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    Exec members query

    Hope this forum is alright for exec questions - can't find a forum specifically for the exec.

    Been studying POR 3.23b iii to try and help the group secretary. It says you can't have more nominated members than elected members but some of the ex-officio members appear to be elected members too e.g. secretary, treasurer, chairman. So can you use these 3 to offset your nominated members?

    Thanks.

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    Secretary/chairman/treasurer aren't elected members. They are ex-officio members that are elected.

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    a quiver full of barbs merryweather's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gammon Baby View Post
    Hope this forum is alright for exec questions - can't find a forum specifically for the exec.

    Been studying POR 3.23b iii to try and help the group secretary. It says you can't have more nominated members than elected members but some of the ex-officio members appear to be elected members too e.g. secretary, treasurer, chairman. So can you use these 3 to offset your nominated members?

    Thanks.
    there are a couple of ways you can read the ideal constitution rules concerning the make-up of the GEC.

    firstly, read it as it's set out in POR:

    you have ex-officio members who have their position on the GEC through their role - chairman, secretary, treasurer, GSL, section leaders, &c. - but are appointed through a particular process - nomination (in the case of chairman), election (in the case of secretary and treasurer), for example - or none (in the case of GSL, for example) you then have 'other members' (let's call them ordinary members, but such terminology is not defined in POR), who may be variously nominated, elected, or co-opted. here one can read that the proportions of nominated, elected and co-opted apply to just these 'ordinary members' of the GEC.

    secondly, read it that the proportions of nominated, elected and co-opted members applies to all members of the GEC not just the 'ordinary members'.

    if we take the first interpretation then in a typical ideal sponsored group you'd have on the GEC: GSL, 3 section leaders (assuming they'd say yes), chair, sec, treasurer, and sponsoring authority nominee; that's 8 members already just from the 'ex-officio' and we haven't considered any partnered ESU. if we now add on the 'recommended' 4 to 6 elected ordinary members, the GEC is up to 12-14 members. let's now add 2-3 nominated ordinary members, and 1 co-opted (in keeping with the proportion rules), we're now up to 15 - 18 members. this 'ideal group' now has what many would consider to be an unwieldy GEC! (one could even envisage 20 if other people are accounted for.) half this number would likely be more effective.

    if we take the second interpretation then one can see that numbers reduce to likely more effective levels. for example, GSL and 3 section leaders are ex-officio, chairman is 1 nominated, sec and treasurer are 2 elected; hence, you could have 1 ordinary member nominated or elect 2 ordinary members and have 3 nominated, &c.

    the principal reason for having the 'proportion rules' is to guard against having GECs that are overloaded with nominations made by one member (the GSL) or one 'clique' on the committee.

    (it's a moot point when there is an 'election' with candidates standing unopposed or in equal/fewer number than available places, then one asks whether these canidates would be more accurately described as 'nominated'. hmmm...)

    my opinion? reading POR strictly and literally, i'd favour the first interpretation, even though that seems intrinsically flawed. the way to read it should be the second way, such that outside of those people who are ex-officio and appointed without further consideration, i.e. GSL, section leaders and sponsor, the balance of the GEC should be in favour of elected members.

    currently my GEC is constituted thus: 1 GSL, 3 section leaders, 1 sponsor, 1 chairman (nominated), 1 sec (elected), 1 treasurer (elected), 3 ordinary members (elected), 1 co-opted member = 12 in total. on average there are typically 7- 9 members at GEC meets.

    hence i have: 5 elected, 1 nominated, 1 co-opted, which meets the proportion rules, but also when we add-in the pure ex-officio people, 4 in number, then these too are fewer than the elected number. there is thus a natural balance. the GSL can't 'rule' the GEC and have his/her own way by railroading decisions through the power of 'nominated friends', but neither can the elected people obfuscate the operational aspects in the hands of GSL/leaders.

    constitutionally 'balanced' and likely 'effective' (it is!) in my opinion.

    i suspect there are some ECs which are not constitutionally balanced or effective. i do not like to see too many nominated people on committees: yes, there has to be some who bring leadership, skills, and experience, however, sometimes there is a feeling that some are there simply to ensure a 'particular focus' is maintained.

    the rules need re-writing/clarifying. (not my job!)

    hth

    cordially yours, TM

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    The Major Brian the Snail's Avatar
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    Who selects the Chair of the Exec ?
    Group Scout Leader at 1st Great and Little Plumstead - Eastern Norwich

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    ADC (Support) & DMM mediamanager's Avatar
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    The group Scout leader and seeks the approval of group Scout council at their annual meeting.

