An open, Chartered Institute

I have, this week, had the most stinking cold, which is why I’ve been a bit invisible.

They* always say when you’re ill that you should take on board more liquids. That’s fine, but it just seems to be running out through my nose…

You might think that to be too much information (and it’s nothing compared to some of the things a certain friend of almost 20 years has said to me in the past), but the point is that it’s entirely within keeping for me to say something like that.

When we did the debate and recorded the videos at the start of the month, more than a few people commented that it was me-but-not-me. A sort of calmer, more electable version of myself, is what I think they were driving at, which wasn’t what I was aiming for at all. Liking me isn’t as important to me as liking what I want to do as President / President-Elect. I’m open, honest and transparent about that. I might not be very engaging sometimes but at least you know what to expect.

One thing I did neglect to address in my stump speech, video and statement is transparency, though it is related to engagement. (Okay. Not the best link I’ve made between two subjects but I’m ill, remember?)

Everyone on Council has, in some way, been nominated and / or elected to serve. That means we’re all accountable to the members. But our workings can sometimes seem a little… opaque.

You can visit the CIPR web site and see who is on Council, and Board – but not the Standing Committees, even though this is where much of the work is done. You can’t see our voting records. Minutes aren’t published in a timely manner, and you’ve no chance of finding out what’s on any agenda.

I work in Local Government, and I know we’d never be able to do this. For example, we have a Combined Authority meeting on 29 September. The Agenda and papers will be published by the 22nd. West Yorkshire’s Council Tax-payers – from whom we derive funding, via the districts – will be able to see what the Combined Authority is up to, irrespective of whether or not they voted for any of them. Some financially-sensitive items are ‘starred’ or ‘below the line’ but it doesn’t happen often. And the same rules apply to our Transport and Investment committees.

Opening up the inner workings of the Chartered Institute to its members is a scary prospect, but it would do wonders for our engagement with our members. Don’t you think? I do, which is why it would form part of my agenda if elected.

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