Instead, we are considering alternatives that: maintain social distancing and allow the maximum number of members to attend, whilst allowing for Companies Act requirements for AGMs, and those without access to broadband to participate.
Is the role of the annual AGM still relevant?
It is no longer a requirement for a Company of the size of the TRF to hold an annual AGM. The TRF choose to hold one, and include it in our Articles, to facilitate member engagement and democracy within the TRF. This decision was made at a time when the Board was much smaller than at present, and internal communications were much reduced. Since then, the Board has increased in numbers from three to eight. Groups now communicate effectively through monthly newsletters and social media and a dedicated Director is responsible for TRF Groups. The reintroduction of Trail and Scheduled Service emails allows for communication with TRF members and the wider trail riding community. Members now communicate directly with the TRF Board through thousands of phone calls, emails and social media posts. There will still be a business need to call for a General Meeting for time to time, for instance, changes to the Articles. The question is must it be annual, or simply as required?
Our current policy
Our policy in recent years on holding AGMs at an existing TRF riding event has increased the number of TRF members attending and voting at AGMs. The requirement of having a relatively high quorum was put in place to ensure a clear mandate for resolutions made that will bind the TRF. This comes at a human cost, which is a great deal of engagement, planning and stress put on the TRF volunteer board members and Group Officers who arrange the event.
The Board’s view of the current arrangements is that it has greatly lowered the risk of the AGM becoming non-quorate (invalid) and proved to be much more cost-effective and enjoyable for participants than other more formal meeting room or conference type events.
The AGM held last year at the Wessex Wanderer, and chaired by Wiltshire TRF (WTRF) set the bar high, with a great meeting, high quality of debate from 97 registered members and resolutions passed quickly and efficiently as a result. All who attended will remember the fantastic food arranged by the WTRF team.
We are interested in receiving members feedback on AGMs for the future and invitations from our 40 groups to hold smaller regional meetings at venues around the country.
Also with more members now familiar with video conferencing would this be an option preferred by TRF members? We have not included electronic voting at AGMs as the Board cannot find a way to make this work with the requirements of the Companies Act. The nearest we can offer is non-binding member surveys and electronic polls, to guide those who are unable to participate in person at a General Meeting.
Please can you let us have your thoughts on the matter by clicking on the survey link below. Thank you.
On behalf of the TRF Board of Directors