ACS Vice President (Community Boards) Craig Horne shares his views on the benefits of a Nomination Committee in support of a Company Limited by Guarantee proposal for ACS.

I have been a member of ACS for over 22 years. I take great pride in our profession. One personal demonstration of this was my eagerness to be in the first 50 ACS members to go through the assessment process when ACS rolled out a new Cyber Specialisation in the Certification Program – successfully achieved I might add!

The ACS members fall under my remit as Vice President (Community Boards), and I wanted to write this because I could see some members being concerned about the introduction of a nominations committee in the Company Limited by Guarantee proposal.

Nominations committees are commonplace these days, and the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) have Director Tools on Nomination Committee Charters and their own AICD Nomination Committee Charter publicly available.

I am a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and enjoy the opportunity to focus on governance with ACS.

It is important to note that the resolution in front of ACS members has come directly from those participating in the governance model today. They have provided opinion and feedback over a period of more than a year, the main pain points were identified, and a new model addressing those points was collaboratively developed.

The consultation process started more than a year ago, with workshops being held with every Branch Executive Committee in July 2018 to identify their pain points with the current ACS governance model.

To inform best practice governance principals, advice was taken from the Associations Forum, Australian Institute of Company Directors, Alvearium Pty Ltd, Prolegis Lawyers and Clayton Utz during this process.

A draft constitution and supporting documents were circulated to elected members in February 2019, and in May 2019, the National Congress achieved consensus on the high-level principles in taking the proposal for ACS to become a Company Limited by Guarantee to members.

Many may not be aware just how difficult it has been to create diversity amongst elected members in our current governance model. Our electoral reality over the last five years has been that eight positions have been elected unopposed. This is amplified at branch level where branches experience an inability to fill all office bearer positions.

The proposal in front of members is intended to broaden and deepen the applicant pool for our elected positions, and that’s part of the role of a Nominations Committee – to ensure the future pipeline. The nominations committee would use an open and transparent skills matrix to objectively assess the merits of board applicants. We have removed barriers to participating, making it easy for eligible candidates to put their candidacy forward.

In terms of eligibility – you must be of Professional Grade to be eligible to nominate for the proposed future Board of Directors. Importantly, in a new proposal, all voting members of ACS would get the opportunity to vote for their preferred board director, something that does not exist today.

It is not the role of the Nominations Committee to narrow the candidate pool but to broaden it. Checks and balances have been put into the Charters such as having board members in the minority of positions on the Nomination Committee, the addition of an independent member, and other positions filled by members of the Professional Grade.

All members of the nominations committee must be of the highest standard of reputation and character, completely beyond reproach. Under the Nominations Committee Charter, section 4bi.c allows for a candidate to be directly put to members where their nomination is supported by five members of the professional group.

I genuinely believe all members want the same thing, that being the most skilled and experienced members of ACS participating in our governance model so that we can optimise the role ACS plays in serving our profession and our nation.

I hope you will vote yes to the proposed changes. Download and complete a proxy form today, as the deadline is 9am on Tuesday 22 October 2019.