View Full Version : UK: Were the proposed Charter, Bye-laws and Regulations right for the profession?
09-15-2009, 07:38 PM
(Copy of a thread created by Faculty Council member Kenny Tindall on the official UK merger forum on 11 Sep 2009):
Were the proposed Charter, Bye-laws and Regulations right for the profession?
09-15-2009, 07:49 PM
(There have been 5 responses so far on the official forum, given that the imposition of a brand new charter (which members had not been consulted about or even seen before) was one of the most controversial aspects of the proposed merger).
(1st response on 11 Sep 2009 from a user whom I shall call F):
(2nd response on 11 Sep 2009 from a user whom I shall call IR):
More specifically...why not? How would you change them?
(3rd response on 12 Sep 2009 from user F):
The question assumes I am in favour of a merger of some sort. I am against any sort of a merger! This is the main problem with the Councils' (very flawed) survey!
(4th response on 14 Sep 2009 from Faculty Council member Katie Low [Note: although I use pseudonyms similar to the ones that the above members are using on the official forum, I think it is reasonable to identify Council members, particularly since they have not been using anonymous usernames on the official forum]):
Even if there is no merger it is very likely that the Charter documents for both bodies will be updated in some way. This is simply to make them better. So regardless of your views on merger this is an important topic for members to engage with.
(5th response on 15 Sep 2009 from user IA):
It is indeed an important topic for members to engage with, and it was also therefore a critical topic for members to have been consulted on in the first place BEFORE the merger vote. A proper consultation process would have been for the draft Charter documents to have been circulated to members, a clear process and timescale for comments to be received, consideration of these by Councils, communication by Councils of the feedback received and their views on this, revised Charter documents and explanation of why changes had / had not been made, vote on merger. Such a process is needed in any future changes - not just ad hoc comment-seeking on forums such as this.
09-15-2009, 08:11 PM
(This is a reply of my own, that I am now making - as I said I would - here on the Actuarial Outpost, rather than on the official forum, which is read by very few UK members).
The original question (were the proposed charter, regulations and byelaws right for the profession) seems to be trying to ignore the very significant problems that David Wilkie and others (but principally David Wilkie) raised.
The detailed problems with the proposed charter (which are documented:
- Detailed comments on the proposed new charter (Part 1) (http://www.actuary21c.com/?p=388),
- part 2 (http://www.actuary21c.com/?p=396)
- part 3 (http://www.actuary21c.com/?p=404)
- part 4 (http://www.actuary21c.com/?p=436)
- part 5 (http://www.actuary21c.com/?p=457)
- part 6 (http://www.actuary21c.com/?p=470)
- further comments (http://www.actuary21c.com/?p=517)
David made these detailed comments on 21 June. A detailed response to these comments was not provided before the vote date of 23 July, and one has yet to be received from those who advocated the proposed charter.
So my answer to the original question is (as it was when I voted against the merger proposals on 23 July):
No, the proposed charter was not right, and unless a convincing response is provided to the points that David Wilkie made, there seems little point in pursuing that particular charter.
11-19-2009, 06:00 PM
My colleague David Wilkie made the following comment on the official forum on 30 October, which has received no official response some 3 weeks later:
The first question that should be considered, and Councils need to answer, is what exactly is wrong, if anything, with the present Charters, Byelaws and Rules. If there is anything that needs changing, could it be changed? The whole idea of a totally new constitution seems nonsense, unless the old ones are obviously and irredeemably unsatisfactory. But no single specific example has been given at any stage of any problem at all with the present structure, and I have heard of no problem at all over recent years.
I could suggest some minor changes to both Institute Byelaws and Faculty Rules, but they are quite minor and could easily be dealt with by amending the present set. Perhaps others could make suggestions too.
11-19-2009, 06:11 PM
(this is a copy of blog post here (http://www.actuary21c.com/?p=1085))
I said in a blog post yesterday (http://www.actuary21c.com/?p=1081) that I was waiting to hear how the consultation meeting (on Charter documentation) at the Institute of Actuaries in London went yesterday. I have kept quiet for several weeks about this in the hope that the leadership would respond to points previously made, but the consultation period ends tomorrow, so if I am to comment at all, now is the time.
Although I hear that yesterday's meeting was well conducted, what I heard about it (including that it wasn't very well attended [only about 20 members], that those joint Council members present didn't offer a lot of detail as to what problem the proposed new Charter was meant to solve) has I'm afraid confirmed my impression that, so far, the process has not been handled very well. Why do I say this?
1. Given that the CAP merger vote was defeated in July, putting the new Charter proposed for that merger forward once again for consultation seems to be putting the cart before the horse.
