It is quite remarkable the extent of work our Livery Company now undertakes and how it has evolved into a significant City of London organisation over the past five years let alone its achievements since it was admitted in 1977.
We have over 50 different Liverymen as members of nine committees. To remind you these are as follows: Charitable Board; Finance and General Purposes; Education; Fundraising; Marketing & Communication; Election; Property marketing Awards, Royal Charter & Master & Wardens. All committees report to the Court which approves and monitors as appropriate.
The big change is that the existing infrastructure has been struggling to keep up with this expansion of Company business and the Court cannot follow the detail of all the work undertaken. In any event at some 28 members strong the Court is too big to be an effective decision maker on the ground. Consequently the work is now devolved to the Committees who work to an agreed three year business plan set by the Court but where the Committees decide for themselves as to how they achieve their objectives. So as to ensure the process is efficient and creative each Committee has been asked to adopt new procedures and to set out their own “terms of reference” for approval by the Court.
Transparency of the working of the Committees is to be improved with the procedures, terms of reference and summary minutes of meetings to be provided on the web site. for this reason I am not going to follow the approach of previous Masters and give a summary of the Committee meetings as the information will shortly be posted on a more detailed and available basis on the Livery Members side of web site.
Another change is that whereas Committee meetings were spread out over 4 or 5 days over a period of 2 to 4 weeks this will now be condensed into two half day sessions within 2 weeks of each other and within about 2 weeks of the following Court meeting. This will hopefully provide a more prescriptive and effective pattern of meetings which is also necessary now we have adopted Apothecaries Hall as our home. The costs of hiring rooms will require efficiency of use and time with our first Committee meetings at Apothecaries Hall scheduled for the morning of Tuesday 13th January.
We are truly entering a new era with a new home, new business plan, new committee procedures and new methods of reporting. The tradition and closeness of our organisation is not to be compromised in any way with this initiative designed to catch up with the natural evolution of the Livery as well as to promote transparency and interest in the significant and varied work the Chartered Surveyors Company does. Hopefully it will also demonstrate our successes, as well as challenges, to our wider Livery membership and encourage increasing participation.
I am most grateful to our Clerk, Amanda Jackson for accommodating the changes and our Committee Chairmen who have enthusiastically adopted the regime. It was a welcome and enjoyable drink and celebration for the Committee chairman in the splendid champagne bar on the ground floor of the Royal Exchange after our last Committee meetings held at GVA offices on Tuesday 9th December.
Finally my sincere thanks to Past Master Rob Bould, Court Assistant Tony Joyce and all at GVA who have allowed us to use their City base at 80 Cheapside for a number of years for our Committee meetings. Their generosity and support really has been much appreciated and without this facility we would not have evolved to our current standing.
Graham F. Chase Master