Graham Flew answers the questions: what’s it for? who’s it for? And does it matter?
Have you ever wondered why we have an AGM every year?
The starting point is that our rules say we must.
Rule 126.96.36.199 says:
9.1.1: An Annual General Meeting shall be convened every year for the following purposes:
- to receive the Accounts;
- to appoint an auditor to audit the next year’s Annual Balance Sheet
- and Statement of Accounts in accordance with Rule 3.7.2;
- to fix the rate of subscription for Associate Members of ARC
- to determine the amount of any Political Fund or other Sectional Subscription to be paid during the following year
- to transact any other business of which notice has been duly given to the Secretary by the Committee, by any Centre or by at least 25 individual member.
It is that last bullet that I shall be commenting on (without, of course, devaluing the others!).
“To transact any other business…”
You will be familiar with any other business – it is for items which got forgotten on an agenda, it is of dubious currency in some quarters (if we don’t know about it in advance we shouldn’t be discussing it etc.)
But to ARC it is actually how we determine much of our National Policy and direction – this is where matters raised locally get to be debated and the resolution (an AGM motion which is successful becomes a resolution) becomes something which Committee must act upon.
You will read elsewhere about the progress that Committee has made on motions from previous years AGM’s and I shall say a little here about what Centres need to be doing to get their issues debated at AGM.
Motions from Centres
Again I am looking at the rules and we have issued the timetable for this year in the formal notice:
I hereby give notice that the 2017 Annual General Meeting of the Association of Revenue and Customs will be held on Tuesday 16 May 2017 & Wednesday 17 May 2017 at the Manchester Conference Centre, Sackville street, Manchester M1 3BB
The timetable for receipt of motions, names of delegates, and issue of the final agenda is above.
The important date in respect of Motions from Centres is Tuesday 28 March – this is 49 days before the date of the AGM (Rule 9.1.3 says: Notice of a motion for the AGM is duly given if it is received by the Secretary not less than 49 days before the date fixed for the Annual General Meeting).
Action By Centres to Create a Motion for AGM
Centres need to convene a meeting in good time, and (rules again) they are required to give notice:
- 8.5.2: At least three days’ notice of the time and place of any Centre meeting and of the subjects to be discussed shall be sent by the Centre Secretary to all members of the Centre and to the member of Committee allocated to the Centre under Rule 8.4.1.
The meeting itself needs to be quorate:
- 8.5.3: The quorum at a Centre meeting shall be the lesser of eight members belonging to that Centre or 25 per cent of the total number of members in the Centre.
My grammar pedantry suggests that really should say “fewer” rather than “lesser” but that is what our rule says.
What Should the Motion look like?
If you have looked at any of the previous years AGM agendas you will know that motions all start with “That this AGM…”. That is because a motion needs to set out that this is what the AGM is saying – it is not what the Centre is saying as it is AGM which is instructing Committee as to what matter is to become Policy.
The idea is to set out the issue in hand, illustrate it with the points to be made and then instruct Committee to do something about it.
Many say “That this AGM…” more than once, sometimes with “notes that” and often ending with “instructs Committee”.
For example last year’s motion 35 said:
“That this AGM notes the continued roll out of the BOF programme and the proposal for Regional Centres.
This AGM notes the concerns of members in many parts of the country where there will be no accessible Centre (& hence place to work).
This AGM is particularly concerned that many Regions of the UK simply will not have a Regional Centre at all and cites as examples:
The South West of England
The North of Scotland
This AGM instructs Committee to engage with HMRC to discuss how these (and other) omissions can be addressed so as to create meaningful jobs for those unable to access the current proposed sites.”
What happens to the Motion?
The motion is sent to the ARC Secretary – in practice this means it is sent to a dedicated mailbox at FDA HQ with a copy to the Convenor of the Procedure Sub Committee (this is me).
The PSC look at all motions to determine whether they are in order and should be included in the formal agenda. Reasons for not doing so are many but generally it is about ensuring the rules for creating the motion have been followed and that the motion itself is suitable to be debated. We often get motions on subjects which ARC (and Committee) have no negotiating rights on so there is no purpose to a motion on such matters. I do not want to say much about what might get turned back as the idea is to generate interest and get Centres to put forward motions.
Last year we had 59 motions submitted (and 57 made it to the agenda) so we have always had plenty of interest but it is important that as many members as possible feel that they can have their say.
The agenda is issued to all who are attending AGM and is published (usually by means of ARC Forum so this year it will be on the new Website).
The agenda structures the business of AGM and the outcomes are, again, published to members. If you think that ARC Policy is in need of change then the best opportunity to do that is by attending your Centres meeting and sending something to AGM. Even better is to go to AGM itself (OK we have rules about who and how many can attend, but encourage members to do so where possible) and make yourself heard.
Look out in future editions on how AGM itself operates. You can also read many articles on this in past arcnews editions, often including something written by a first time attendee, and these are all available on the website.
The timetable for receipt of motions, names of delegates, and issue of the final agenda is below.
Timetable For 2017 ARC Annual General Meeting
Last date for receipt of motions:
Tuesday 28 March 2017
Last date for receipt of names and official addresses of AGM Representatives:
Tuesday 18 April 2017
Final agenda to be issued to members in the week commencing:
Monday 24 April 2017