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Guide for Committee Chairmen


Introduction

The powers and responsibilities of the chair of a CA Committee are defined in two documents, which are published in the governing documents section of the website and available in print from the CA Office:

These documents are working documents and are updated from time to time. They can be rather daunting to those not familiar with them, so this guide attempts to provide you with route map to key areas and, in some cases, put some flesh on the bones.

References to the Standing Orders are to the March 2020 edition which was adopted on a temporary basis pending a fuller review in the light of the new Council's Strategy and Objectives. The CA Practice Book was updated in January 2022. Committees are encouraged to meet as frequently as necessary to conduct their business, either face to face or electronically. They are required to meet at least once a year. Transparency in all decisions needs to be paramount and chairs are required to ensure that all decisions are documented and that minutes are published expeditiously. Appropriate publicity should be given to key matters.

Please let the Honorary Secretary know of any errors or omissions and ask for clarification if needed, if only to help your successors. Similarly, please suggest any changes you think should be made to the Standing Orders or CA Practice Book.

Overall Management and Reporting Structure

Clause 12 of the Constitution of the Association provides that:

Clause 25 gives the Council and Executive Board power to appoint committees and delegate powers and duties to them.

The Executive Board has used this power in CAPB 6 (which defines the names and membership of the standing committees), CAPB 7 (which defines their procedures) and CAPB 8 (which defines their responsibilities). CAPB 6.1 describes Standing committees and CAPB 6.2 describes Advisory Panels: the distinction being that the Standing committees must have one or more scheduled meeting each year, whereas the Panels normally operate and report as required.

CAPB 7.15 states that Standing Committees "are empowered to act without reference back unless decisions they intend to take contradict established policy or involve projected expenditure in excess of agreed budgets or may impact on the work of other committees. Committee Chairs are responsible for the performance of their committee and for reporting the work done to the responsible Director."

CAPB 6.25 allows for exceptional circumstances "Exceptionally, the Chair of a Standing Committee may take such other action within the scope of the committee as the Chair considers necessary in the interests of the CA. Such action should be reported to committee members and the relevant Director as soon as practicable, and certainly within seven days."

Because committee chairs do not necessarily attend Executive Board meetings (unless invited under CAPB 5), a member of the Executive Board is tasked, by CAPB 5.14, with liaising with them.

The Executive Board normally meets ten times a year (via a video conferencing platform) and the Secretary to the Board or the Director may request that written reports are supplied in advance of an Executive Board meeting. Issues concerning policy or requiring endorsement should be sent to the Secretary to the Board, using the template given in https://www.croquet.org.uk/?d=299, for distribution to the Executive Board, at least 10 days before the meeting.

Committee Membership

The chairs of each committee are formally appointed by the Executive Board at its first meeting following the AGM, but in practice they are nominated by the responsible Director of the Executive Board (CAPB 6.6)

Designated Committee chairs propose the members of their committee (CAPB 6.7), for ratification by the Executive Board, up to a default maximum of 12 (except for the Coaching and Sport Development Committees, which also have representatives of the Federations and Academies). The CA Office and Honorary Secretary should be informed of any changes when they happen, so that the database (which feeds the committees page on the website) can be updated.

CAPB 6.19 specifies the quorum for meetings as half the number of members currently elected, appointed or co-opted to serve on it and CAPB 6.20 gives the conditions for teleconferences and any decisions taken by the chair after an email discussion. Each committee must ensure that its decisions and minutes are recorded.

Procedure at committee meetings is set out in CAPB 7 but is generally less formal than for the Council.

Committees are encouraged (CAPB 6.24) to appoint a Vice-Chair, both to deputise and assist the Chair when required, and with a view to succession.

Committee chairmen can serve for a maximum of 4 years in succession. (CAPB 6.5).

Committee Responsibilities

Each committee (with the exception of the Executive Board) has a set of general responsibilities stated in CAPB 7, as well as specific responsibilities stated in CAPB 8. In addition, they can be tasked with other things by the Council or the Executive Board (CAPB 7.14).

Among the general responsibilities is the preparation of lists of their objectives and plans (CAPB 7.9) and sending to the Honorary Secretary by 1 August each year a list of those significant decisions taken by the committee during the preceding 12 months. The date the decision was taken and reference to the relevant minute should be stated (CAPB 7.13).

Communication and Record-Keeping

Committees are responsible for appointing a member of the committee to maintain their website presence and communicate with Individual Members and Member Clubs through that and The Croquet Gazette. Anything that may be regarded as sensitive or contentious should first be discussed with the relevant member of the Executive Board (CAPB 7.12).

There is a Zoom presentation on CA Website training for Committee Chairs that covers the main issues.

The relevant Director, Secretary and the CA Operations Manager should be informed of committee decisions expeditiously (CAPB 7.7) and minutes and new or updated policy papers should be published on the website, normally within 4 weeks of the meeting (CAPB 7.12). Advisory groups that do not meet regularly and may not keep minutes should record their decisions in their reports to the Executive Board (CAPB 7.6).

CAPB 7.13 requires a list of significant decisions taken during the past 12 months to be sent to the Honorary Secretary by 1 August for possible inclusion in the general list of significant decisions and its extract, which are available as a source of precedents.

A number of guides have been written regarding the use of the CA website. These include:

Financial Matters

Section 11 of the CAPB sets out the Budget and Expenditure Approval policy.

The CA Authorisation Matrix https://croquetengland.shinyapps.io/authorisation-matrix/ identifies which groups or individuals have authority to take decisions, spend money or otherwise make financial commitments on behalf of the CA.

Standing Committees are asked by the Treasurer to submit their budget for the following calendar year, and forecasts for following years, each autumn.

Committee members can claim travel expenses for attending physical meetings; these are separately budgeted. Other expenses should fall within agreed budgets.

CA Office

Although the CA Office may be able to help with some of your committee's activities, its resources are limited and, except in a few specific instances, the Operations Manager (CAPB 3) does not have a specific responsibility to do so. Please consult the Chair of the Executive Board before making requests for significant assistance.

Complaints Procedures

The CA's new procedures are specified in clause 8 of the Constitution.

Checklist for Incoming Chairmen

The following is offered as a checklist of actions for someone taking over as chair of a committee: