Thursday, April 14, 2005

Reform Or Die

The following was sent to Accountancy, and a number of other media organisations, today:

"It is clear from the responses that I am receiving, in respect of the proposed merger of the ICAEW and other bodies, that many members of the ICAEW are not happy with the merger proposal and are very unhappy with the current structure of the ICAEW.

One area that needs urgent reform is that of Council.

"The purpose of Council, as defined in the 2003 accounts, is to consider, review and approve the overall Institute Strategy and Strategic Plan, including the Institute budget. Council scrutinises policies, policy changes and budgets proposed by The Board and the Directorate Boards in support of the Strategy. It also reviews the activities and performance of the Directorate Boards.

It represents, and articulates, the views of members on all these matters and otherwise delegates the powers and authorities conferred on it by the Charter and bye-laws. Council members take decisions in the best interests of the Institute as a whole."

There are currently around 96 Council members. This, to my view, is excessive; it is a hindrance to effective and rapid decision making.

I believe that a leaner, more focused, decision making body would best serve the membership in the 21st century.

I propose that the current arrangement, whereby members are elected from 22 regional constituencies, be abolished and replaced with elected representatives from the Lines of Business (LOB) of the membership.

The LOB's would be:

-Audit (Practice)
-Audit (Internal)

In order to keep the size of Council manageable, there would be no more than two posts available for each LOB. Thus an elected Council of no more than 14 members would be created.

In my view this would be a significant step forward to making the ICAEW "best in class" in the 21st century.

I have been in discussions with Dr Jeff Wooller, of the Ginger Group, on this matter; he advises me that a motion to reduce the number of Council members was raised, and indeed passed, a number of years ago.

Yet it has been ignored by Council!

Question: the ICAEW is meant to represent the interests of its members, yet it is happily ignoring the membership; why?

I would appreciate it if you could publish the above article in Accountancy, as it is the only way to elicit a response from Council.

Kind regards

Ken Frost

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