GNAS EGM - 21st November 2009

On Saturday 21 November 2009, Essex County Archery Association was represented at the E.G.M. called by G.N.A.S. to consider the 2 proposals as shown in the Notice of the meeting, by Robin Frost, Graham Sibley, Mike Pearce with Dennis Saville and John Wilson.

Between us we carried some 930 proxy votes from at least 21 clubs. i.e. Abbey, Ascham, Braintree, Black Stag, Colchester, Epping, Pilgrim, Rayleigh, Rackets, S.E.A.C., Southend,  Malgrave, C.T.R. Clacton, Clements, Framlingham, Harlow, St Edmunds, Woodford, Rushgreen, together with those from 8 Direct Members.

While this is a tremendous improvement over previous attempts to encourage clubs to participate in the voting principle, this could still be improved.  On matters as far reaching as the latest set of proposals it is essential that all clubs read the documentation and should there be any queries then the Executive Officers of the County are there to assist in any way possible,.

The defeat of the main proposal has, no doubt, demonstrated to the Board that the membership still has to power to reject changes.  I await with interest the agenda for the A.G.M. next year.

Attached to this letter is a report of the meeting compiled by Chris Carroll to whom I am grateful for the information.

Robin Frost - County Chairman.

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Written by Chris Carroll

I attended the EGM at Telford yesterday.  There was a very good attendance, including 80 Electors carrying more than 7000 proxy votes.  So, much more interest than at any General Meeting I have attended over several decades.

Lynn Evans, Chairman of the Board of Directors, chaired the meeting and made the main presentation in regard to Resolution 1.  She made an excellent job of the presentation, but when the questions started, it must have been obvious to her that she had a very sceptical audience.  The issues raised were many of those that I included in my earlier analysis and when the vote came, there were 1,613 votes in favour, but 5,466 against and so the Resolution was lost.  The key component of this result for me is that the three major committees of GNAS, i.e. the Operations Committee, the Finance & General Purposes Committee and the Development and Marketing Committee, each retain their policy making role and their powers do not pass to individual directors.

Resolution 2 was subject to some very searching questions, particularly from disabled clubs having members with learning difficulties and eventually the Chairman asked for a show of hands on whether the Resolution should be withdrawn.  The hand vote registered 59 Electors (from a total of 80 present) in favour of withdrawing the Resolution and so it was withdrawn with a promise that it would be re-written and re-presented at the next Annual General Meeting.  I am doubtful of the legality of dealing with the matter in this way, but the Chairman consulted the GNAS Solicitor before moving on it, so I guess it is OK.  I doubt the result will be challenged anyway.

There could not be the same clarity about the actions to be taken to move on the lost Resolution 1, but the Chairman assured the meeting that she and Board would continue to make their best efforts, taking full account of the comments made and the outcome of the meeting.

When questioned, the Solicitor admitted that the existing Articles effectively meet the requirements of the 2006 Companies Act. 

The Chairman mentioned the need to meet the compliance requirements of the Audit Commission and SportUK, but having read extracts from their papers I think it is perfectly possible to meet their needs within the existing Articles.  The Board already has the power to create the necessary audit committee etc and providing that it goes through this process in an open manner e.g. through the Finance and General Purposes Committee, with its deliberations properly minutes and visible to members, there should be no insurmountable problems.

Similarly it can set up an Appointments Committee without the bureaucratic structure proposed and which members can see as helpful rather than restrictive.

The important thing now is to be positive and helpful so as to get done the actions necessary to support the financial grants situation in the lead up to 2012, without committing ourselves to arrangements that will sink the organisation when the Games are over.

One of the highlights of the afternoon for me was to hear Kathy Fitzpatrick, the Director England, speak as a member of the Board at the end of the proceedings and describe the outcome as "a lesson in democracy".

In closing this little report, can I say that I remain disappointed that the majority of clubs in the Society still did not take part in this event.  7000 votes sounds like a lot and it is certainly an improvement on past performance, but I guess it is still not much more than a quarter of the votes available.  It makes it all the more important that I should offer my personal thanks to the clubs who did make the effort either to attend, or to complete and return proxy forms.  Without the effort made by these clubs, there would not have been any "lesson in democracy".

Best wishes

Chris Carroll
President, Bedfordshire County Archery Association
Life Vice President, Southern Counties Archery Society
Honorary Life Member, the Grand National Archery Society.