I see no reason why I should not respond on the Forum rather than through a PM: this is hardly as off topic as some of the earlier ground covered on this thread!Which reminds me - I've been meaning to ask what the ECF Governance Committee does and what its history is
The Governance Committee is one of two Standing Committees that currently exist for which the Chairman and Members are elected by Council: the other Committee is the Finance Committee. I think of the Committees as being part of the checks and balances that need to exist in any properly run organisation: in a previous stint as Chairman of the Finance Committee I summarised my job as "asking the awkward questions about the Federation's finances" and a significant aspect of the Governance Committee's role is also to be prepared to ask awkward questions.
It is, of course, more than that. The official description of the Standing Committees in Article 17(6) is as follows:
Various tasks stem from this description of the Governance Committee or have managed to get themselves added, in some cases because the present Chairman considers them important and suspects that they may not be dealt with satisfactorily unless the Committee takes a lead. In particular the work can involve:(a) A Finance Committee, of which the President shall be a member ex officio, which shall regularly review the financial affairs of the Company and offer such advice as it may deem appropriate. Members of the Finance Committee shall have access on a privileged and confidential basis to all the financial records of the Company. The Council shall elect the Chairman of the Finance Committee (who shall have access on a privileged and confidential basis to all Board papers) and shall elect or appoint such other persons as it sees fit to the Finance Committee.
(b) A Governance Committee, of which the President shall be a member ex officio, which shall advise the Board and Council on the governance of the Company and in particular on the texts of Bye Laws and Regulations made, added to, altered and repealed pursuant to Article 82. The Council shall elect the Chairman of the Governance Committee (who shall have access on a privileged and confidential basis to all Board papers) and shall elect or appoint such other persons as it sees fit to the Governance Committee.
1. Ensuring that there are definitive texts of the various sets of rules, and that the current definitive text is the version that appears on the website (which has not always been the case in the past).
2. Advising the Board or anybody else proposing changes to those rules, so that the proposals are properly formulated (in many cases the Board or Council may have a general idea for which detailed drafting needs to be provided by the Committee) and that the knock on implications for other rules are considered.
3. Challenging areas where the internal rules appear not to be complied with. In some cases apparent non-compliance with external rules (e.g. Companies House filing requirements) may also be challenged.
4. Challenging areas where good governance procedures do not appear to be complied with (e.g. the concerns that I expressed in my previous post). In this area I will also consider whether decisions previously taken have been actioned: while the Board or Council can always change its mind it is not acceptable that a previous decision should simply be quietly forgotten about.
5. Pro-actively proposing enhancements to the rules and internal procedures.
6. Ensuring the proper management of the nomination and election process (strictly speaking this should be the responsibility of the Company Secretary).
7. Assisting with the drafting of the agenda and Council documentation, and providing a report to the AGM.
8. Providing one of the AGM tellers. Traditionally this used to be the Chairman (with the Chairman of the Finance Committee as the other teller) but I will freely admit that my own attendance record at Council is not particularly good for reasons not totally unconnected with my avatar (although I hope that the work I do behind the scenes makes up for this).
I am sure there must be more, but I think this gives the flavour. A key point is that the Committee is independent of the Board: although I receive Board papers and have a standing invitation to attend Board meetings, I am not a Director of the ECF and reserve the right to challenge the Board on behalf of Council, whose interests I am here to serve.
In terms of the history, Paul Buswell probably knows better than I do. The BCF used to have an equivalent Standing Committee known as the Constitution Committee which I seem to remember Paul chairing, although I cannot recollect precisely when this was created.
One other point is worth making. There is no limit in the Articles on the size of the Committee, but it is currently relatively small - myself as Chairman, Richard Haddrell, Andrew Leadbetter and John Paines as elected members plus the President ex officio. Additional volunteers are always welcome, but would need to be duly nominated by the 8 September deadline. As Chairman I am a requisitionist in my own right, and my nomination would be sufficient to ensure that a candidate's name was included on the AGM agenda.