UK: UKRIAT Position On Proposed Charter And Byelaw Changes

Last Updated: 17 August 2017
Article by Simon Osborne

ICSA CEO Simon Osborne explains the UKRIAT Division's stance on the proposed initiatives.

As I write, a programme of briefing and discussion meetings is underway across the UK, Crown Dependencies and Ireland to present the international Institute's proposed Charter and byelaw changes to members. Unfortunately, we are unable to hold meetings in all of the branches or jurisdictions which are part of the UKRIAT Division ahead of the October AGM vote on the proposals, hence I am laying out UKRIAT's position here.  

As you are aware, the international Institute is proposing to introduce a second chartered designation called 'chartered governance professional' (CGP) to sit alongside 'chartered secretary', as well as a part-qualified class of membership called 'affiliated member'. In doing so the Institute is responding to the increased focus on governance worldwide.

It is important to note that the proposals are contained in separate resolutions and members can vote on one, both or neither. It is also important to stress that the proposed changes are elective and not mandatory. Should the proposals be voted through, the UKRIAT Division can choose to apply them in ways that are appropriate to our market.

With that in mind, I want to outline our current thinking should these proposals be carried at the AGM on 4 October. This proposition will, of course, be subject to the final decision of UKRIAT Committee and feedback from members.

"Should the proposals be voted through, the UKRIAT Division can choose to apply them in ways that are appropriate to our market"

With regard to the CGP designation, we believe that chartered secretaries are highly qualified governance professionals. Today, chartered secretaries occupy many more roles beyond that of company secretary and, similarly, many people occupy governance roles who do not think of themselves as company secretaries.

This is likely to remain the case in the future. Thus, our proposition is that UKRIAT's revised qualifying scheme should offer a single unitary chartered qualification, leading to the right to use both 'chartered secretary' and 'chartered governance professional' designations. We feel that members should be free to use both or either of the designations according to their professional environment and purpose. We do not have plans to offer a separate CGP qualifying route.

In terms of managing the transition, we believe that CGP status should be available to existing members beyond the originally proposed transitioning ('grandfathering') of Fellows.

Our proposition is to work with international Council to revise the transition proposal to take into account the needs of ACIS members, as well as to give a clear pathway to graduates progressing from GradICSA to ACIS during the period 2017–2019, ahead of the introduction of a new unitary qualifying scheme. We support the extension of transition to Associates, subject to an experience criterion.

With regard to the new class of affiliated membership in UKRIAT, we consider that there will be low demand for a new part-qualified designation for those achieving the first set of modules in our qualifying scheme. There is likely to be higher demand for giving some kind of recognition and a professional home to alumni of our non-chartered qualifications.

Our proposition is to review the demand for affiliate status amongst UKRIAT students on the qualifying scheme and offer affiliate membership to the alumni of our stand-alone qualifications. If the latter is not possible, we propose to explore alternative recognition for them and for those non-members interested in our work who currently subscribe as affiliates.

"We feel that members should be free to use both or either of the designations according to their professional environment and purpose"

I hope that those members able to attend the briefing and discussion meetings do so in order to formulate an informed opinion prior to voting on the proposals on 4 October. The briefing and discussion meetings will be particularly useful in allowing us to hear members' views. Feedback from members will help to give further shape to UKRIAT proposals and consultations. Details of the remaining meetings can be found on the website.

As various communications from our International President, David Venus, have clearly laid out, the international Council wishes to ensure the global Institute is a vibrant, growing and sustainable organisation and that a platform exists to enable Divisions to grow, invest in the future and have the resources they need to meet their members' needs.

The UKRIAT Division has been working to increase the impact, value and relevance of ICSA and its members in a changing GRC market by championing our professional standard with employers and regulators; delivering thought leadership that goes beyond technical guidance and repositioning ICSA as The Governance Institute.

There is more still to be done and we are currently revising our core qualification for 2019 (full details will be available January 2018), investing in student recruitment and success, and introducing a portfolio of standalone sector-based governance qualifications.

The Institute is a global body, wider than just UKRIAT, so I do encourage all members please to consider the global interests of the Institute when voting on 4 October. It is our Institute, of which I am proud to be a member, and I hope that you will support these proposals to help to secure its future.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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