Is our committee and subcommittee system the best it can be?
Dear MQ members,
The MQ board is extremely grateful for the very great contribution of our committees and subcommittees, now and for many years past. But we have been asking ourselves whether our subcommittee system is the very best we can do for clubs, competitors and for our hard-working committee and subcommittee members.
Election -v- direct appointment?
As you are probably aware, the MQ constitution says that the MQ board appoints all committee and subcommittee members. Where committee or subcommittee membership is subject to a ballot, which is declared each year at the MQ AGM, the board makes appointments in accordance with the result of the ballot.
That means that potential committee and subcommittee members must first offer themselves as a candidate in a ballot and be subject to an election by ballots submitted by clubs; clubs who often have no knowledge of the candidate and/or no real interest in the work many subcommittees perform; ie a road racing club is unlikely to be vitally interested in the work done by the MX subcommittee etc. We have, over the past several years, received completed ballots from only 30-40% of our clubs and sometimes less than 30%.
Therefore, under the current system we can only populate our committees and subcommittees with those who voluntarily come forward. In the majority of cases, a ballot is unnecessary because we only have nominations from the same number of candidates, as there are available positions. Often, we do not have enough candidates to fill the available positions.
We know from experience that many potentially valuable contributors do not like having their candidature subject to election and do not put themselves forward.
So the first reform question is:
Should we continue with appointment according to a ballot, or will we get better expertise and experience by seeking out people who we know have a lot to contribute?
If we moved to direct appointment, many of our committee and subcommittee members would, of course, be asked to continue. However, over time, we think we can greatly widen and deepen the experience and expertise on our committees and subcommittees by direct appointment because we will be able to approach many more women, young people and other experienced people who are reluctant under the current system to get involved and contribute. This will, we think, have the effect, again over time, of bringing even more capable people into our governance community and that means more capable people, particularly women and younger members, being developed as potential board members.
We know we must improve our gender equity in respect of our governance structure and we think this is a natural and organic way of achieving that necessary improvement. And we need to bring younger people into our governance community along with more old hands.
If we do move to direct appointment, some changes will need to be made to our constitution. If that is necessary, we will be targeting the MQ Council meeting to be held in North Queensland this year in November to put a motion for the necessary changes.
Options for changing the structure of our subcommittee system
Currently our committee and subcommittee structure is set out in the MQ Committee & Subcommittee Guidelines, which you will find here
Whilst there is some obvious logic in the groupings of committee and subcommittees (ie a subcommittee for each competition discipline and then women, juniors etc) the structure can be imagined differently. For example, the Women's, Junior and Historic subcommittees do good work in their respective constituencies but they largely have to do that work in isolation from the various discipline subcommittees.
Therefore, only some of the questions we need to be asking, and answering include the following:
• Is there a benefit in integrating women, junior and competitor representation more generally with other subcommittees?
• Is there a way to get better contributions in respect of technical matters and competition rules etc by forming expert panels/subcommittees for those matters?
• Is there any advantage in Historics being isolated from MX, dirt track and road racing? Or could historic representatives be usefully integrated with the general disciplines?
The possible groupings are many and varied. So we all have to do some quality thinking on the optimum division of tasks and responsibilities for a possibly re-configured committee and subcommittee structure.
Options for changing the work done by subcommittees
Currently all our discipline-based subcommittees consider draft supplementary regulations and make recommendations to the MQ office in respect of necessary amendments etc. Of course, these subcommittees also do other valuable work.
A possible change that could be made is the appointment of a panel of people, particularly experienced race secretaries and other officials, who could do the majority of the work in relation to approving supplementary regulations, making suggestions about improving supplementary regulations templates etc. Of course, the relevant discipline-based subcommittee would be consulted in the approval process. We think that moving to an appointed panel for supplementary regulations will free up many subcommittees to give more consideration to strategic development of their respective areas of responsibility.
A similar approach could be taken in relation to grading riders; ie an expert panel could deal with grading, again in consultation with relevant other subcommittees.
Another important task of some committees and subcommittees, the coordination of major series, could also be the primary task of sub-groups who can concentrate more exclusively on promotion, organisation, coordination and development of our major series. Whilst this task would still probably have to be integrated with the work of the relevant discipline-based subcommittee, we think that giving our committees and subcommittees more focussed work to perform, we will get more expert and experienced people involved and generally get better outcomes for our sport by that involvement.
As I said at the beginning, we have only just started to examine the possibilities for reform. So nothing is fixed and we do not have any pre-conceived ideas about this possible change.
This will be an agenda item for the annual face-to-face meeting on 11 July 2015 at which we will be looking for direct feedback. If you are not attending that meeting, we welcome your thoughts on what you see as the best way to improve our committee and subcommittee system.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Until next month………….
Regards, Jim Feehely
Motorcycling Queensland President