The Council of Management meeting in December 2010 had to be cancelled due to the bad weather. So when the Council met on 1 February for its first meeting in 2011 there was a lot of business to get through.
Two matters in particular were decided that are especially important to the way that the Council works. Firstly, Council agreed to sign up to 'Good Governance – a code for the voluntary and community sector', 2nd edition, October 2010. This is a set of six principles which charities like Epilepsy Action are encouraged to adopt to ensure that they are well run. The principles require the Council to:
- understand its role;
- ensure the delivery of Epilepsy Action’s purpose;
- work effectively both as individuals and as a team;
- exercise effective control;
- behave with integrity and
- be open and accountable.
In the coming months the Council will be looking at each of these six items to make sure it is doing its utmost to meet the standards that have been set within the Code.
Council also considered the quality of communication between itself and the wider membership of the Association. It decided to introduce a number of new ideas to try and improve this.
As a result a public consultation facility is going to be developed on Epilepsy Action’s website. This will enable the Council to test policy ideas and sample opinion from members and other stakeholders. The idea might also be extended to invite people to suggest issues or policy areas that Council should be interested in. This will help members and other stakeholders set the Association’s future agenda.
Council also agreed that some of its policy and procedure documents were of potential public interest and should be in the public domain. It agreed that these should be made available for people to see on the Epilepsy Action website and that people should be encouraged to tell Council what they think of them. These documents will be added to the governance section of the website and will include items like Council’s environment policy, sponsorship policy and human resources policy; planning documents like the Association’s strategic plan and copies of minutes from Annual General Meetings.
The Council also considered gathering members and others together in a regular national conference to discuss future plans and ideas about the charity’s work. However, it was decided to do this only if an issue cropped up that was really important because it would be very expensive to organise such an event.