Key Question 1: does the Centre Director control SWYM or do its members? (Part 2)

(This continues from the first substantive post in this blog, see here for part 1. I am making this in my capacity as Chairman of SWYM, the Society for Wessex Young Musicians.  Please see the Welcome post for disclosure and other important background.Again I make clear that this is my personal view, and I am not speaking on behalf of the SWYM Committee. The Chairperson of an organisation has extra responsibility to the organisation’s members to speak out if actions are being taken that appear to be against what they have voted for.)
(Post added at 1421 UK time on 17 Dec 2016).

Meeting with the College on 16 December 2016

At her request, I attended a 50 minute meeting with Jacqui Kitcher (Director of Learning, Creative Industries) at the College yesterday.  The meeting was cordial and productive.

I have sent a detailed report of the meeting in an email to fellow SWYM Committee members, but from the point of view of SWYM members the key points are:

  1. Gap between SWYM Constitution and CWYM Director job description. Although I wasn’t able to have more than a fleeting glance of this (because the College regard it as confidential – which is not always the case with publicly funded bodies, e.g. Councils regularly produce copies of job descriptions of even the most senior individuals in response to Freedom of Information requests), the  CWYM Director’s job description does at the moment include some wording which *could* be interpreted as giving her control over SWYM and its finances. On the other hand, it could be interpreted as no more than “keep an eye on, watch over to make sure things are being done correctly” (see http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/oversee).
  2. The College HR department are going to look into this as a matter of some urgency.
  3. Given that SWYM members approved the current Constitution at a vote in 2010, it is very clear to me that the Constitution is what I and all SWYM Committee members must follow, until such time as it is amended, which (under the Constitution) cannot be until the November 2017 AGM at the earliest.  As chairperson (but even if I were not, as a member of a professional body), I have a duty to speak out if anyone acts in a way that is materially against the Constitution. (Hence the previous blog post and this one: this blog is my public commitment to SWYM members – and anyone else with an interest in SWYM being run properly – that I will safeguard what members voted for in 2010).
  4. Website/Facebook page. Jacqui reiterated the College’s aim to have a new website and Facebook page up soon. We did not have time to discuss other significant changes requested as from January by the College.  I hope we can do so after the Christmas break.
Next SWYM Committee meeting
The SWYM Committee is next due to meet on Friday 13 January 2017.  As Chairperson, my preference is for us to operate in as transparent and open a manner as possible.  I have suggested the following principles to the Committee as a basis for a discussion about how we can work together most effectively:
  1. We will aim to give good notice of important items ahead of meetings.
  2. Any Committee or SWYM member may suggest items for inclusion on our agendas. Such suggestions will not be opposed without good justification by the SWYM Secretary or Chairperson.
  3. We will aim to be transparent in our operations and not withhold information from Committee or SWYM members without good justification (e.g. privacy).
I hope these principles make sense, but welcome comments or criticisms from SWYM members (or others with an interest in the sound running of the Society), either here on the blog, or if you prefer by email (to patrickjohnlee at gmail dot com).

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