LISTENING TO PONY CLUB MEMBERS
A UNIFIED WAY FORWARD
A Unified Board with equal representation of both independent directors and directors representing members has been developed in response to feedback from Pony Club Victoria members
Following feedback from Pony Club members on how Pony Club Victoria should be run in the future, a new, unified board structure has been drafted by State Council, the State executive and convenors of the recent Special General Meeting.
- The Unified Board is a blend of the Representative Board model and the Independent Board model and was developed after the August Special General Meeting held in Werribee.
- The Unified Board model will be presented at the Annual General Meeting, being held on 12th October, along with a draft Constitution to show the detail on how it would operate.
- If Pony Club members agree to the Unified Board as the right operating model for Pony Club Victoria, the Constitution will be finalised and all member clubs will be asked to vote on the new approach by early 2020.
- Further refinement and improvements to the model is expected and welcomed through feedback from members, until the Constitution is finalised.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
What does a Unified Board look like?
- Equal representation: Four independent board members and four appointed State Council board members.
- State Council Board members decided by State Council, based on skills /geographic representation/emerging issues or opportunities/equality including gender diversity.
- Up to two skills-based non-voting Board members can be co-opted
- Three year terms. Maximum of nine years’ service.
- Any board member with voting rights must be subject to member election: either directly (independent directors) or indirectly (Zone representatives voted in by member clubs, then co-opted on).
- State Councillors/Board members can be removed.
What happens at the AGM in regard to the Unified Board model?
- Member clubs will be asked to vote on the Unified Board model.
- If 51% of votes counted want the Unified Board model, clubs will be asked in the new year to make a vote to change the Constitution, with the Unified Board model as the structure.
What about the Representative model and the Independent model discussed at the Special General Meeting?
- The Unified Board model is a blend of both the Representative and the Independent model.
- It takes the advantages of both approaches and builds them into a fit for purpose Board model for Pony Club Victoria.
- Particularly, we have tried to build into the model feedback from Pony Club members, to answer key concerns.
Will we get to vote on the Independent, or the Representative model?
- If the Unified Board Model doesn’t get 51 per cent of the vote, then we will revert to these two models.
- While there are many clubs that support either the Representative model, or the Independent model, there isn’t universal support for either.
- It is unlikely, following the feedback received from the Special General Meeting, that either of those two models will achieve 75 per cent of the vote needed to change the Constitution.
- We do not want to ask members to vote on changing the Constitution if there is little or no chance that it will be successful but we will discuss at the Annual General Meeting next steps, if the Unified Model is not accepted.
How do you deal with conflicts of interest with the representative directors?
- One of the benefits of a unified model is that any risks of adverse decisions arising from a perceived conflict of interest is mitigated by a 50/50 board structure.
- Any decisions arising from the board will have scrutiny and review from both independent and representational board members before a decision goes to the vote
How can four representative directors accurately represent the interests of pony clubs across Victoria?
- The four representative directors will be charged with being in close contact with all 10 Zone representatives, including through State Council meetings, to ensure they are aware of how issues, opportunities and strategic decisions may impact clubs across the state, and that they are able to communicate their advice to all directors.
- The Zone representatives on State Council will decide who of their members are best placed to serve the interests of Pony Club Members.
- State Council can determine the four appointed Board representatives based on balancing the Board, and will consider country regional/rural/metropolitan representation, along with other skills requirements that the Board may benefit from
What is the plan on transitioning to a new board?
- If the Unified Board model is agreed to by members the State Council will continue to lead Pony Club Victoria until the new Constitution is voted on by members – we are planning for end of January 2020.
- If the new Constitution is voted in, we would aim to embark on an election process ASAP, to have the Independent Directors elected by mid-2020. .
- Following the election, the State Council will meet and, based on the profile of Independent Directors, decide which four Zone representatives will best meet the needs of Pony Club Victoria based on their skills, representation of members, and current strategic priorities in the organisation.
Will Zone representatives being elected in 2019 automatically have three year terms?
- Zone representatives elected in 2019 will be elected for one year. If the new constitution is voted in then Zones will hold elections and the representatives will be elected for up to a three year term.
- Terms of all board members will initially be staggered, to ensure the whole Board is not up for election at the same time.
- If any Zone representatives selected by State Council to sit on the Board is required to be on the Board longer than their current term of election - one year – that would be subject to their Zone member clubs’ approval.
Is there still a State Council?
- Yes. Zone representatives to State Council will be elected by their Zones, at Zone Annual General Meetings.
How will clubs be listened to?
It is proposed that clubs will have several mechanisms to have their voice heard:
- From Clubs to Zones
- From Clubs to Zones to State Council
- From Clubs to Zone Representatives
- From Clubs to Board directors – including Representative Directors
- The Constitution will also have inbuilt guidelines for when a matter is required to be escalated
- Through twice-yearly open forums, mandated through the Constitution.
Where will the independent directors going to be elected from. We are worried they are going to come from the metro areas?
- Independent directors can live or have background in any area, however if there is over-representation of either regional or metropolitan areas, the State Council will look to provide a balance through appointing Representative directors from the underrepresented demographics.
How will we know who we are voting for with the Independent directors?
Based on member club feedback we acknowledge the election process for both the independent directors and for Zone representatives has to be much better communicated and more transparent. Template forms will be developed to give Members as much information as possible about candidates, and communication plans developed to raise awareness of elections.
Are you preparing constitutions for all models?
- We are preparing a draft constitution for the Unified Modelas it is aligned to feedback from members on how Pony Club Victoria should be run, and with discussions held post the SGM with State Council, and the Convenors of the August SGM.
- Having a draft constitution for review will help improve transparency, and give members the chance to provide feedback so the constitution can be altered before it is finalised for the vote.
- Any changes between the draft and the final constitution will be transparently communicated via the Pony Club Victoria website, and if the change is substantive, Facebook.
How will the state council work with the board?
In addition to the four Representative directors, who will also sit on State Council, State Council will forward items it wants discussed at Board level. Because there is State Council representation on the Unified model, those items will be able to have advocates to talk through the issues.
Feedback and suggestions welcome.
This is your constitution and if you have any suggestions or feedback we want to hear it to make it the best it can be. Your suggestions can be sent to the State Council by email to:
Rick Gill | Executive Officer | firstname.lastname@example.org
Or the State Councillor for your Zone