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    Mark Pullen
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    Senior Member Orange Bucket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gammon Baby View Post
    Been studying POR 3.23b iii to try and help the group secretary. It says you can't have more nominated members than elected members but some of the ex-officio members appear to be elected members too e.g. secretary, treasurer, chairman. So can you use these 3 to offset your nominated members?
    Speaking as someone new to Scouting (OH at the moment, Exec not beyond the bounds of possibility), I find the POR to be a rather badly written and certainly very poorly checked document, managing to be both comprehensive and vague at the same time, and there are errors in it too. My 'favourite' bit so far is POR 3.1m which states quite unambiguously that Associate Members are required to be Members, which is just nonsense. I did point this out to the Info Centre but they zoned out on me.

    POR 3.23b iii is another example of poor drafting and checking. By failing to refer to Elected Members, Nominated Members and Co-opted Members they lose the association with the defined terms and create unnecessary ambiguity.

    It could perhaps be reasonably inferred that Ex-Officio Members, Elected Members, Nominated Members and Co-opted Members are all mutually exclusive categories. However there shouldn't be any need for much in the way of inference as it would be trivial to make it clear. The factsheets aren't much better in that respect.

    G.
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    nele
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    I agree with others that it isn't obvious what this particular rule means. It is also so that many section leaders don't want to be on the exec. We have 8 sections, so could have 8 leaders plus all other exec members as counted above. In practice only one comes, that means the exec is heavily weighted in favour of parents who may have no scouting background or training.

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    a quiver full of barbs merryweather's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mediamanager View Post
    The group Scout leader and seeks the approval of group Scout council at their annual meeting.

    Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk
    correct: the GSL nominates the chairman, which makes sense as these two important roles have to work closely together and, as you say, the GSL also has to get the approval of council at the AGM. of course one can dare to ask what happens if approval for the nomination isn't given? i would say then it has to be withdrawn and the GSL has to come back with another nomination. never seen it happen and wouldn't expect to see it happen as the GSL is unlikely to nominate someone who is likely to not be approved - if they did then they're probably not the best person for the GSL's role!

    is the 'seeking approval' process then superfluous and should it be abandoned? no. it may be simply 'going through the motions' but it protects a principle that the 'non-scouting elements' are there with the support of council (essentially parents) and it also guards against the EC being 'loaded' by the GSL in their favour.

    regards, TM

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    a quiver full of barbs merryweather's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nele View Post
    I agree with others that it isn't obvious what this particular rule means. It is also so that many section leaders don't want to be on the exec. We have 8 sections, so could have 8 leaders plus all other exec members as counted above. In practice only one comes, that means the exec is heavily weighted in favour of parents who may have no scouting background or training.
    the conditional 'opt-in' to GEC membership for section leaders was the rule introduced relatively recently to aid situations where there are multiple sections and leaders. the vast majority of GECs work effectively with between 8 - 12 members; some bigger groups which are very 'active' could find that 15 may be a more effective upper number and some smaller groups which are less 'active' might find 6 is sufficiently effective. what is clear is that too big a GEC increases the likelihood that many meetings will be less effective (or be too cumbersome for members!)

    i'm not so sure that having members who have no scouting background is a detriment to the GEC working effectively; i think it's important to have a wide range of skills and experiences. in my experience the worst performing GECs have always been those heavily loaded with scouters. one should be looking for a good balance. one of the important aspects that non-scouting people can bring is 'oversight'. it is not unknown that when the cheque book is given free-reign to scouters they sometimes go ott on scouting kit and forget that there other more mundane bills to pay. (vice versa is also true!)

    i think in the event where there are multiple leaders/sections and where representation on the GEC is asked by all, with the result that the GEC becomes overloaded or unwieldy, then the use of an operational sub-committee can be effective. it's what's best for the group that should be kept in mind. we are all busy; we are all in demand; we all need to be effective in time and effort.

    regards, TM

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    There is a ship called "Pragmatism" and many Groups sail on her when needs be.

    You make your Exec fit what you have got. If Groups were to stick striclty to the rules about the Exec, I suspect that many would be forced to close. I can certainly think of six that should have closed due to failure to comply with the rules on Execs. It is an issue for the GSL to work on, to bring them up to that minimum standard, but... if there is no GSL... it is unfair to expect the DC to run six Groups as the stand in GSL. So those Groups will muddle along as best they can until better times arrive - or they close.

