The date and timing of RCP's annual general meeting (AGM) of fellows.
The RCP holds an annual general meeting (AGM), also known as Comitia, to which all fellows are invited. As well as being an opportunity for fellows to engage and be involved in the work of their College, holding the meeting is a requirement set by the bye-laws. Bye-Law 8 stipulates that there shall in each year be a general meeting (as the annual general meeting), and that this shall include the presidential election.
However, it has not always been so. The AGM has only been combined with the election of the president since 2000. These events used to be separate but low attendance at both led to them being combined. Because of an Act of Parliament from 1860 the election of the president cannot be moved and must be held on the day following Palm Sunday: so the AGM was moved to earlier in the year (previously it was held in July). The combined event has since been known as College Day and also includes two named lectures followed by a dinner.
Council has considered whether this is still the best arrangement. The main purpose of the AGM as a charity is to approve the governance issues related to the RCP and in particular the accounts. These are often not finalised by Palm Sunday. In addition to that the difficulties that many fellows as practising NHS clinicians have getting to a Monday afternoon meeting, and the limited time available on the agenda for questions and answers, suggest a change is needed.
To alleviate these issues and enable wider attendance Council has agreed to propose that from 2020, the following changes should occur:
- College Day – including the presidential election will remain on the day after Palm Sunday (Monday 6 April in 2020). This will focus, as it does now, on the ceremonial aspects necessary to elect a president and other key RCP officers (the latter for approval at the AGM later in the year). The two named lectures (FitzPatrick and Samuel Gee) will also take place and the dinner for fellows will continue in the evening.
- The AGM will move to the afternoon following July Council (16.00hrs, Wednesday 15 July in 2020). This will allow the full RCP accounts to be considered, help increase attendance of fellows, serving officers, and Councillors, and allow more time for questions and discussion. A drinks reception will follow for those fellows in attendance.
As fellows will have seen from previous reports (abstracts) of the AGM, the Bye-Laws are currently under review so as to bring them up to date. This change of timing is in line with the thinking of the review group, and in anticipation of a proposal for permanent change which will be put to the fellowship for consultation, followed by consideration for approval at the 2020 AGM as part of the wider package of changes. However, rather than delay longer to formalise this, we hope that fellows will see this change in 2020 as sensible and necessary to enable wider involvement.
To be clear, the presidential election with its associated ceremony will still take place on the Monday after Palm Sunday. The AGM will still take place, but in July. Technically this is not allowed for in the bye-laws currently, but the change will be proposed on a permanent basis and the intention of making a pre-emptive change in 2020 is to enable wider participation and access.
The proposal will be formally communicated to fellows in the December 2019 issue of Commentary and will also feature in the president’s ebulletin for November 2019.
Council hopes that fellows will be supportive of this, but if you wish to question it or object to it please contact Simon Land, head of professional governance on firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday 31 December 2019.