Proposed ACS governance changes will deliver a range of advantages to state branches including greater member accountability, a standardisation of procedures and the freeing up of committee members to focus on strategic issues, according to Peter McGill, Northern Territory-based Management Committee and Congress member.
A key benefit of the changes is to give state committees the opportunity to focus on members’ needs and strategic issues rather than dealing with the minutiae of day-to-day management issues, McGill says.
“Under the current model we are seen more as an operational committee rather than dealing with strategy and addressing member needs,” he said. “We tend to spend our time on dealing with the administration aspects of running a branch and not being able to focus on delivering meaningful change for the branch members and ACS as a whole.”
A consequence of concentrating on details is a struggle to have nominations to fill Business Executive Committee positions, McGill stated. This was the case in the most recent BEC period where ACS has been unable to retain BEC members in roles such as State Secretary and Treasurer given these positions are seen as very operational.
“Under its new Company Limited by Guarantee structure, the structure of the BEC changes to Divisional Councils and the positions within the Council would be focused on strategy and providing advice, access and advocacy,” McGill said. “This is the control that the Divisional Councils need to have in order to fully service their branch members and grow ACS as a whole.”
The new structure should also bring members closer to the governance of ACS as a ‘one member, one vote’ as a board will replace the existing structure which sees those in governance positions voted in by an indirect electoral college, McGill pointed out.
“The governance structure of ACS is changing from an incorporated association to a company limited by guarantee which will bring in more visibility and transparency in its operation and reporting requirements, but aspects such as members rights are not affected.”
A further benefit is the standardisation of rules and procedures across ACS, he believes: “The current rules and regulations are confusing as there are inconsistent and overlapping sections. This has led to a number of instances where governance is unclear resulting in the inconsistent application of services and rights to members across the state and territory branches.
“The new constitution and by-laws have been developed to ensure consistent application across all members regardless of where they are and are developed to ensure all governance and reporting requirements are met while still being agile enough to meet the current and future need of ACS.
“With the national office being responsible for operations, there will be a consistent approach to all events and other activities undertaken by each state and territory branch.
“The branch budgets will be developed by national with input from the branch rather than the branch developing in isolation and trying to justify bricks and mortar, etcetera. Standards for the value proposition will be the same across all state and territory branches, and their application to members will be applied consistently.”
McGill is upbeat about the changes should they be approved in October, saying: “ACS will have an appropriate governance structure for the organisation by being a company limited by guarantee. It will be using relevant, consistent and agile governance provisions in the form of the new constitution and by-laws that will allow it to pivot as necessary to keep its relevance in an ever-changing environment of ICT in Australia, and indeed the world.”