2. The justification given for the current consultation exercise seems to be given in Paragraph 13 of the Consultation Document (http://www.actuarialmerger.com/pdf/ConsultationonCharterfinal20091021.pdf), which states "For some years the Councils have thought that the governing documents of the two bodies were cumbersome and not easily understood. They had been frustrated at times by the differences in structure between the two bodies and had found that change was not always easy." However, no evidence was provided to back up these assertions and despite David Wilkie posting on 30 October 2009 (on the official forum (http://www.actuarialforums.com) [member login required]) the question "The first question that should be considered, and Councils need to answer, is what exactly is wrong, if anything, with the present Charters, Byelaws and Rules" there has been no official response some three weeks later. Why not?
3. I understand that at the Institute meeting yesterday, those Council members present, when the same question was put to them, could only give a single practical example, which was that the two current Charters (of the Institute and Faculty) were inconsistent in that Honorary Fellows of the Faculty were entitled to vote, but Honorary Fellows of the Institute were not. It would be a simple matter to bring the situation into line.
4. As mentioned in my blog post of yesterday (and previously here and on the official forum), no response has yet been provided to the detailed criticisms David Wilkie made of the proposed CAP Charter in June. It does not seem right for Councils to invite detailed comments on the same Charter document in October and November 2009 when they have ignored comments about it made in June. Are those of us who had concerns about the proposed charter supposed to repeat similar comments in the current consultation, and if so, how is this supposed to give us confidence that comments previously ignored will be taken into account this time? How is asking us to make comments again supposed to give the members and the public confidence that we are an efficient professional organisation?
5. We claim to be an evidence based profession, and I agree that that is what we should be. Where is the evidence from minutes of either Council that the existing Charters are cumbersome? On the contrary, both have been successfully revised several times over recent decades, and in particular, the Faculty's governance is particularly easy to alter because the Charter is very brief and most of the substance is in the Rules & Byelaws, which do not require Privy Council approval to change.
6. In contrast to what Councils have done, I will point out here examples of some actual problems with the current Charters (credit to David Wilkie for pointing out this to me and other members during the debate about the merger), however none of these is significant to warrant a change to a brand new document:
- for the Institute, at present there is no time limit specified within which Council must arrange for a Special General Meeting to be held once it has been requisitioned by members. This was a major reason why opponents of the CAP merger requisitioned a Faculty SGM, but not an Institute one, in June of this year (because there was no guarantee that Institute Council would hold such an SGM in time to influence the merger vote on 23 July).
- for the Faculty, nominations for new Council members includes, in addition to member nominated candidates, a "slate" of candidates proposed by the Council, which smacks of Soviet style governance rather than a more democratic system where candidates are nominated purely by members. However, perhaps Faculty members are currently content with this system (does Faculty Council know whether they are or not?), and this is for Faculty members to decide, and not me as an Institute member - I merely point this out as Councils are asking for comments on governance.
- also for the Faculty, there has recently been some debate as to the exact meaning of Rule 20, as to whether Councils' duty to "call" an SGM within 28 days of receiving a valid requisition means that Council must arrange for an SGM to be held within 28 days of receipt of the requisition or not (with Council arguing that "calling" a meeting does not mean that the meeting must actually be held within 28 days): the wording of this Rule could easily be clarified.
7. I am not surprised that yesterday's meeting was poorly attended: many members are weary of the whole continued merger process and hardly likely to engage actively if (as the evidence shows continues to be the case) criticisms on the forums are met with silence rather than rational opposing argument. I am again posting this outside the official forum (although with a link to this article from that forum), here on my blog, and on the Actuarial Outpost, because so few members read the official forum (the most popular post has received 259 views during the 10 weeks since its posting on 11 Sep 2009, or an average of only 4 page views per day, from a forum which has over 18,000 members).
In conclusion, I hope that the outcome of the current consultation is better than the way that the process has been handled so far.
11-20-2009, 05:58 AM
This is meant only for comparison, not meant to be normative at all.
With the recent blow up in the American Academy of Actuaries, at one point I, and a bunch of other people, separately sent letters to the Academy, one of the points in the letter being providing people with a method for proxy voting in the Academy Board elections.
Now, a flurry of activity precipitated, but mainly driven by the Outpost and Tom Bakos, with the Academy being reactive. Plenty of people got confused. The election came and went [the Academy did pretty well in running the election, considering... could have been done better, but we hope that will be fixed by next year.]
I, and others, did not get replies to our initial letters until after the meeting was over. [But at least we got a response, however contentless. I wasn't expecting anything in response, actually.]
Then there's the whole FEM thing, of which we keep asking for a definitive death.
Part of the slowness in response will come from the very nature of these organizations. When it's an individual who needs to respond, they can speak for themselves relatively rapidly. When it's a large group, full of people with interests not necessarily aligned.... well, it can take a while. If anything ever comes out.
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