Speed Skating team had its best season ever on the world stage, details of which can be found in the Ice Sports section. • Outstanding success was achieved for the Nottingham Junior Ice Hockey Club with several players representing the National Ice Centre at regional and GB level. SPORTS DEVELOPMENT IN PARTNERSHIP WITH CAPITAL ONE • The flagship Capital One ‘Learn to Skate’ Programme maintained its position as the number one provider in the UK with in excess of 6,000 skaters. • Capital One Disability Inclusion Skating increased attendances by 27% over the year. • The Urban Hockey Programme was delivered in schools across the city and county. • The Learning Zone, in Partnership with Blue Bell Hill Trust, had an amazing first year as a standalone operation following the Government cuts to the ‘Playing for Success’ initiative. It was awarded membership of the London 2012 Get Set Programme for its exciting work around the Olympic values of friendship, excellence and respect.
ARENA SHOWS AND EVENTS
• Although the Arena fell short by two concerts against its target, event rental income was the highest for three years. The reduction mirrored the position across the UK whereby performances were down by 2.5% on the previous year.
Whilst ice sports and arena shows and events tend to take the limelight at the venue, the success in these areas of the business could not be achieved without the support of a committed and dedicated team of professionals working in the background in areas such as human resources, health and safety, finance, buildings and operations, events, sales and marketing, IT services and risk management. Worthy of special mention, is the venue’s commitment to its environmental responsibilities which are described in detail in the relevant section.
• Income from concerts, family/ice shows and other events was down against budget but this was more than compensated by a strong performance by sports events. • Comedy shows continued to be buoyant with shows from Lee Evans, Alan Carr and John Bishop to name a few. • International acts including Katy Perry and domestic acts including Tinie Tempah took to the stage and there was a stellar performance from Florence + The Machine. • Sports events featured the Elite League Play-Offs - won by Nottingham Panthers - BAMMA Championships, Harlem Globetrotters and Masters Football. • Family shows had mixed success with good attendances for Disney on Ice but poor sales for Batman Live. • Two major projects were initiated – the bringing in-house of the Merchandising operation and the Ticketing system – to be completed by April and June 2012 respectively. • The prospects for 2012/13 look very good with comedy shows proving a strong element with upcoming shows from Michael McIntyre, John Bishop and Eddie Izzard. Concerts we are looking forward to hosting include: Noel Gallagher, Ed Sheeran, One Direction and the acclaimed West End musical – Jesus Christ Superstar.
This review contains sections on these key departments and it is important the review is read in its entirety to acquire a full understanding of what is needed to run such a unique, diverse and multi-faceted venue. The National Ice Centre/Capital FM Arena Nottingham has exceptional partners: Capital FM, Capital One, Greene King, Cadbury, Coca Cola and, of course, our service providers – Leith’s (catering) and Showsec (crowd management and stewarding). All these partners make a positive contribution to the excellent service and opportunities for customers on a day to day basis. Finally, the leadership of the Board of Directors, a combination of public sector colleagues and private sector individuals, led by the Chairman, Mich Stevenson OBE DL, is a critical factor in assisting the Senior Management team to work in a positive and supportive manner in these challenging economic times. Geoff Huckstep MA Chief Executive
Despite the prevailing economic downturn in 2011/12, Public Skating attendances increased by 6% compared to the previous year, although 5% less ice time was used than in 2010/11. This change in trend can be attributed to the following: • Introduction of the ‘Socialice’ session provided exclusively for adults who want a relaxed skate and the opportunity to meet new friends. • Skating Aids - the provision of skating aids has attracted young families whose children have gained confidence on the ice, allowing the whole family to have a fun, safe and enjoyable experience. • A focus on service excellence - investment in the refurbishment of the skate hire area has resulted in an improved look and enhanced service. • Themed sessions – these have created fun and memorable occasions for all. The extra energy and excitement created resulted in lots of pictures, stories and positive PR. The foam parties continue to be the most popular, attracting an average attendance of 840 people. • Good advertising and marketing strategy, particularly through social media sites. • NUS discount valid on all public sessions. NUS admissions have increased by 75% compared to the previous year. NUS discount was valid only on ‘Off Peak’ sessions previously. The key contributing factor for the increase in participation is the success of the Winter Wonderland skating experience which ran for almost six weeks over the Christmas period. Bringing the magic created from the outdoor rink experience indoors, the rink was transformed using over 700m2 of custom white draping and lots of Christmas lights. This attracted many schools and groups wanting to take advantage of the festive fun, many never having experienced ice skating before. The Winter Wonderland period - 1st December 2011 to 3rd January 2012 - saw a 74% increase in public skating admissions compared to the same period last year (excluding last year’s outdoor rink admissions). Birthday Parties continued to prove popular with an increased attendance of 9% compared to last year.
