Greetings to all Members of the SCA Ltd (Australia) from the Australian Board,
At transitional times such as this, it’s always useful to take a moment to take stock of where we are, highlighting work that has been done, what is underway, and creating clarity in our priorities – and take the opportunity to provide an update to our Membership on current projects.
The last 6 to 12 months have been busy for the Australian Board, with a strong focus on improving our processes and policies to deliver better outcomes for our members. Some of those changes have been in the area of our internal governance processes – while not the most thrilling to onlookers, these are the foundational improvements that allow us to work effectively and efficiently on priority areas, and building on that structure, the Board’s ongoing work has focused our practices and resources to protect the SCA and all its members.
To ensure the long term stability and growth of the SCA in Australia as a viable business, this has included significant review and changes to the corporate financial management. Members were consulted last year on the fiscal priorities for the SCA, necessary fee changes, and areas of possible savings. With the COVID-19 Pandemic coming to Australia’s shores, this became all the more crucial based on our corporate cashflow modeling.
Building on the savings last year through a change in insurance underwriters, this year we’ve been able to negotiate a significant reduction in our premiums for 2020, both on the basis of inability to undertake any in-person activities, but also through more detailed segmenting of our business activities, something that we hope will continue to provide us with savings for years to come. Currently underway is a review of the SCA’s bookkeeping service to achieve both savings, but also improved efficiencies and support for branches and their Reeves.
As well as streamlining our financial operations, the Board has begun a significant review and update of the SCA’s financial policy and procedures. This is a major work with an aimed completion before the next AGM – members will be consulted once this work is nearing completion. Adjacent to this review is the scoping of a policy to better define the Board’s delegation of authority to Lochac and SCA Ltd Corporate Officers.
Beyond our business operational priorities, and especially with the pandemic work (hopefully) coming to a conclusion, the Board has already shifted its policy focus back to member protection issues, notably around disputes and unacceptable behaviour. The Board engaged a legal firm specialising in association governance and policy work to provide guidance on how to redesign critical policies and processes to ensure that the society is compliant with Australian laws and best practices with regard to member protection and dispute resolution.
This led to the recently completed new Code of Conduct, which is a significant step forward and gives every participant in SCA Lochac (Australia) activities a solid understanding as to what is and is not acceptable. Following this project’s completion, the Board’s current projects include the significant creation of a Member Protection Policy and procedures. Members will have the opportunity to comment through our standard consultation processes when a final draft has been prepared.
The Member Protection Policy under development aims to ensure The Society for Creative Anachronism’s core values, good reputation and positive behaviours and attitudes are maintained. It assists us in ensuring that every person involved in our Society is treated with respect and dignity, and is safe and protected from abuse. Through this Policy, we aim to ensure that everyone involved in the SCA is aware of their legal and ethical rights and responsibilities. This Policy will be an essential part of our organisation’s proactive and preventative approach to tackling inappropriate behaviour.
At the 2020 AGM, following significant member consultation, an updated Constitution for SCA Ltd (Australia) was proposed, and accepted unanimously by Members. These amendments include updating our rules to better define our members and non-member participants, based on legal advice received, as well as updating our company objectives and mission statement to remove the Euro-centric limitations.
Finally, the Australian Board is also developing clear job descriptions for Board appointed positions to ensure that duties and responsibilities for those members undertaking such roles are unambiguous and understandable. We are also actively monitoring the live streaming trial and note the very successful uptake of virtual events in the current contact-free environment. Lessons learned from these activities will be used to grow our society outreach and positive interactions where we can benefit.
Importantly, we are always willing to take questions, suggestions, and feedback from the membership and are always looking for potential new Board members – please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Yours in service,
The SCA Ltd Board