Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Transparent Council

Over the recent weeks (most especially after having met and had lunch with Michael Izza CEO of ICAEW), I had begun to feel that maybe the ICAEW had finally started to get the message from its members and that it was genuinely trying to make itself more accountable to the membership, relevant and fit for purpose for the 21st century.

Unfortunately that feeling of optimism was blown away when I read Richard Dyson's (President ICAEW) piece in Accountancy (December 2007 page 113) entitled "Seeking Council".

I would provide a link to the piece, but Accountancy haven't entered the 21st century either and don't have it on their website.

In brief, Dyson extols the virtues of the ICAEW council; noting that "council's work is too often unnoticed and unsung..."

Well, there is a very good reason for that; none of the membership are told what council discusses!

In brief I will summarise why I totally disagree with Dyson's views:
  • As I have stated on this site on many occasions, the size of council (over 90 people) is absurd (see Best in Class). Dyson attempts to justify the size of council by saying:

    "..once a body is larger than, say 15 people, it doesn't really make any difference if it's 30, 60 or 90 strong.."

    Clearly he doesn't get it, council should be less than 12 people (as I have outlined on numerous occasions) if it is is to be effective. Following Dyson's "logic" we may as well increase the size to include every member.

    I would note that were the same proportion of MP's, compared to the population of the UK, to sit in parliament as there are council members to ICAEW members, we would have a parliament of 42,857 MP's.

    Would that be an effective body?

  • Dyson proudly states how the ICAEW have made progress, and have tried to make council meetings more transparent and open to scrutiny.

    That being the case, why can the membership of the ICAEW not access transcripts of council meetings?

    I did raise that question during the ICAEW's abortive merger campaign, and got a very irate email from one member of council who informed me that the minutes of the meetings should not be available to the membership as the were "confidential".

    Ah yes, progress indeed!

  • Dyson concludes by inviting prospective council members to contact him.

    Now I know where I went wrong, when I attempted to stand for council at the beginning of this year. Had I contacted Dyson, then maybe the ICAEW would not have refused to let the Croydon membership know that I was looking for nominations.
Why does the ICAEW claim to be international, yet council elections are decided on a local basis?

Why does the ICAEW insist on prospective candidates for council needing 10 signatures from the local area, before they are even allowed to stand?

Why does the ICAEW need 90, or more, council members?

Operating a Victorian trading association model simply will not do for the 21st century.

Until the ICAEW gets that point it will go nowhere.

Judging from the self congratulatory tone and contents of Dyson's article, it is evident that the ICAEW still doesn't get it.

1 comment:

  1. "council's work is too often unnoticed and unsung..."

    How on earth can they expect us to sing their praises when we do not want them there. They are there only because they want to be there and mainly for the perks.

    I believe there should be a slow but steady process of whittling down the numbers to 12 to 15 by adding one new member for every two leaving.

    That way we are not expecting anyone to resign and we are still getting new blood coming in.

    There should be more competition to get onto the council so that we get the 'Young Turks' and not the ‘has beens’!