    I have my Chairman ( I have no idea what I'll do when he retires), my Treasurer and my Secretary, My SL, my CSL and two ACSL, my two ABSL. We have no parents willing to be Trustees.
    Ewan Scott

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    Quote Originally Posted by Orange Bucket View Post
    Speaking as someone new to Scouting (OH at the moment, Exec not beyond the bounds of possibility), I find the POR to be a rather badly written and certainly very poorly checked document, managing to be both comprehensive and vague at the same time, and there are errors in it too. My 'favourite' bit so far is POR 3.1m which states quite unambiguously that Associate Members are required to be Members, which is just nonsense. I did point this out to the Info Centre but they zoned out on me.
    Welcome to the wonderful world of Scouting and
    POR is as you have said badly written but it is what we have and have to work with. It is continually updated but has never been comprehensively bought up to date. There is still a reliance on additional information in fact sheets and these are often out dated and long past review date. Perhaps this is a reflection on our volunteer and therefore amateur past.
    But hang on… TSA employs professionals you would think it would occur to someone that POR and Factsheets are so important that these are checked, rechecked and published in the most professional way.

    POR 3.23b iii is another example of poor drafting and checking. By failing to refer to Elected Members, Nominated Members and Co-opted Members they lose the association with the defined terms and create unnecessary ambiguity.
    The whole point imho is to leave enough open to interpretation so that DC’s & CC’s can get away with things like local rules, there should be no ambiguity.

    It could perhaps be reasonably inferred that Ex-Officio Members, Elected Members, Nominated Members and Co-opted Members are all mutually exclusive categories. However there shouldn't be any need for much in the way of inference as it would be trivial to make it clear. The factsheets aren't much better in that respect.

    G.
    Indeed it could be inferred that way, I am with Ewan on this though you make your Exec fit to what you’ve got. If no Parents step up you have an exec without them, if no Leaders accept Trustee status you do without them, can’t get a secretary, treasurer etc you carry on with what you have
    Richard Fenton
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walsallwizard View Post
    Indeed it could be inferred that way, I am with Ewan on this though you make your Exec fit to what you’ve got. If no Parents step up you have an exec without them, if no Leaders accept Trustee status you do without them, can’t get a secretary, treasurer etc you carry on with what you have
    Only up to a point, even the good ship Pragmatism founders on the rocks shen there is no-one crewing it. There needs to be a minumum of Treasurer and Chairman or Secretary, plus the GSL ( or acting GSL), I will not use the term Scouter in Charge as it is a role that does not actually exist.

    There is a real danger in running with no Exec to speak of, and whilst it might be done with all good intentions. That solo Leader, whether he realises it or not, is exposing himself to all the liabilities that come with the Group, whether it is a registered charity or not.
    Ewan Scott

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    Only up to a point, even the good ship Pragmatism founders on the rocks shen there is no-one crewing it. There needs to be a minumum of Treasurer and Chairman or Secretary, plus the GSL ( or acting GSL), I will not use the term Scouter in Charge as it is a role that does not actually exist.

    There is a real danger in running with no Exec to speak of, and whilst it might be done with all good intentions. That solo Leader, whether he realises it or not, is exposing himself to all the liabilities that come with the Group, whether it is a registered charity or not.
    To be in such a situation is horrible, and dangerous, in many ways, not just monetary liabilities. I'm no expert but would have thought Charity Commission rules and charity law might come into it.

    I would have hoped that communications with District would have been good enough that DC would make it his job to know what was going on at the "have we got an Exec or not" level. [Note the word: "hoped"]

    In my experience- and this goes along with what the webinar on Exec recruitment of last week said- ask a person for their help and most times they say "yes". You need to be clear what your asking for, tell them what commitment is needed, and that it's only a 1 year commitment before they've got a no blame "out"; I've only ever been turned down once.
    OTOH: ask a group of parents (eg at an AGM) for someone to step up to the plate and you either get everyone vying for the "what's that I can see on the ceiling" award, or you get the one person who is genuinely unsuitable put their hand up.

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by etheltheaard View Post
    To be in such a situation is horrible, and dangerous, in many ways, not just monetary liabilities. I'm no expert but would have thought Charity Commission rules and charity law might come into it.

    I would have hoped that communications with District would have been good enough that DC would make it his job to know what was going on at the "have we got an Exec or not" level. [Note the word: "hoped"]

    In my experience- and this goes along with what the webinar on Exec recruitment of last week said- ask a person for their help and most times they say "yes". You need to be clear what your asking for, tell them what commitment is needed, and that it's only a 1 year commitment before they've got a no blame "out"; I've only ever been turned down once.
    OTOH: ask a group of parents (eg at an AGM) for someone to step up to the plate and you either get everyone vying for the "what's that I can see on the ceiling" award, or you get the one person who is genuinely unsuitable put their hand up.
    It is a difficult situation, but I know of several Groups who have been in that situation ( and not realised the risk they were exposed to). District has been very poor over the years at helping resolve these issues. It appears to be doing better now. I just hope that they have the right people in position and have not just filled the gaps with whatever was available.