Penny Coomes & Nick Buckland
SHORT TRACK SPEED SKATING
Director of Skating, Gurgen Vardanjan, has continued to improve performance of the Academy with a total membership (including singles and ice dance) of 93 increasing by 22% compared to the previous year. The Fast Graphics Junior Academy, which was established September in 2011 to act as a feeder to the National Ice Centre Academy, has a membership of 28 children aged 4 – 7 years.
As the Centre of Excellence for Short Track Speed Skating in the UK, the National Ice Centre is justifiably proud of the results gained by the GB Team which has experienced its best ever season. Having won seven medals throughout the ISU World Cup Series, the squad exceeded its six medal target and added a further two medals at the European Championships.
An International Training Camp was held during the summer attracting a number of coaches and their skaters from Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Sweden, which enabled Academy members to train alongside their international counterparts. British Ice Figure Skating Championships 2011/12 Ten competitors represented Nottingham at the championships which are the highlight of the domestic skating calendar. Jamie Whiteman claimed the silver medal in the Junior Men’s event and Maxine Yu was crowned the British Champion in the Novice Ladies competition, as well as holding the Scottish and Welsh Championship title. Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland and Olivia Smart and Joe Buckland also represented the National Ice Centre winning gold in the Senior and Junior Dance competition. This year’s Christmas show ‘The Nutcracker on Ice’ was a huge success and provided an opportunity for skaters from all disciplines to showcase their talent in front of a local audience of over 1,900. SYNCHRONIZED SKATING Nottingham Synchronized Skating Academy (NSSA) membership consists of 95 skaters, 35 of which are at Foundation level. The NSSA has moved to a new structure with a focus on becoming a more competitive club. The end of season gala proved to be the most successful to date, drawing in a crowd of almost 800.
Highlights include: • Elise Christie ranked third in the world over 1000m with a gold medal and two silvers in the ISU World Cup Series. • Jon Eley ranked fifth in the world in the 500m despite missing the last two World Cups of the season and the World Championships, because of injury. • Men’s relay team awarded 2011 Olympic Athlete of the Year Trophy by the British Olympic Association. The quartet consisting of Jon Eley, Richard Shoebridge, Paul Stanley and Jack Whelbourne, broke a world record knocking two tenths of a second off the 5000m relay record and won silver and gold medals at the World Cup Series. • Jack Burrows and Aydin Djemal won GB’s first ever medals at the Winter Youth Olympic Games in the 3000m Mixed Nations Team Relay taking gold and silver respectively. • Jack Burrows was named Athlete of the Month by Sports Aid for his medal - winning performance at the Winter Youth Olympic Games. ISU World Cup Series - Medals The series consists of six events, two in North America, two in Asia and two in Europe. The World Cup competitions are attended by over 150 of the world’s top athletes representing 21 different countries. Gold
1000m Moscow, Russia
Salt Lake City, USA
1000m Sagueney, Canada
1000m Nagayo, Japan
Men’s Relay Team 5000m Salt Lake City, USA
...CONTINUED SPORTS DEVELOPMENT
ISU European Championships – February 2012
There were some outstanding performances resulting in Jack Whelbourne being awarded silver in the Men’s 500m and Jon Eley winning bronze in the same distance despite recovering from a crash.
