2020 WPCS AGM – Notice of Cancellation because of the COVID 19 Pandemic.
As members are aware the WPCS AGM scheduled for the 4th of April this year was cancelled due to the Covid 19 pandemic. At the time, Trustees took legal advice and followed Charity commission guidance, which led to the postponement of the meeting until the 20th of June 2020. This also enabled the Society to defer fees already incurred at the proposed venue on to the later date, thereby saving the Society funds. The situation since resulted in the postponement of the June date with a notional end of September date which again was not possible to host.
Some six months on, the Council of Trustees are in the same position and face the shared dilemma of so many other Charities.
However, the ongoing current government guidelines regarding social distancing and the gatherings of people, do not make it possible to convene the meeting for the foreseeable future. The Trustees and Company Secretary have looked at all options and alternative ways to deliver the AGM including the hosting of an online AGM but to follow the Society’s Articles of Association, there is no such provision allowed. The Society has over 5,000 members, many of which do not have online access. At this time this was not seen as a viable option.
The new law from Parliament designed to assist Charities and Companies in these extenuating circumstances – the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill 2019-21 provides the flexibility for companies and Charities to continue and comply with their legal obligations.
Following yesterday’s extensions announcement, after much deliberation, the Board of Trustees has decided that, sadly, there will not be an AGM this year because of the impacts of coronavirus and future uncertainty in aligning the Society’s timeline for holding the AGM with the extensions or solutions offered from Westminster. Whilst this is not ideal, it is felt to be the most practical and prudent way to ensure the governance and business continuity of the WPCS.
This decision has been taken in light of the difficult and ever-changing conditions arising from the pandemic and its effect on areas with increasing lockdowns throughout Wales and the UK.
The Council have also decided to postpone the announcement of the result of this year’s elections to the Council until the 2021 AGM is held.
With no new election result this year, the Council have determined that all existing members of the Council will serve one additional year up until the March 2021 AGM. All current serving trustees will remain in their roles on standing committees until that time.
All nominated trustees on the ballot form for 2020 have been informed of this decision. The result of that ballot will be announced at the 2021 AGM and those duly elected will commence their service as Trustees immediately after the AGM. Those elected trustees will serve a full three-year period on Council until the 2024 AGM as is the usual tenure of a trustee’s term.
The next election for new trustees will invite nominations for the period 2022 -2025 in autumn 2021. Nominations for those roles will close on November the 30th 2021.
During the last six months the trustees have followed Government Covid 19 guidelines whilst continuing to meet regularly to serve the membership via online meetings. This practice will continue for the foreseeable future.
The Council has noted Saturday March 26th, 2021 as the date for holding the next AGM at the Vale resort near Cardiff. The election results of the current ballot will be announced at that meeting as per the Society’s Articles of Association. Mr Brian Foster will remain as President until that meeting and the incoming President elect will now serve office for 2021-2022.
In the meantime, the Council of trustees will be looking at the Articles of Association to propose a resolution of amendment to allow for such events as a pandemic. This will enable future trustees to have a pre- agreed structure and strategy for reacting to such unforeseen events, which are beyond the Trustees control. Any resolutions arising will be put to the membership for their approval at the AGM in 2021.
In sharing this announcement of cancellation online the Society is mindful that there are many members who do not have access to digital media and online services so will not be aware of this decision. This information will be sent in detail to all members in the upcoming Society Autumn newsletter.
The Society would like to request that you as members who are online, share this information as widely as possible with your fellow members who are not ‘online’.
These are unprecedented times, and the board of trustees as elected by members of the Society have taken this decision with the understanding of the Charities Commission.
Chair of Council WPCS.