In marked contrast with last year’s, February 11, 2016 event, Rye Arts Festival’s AGM, held on Sunday April 9 was almost sweetness and light, although with underlying tensions. The principal item of interest was the list of recommendations from the independent governance consultant Dorothy Dalton, on improving the Festival’s management structure.
Chairman Mike Eve reported that the committee had accepted the necessity to convert from an unincorporated registered charity to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). It was proposed to create a separate legal entity which would be able to enter into contracts with limited liability, hence protecting the trustees and perhaps also the membership against unforeseen risks. It would also be better placed to respond to Charity Commission and regulatory requirements.
A clearer division of responsibility had been recommended between that of the trustees for charitable trust governance and that of a management committee charged with organising the festival. The latter function would be undertaken by a management committee of advisers with delegated powers. The form of CIO would give members full franchise within the constitution to elect trustees and it would continue to be a member-led charity.
The resolution was accordingly proposed, seconded and carried that the Rye Arts Festival Charity be dissolved on a date to be determined by the Executive Committee and its assets transferred to a CIO with similar objectives. Following a suggestion from Peter Mackenzie-Smith, it was agreed that the consultant’s report, marked confidential, would be made available to members upon request.
Mike Eve told members that it would take some time to process the necessary changes, including the transfer of assets to the new organisation, so the present status would continue through 2017. He again assured members that they would have the right to elect the trustees at annual general meetings.
Other formal business was transacted with re-election of officers and members of the executive committee, including those appointed during 2016: Jane Conlin, Beth Harvey and Michael Sweeney (co-opted).
Mary Howse presented the Report and Accounts for the 15 month period to December 31, 2016, which were adopted and Mike Eve gave warm acknowledgement of those hard-working committee members and others who had contributed to the successful 2016 festival.
Photo: Kenneth Bird