ACS Members' Requirements of the ACS Constitution

Roger Clarke, on behalf of a a group of senior ACS members

Outline of 20 October 2019

This document is at

The Situation

The ACS executive put a motion before a General Meeting that proposed to:

See here for details of these seriously harmful features of the proposed constitution.

The ACS executive bullied the proposal through the Branches and the Congress, using the available time for pushing the case, and minimising the time for discussion and opposition.

The ACS executive then misrepresented the motion to the memebrs, by suggesting that it involved only relatively minor changes to the constitution.

The ACS executive ran a concerted campaign for the motion, and blocked counter-arguments from being communicated to the membership.

A concerted effort from a small number of members generated a groundswell of member concern, as a reasonable proportion (perhaps as much as 20%) of the membership gained an understanding of what the proposal actually entailed.

The votes generated by that small proportion of the membership resulted in the proposal being defeated.]

This web-page presents proposals for:

The Members' Requirements

A new constitution is indeed needed. But the need is for something radically different from what the ACS executive proposed. Instead of member involvement being extinguished, it needs to be reinvigorated.

The new constitution needs to satisfy a number of objectives. The notions of Vision and Strategy are relevant, but so too are Values, Objectives and Priorities. In addition, Member Services must be writ large.

The following is proposed as a balanced statement of requirements that enables vitality, but also ensures maintenance of the Society's values, and enables members to be involved in strategic diecsion-making, and to exercise control over national activities in the event that they breach member expectations.

The Requirement are as follows:

The Process to Address Those Requirements

The defeat of the motion is only the first step in rescuing the ACS.

The following further steps are now necessary.

(1) Calling of a Congress

A Congress is already urgent, to elect a new President to replace the current President, whose term expires on 31 December 2019.

The Congress needs to also consider and approve the steps needed to address Members' Requirements, and to instruct the Management Committee, CEO and staff in relation to their implementation.

(2) Formation of a Constitutional Review Committee

The process that led to the failed proposal was driven top-down by ACS national office. Congress-members were unable to stem the tide.

It is essential that a Constitutional Review Committee be formed that has much broader representation of members, and that can ensure bottom-up drive, informed by information provided top-down.

In particular, aspects of the organisation's current operations are obscure to the membership, and information needs to be placed on the table in relation to:

(3) Drafting of a Constitution that Reflects Appropriate Values and Entrenches Member Involvement

The organisation's constitution and other governing documents must be appropriate to its nature, values and mission. The ACS is not a commercial business, and is not just any not-for-profit business operation. It's a professional society. Of particular importance is provision for meaningful member involvement in governance processes.

Appropriate Governance Structures and Processes

In order to ensure that the Members' Requirements are satisfied, a structure is needed that is rather different from the Society's existing arrangements, and radically different from that which was proposed and defeated.

An example of such as a structure is as follows: