This weekend sees the North West Blood Bikes general meeting, which takes place at Barton Grange Hotel at 10am on Sunday morning.
Will the members get answers to the questions that they have been asking for the last 6 months or will they be fobbed off with the answer about not being able to discuss subjects due to legal reasons!
As far as we are aware there is no legal reason that members can’t have answers unless the committee and trustees feel that their answers may perjure themselves and highlight their failings in carrying out their roles.
After they have finished carrying out their “security” duties on the door, maybe one of the trustees would like to stand up and explain why Scott Miller has said that the constitution, also known as the charities governing document, is optional. Every year at the members are expected to sign a declaration to say that they accept this governing document and will abide by the rules that are contained within it. Members have been removed from the charity for not accepting this “optional” document.
It is our understanding that this governing document isn’t optional and in fact is a legal document and the contents should be followed by all members, no matter what position they hold in the charity, whether it’s a non-elected trustee or a person that has a charity box on their counter at work. Of course this only applies when it suits and the committee and trustees regularly step outside these rules, and get away with it because nobody challenges them through fear of being removed as a member for daring to have an opinion.
This brings us nicely onto the agenda for the meeting. Prior to the meeting there are 2 votes to be taken
Pete Howarth to be elected to a full voting position on the committee
Chairman elect to be appointed
None of our sources have seen any correspondence asking for nominations for these positions. Although the committee reserve the right to add a temporary appointment to fill spaces on the committee (Constitution 7-E), but the committee are now asking the members to accept this as a full appointment, a position that should be advertised for nominations and not just an name put forward by the committee. This section of the constitution also states that the person must resign at the next AGM and re-apply for their position on the committee. This rule also stands for the Chairmans position, so in theory a Chairman Elect may be voted in over the weekend, but then In May the position of Chairman may be opposed and the Chairman Elect will be voted out by the members. Are the committee asking for a change to the constitution and asking members to accept that the Chairmans position will not be up for re-election in May and that the members accept the chosen person put forward by the committee to be the head of the charity in 2019/2020? This sounds more like a friends network than an elected committee.
The committee seem to have lost their way slightly and have forgotten that they are elected members and are there to represent the members and are answerable to the members. They are not there for fame and to stick their faces in front of the camera at every opportunity, they are there to ensure the charity is run correctly and represent the members. The members can at anytime submit a vote of no confidence in any elected appointment, and this also stands true for trustees who are elected by the committee. Is it odd that the current trustees were elected by the committee while they were committee members themselves? Was it a case of all sitting round a table and voting for themselves? There may be a case that with all the issues with the recent corruption allegations that surround the trustees and committee that the members do need to be asking are the trustees actually complying with their legal duties to the charity, and is it time that they were replaced with people who have experience in other sectors which will help the charity carry out it’s objectives.
If we are really lucky we might finally get to hear the fleet managers 3 year bike replacement program. He has been working on this for some time now and is still shown as an outstanding action in the committee minutes. This will be some presentation and not worth missing. We’re pretty sure that he has now gone past the stage of “We’ve been offered a bike so we’re having it whether we need it or not” and has put together a good plan which will ensure bikes are replaced in a timely manner and while they still offer the best value for the charity.
As with all general meetings and annual general meetings the accounts will be discussed. The members will be told there is a copy of the accounts at the front that they can look at. These documents should be made available to all members before the meeting. Why? If a member has an issue with the accounts or would like to raise a question, they can do so while the meeting is in progress, not after the meeting when their concern/observation won’t appear in the minutes. There may be questions raised over the sale and purchase of private bikes to and from the charity, or even why the charity objects to paying out of pocket expenses for volunteers. Have there been any unnecessary spending that the members need to know about? There are a lot of questions that can be raised just by looking at a set of accounts.
We are also now starting to understand the minds of the committee. “Operations manager”? Was it a case of “I’ve had this idea for a new position….” hoping that people will have forgotten that it has been mentioned in a draft document in March and the term objected to by a couple of committee members. It’s not the first time and won’t be the last, it’s a case of justifying their position and pushing themselves into the limelight.
Something we were looking forward to was hearing about how the events team have coped in 2018 and what were the plans going forward into 2019 to avoid conflicts of dates and major events not being attended by North West Blood Bikes. This could be included in the treasurers fundraising agenda item, but we personally think that events should be given a place on the agenda themselves since these are what brings the charity to the attention of the public and is one of the main opportunities to recruit new members by promoting the service.
We will look forward to receiving a copy of the minutes to see if they actually reflect what was said or if they are a summary of what the committee want the public to know.
This weekend also sees bonfire night celebrations and fireworks will be going off all weekend.
Whatever you’re doing stay safe.