14th February 2016

Guidance for Central Council Committees

  1. Committees are established by Council for a purpose and with Terms of Reference (TORs). They have to make an annual report to the annual Council meeting and answer questions at that meeting.
  2. Committees must elect a Chairman from among their members. This should be done annually, before each Council meeting. Committees should always have a Chairman, whose name and contact details are recorded in the Ringing World diary and on the Council website. In the event of a chairman resigning or the post otherwise becoming vacant, the committee must quickly elect a new Chairman.
  3. Other than the above two points there is no guidance for committees as to what is expected of them. To ensure that the Council and the Exercise is getting, and can be seen to be getting, the best from these resources it is important that committees demonstrate in both their work and their annual report the value of what they have done and plan to do. These notes are intended to help with this process. But they are not new rules, nor are they mandatory for committees. They are merely a means to help committees demonstrate effectiveness and to help Council members judge the committees as their members come forward for re-election.
  4. It was once suggested that committee chairmen should not serve for more than six years. Council felt it inappropriate to introduce such a rule, as there can be excellent reasons to retain some chairmen longer. But committees should try to identify new talent and to bring in new ideas and challenge the status quo, as well as to refresh their leadership occasionally. Chairmen should actively encourage all committee members to be involved in the work of the committee and allocate tasks appropriately.
  5. Committees should meet face-to-face at least once a year. This is easy over the Central Council weekend, if no other occasion is suitable. While much work can be done remotely, it is important to engender some team spirit and at the highest level to ensure all members know each other. The meeting does not have to be long.
  6. Committees are encouraged to plan for information on their work to be reported regularly in The Ringing World, particularly (but not only) when they are working on a major project. This helps bring the work of the Council to the attention of the wider ringing community, and helps open it to external scrutiny and comment. Items can be long or short as appropriate, and the Editor is always glad to offer advice. Short fillers are always appreciated. A short note after each meeting might be appropriate for some committees.
  7. Committees should review their TORs regularly, perhaps at least every six years, to try to identify other work they could do for the Council that is not currently being done and to consider the value of work currently being done. TORs should be drawn as widely and sensibly as possible, to ensure the committee is not restricted from taking any action that could be to the Council’s or the Exercise’s benefit.
  8. There is no rule about whether the annual committee report should cover the calendar year. However, common sense should prevail and the report should be as up-to-date as possible. Further updates can be given by the Chairman when presenting the report at the Council meeting, although key items should be included within the report where possible, keeping late additions to a minimum.
  9. In their annual reports, Committees should aim to address the following points:
    1. What has been achieved in the past year
    2. Problems that have been encountered and steps that are being taken to overcome them
    3. What is planned for the next year, especially any new work to be started
    4. Committee meetings that have taken place
    5. Liaison that has taken place with other CC committees, how duplication of effort has been avoided, and any plans going forward to work together on issues or projects
    6. Any review of TORs that has taken place and any recommendations for changes
    7. Any consideration that has been given to disbanding the committee or merging it with another committee, especially if there is really only work for one or two of the committee members
    8. Avoiding the risk of criticism of staleness and “same old same old” by focusing on proactive work done, results achieved and changes planned, as well as brief mention of routine tasks
  10. Committee reports should be reviewed in draft by all the committee members prior to submitting to the Council and a consensus report submitted.
  11. The Admin Committee report should avoid any duplication with issues that should be covered by specialist committees. It should focus on decisions that have been taken by the Trustees after discussion by the Admin Committee, and new work that has been started, often with ad hoc working groups examining emerging issues that do not fall naturally to an existing committee. But effort should be made to refer new issues to existing committees wherever possible.

October 2010

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