Last week, CIPS (the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply) launched a consultation with members in connection with the Institute’s proposed governance changes. After our campaign to make sure members were properly involved, it is good to see CIPS consulting on a range of options, even if (as you might expect) the Institute does argue the case for its own preferred position.
For each of the four issues, you are invited to “vote” for your preferred. Whilst this is not a formal voting process, clearly CIPS will be heavily influenced by the numbers, so if you feel strongly about these issues, please do take 15 minutes to complete the consultation.
So here is my brief summary of the issues and my own personal thoughts.
Point 1 – The abolition of Congress and its replacement by a new “Membership Committee”.
I voted for OPTION 1 (the recommended option). I think the abolition of Congress was handled badly and arguably should not have happened until after this sort of consultation. However, Congress never really established a clear role and, in any case, it would be hard to re-create it now. So we should give the Membership Committee a try, although I have some reservations about its role, which is to provide oversight of the Executive (CIPS staff) who will actually be responsible for member liaison. I worry that CIPS may not have the resource or skills to take on that wide-ranging responsibility, and I’d want to see proper plans if I was a Trustee … but we’ll see!
Point 2 – Appointing or electing the GBT (Global Board of Trustees)
I voted for OPTION 3 (not the Board preferred option). On balance, I believe that as a membership organisation, some democratic voting and election process remains important. So if members no longer elect Congress, then we should have some ability to elect Trustees. I appreciate that in CIPS preferred option, “all Members eligible to vote would be invited to approve the appointment of all Trustees at the Annual General Meeting” but this would be rubber-stamping rather than a democratic process. I would also point out that no other professional Institute I’m aware of has moved to an all-appointed Board, and if half the Board is still appointed (rather than elected), I don’t see a problem with getting diversity and the “right people” in as Trustees. Finally, if we have a combination of appointed and elected Trustees, we can assess which route brings in the best people over the next 2 or 3 years. If there is a clear “winner”, then there could of course be a future change.
Point 3 – The composition of the Nominations Committee
I voted for OPTION 1 (the recommended option). This is a no-brainer in my opinion. The Nominations Committee is very powerful now and will be even more so in the new structure. So it must be more independent of the Board than currently; but equally there should still be Board (Trustee) representation on it too.
Point 4 – Whether CIPS has a President (or multiple ambassadors, or a Patron)
I voted for OPTION 2 (not the recommended option). This is a difficult question and caused me most thought. I do see advantages to the multiple ambassadors option, which CIPS supports, but I also feel something important has been lost since we stopped having a President. We should have had stronger representation and presence during the pandemic, when our CEO had enough on his plate managing the core organisation through difficult times. Indeed, generally, I feel the lack of a President puts too much responsibility onto the CEO. The CIPS recommendation to abolish the post may be driven by one or two recent bad experiences with Presidents rather than clear logic, and I’d also argue that there is nothing to stop CIPS having multiple ambassadors as well as a President!
I reject the Patron idea – all that needs saying really is “Prince Andrew”. Finally, I don’t buy the argument that having ambassadors will save CIPS money compared to a Presidents. CIPS does not have to fund a President to fly around the world. Again, that relates one bad experience, I believe (and I’ve heard there’s this neat tool called “Zoom” too …) And surely managing “multiple ambassadors” has a cost anyway? So on balance, I vote to retain the role.
That’s it from me –if you are a CIPS member please do use your vote – and show that CIPS members are interested in the future of our profession and our Institute!