The Nottingham Panthers have again tasted success in the Elite Ice Hockey League keeping the profile high for ice hockey in Nottingham. This in turn has underpinned the development work by the Nottingham Ice Hockey Club to recruit participants at entry level. The Nottingham Ice Hockey Club consisting of 11 teams, 36 registered coaches and 11 team managers, has yet again proved to be one of the top development programmes, despite membership reducing by 10%.
NOTTINGHAMSHIRE ICE RACING CLUB (NIRC) The Club has 36 active racing members including three athletes who are members of the GB Short Track Team. NIRC had its best ever performance at the British Championships winning a total of 20 medals including nine gold, three silver and seven bronze. Other accomplishments include 68 podium places at domestic competitions and 11 podium places at international competitions. The NIRC hosted the 23rd Junior British Short Track Open competition in December with over a hundred skaters attending from all over Europe, including Scotland, Belgium, Holland, Austria, Italy and England. Athletes representing the NIRC broke five British records during the 2011/12 season including: Title of Record
Juvenile Girls (Jun C)
Juvenile Boys (Jun C)
Pee Wee Boys
Pee Wee Boys
Pee Wee Boys
Thirty-one players were selected to represent one of the Midlands Region teams with the U11s and U17s teams winning the Junior Inter-Conference Tournament Championships. Seven players were selected into teams representing England and four players represented Great Britain. The U10s A Team and the U12s Team were crowned League Champions 2011/12. The National Ice Centre has provided a steady stream of new players into the junior development programme through the accredited EIHA ‘Learn to Play’ Hockey programme. A total of 338 young players (down by 4% year on year) progressed through the programme with over 30% joining the club. UNIVERSITY ICE HOCKEY The club is made up of over 100 students (including alumni) and staff from the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University. The club remains the biggest and most successful club in the British Universities Ice Hockey League with three teams out of 27 representing Nottingham during the 2011/12 season.
Ninety-nine skaters enrolled on the nationally accredited ‘Learn to Speed Skate’ programme and over 30% of participants progressed to the NIRC.
Jon Eley, GB Speed Skater
SPORTS DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES
Capital One Disability Inclusion Skating
The flagship Capital One Learn to Skate Programme maintained its position as the number one provider in the UK with 6,028 skaters participating in the six week Learn to Skate course. Despite the popularity of ITV’s Dancing on Ice and a number of marketing initiatives, numbers decreased by 21% compared to the previous year.
Attendance increased by 27% year on year (average of 30 per session) with participants taking advantage of the sledges and skating aids. Urban Hockey Programme The programme was delivered in schools across the city and county as part of the curriculum support and after school provision. Twelve schools (624 children) took advantage of this unique way of delivering the fun, engaging and pulsating sport of Urban Hockey.
Capital One ICE Programme (Inspiring Community Engagement) The National Ice Centre is proud to work in partnership with Capital One to bring positive skating experiences to thousands of school children in Nottingham. Sixty city schools have taken part in the six week Learn to Skate programme, providing over 2000 children with skating tuition. Volunteering support is provided by Capital One Associates and students from South Nottingham College, involving a total of 95 volunteers over the course of the year. An additional 26 school groups invested in the ice skating opportunities available at the National Ice Centre, with a further 782 school children learning to skate. Talent identification has taken place throughout all Capital One programmes. Twenty-five Scholarship Awards have been presented to children over the course of the year, rewarding each child with a year’s tuition in the discipline of Ice Hockey, Short Track or Figure Skating and three of these children have since joined one of the resident clubs. Ten schools (140 children) took part in the Capital One School’s Toddler Programme. Each child received a Record of Achievement card after passing one or more of the four grades. 1,874 toddler admissions plus their parent/guardian were recorded during the popular Parent & Toddler session, showing an increase of 42% compared to the same period last year. The increase is as a result of an additional weekly session at peak time.
