Along with that announcement Members were told that the revised closing date for proposals and nominations for Directors had been changed to 22nd May.
A change of AGM format is required because Government guidance states that public gatherings are not permitted at present and that non-essential travel and social distancing restrictions remain in place.
The Kennel Club Board has therefore now agreed that an abridged AGM will take place on 30th June 2020. It will be held via video conference and those attending will include the Chairman, Vice Chairman, Shirley Gregg (Membership Secretary), Linda Branwhite (Legal Executive), a Mi-Voice representative (responsible for vote counting), Kathryn Mansfield (Secretary) and any Directors who wish to attend. The meeting will be recorded for posterity and for the record and will be made available to Members after the event.
The KC says: “The abridged meeting will deliver the prescribed constitutional agenda items under the KC’s Articles of Association, including the items to be received by the membership which will be sent out as part of the agenda pack, including:
• report of the Annual General Meeting held on 21 May 2019 published in the August 2019 issue of the Kennel Club Journal.
• report of the Special General Meeting held on 12 November 2019 published in the January 2020 issue of the Kennel Club Journal.
• the audited accounts for the year ended 31 December 2019 for the Kennel Club Limited (Article 41.3.2).”
“The Chairman’s report on the activities of the Kennel Club in the previous year (and a special Covid 19 report) will be presented on the day of the meeting to ensure it is as up to date as possible. It will also be included in a post meeting report.
Members will have the opportunity to vote on the items as prescribed under the Articles of Association;
• Election of Vice Presidents
• Honorary Life Members
• Life Members
• Election of Directors
“Voting will be online or by post direct to Mi-Voice (the Kennel Club’s electoral services provider). The results of the votes will be formally declared at the meeting and a full report of the meeting will be issued to the Membership on the 30th June.
“The purpose of the meeting will be to declare the results of the votes which will be collated by the scrutineers, Mi-Voice.”
Additional proposals are deferred to November. The KC continues: “Under the current exceptional circumstances, the logistics of Members participating in an online meeting would not be practical and might also unfairly disenfranchise those Members without access to the internet. Therefore it is considered that the above arrangements are a sensible and pragmatic solution.
“Questions can be raised on the information provided on the Agenda via email in advance of the meeting and answers will be provided to the whole Membership following the meeting. We will include a question submission form in the AGM pack for members who do not have access to email or for those members who would prefer this option. The questions will be sent to Mi-Voice who will scan and forward on so that we can provide written responses.
“Any proposals received from Members will be deferred to the SGM scheduled for 10 November”.
KC Secretary Kathryn Mansfield goes on to say: “Please be assured that it is not intended to exploit the current very difficult circumstances by seeking to ignore any proposals. The Board consider it is important that Members should be able to make their proposals in person, direct to the Membership. This will also allow for an open debate and for the proposer to respond to questions.
“We hope you appreciate that we have tried to find a solution that works with the existing challenges whilst at the same time finding a pragmatic and practical way to deliver the constitutional aspects of the AGM without disenfranchising any Members.”
OUR DOGS COMMENT
Under the circumstances Kennel Club Members simply have to accept that the proposals being put forward by the KC Board regarding arrangements for the AGM represent a genuine and sensible approach to what is obviously a very difficult and unique situation.
There is no doubt that KC Members, even if it had been possible under the law, would have been reluctant to travel to London, or anywhere else for that matter, to attend an Annual General Meeting.
It therefore seems to make sense for the AGM to concentrate solely on carrying out the regular items of business and enabling the election of Board Members to be completed without too much delay.
People with new and perhaps controversial proposals to be given to an AGM will simply have to wait, hopefully only until November, before having their items discussed and voted upon. This is a pity but there is no doubt that certain items do deserve debate before they are decided upon. Therefore, the approach being taken by the Kennel Club seems to be a sensible and pragmatic one.
There are of course doubts as to whether a normal meeting will be able to be held even in November. If that turns out to be the case then Members’ proposals will at that stage have to be accepted and voted upon democratically whether or not there has been the opportunity to debate them.