The Council of Management met in October for its fifth meeting of the year. Dr Peter Clough was warmly welcomed as a newly appointed member following the Council’s decision to co-opt him in July. The meeting was chaired by Beryl Sharlot, vice Chair of Council, due to the unavoidable absence of the Chair, June Massey.
Much of the meeting was spent reviewing the charity’s financial position and considering financial estimates for 2013. Council was mindful of the importance of once again allocating sufficient resources to ensure that the charity’s day-to-day services for people with epilepsy and their families could continue where these were still needed. Members noted that difficult decisions were inevitable because the charity did not have the money it would like to have to do all the things it would like to do. Work has to be approached in priority order and the strategic plan with its priorities is used to guide decision making.
Council approved a proposal presented by Helen Murray-Sharpe, the National Manager for Local Services, to introduce a new set of volunteer awards. These will replace the old awards for branch members, but branch members can still be considered for the new awards. The old branch of the year award will continue as before.
Some charities have a rule that says people can serve as trustees for a maximum amount of time only. The limits vary from charity to charity. Council considered whether or not it was appropriate to introduce a maximum term of office for its members. On balance it decided not to do so. At Epilepsy Action the Council members already have to retire by rotation at least every three years. Retiring members can seek re-election but it is the members of the charity who vote in the Council elections each year who decide who the trustees will be.
On the day after the Council meeting, members met again for their annual training day. There were presentations about current activities and plans for the future in advice and information work, research and the charity’s use of social media. Time was also given to learn more about the changes taking place in the National Health Service and the implications of these changes for services for people with epilepsy. A workshop took place on ways to make Council meetings more effective. This produced an evaluation checklist to be used to measure Council meetings in the future.
The next meeting of the Council is scheduled to take place on 4 December 2012.