Chairman Update 9th December 2020

Council continues to meet regularly, and the work of the Society progresses despite the continuing lack of any trialling in most areas.

Stage one of the Governance review being conducted by Exact Consultants has now been completed. This involved Diane Thomas and Ian Postles of Exact Consultants conducting a series of remote interviews with members of the Society to obtain an insight of how we operate, and gain members perception of what is good and what needs improving. Ian and Diane have also studied all our governance documents and now feel that they have a complete picture of our strengths and weaknesses.

The plan for stage two is to target our most urgent items for immediate attention as follows:

  1. Exact to amend the constitution and offer an updated, clearer document, consolidating suggestions to date and holding it up against several similar organisation’s constitutions.
  1. The Office structure, staffing, roles, and responsibilities will be reviewed. Interviews will commence with all staff, reviewing their individual roles to understand and identify their responsibilities.

In my short time as Chairman it is evident to me that we must urgently review the role of our Executive Officer. Our Society would be totally exposed if for any reason Helen was off work for even a short period of time. There is no structure in place to carry out the duties of this role. This will be included within the review.

  1. GDPR - The Society is registered with the ICO (Information Commissioners Office). However, there are procedures which need completing to bring the Society to the level of compliance which is required. Exact will assist with this procedure and all members will be contacted in due course and will be provided with the opt in opportunity.

Other Matters

Council have appointed Camerons Accountancy to assist and oversee our Office accounting. A lead contact within Camerons has been appointed to the Society and will be available for any advice required on a regular basis. Camerons will also assist with quarterly VAT returns to ensure full compliance with regulatory requirements. Commencing February 2021 Camerons will overhaul our Sage accounting system, particularly in relation to our sale of stock items. The intention is that when the system is brought up to date, accounting information can be supplied to Directors on a regular basis instead of annually at an AGM. Directors have ultimate responsibility for this Society and I feel strongly that they must have regular updates informing them of what actions Council are taking and also financial information in an easy to understand format.

Meanwhile I can report that our 2020 accounts have been reconciled to our year end date, and Helen can begin the lengthy process of completing the Audit to accompany these accounts. This is in line with Council’s intention to release the 2020 accounts to Directors and Members during January 2021.

Recently you were notified of a small price increase for some of the Society services. Increases are never popular, but all our costs are continually rising and many of the issues which have caused problems in recent times within our Society now require some investment. Many of the measures Council are putting in place will, once actioned, save considerable sums of money. Although trialling has been severely curtailed this past year our Office has been extremely busy with the recording of Matings, Puppy Registrations, Transfer of Ownership, Remote ROM's and requests for Pedigrees, all of which are the bread and butter of our Society.

The procedure of conducting Registration on Merit remotely by video is proving extremely popular and there is good uptake from both the home nations and overseas. The process is relatively simple but to avoid any misuse there is a procedure which must be closely adhered to when producing the video. Anyone wishing to apply for ROM should consult the Society website or contact the Office to ensure they are compliant.

Kind Regards

Ian Fleming

Chairman, International Sheepdog Society

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