I am happy to see the ECF trying to reform. The document does show the exercise is being taken seriously. But I do not like the framing of the issues in the consultation document.
MIchael Flatt’s criticism does seem to me logical. This is much closer to a position paper recommending increased direct member representation in the Council than it is a consultation document. But I have sympathy with Governance Committee. The fact the ECF Council meets only twice a year must create huge pressure to try to move through as many steps of the process at once as possible. However it puts us members in a difficult position. It seems we are forced to decide what are the greater and lesser evils rather than being involved in trying to find the best solution.
Numbering the options makes sense to me, although I think there are actually five options here not three:
- Option 0 - running the ECF by plebiscite. This is dismissed in paragraph 14, but I think this rather than option 1 is typically what the OMOV supporters were proposing, as I remember it.
Option 1 - direct election of the Board by the members (I am going to describe the direct members a members and the real members a organisations, because I find it less confusing)
Option 2 - direct election of the Council by the members
Option 3 - increase member representation in the Council
Option 4 - no change
Personally I like options 1 and 2 best. I have made suggestions on how these could be achieved in the past. But for me it is a matter of common sense that if either of these options was preferred it would mean a change to the structure of the Board or the Council respectively, to address the cons. Unfortunately the paper implicitly rules this out - by not considering for option 1 and for option 2 in paragraph 7.2 (ii). So I think these options 1 and 2 have been hamstrung.
My main problem with option 3 is stated fairly in paper, that it does not go far enough in representing members interests. When looking at the balance between members and organisations, it is necessary to look at the whole ECF, not just the Council. But if the choice is between this and the status quo - as seems likely - I would have to take a small improvement rather than no improvement at all.
As a person who would like reform to go further than seems likely, paragraph 14 (iv) is interesting. Many Council votes are rotten boroughs, and this is a significant con of option 3 rather than a separate point in my opinion. I guess putting it out of scope was considered politically necessary. But if we go for option 3, it is something I would want to see raised separately.
I would have much prefered Council to have been asked the question which of these options should be investigated further, rather than jumping straight to the vote. I would have liked us to have had the chance to discuss here how to make options 1 and 2 work, but it seems it is already too late. So I suppose I have to support option 3, and hope to continue the discussion about what can be done to improve it.