Learning Zone in Partnership with Blue Bell Hill Trust Despite funding for the Playing for Success programme ending in March 2011, the new partnership has had an amazing first year, delivering programmes that have inspired the local community. • Funding from Nottingham City Council Family Learning and Nottinghamshire County Council Big Lottery Fund enabled over 100 families to take part in the Family Skate Plus programme inspired by London 2012. • Capital One funding provided opportunities for 12 schools to attend the Skate and Motivate Programme, culminating in an end of term celebration where pupils are presented with a certificate of achievement by a local dignitary or professional sportsman. • Awarded membership of the London 2012 Get Set Programme for its exciting work around the Olympic values of friendship, excellence and respect and the Paralympic values of inspiration, courage, determination and equality. • Activity days hosted during school holidays offering children the opportunity to improve their IT skills, develop their skating skills and have fun with arts, crafts and Urban Hockey.
One hundred and fifty family members attended the Capital One Family Weekend Programme, which takes place each Saturday over a four week period.
Jamie Whiteman, Figure Skater
ARENA SHOWS & EVENTS
2011/12 was a very interesting year for the Capital FM Arena Nottingham in terms of shows and events. For example, the event rental budget was the highest achieved for three years despite being two concerts short of the targeted number, caused by the postponement of the Joe Bonamassa and Noel Gallagher shows to 2012/13. Overall attendances were also up. The reduction in shows mirrored the position across the UK Arena circuit, whereby statistics compiled by the National Arenas Association (NAA) recorded that event performances were down by 2.5% on the previous calendar year - although total and average attendance both increased significantly, and this was very welcome news. For the first time in several years the average ticket price fell from the previous year by some £4 on average. This undoubtedly helped in the increased attendances enjoyed by most venues. Coming back to the performance by the Capital FM Arena Nottingham, income from concerts, family/ice shows and other events was down against budget, however, this was more than compensated by a strong performance by sport events. In terms of performances, the popularity of arena comedy shows continued with excellent sales for Lee Evans, Alan Carr, John Bishop, Paddy McGuinness, Bill Bailey and Jason Manford. Once again, the venue welcomed International recording stars such as Cliff Richard, Dolly Parton, Bob Dylan, Bruno Mars, Enrique Iglesias, Katy Perry and Rihanna. It was also a good year for domestic acts including Arctic Monkeys, Snow Patrol, Kasabian and Tinie Tempah to name but a few. The resurgence of bands making a comeback continued with performances from The Specials and Duran Duran, both playing to ecstatic and loyal fans!
However, the stellar performance of the year came from Florence + The Machine who appeared at the Arena on the back of their success at the Brit Awards in February and played a fantastic set to a sell-out 9,000+ crowd! As intimated earlier, there was a good performance from sports events at the Arena - the highlight of which was the Nottingham Panthers winning the Play-Off Championships and the Challenge Cup. The Varsity match between victors Nottingham Trent University and Nottingham University produced another sell-out crowd. Away from ice hockey, the British Association of Mixed Martial Arts (BAMMA) and TNA Wrestling both came to the Arena for the first time and held very successful events. Other sports events included WWE (twice), Masters Football and Harlem Globetrotters. Family shows had mixed success with good attendances for Disney on Ice but disappointing sales for the excellent Batman Live show. Dancing on Ice, Britain’s Got Talent and Strictly Come Dancing all came in on budget. Conferences again proved difficult to attract however this sector was boosted by the Batman Live rehearsals over the summer for a 30 day period. The prospects in terms of events for 2012/13 look very good – with comedy shows including Michael McIntyre, John Bishop and Eddie Izzard proving a strong element and family shows, not least the return of Walking with Dinosaurs, showing something of a resurgence. Acts to look forward to include: Noel Gallagher, Ed Sheeran, Blink 182, One Direction, Jessie J, Madness, Olly Murs and the acclaimed West End musical – Jesus Christ Superstar.
