ACS is currently working through some internal challenges and growth pains after a sustained period of strategic activity.
I have been appointed for an interim period as ACS Chief Executive Officer, and my priority is to consolidate and ensure ACS is in good shape to play its role into the future.
I will attempt to explain what is going on internally in simple terms.
These are my impressions after three weeks in the role and I apologise to those who may feel I have oversimplified things.
Firstly, differences amongst our elected members on matters of strategy and governance have come to a head.
This largely arose during the initiative to have ACS reconstituted as a company limited by guarantee but seems to have been building over time.
The democratic processes under which members are elected to govern the ACS are also designed to allow this to be reversed.
The ACS is governed by a Management Committee (MC), which is comparable to a board of directors in a public company.
In simple terms, ACS members elect the Congress and Congress elects the MC.
On Monday 2 November, Congress will meet to consider MC’s removal on an individual basis.
This may seem dramatic, but the process is there for such occasions and Congress will meet again on Monday 16 November to fill vacancies as necessary.
ACS operations will of course continue in the meantime.
Secondly, elected members have called for more visibility and stronger controls on ACS decision-making and expenditure.
We are working on ways for Congress to feel clearer on the deliberations of Management Committee.
With recent growth and increased complexity, it is timely for ACS to update its policies and processes for approval of contracts and expenditure, and for demonstrating that these are not compromised by personal interests.
We are also proposing additional internal audit actions in response to Congress requests.
This may delay the release of the audit report for our 2019-20 financial statements and we are considering options for our AGM which is due in late November.
Thirdly, there has been much recent disruption and movement amongst our staff and management.
The last two weeks in the CEO seat have given me greater visibility of many things, and I have shared with our staff that we have clear symptoms of a cultural problem.
We have been putting in place all the things an organisation would need to address such problems and to rebuild a supportive and high-performing culture.
This is a work in progress, but already there are positive signs.
ACS has been running fast with bold strategies to broaden our reach and strengthen our relevance for some years.
A professional body like ACS should of course be focused on members and the external environment.
Members may not wish to see us focus on ourselves, but there are times when it is necessary to reset the organisation for everybody’s benefit.
Please be assured that this is for a proper purpose and that we will soon be back on track.
Best wishes to all ACS members,
Chief Executive Officer