I can't find this on here; I do hope it hasn't been censored! But this is an important message from the acting Chair of the Carnivorous Plant Society.
Sent on behalf of Annette Bell. Please all read...
On 12th November 2018, I gained unanimous support from the committee to become Chairman and Trustee of The Carnivorous Plant Society (CPS). It has been a huge honour to be able to serve the membership and I take this role seriously. In recent months I have uncovered various shortcomings in the administration and governance of the CPS, including failing to comply with the formal requirements for a charity, as set down by the Charity Commission. This includes a lack of administrative structure, absence of records and minutes, and lack of accountability for decisions taken or money spent. The committee has a poor reputation for in-fighting and hostility which sometimes spills into the public eye. Many individuals, including a former Chairman and Martin Cheek have stated similar opinions that the committee has been ‘dysfunctional’ and ‘toxic’ for years. I believe things must change for the benefit of our charity and its membership.
A trustee’s responsibilities include a duty of care to protect the reputation and direction of their charity, to ensure that it fulfils its legal obligations and that the money it raises is spent in furtherance of the objects. The Charity Commission (CC) guidance is clear about what a trustee must do in these circumstances, and it is a mandatory requirement to notify them of any incidents which might damage the charity. The problems were duly reported on 8th February 19. The CC will only intervene if necessary - and I provided them with a list of proposals for how I intended to resolve our issues and move forwards. The CC have accepted this plan to get the CPS back on track.
The plan includes various administrative corrections including new, clearer rules. I have also asked for the resignation of certain committee members and trustees whose behaviour and actions have frequently fallen short of the expected requirements of someone holding office within a charity. Some of these committee members and trustees have refused to step down in the best interests of the Society and have attempted to rebel against the Chairman.
In the report to the CC, a proposal was made to instate an interim board of trustees to administer the charity alongside myself and the other, currently rebelling, trustee. This is necessary to take us out of a dead-lock situation. On 1st March a letter was sent to recap my discussion with the CC officer on 28th Feb 19, and which asked to place my intentions on record to recruit trustees.
Acting in good faith after these communications, I used my powers to recruit an interim board of upstanding and well-respected members of our community to become caretaker trustees to help the CPS recover from this crisis. All persons are willing to stand as candidates for formal election at an AGM – hence the self-imposed interim status until that point. I would like to introduce Stephen Morley, Claire Farrer, David Tite and Andrew Loakes – hopefully names which many of you will recognise. All are all willing to serve our Society properly.
As alluded to, the request for resignations has met with resistance despite the fact that there is written evidence of dereliction of duty concerning some of those involved at the heart of this rebellion against charity guidelines. The rebels have tried to silence my voice; they will not succeed, and it is with regret that I have been forced to make this situation public.
I invite you, the members, to decide how our charity should be governed. You have a choice: do you wish to continue with the existing regime and way of doing things, or would you prefer a new direction with two-way communication, fairness and accountability? Whatever you decide, The Carnivorous Plant Society deserves a secure and stable future for the benefit of all. I hope to be a part of that with you all,
de facto Chairman.