Tag Archives: Cilip Council

Elected!

I’ve written before about the Cilip Governance Review (Fit for the future? & Chairman of the Board), which will be debated and voted on at this year’s AGM in September. Cilip Council met recently (8th July) to discuss the proposals and comments from the membership. The minutes and comments can been seen here.

It seems a number of reservations have been expressed regarding several areas of the review but overall there doesn’t seem to be that much opposition to the proposals from the wider membership, certainly not in the way that the name change last year generated opposition. Whether this amounts to approval of the suggested changes or just simple indifference is difficult to tell. Maybe librarians are more concerned about pay and conditions than the esoteric maneuverings of their professional body. Certainly there are a lot less of us nowadays in public libraries to be worried about Cilip’s shenanigans.

That said, I still believe that this is an important issue that will see Cilip being less democratic in principle than before, particularly in relation to co-opted members being given voting rights to elect the president.

The issue took on a new twist with the resignation of Tom Roper from Cilip Council who has also expressed concerns about the review and in the way Council conducts itself. Tom is considered a leading light in the library sector and has challenged Cilip over issues previously, particularly the vote of no confidence in Ed Vaizey, but whether Tom’s exit will rock the boat enough to knock the review off course remains to be seen.

There are some very sensible suggestions in the review and in the main I support more of the proposals than I don’t. However, the recommendations form a single package so it seems a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater to vote against them. And perhaps that is what Cilip Council is hoping for to get the plan through without too much resistance. Then again, perhaps some members will feel strongly enough about the issue to submit amendments to the proposals.

What would be interesting to know is what other professional bodies Cilip looked at and considered to reflect good practice. If they could highlight how the model has been successfully achieved elsewhere without undermining the fundamental link between the membership and leadership it might go a long way to allaying mine, and I suspect other members, fears. Comments from Cilip Councillors welcome.

One way or another the issue will either fizzle out due to members having more pressing concerns, such as trying to hang onto their jobs, or it could be an interesting few months of infighting similar to what we saw last year.

Given the potential for conflict and the fact that the keynote speaker is William Sieghart who’s recent comments about the future of libraries didn’t exactly garnish overwhelming approval it could be an interesting AGM once again this year.

I very much look forward to it!

Cilip Governance: fit for the future?

The Cilip Governance Review continues and there is a two page spread in the Update Magazine (May 2014, pp 22-23) explaining what’s happed so far. Members will be given the opportunity to vote on the new structure at the AGM, 20th September 2014.

As I’ve said previously the proposals are in the main reasonable and will hopefully make Cilip more flexible and responsive as an organisation. However, I also raised concerns about the accountability of the Board particularly concerning the role of appointed members and their influence in voting for the post of President.

I also raised the issue that only elected members should be eligible for the President’s post as I believe there should be a direct link between ordinary members and the post of President. Currently Cilip Council is considering an amendment to the proposed byelaws that the President should always be an elected trustee. Hopefully, the amendment will soon be a reality. Personally I wouldn’t support the new structure if it wasn’t.

This still leaves us with the issue that a third of the Board will be appointed (unelected) and therefore directly unaccountable to the membership. I am not opposed to using appointed members as they can provide much needed expertise and experience. However, they would have ‘full and equal rights as members of the Board’ including the right to elect Cilip’s President. This continues to strike me as undemocratic. Therefore, I would urge a further amendment that only elected members can vote for the post of President.

One thing that struck me is that as part of the process Cilip has considered various documentation to help inform the new structure and quotes the following:

‘Governance pertains to the legal and formal structure for exercising power and authority in the association and ensuring a smooth operation that benefits the individual member and the entire membership.’ 

FLA Guidelines for Governing and Leading Library Associations

However, the same guidelines, outlining where authority and responsibility should lie, also states:

‘Usually this person or group with ultimate authority is selected by members and reflects the whole membership in order for decisions to be acceptable.’

My own view is that when it comes to electing Cilip’s President appointed members lack the mandate from ordinary members and as such do not reflect ‘the whole membership’ in order for this particular decision to be acceptable.’

As I said in my previous post about the governance review I urge Cilip members not to let these proposals go through without rigorous scrutiny and debate. Cilip is our professional body so let’s help it modernise but also keep it democratic, accountable, and answerable to its members.

Details can be found at What’s Next? and you can send your views to: web@cilip.org.uk