It is now 27 years since, as President, I steered the last major changes to the Royal Charter through an annual general meeting and obtained the approval of Her Majesty’s Privy Council. These reforms changed the governance of the Institute to allow it to delegate functions to the Divisions and to introduce more representative membership to the Council. In the subsequent years, I chaired the committee that entered into delegation agreements with each Division to give effect to these reforms.
Now the Institute faces further changes in the light of developments in the world of corporate governance. Members will have received details of the proposed amendments to the Charter and byelaws from the Institute’s international President David Venus and UKRIAT CEO Simon Osborne, but some have expressed concern. After attending a meeting of past presidents at Saffron House, where there was an opportunity to discuss the proposals, I am convinced that they are reasoned and essential to ensure the long-term viability of the Institute. I would urge all members to support the motions to introduce the new chartered designation of ‘chartered governance professional’ and the new status of ‘affiliated member’.
We are proud to be called chartered secretary and many of us have held the title of company secretary, but a moment’s reflection on what our job entails is that it is to guide and advise our organisations on compliance with the law and how to ensure their governance represents best practice. Many in these positions see themselves as expert practitioners in this field but may feel that the title of chartered secretary no longer accurately describes the core of their work. Hence the need to adjust the qualifications of the Institute to embrace the realities of today’s business world.
As for the affiliate status – although not the primary reason for offering this opportunity to belong to a professional body to those taking stand-alone single courses – just think of the thousands of young people who are choosing not to go university but seek a career path to higher education that will not land them with a large debt for years to come. We should welcome these school leavers into the early stages of a professional career through the help and guidance that ICSA can provide.
Join me in voting for these important changes to ensure a successful future for your Institute!
Jeffrey Greenwell FCIS was UKRIAT President 1989–90