BMC intention to hold virtual AGM

Posted by Peter Burnside on 03/04/2020
Voting at the BMC AGM 2019. Photo: Pete Burnside

Due to the uncertainty surrounding the current pandemic, the BMC is inviting comments on having a virtual meeting for the 2020 AGM.

In the context of being unable to predict the timeline within which the restrictions relating to the Covid-19 situation will be lifted, the BMC's Board, with the support of National Council, proposes to hold its 2020 Annual General Meeting as a virtual meeting conducted as a webinar. This is in line with advice from a range of official sources which indicate that AGMs should continue to be held, but through means that are compatible with the need to safeguard the health and safety of participants, specifically by following the Government’s strict “social distancing” advice.

We propose to adhere to the date that has already been publicised, 13 June 2020, starting at 3:00pm and will plan for a two-hour session. 

The core agenda will include the minutes of the 2019 AGM; annual report and accounts for the 2019 financial year; appointment of auditors; and ratification votes for the four most recent director appointments (two independent directors and two Council Nominated directors).

It is also intended that there should be forward-looking presentations, with opportunity for questions and answers: the themes will relate to the BMC's strategic intent, set in the context of the impact of the Covid-19 situation on the organisation and on our sector. 

There is a requirement to provide an opportunity for members to propose resolutions, but we do not encourage this due to the constraints of the virtual medium. The BMC has two significant work programmes that have generated possible changes to the Articles, but we do not propose to progress any major or complex elements of these at this AGM. If there are matters on which additional engagement with members will be beneficial ahead of the AGM, this will be facilitated through Q&As or webinar discussions.

Members are welcome to offer views on the proposal prior to 8 April and the issuing of the formal notification of the AGM. Those wishing to do so please leave a comment at the bottom of this article.



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Anonymous User
03/04/2020
Absolutely do it. I can justify (to myself) attending a virtual AGM but never a face to face one.
Anonymous User
03/04/2020
Definitely support the plan to hold a virtual AGM on the same date, and the proposed agenda. One area you may need to reconsider is whether you can have a useful forward discussion of future strategy if we are still in the think of the pandemic, as it may be too early to be able to come to any views with certainty.
04/04/2020
Fair enough. If you can provide an on-line way of validating voting attendance then I can't see why not.
Anonymous User
04/04/2020
An excellent idea.
04/04/2020
Agree that we should do this. We'll need to work out how to authenticate attendees but should not be too difficult. Would be good to hold one or two large pre-meets beforehand, to make sure we're used to the technology used at scale.
06/04/2020
This seems eminently sensible given the current situation. I’m sure the general issues of validating members for voting, testing the system and protocols to allow for debate etc are all under discussion.
Nick Galpin
Anonymous User
06/04/2020
Paul's comment about testing the system is really important, we regularly use webinars at work and they are regularly a mess as people can't get in to the call.
Firmly chaired meetings can work but it's certainly less likely to generate quality respectful input from the audience.
06/04/2020
This is a pragmatic proposal, which I fully support. It may bring along members who might not have attended in person, so it is a good opportunity, if planned and executed effectively, to bring a younger and more diverse audience.

As already mentioned and is no doubt in process, testing the system first is essential, particularly the validation of attendees, voting, questions and the chairing of debate, as these are all quite different online.

Would proxy voting be enabled?

Final point: I would like to see a creative use of this opportunity. I would like to see the BMC deliver the content in an engaging way that reaches out to a more diverse cross-section of membership meaningfully, enhancing the democratic process.

06/04/2020
A positive move, and definitely needs testing. I'm left amused by the thought of the scars of the battles required to get just electronic proxy voting enabled just 2 years ago... it might even lead to the highest ever attendance!
Anonymous User
06/04/2020
yes
Anonymous User
06/04/2020
Seems a very appropriate response to the new reality.
Online voting perfectly possible within online meetings and possibly more scope for offering/capturing comments relating to the presentations than
Might even prove more accessible to a wider range of members...

Well worth giving it a spin in a time of adversity, then reviewing to determine how future AGMs are run.
Anonymous User
07/04/2020
There needs to be an examination of the relevant BMC Articles of Association to ensure there's nothing in them that would prohibit holding a virtual AGM, or that there's anything that might cause operational/procedural difficulties. For example, Article 12.9 refers to a quorum of 50 voting members - how would this be confirmed for a virtual AGM? Similarly, Articles 12.13 & 12.16 refer to voting being undertaken by "show of hands" in certain circumstances - how can voting by "show of hands" be done in a virtual AGM?
04/06/2020
Where is the link to pre-register for the AGM? I can't find it anywhere on the site!

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