In the previous issue, the PLSA’s Edward Bogira asked members to vote for changes to our governance rules. Now we’re consulting on changes to our structure.
At our AGM on 20 October, PLSA members voted for the new Articles of Association I wrote about in the previous issue of Viewpoint. That means our old rules, originally written in 1973, have been replaced by something much more modern and flexible – and it means we can make further changes to our governance to bring it into line with the world our members work in today.
In October we published a consultation on two changes to our governance structure: a new Policy Board and a new composition for the Board of the PLSA.
STRATEGIC OVERSIGHT OF POLICY
Our DC and DB Councils have been in place for five years and over that time we’ve seen an increase in the amount of policy work that cuts across both of them, as well as our Master Trust Committee.
Where one piece of work needs input from two or more policy bodies, there is duplication of effort from our policy team in drafting, presenting and amending papers. There is also the potential for conflicts to arise.
A new single body, responsible for strategic oversight of all our policy work, would make it easier to determine what we should focus on, ensure we can arrive at policy positions that work for all of our members more quickly than we can now, and be less bureaucratic.
We’ve also looked at the election system currently used by Councils for up to nine of their 15 members. Elections are open and democratic, but a relatively small proportion of our members put themselves forward or vote. We think a new selection process, where members apply for Policy Board roles, would attract a more diverse range of and skills to our policy work. It’s also in line with trustee appointments among our members.
CHANGES TO THE BOARD
All but one of our nine non- executive Board members are current or former Council members. Until now, people who wanted to become Chairs or Vice Chairs of Councils had no choice but to join the Board. This increases their commitment (and their employer’s) to the PLSA. It also means that the body with responsibility for the PLSA’s strategy and operations draws primarily on policy skills. Dependency on the Councils has meant the Board can be unstable too, with the potential for seven non-executive members, including the Chair, to change every two years.
WE’RE ASKING FOR YOUR VIEWS ON OUR IDEAS AND WHETHER YOU’VE GOT ALTERNATIVE MODELS THAT COULD MEET OUR GOALS
While it’s right that PLSA members are on the Board and making sure we do our job well, Board membership requires different skills to Councils – and more stability at Board level would help us to implement strategy more effectively.
We propose to make the minimum number of non-executive directors ve (instead of six). Three of these would be PLSA members, including the Chair of the new Policy Board. The other two would be independent. The Board would be responsible for its own appointments – more in line with corporate practice.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
These proposals are explained in more detail in a consultation document you can find here. We’re asking for your views on our ideas and whether you’ve got alternative models that could meet our goals. Although we’ve focussed on these solutions, we have considered others and recognise there may be more.
The consultation closes on Friday 5 January. If members support the new structure, we’ll use the first nine months of 2018 to make the transition, before implementing the changes fully at the next AGM on 21 October 2018.
Get updates on our governance review here.