Saturday, 4 November 2017

Update from October 2017 Board

October 21st marked another of our Board meetings and this time we met at The Friends Meeting House on Euston Road which provides good facilitates at very reasonable prices and is about as good a location as can be for a group of Trustees dispersed across many locations. At short notice I was asked to Chair the meeting as our Chair was unwell. I can report that despite the last minute preparations, it turned out to be a honour and a delight. This is my high level summary of the meeting and . . .in no particular order. . .

Update From October 2017 Board

Notably this meeting was the last for 3 of our Trustees. Kristian Gregory is a more recent Trustee and served over the period we were changing our governance and branding. Kristian is a very active campaigner and has been working closely with Rogers team over a number of years. Kristian brought a certain much needed youthfulness to our board and accordingly an important lens through which to see our work. It reminds us of the need to ensure that we continue to strengthen the diversity of the board but also Kristian’s experience and feedback points to a need to improve upon the induction and mentoring for new Trustees, especially those who may not have experience of working on a board. Martyn Bolt has served as both a Trustee and a member of staff over time and has a very strong presence in cycling in his area. Martyn has played a key role on ensuring that as a board we are serving our members well and in accordance with our governing policies and documents. Jim Brown’s dedication to Cycling UK over many years, as a Councillor, Vice-Chair and leading the charge on cycling in Stevenage is nothing less than remarkable. Jim’s absolute determination around diversity and serving our member groups will remain etched in our consciousness and we all said that we would continue to serve this agenda in his memory in perpetuity. We want to say a heartfelt thank you to Kristian, Martin and Jim and wish you all the very best in your future cycling adventures.

I can report that the board is really shaping up now and it was really clear that the debate reached the appropriate balance of strategy and detail with excellent scrutiny as well as board members using their expertise to help shape discussions and reach agreements. When I fed this back to the board at the end of the meeting this observation was shared and I have since received some messages that Trustees felt not only was it a good meeting but really starting to enjoy their roles. There can be no doubt that this board is committed to improving cycling for all.

We had a presentation from Duncan Dollimore and to be honest we were bowled over by the comprehensive, strategic and thoughtful approach of Duncan and his team. You will no doubt have seen Duncan on the television recently. We paid tribute to the team for their sensitive and expert handling of difficult subject matters and gave them our support for their developing strategy. This and other contributions from the Senior Management Team gave us confidence that they are continuing to build the capability in the organisation to deliver an ambitious agenda and we all feel that we ‘punch far above our weight’.

We also saw in connection with campaigns, media and lobbying a very impressive consideration of the small and big P in all their work and relationship building recognising that politicians, stakeholders and partners are all crucial to our aims.

We had an exciting report from the CEO Paul Touhy. The quality of the work, the impact and evaluation is really starting to come through. You can hear about the specifics through our on-line communications CycleClips and the new website has to be mentioned as part of our more than impressive approach to communications. 

This board meeting above any I have attended was focussed on people cycling together and increasing those opportunities. We talked about events, holidays and the rich and valued traditions in the regions. We have commissioned further work on this and how we can support this in future years.

In the meeting we have reports from the sub-committee’s and an opportunity to ask questions. It is clear that by and large we are really seeing the benefits of the new governance processes however also a timely reminder that we should keep them under constant review. We have just run our second election under the new rules and will soon be hearing the results. We have had some comments and suggestions from members about our processes and as Chair of Nominations Committee I assured the board that we will consider these as well as comments from the board before we run the next election. We must always aim to learn and improve and I am sure there are things we can do differently or better next year.

It is member group AGM time now and I will be joining a couple of my local meetings, although my role is no longer as councillor I like to maintain my relationships and links as best I can as I feel our groups are a really important part of our heritage. I hope the autumn and winter are kind to us and we can all get plenty of rides in over the next few months.

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