Starting today, ACS is inviting all members to contribute to the discussion on a new constitution as part of the planned governance reforms.
Announced earlier this year, the consultation process looks to get input and feedback from members, first to establish principles and then to drill down into more specifics on the provisions and goals to be included in the ACS constitution.
Members who would like to contribute to the discussion can go to https://crwg.acs.org.au and download a copy of the discussion paper, as well as submit responses.
In the near future, online discussion forums will also be created for members to engage.
Workshops will be run by branches, and you can find a list of upcoming workshops at the CRWG website, too.
ACS reform goals
ACS President, Dr Ian Oppermann, says the goal of the reforms is to update the legal and operational structure of ACS, with the aim of modernising the Society and updating the governance structure to be more fit for the size and scale of the organisation.
Overall, the goal is to deliver an ACS enabled to more readily meet the needs of members, and to help ACS contribute meaningfully to the challenges and opportunities of Australia’s digital economy.
With respect to the legal structure, ACS is moving toward becoming a company limited by guarantee.
Currently, the ACS is an incorporated association in the ACT, but the nature and size of the organisation has grown significantly since it was created more than 50 years ago.
According to Dr Oppermann, state government association registrars seek to avoid regulating large organisations such as ACS, instead expecting them to incorporate through national law, which is the process currently being pursued.
Dr Oppermann has stressed that such a change of regulatory framework would not affect the ownership of ACS.
“The ACS will remain a member-owned organisation no matter what,” he confirmed.
The reforms are also looking at operational structure issues including: how the governing body is constituted and its role in managing the Society; the role of Branches; member grading and voting rights; commercialisation and finances; formalised engagement models with corporations and industry associations; and ACS’s potential position as an umbrella organisation for more narrowly focussed but broadly aligned professional associations.
“We are not leaving anything off the table in these discussions, right down to the ACS’ Objects,” said Dr Oppermann.
“These important reforms will shape the future of ACS for many years to come, so genuine member consultation is essential. I encourage all members to get involved”.
The consultation process is being run by the Constitutional Reform Working Group (CRWG), jointly chaired by Dr Nick Tate and Dr Roger Clarke. The CRWG is formed from experienced ACS Congress members and tasked to engage the broader ACS member base on the major elements and provisions to be included in a new constitution.
Consultation is planned to be conducted through online submissions and national and state-based workshops over the coming months
Under the current COVID restrictions, it is likely many events will be held in hybrid form, both face-to-face and using video-conferencing tools; but inevitably some events will be by video-conferencing facilities only. The events will be complemented with email and online forums.
Three rounds of consultation are to be undertaken, first to establish principles; then to discuss the key features; and finally to establish the clauses that implement the features and fulfil the principles, and that are to be put to Congress and then ultimately to members for formal approval.
In each case, a discussion document will be published to provide guidance and framing for interactions between the CRWG and ACS members, and among the membership.
All members will receive email notice of the opportunity to contribute to each round. Live events and fora will be publicised through national and Branch channels.
Reports will be published on each of the phases.
Have your say!
ACS is welcoming feedback from members via email, in online forums and through a series of workshops being run by branches.
Please head to https://crwg.acs.org.au to find out more.