THE ENVIRONMENT & RISK MANAGEMENT
The National Ice Centre has shown the following significant results in its Environmental Performance Indicators: Environmental Performance Indicator
Electricity used - Building
4,794,486KWh 4,464,746KWh 329,740KWh
Electricity used - Ice plant only
1,762,901KWh 1,489,018KWh 273,883KWh
Environmental goals set for the year included: ‘continue reducing energy and water consumption through innovative projects including bespoke waste water recycling, reviewing lighting options and improved stakeholder education and interaction.’ In August a bespoke water recycling system was installed to send ‘waste’ water from the refrigeration process through a treatment plant to be used as ice-making water. To date approximately 1,765m3 of water has been reused through this process. In December the business invested in LED lighting for non-working areas that will reduce electricity consumption by approximately 54,000KWh per year.
RISK MANAGEMENT The National Ice Centre and Capital FM Arena Nottingham continues to invest in training for staff throughout the organisation in order to better protect staff and customers during their stay under the venue’s duty of care. Training delivered and received in 2011/12 ranged from emergency first aid and evacuation chair use to fire extinguisher and counter-terrorism training. The continuing improvements in the venue’s customer accident record saw a 25% fall in staff accidents and a 3.5% reduction in customer accidents in 2011/12. The venue undertook a number of major capital projects in 2011/12, including a large building and refurbishment project across many areas of the facility. All building works were completed without any significant incidents or accidents due to the comprehensive and proactive project management with health and safety of staff, contractors and customers. The venue now has 215 completed risk assessments, of which 184 were reviewed and updated as necessary in 2011/12. There are also 172 safe working practices documented. A detailed Risk Register was compiled in 2011/12 and documentation of the Disaster Recovery Plan will feed into the new Business Continuity Plan which is due for completion in 2012/13.
During January and February, companywide induction training included briefing all staff on environmental awareness and the National Ice Centre’s significant environmental impacts. In-house recycling measures and energy conservation measures were the prominent messages communicated to all staff across the business.
This year has been an incredibly busy one for the IT services team, with more IT based projects than ever before occurring across every area of the business. The team is continually growing to accommodate this, and redefining its choice and use of systems and architecture to enable the buisness to move forward and retain its cutting edge through challenging and exciting times. TICKETING The primary focus of the year has been enabling the in-house ticketing project. The IT team has taken on responsibility for all hardware, software and migration of customer data for this large scale project that has virtually employed two members of the team full time for the duration of the project. PRINTING The management of printing services has been outsourced to Xact, freeing up valuable resource and saving substantial costs on toner, repair and replacement of printers. The reduction in energy use and waste makes this solution much more environmentally friendly. WIFI In order to enable staff, customers, artists and promoters to connect and get online more readily and easily, the IT team installed Meraki across the company. Meraki is a cloud based wifi solution that allows access to super fast internet from any location in the building. The system is already saving time and money for the business, and is generating substantially more revenue than the previous limited solution.
TELEPHONY This year has seen the entire company migrate onto a new “Shoretel” IP Based Telephone system. This system has the scalability and flexibility to take on all the bookings calls taken by the venue’s ticketing agents in June when ticketing is brought in-house. The Shoretel system will also allow the team to answer customer queries via email and web chat, and offers detailed reporting on customer service. SECURITY & RESILIENCE As part of the ticketing project, the IT services team has audited the security and resilience of the network infrastructure from top to bottom. A second 100 megabit internet line has been installed in a separate physical location and using a different provider to ensure total resilience. A new firewall has also been installed to secure the venue’s network and new logging hardware has been installed to track any errors. WEB This year sees the single largest change to the venue’s website as the entire site has moved to be hosted and integrated within the new ticketing system. This change impacts all web, mobile and email services. It will also allow for a more streamlined customer experience. STRUCTURE The IT Team has seen the loss of a member of staff this year, but the recruitment of two more, including an IT Manager will allow the continued support of the business through the on-going increases in workload created by bringing merchandise and ticketing in-house.