    I find that you can ask, and they can say "No" ( for a various range of reasons), you move onto the next one and so on. Ironically, I think that when you are honest with people and they realise what they are undertaking many simply walk away. Ironically, the honesty usually means that the Group is being responsible and acting in the best interests of its Trustees, whilst those who sell the idea on "just helping out from time to time" are actually probably not playing by the rules and are therefore more likely to be exposing their Trustees to risk.

    It doesn't help that in exempted Groups, ie those not registered as Charities, people don't realise that their responsibilities and liabilities are EXACTLY the same as those of a Trustee in a registered charity.

    I know that I get a bee in my bonnet about this, but I've seen one too many close shaves along the way.
    Ewan Scott

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    a quiver full of barbs merryweather's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orange Bucket View Post
    Speaking as someone new to Scouting (OH at the moment, Exec not beyond the bounds of possibility),
    hello and welcome to escouts. OHs are extremely useful but i hope someone can persuade you in time to plunge in a little further and maybe support the GEC by becoming a member of the committee! everything's possible!!

    I find the POR to be a rather badly written and certainly very poorly checked document, managing to be both comprehensive and vague at the same time, and there are errors in it too.
    i've had a chance to look at it on the odd occasion (though DCs and ADCs know it much better! ).

    the tome has the feel of a 30-year old publication, which was when i think the present format, style and structure was established (1985 edition?), and still retains much of this today. i'm not suggesting that the content is still the same as it was back then - it is in some places! - but the 'framework' is still the same and since then everything has just been either heaved into it, or bolted on to it, or interleaved within it using some editorial glue, with an enormous spectrum in style and comprehension with more shades than seen in an harlequin pattern. i often think it has the feel of a compendium of short stories, many of which may be related but each of them seemingly written by different authors. it can equated to two people writing a novel - one writes the odd pages, the other writes the even pages, and neither of them talk to each other either before, or in doing, or after writing their parts!

    the cynics would have you believe that vagueness in an in-built, intrinsic quality in POR put there so that DCs can pretty much do what they will with it.

    errors? yes there are a few! inconsistencies are the major type; imprecision is another; gobbledegook doesn't help; double-meanings; and the lack of clear definition of terms often makes it read double-dutch to some.

    (many people don't help by putting their own gloss on it, misquoting it, or simply ignoring it and treating it as merely an advisory document!)

    the one-time annual POR test for DCs ended some years ago as there was a threat it would be reported to ofscout. it has since been replaced by a private understanding, the answers of which can only be found from your DC.


    My 'favourite' bit so far is POR 3.1m which states quite unambiguously that Associate Members are required to be Members, which is just nonsense. I did point this out to the Info Centre but they zoned out on me.
    yes and no. the meaning here is intended to be: 'Associate Members are required to be members', where the term 'members' is non-specific and/or not related to a particular 'class' of membership; however, use is made of the term 'Members' with capitalisation often understood to be a particular class. sloppiness leads to nonsense. it's also not helped by the lack of definitions of terms throughout the tome. one word means something in one chapter, but the same word in the next chapter sometimes means something slightly different.

    it also doesn't help in that there's another 'official POR' which collectively are called factsheets, which add to the problems, and another lot of unofficial PORs which are local rules merchant, which often are the cause of problems!

    i think the info centre (IC) actually does a good job in difficult circumstances. here they really can claim to have bad workman's tools! you also have to remember that they can't give specific information where it becomes very context dependent and their scope for personal interpretation is limited. any blame lies with the tools not people here!

    POR 3.23b iii is another example of poor drafting and checking. By failing to refer to Elected Members, Nominated Members and Co-opted Members they lose the association with the defined terms and create unnecessary ambiguity.
    imprecision leading to ambiguity.

    It could perhaps be reasonably inferred that Ex-Officio Members, Elected Members, Nominated Members and Co-opted Members are all mutually exclusive categories. However there shouldn't be any need for much in the way of inference as it would be trivial to make it clear.
    it should be trivial to make clear. the author has just been sloppy, or rather, the many authors over time have been sloppy.

    The factsheets aren't much better in that respect.
    factsheets add more to complexity and misunderstanding than they do to clarity and understanding. if i have to read a factsheet to understand a rule in POR i know i'm heading for trouble!

    the whole lot needs re-writing, re-designing, re-styling, re-structuring.....

    ...some might even suggest putting it in the bin and starting again.

    i suspect though that TSA knows it's failings and that there's some secret team somewhere beavering away to fix it.

    cordially yours, TM

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