IHBC welcomes… ‘IHBC+’ (‘IHBC plus’): experimental evolution encouraging new volunteers

Following almost unanimous agreement at the IHBC’s most recent Council meeting, starting in January 2015 the Institute will explore alternative governance structures aimed at helping volunteers get more involved under a programme entitled ‘IHBC+’ (pronounced IHBC plus), which includes:

  • an expanded advisory Council – ‘Council+’(Council plus) – which will almost double the current size of our Council by including more Branch nominees and other co-optees, and
  • a more focussed and more regular gathering of trustees – our current Council, coming together in person or online – to focus on trustees’ core duties to monitor resources and deliver on our plans.

IHBC President Trefor Thorpe said: ‘The precise arrangements for the future governance of the Institute will be tested under this plan for IHBC+, a plan that we are very consciously describing as ‘experimental evolution’.  This testing will allow us to explore alternative support and management processes without the need to change our constitution.  That way we will know just what we want to do when we are ready to do it. This is a careful plan that, like all good conservation projects, recognises the importance both of precautionary principles and reversibility!’

‘The key element of the plan is the expansion of Council to include a much more broadly-based body of representation and opinion.  Hopefully this will be capable of responding to the full range of aims and objectives we have seen in our recent member surveys, whilst also reducing the scale of time commitment.  This should encourage more of you to participate in the important work of strengthening our organisation and keeping it at the forefront of the field in which we operate.’

‘And it is not the first time we have approached challenging structural changes in this way.  In 2005 we introduced the institute’s 5 new management committees – those covering all our activities from finance to outreach – but we test-ran the new structures before undertaking constitutional consolidation in 2007.  That way we made sure we did that job just the once, effectively and at the lowest cost.  I’m delighted to say that we’re able to build on the success of those Committees and strategies in the plans we’re following here, but clearly on a much more ambitious scale!’

IHBC Chair Mike Brown said: ‘We’ve been grappling with constitutional structures for more than 5 years now and I’m delighted that we now have a plan, supported by our Council, that allows us to move forward.’

‘The new arrangements recognise in the first instance the feedback we’re getting from our members through our surveys, where we have heard of their ambitions for our institute, and their interest in getting more involved.’

‘But they also recognise the substantial new pressures on our existing management and governance, pressures that have been generated by our success: increased membership, business expansion and ever-new ambitions.’

‘But as the IHBC looks to an even more ambitious future, so too we need a better handle on our own operations, and the IHBC+ programme will help us explore how best to do that.’

‘With the principle of experimental evolution now agreed, we can get down to the details.  It will take a little time to filter out of course, so for now, think about how you might get more involved in our work and register your interest with the local Branch.’

For more information:
Interim details of the new arrangements agreed at the IHBC’s Council are available from your Branch representative (see the IHBC’s website or our Yearbook for contact details).

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