BUILDINGS & OPERATIONS
BUILDINGS In 2011/12 the Buildings team was clearly focussed on refurbishment to ensure the venue remained in excellent condition. During the summer months, essential maintenance work took place in the Arena bowl. A new light weight Arena barrier has been constructed; new retractable seating for the west side of the Arena has been fitted and a new ice pad has been painted. In partnership with Nottingham City Council an extensive cleaning programme in the Arena bowl was carried out, involving the cleaning of high level glass and a deep clean of all fixed seating. Safety inspections and maintenance work have also been carried out in the Arena bowl on the pipes under the ice rink and on the structural roof beams to ensure both are sound. The accommodation strategy has incorporated a complete change to the configuration of the skate hire area, giving ice skating customers a much better experience. Additional changing rooms have been constructed for junior ice hockey teams, and the Sports Development staff are now located in state of the art facilities. An Operations office has been constructed on level 3 which now accommodates most of the operational teams; this will improve communication across the departments. Additional toilets have been built to provide convenient facilities for conference customers using the Bolero Suite. Part of these additional facilities is a Changing Places toilet which will provide excellent facilities for our severely disabled customers. ACCESSIBILITY In the last year an Accessibility Officer role has been introduced to the Operations team to look at the services and facilities we provide to customers with different access needs. This has seen the development of an accessibility strategy for the venue which aims to ensure that neither by action nor inaction will any individual or group be reasonably excluded from any activities, facilities or services offered. A partnership has been formed with Attitude Is Everything a registered charity which aims to improve access for disabled customers in music industry venues. The Capital FM Arena Nottingham has been awarded Silver Award Status in recognition of the work already carried out, and is one of only a few UK arenas to achieve the award.
The Capital FM Arena Nottingham has seen its first accessibility focus group, consisting of a mix of regular event and ice hockey bookers as well as new customers. These focus groups will become a forum for customers to have their say on accessibility issues. In the future, the focus groups will be extended to include public skating. OPERATIONS A multi-agency emergency exercise was held at the National Ice Centre in March 2012. The exercise was to show how the emergency services, Nottingham City Council and the NHS would deal with a Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear (CBRN) incident in the city. The National Ice Centre was used as the location for the incident and Bolero Square was used as the site to locate the interim decontamination procedure. Fourteen volunteers from the National Ice Centre took part in the exercise and offered their time to be â€œfully decontaminatedâ€? at another site. This exercise gave us a valuable opportunity to test our procedures and communications processes. A Driving for Work Policy has now been compiled and has been trained out across the business. Online driver assessments have been completed by all staff who drive for work. The Events department has been restructured and plans are in place to streamline and improve event paperwork, which will lead to the implementation of electronic event files. A key focus for the Events team has been to work alongside the Sports Development team to reduce costs associated with conversion to and from events whilst maximising all available ice time. A new team has been recruited in the Catering department headed up by a committed General Manager and an excellent Chef. Significant improvements have been achieved in the delivery of our catering provision and customers across the business now receive a first class catering experience.
MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS The backstage social media activity which was introduced in 2010 continues to grow, with an increasing number of artists inviting members of the Marketing team behind the scenes to gather exclusive material
Throughout 2011/12 digital marketing has become the main focus of the venueâ€™s marketing activity. Although traditional forms of advertising, such as leaflets and posters, still have a role to play, it is evident that social media and other technology based channels are becoming the dominant force. The structure of the Marketing team has been adapted to reflect this, with the introduction of Digital Marketing Manager and Digital Marketing Assistant roles. The focus on this area has helped the Arena increase its social media followers - with the biggest achievement being on Twitter, where followers have increased from 2,300 in March 2011 to 8,782 within a year, making it the second highest followed Arena in the UK after The O2. Similar social media success has been achieved for the National Ice Centre, with Facebook followers increasing from 3,531 in March 2011 to 5,594 in March 2012, helping it maintain its position as the leading social ice rink brand. The backstage social media activity which was introduced in 2010 continues to grow, with an increasing number of artists inviting members of the Marketing team behind the scenes to gather exclusive material. The images captured via this activity not only reach thousands of social media followers, but have become regular features in the Nottingham Post. Some of the artists who have supported this activity include: The Wanted; Hulk Hogan; Example and stars from shows including Dancing on Ice and Strictly Come Dancing. Further digital marketing developments to have taken place over the past year include: the redesign of the National Ice Centre website - which helped increase unique visitors numbers from an average of 13,000 per month to 23,000 in the first month; the introduction of QR codes and the launch of a new mobile website for the Capital FM Arena Nottingham - to acknowledge the significant national increase in people accessing the Internet via smartphones.
One of the major marketing successes in December 2011 was the transformation of the Capital One Ice Rink into a Winter Wonderland. This activity was undertaken to enable members of the public, who previously enjoyed skating at the Market Square outdoor rink, to get into the festive spirit at the National Ice Centre. A strong marketing campaign was implemented across the region with good media coverage achieved on BBC TV. As a result of these efforts, and great team work from all parts of the business, over 22,000 skaters enjoyed a Christmas skate at the National Ice Centre versus 9,500 over the same period in 2010. The Arena Sports Shop was rebranded to Ice Locker in March 2012, a brand which will be rolled out online in July 2012 and heavily marketed to help drive online sales for ice sports equipment, accessories and Panthers merchandise. In preparation for the rollout of the new ticketing system in June 2012, a major piece of research was undertaken in January 2012 to understand the key drivers behind consumer ticket buying habits. This work was conducted by JRA Research, and was extremely successful with over 1,200 online surveys, 100 telephone interviews and two focus groups completed with the results proving to be extremely valuable to the development and scoping of the ticketing project. Overall the Marketing team had a very successful year, and in addition to delivering a good service to all departments, they also contributed financially to the business with a 25% increase year on year in event marketing income and 22% increase in associated profit.
SALES & HOSPITALITY
ADVERTISING Despite the difficult economic climate, record advertising sales were achieved in 2011/12 with a number of new advertising partners coming on board. The highlight of this was a significant deal with Thomson Holidays for a range of advertising sites within the venue, a relationship which will hopefully develop further in 2012. A new outdoor advertising contract was also agreed with Clear Channel, guaranteeing the business a fixed annual rental until June 2019 for three external advertising sites. PARTNERSHIPS There have been a number of commercial partnership developments over the past 12 months, the most positive being the renewal of the Capital One community partnership for a further two years. Capital One is a key partner that contributes significantly to the business and helps deliver an expansive and inclusive community programme. It's pleasing that the relationship will continue to flourish for a further two years. A new soft drinks supplier agreement was confirmed in early 2012 with Greene King, to supply Coca Cola Enterprise branded soft drink products to the venue. The contract will run until April 2015 and replaces the contract previously held with Britvic. HOSPITALITY
CONFERENCE AND EVENTS
It has been an exceptional year for both annual and single event hospitality sales. Despite losing a number of annual hospitality clients - due primarily to budget restrictions and clients relocating from the Arena - the Sales team successfully replaced this business and achieved a 6% increase in revenue, resulting in the department achieving its highest ever revenue for annual hospitality. Developments were made throughout the year to enhance the annual hospitality experience, the most notable being the introduction of a brand new range of menu options, to offer clients more variety and flexibility.
The only area to have experienced a significant decline in revenue over the past 12 months was the small conference and events part of the business. Despite launching a new website, running various promotions and working with the UKâ€™s leading venue finding websites to raise the profile of the venueâ€™s facilities, there was a significant decline in enquiries and subsequent revenue, which fell by 31% year on year. Although these were disappointing results, they are reflective of the industry as a whole which has experienced a 50% decline, as an increasing number of companies choose to hold events on their own premises or cancel them altogether.
The single event hospitality budget target was also successfully reached, despite there being a limited number of corporate shows throughout the year. This success was achieved through further enhancing the pricing structure and more effective marketing activity.
Opportunities have arisen to realign the structure of the Sales team in line with business needs, and introduce more proactive sales roles. It is hoped that implementing these changes and adopting a new approach will help the department maximise sales in 2012/13 across areas such as hospitality, which do not appear to have been significantly affected by the economic climate.
HUMAN RESOURCES FLEXIBLE WORKING
KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS Employee Demographics
We continue to employ a large bank of casual employees to provide the flexibility needed to react to fluctuations in labour demands caused by the seasonality of events and ice hockey.
Employee numbers remained fairly static compared to last year, with total employee numbers falling by just 1.3% from 238 to 235. Although there was a considerable increase in recruitment activity this was offset by a considered effort to reduce the number of casual employees on the payroll who had not worked for the company for some time.
More than half of our employees work on a completely flexible basis, i.e. either zero or casual hours (55%). When part time workers are also considered, more than 70% of employees are employed on a flexible basis. This level of flexibility enables employees to achieve a greater work-life balance and manage child and elder care responsibilities, as well as enabling the business to provide an excellent level of service throughout the year.
Flexible Working Profile
Finance / HR / IT
Sales & Marketing
AGE & LENGTH OF SERVICE
Sports Development 5
We are proud to employ employees from a wide age range with our youngest employee aged 17 and our eldest employee aged 71. Overall we have a young employee base with a large proportion of our workforce provided by the local university and college students. Almost half of our employees are younger than 25 years and our median age is 26.
70 Employee Turnover
Employee turnover increased this year due to a combination of organisational change projects, reduced availability of casual hours, dedicated efforts to terminate contracts of employees who had not worked for a prolonged period of time and natural turnover. This yearâ€™s crude turnover rate of 32% is higher than previous National Ice Centre turnover rates but still lower than the average of 34% within the leisure industry.
Students inherently offer a transient workforce and this has an impact on our overall retention and turnover rates. However, our retention rates are still impressive with the median service length at 3.5 years.
A more valuable measurement than crude or overall turnover is the stability index, which illustrates how experienced employees are being retained. Our stability index is currently 74%.
No. of Employees
Length of Service Distribution - March 2012
Average Service Length
Median Service Length
GENDER The organisation’s proportion of male to female employees remains reasonably static with a slightly higher ratio of male employees. The gender split is currently 52% male to 48% female. This gender ratio is also mirrored when considering the gender of employees in supervisory and management positions with 52% of roles held by men and 48% of roles held by women. All employees
GENDER PAY COMPARISON The average hourly pay for female employees is £9.57 compared to £9.77 for male employees. This represents a negligible 2% gender pay gap favourable to male employees.
Pay comparison Male
DIVERSITY The National Ice Centre is proud to employ people from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds and approximately 16% of employees have an ethnic origin other than ‘White British’. 4.5% of employees consider themselves to have a disability. Diversity Profile White British
Other Ethnic Origins
ABSENCE The absence rate this year decreased by 1.1% to 2.2%, which is 1.2% below the average UK industry absence rate and 1.8% lower than the average rate for public sector organisations (Absence Management Annual Survey Report 2011, CIPD). The vast majority of absences were short term with almost two thirds of all absences attributable to illnesses such as sickness and colds or flu. The average cost of absence per employee was £184. This is £489 lower than the average cost in UK industry and £616 lower than the average cost in the public sector NIC
Absence Rate %
Average cost per employee £
RECRUITMENT Due to the insourcing of merchandising and the ticketing project there was a higher volume of recruitment than in previous years with the HR Team processing more than 1,500 applications for published vacancies. 81% of this recruitment activity took place in Q4 (January – March). The business welcomed 67 new employees, 89% of which were recruited on a casual, flexible hours basis.