This project is included here as an example of the kind of highly specialised work for which I’ll enlist the help of a specialist colleague to ensure the best possible delivery. In order to draft this 60 page document reporting on a meeting of the Executive Committee of the European Association of Research Managers and Administrators, I brought in a writer with a background in legal drafting and personal practice experience in a major City law practice. Procedural documentation for EARMA.
EARMA’s Mission, Aims and Objectives.
PC recapped EARMA’s mission, aims and objectives, and reminded the Assembly that these could be found on EARMA’s website. The Plan aimed to address all these objectives.
PC reported that the Plan covered three years from 2008 to 2011. He expressed his hope that by the end of this period, EARMA would be a larger organisation with a higher global profile. He also hoped that it would have established a secure financial basis, and be properly resourced and governed so that it could offer a wide variety of services and benefits to its Members.
PC then explained that the Plan was comprised of three parts as follows:
• Part 1 – Operational and Governance Requirements
• Part 2 – Activities and Services
• Part 3 – Costings
He went on to address these in turn.
Part 1 – Operational and Governance Requirements
Establishment of three new Committees
PC reported that EARMA needed four Committees instead of one. WK pointed out that the process of establishing these would be relatively time consuming and intense. It would involve defining and implementing detailed terms of reference and transferring knowledge. To set up a good Working Committee would take time and dedication. PC touched briefly upon the need to elect a new Secretary before returning to the issue of the new Committees.
In order to set up the Committees, the ExCom would need to:
• Confirm terms of reference
• Issue calls for Members
• Recruit those Members
• Provide Members with a plan for the next three years.
Establishment of professional Secretariat
PC reported that, in his view, this was the most pressing and important issue.
It was also a difficult issue, as it would require a lot of money. It was therefore obligatory to secure a core income stream. The costings had been based on three full time members of staff, he advised. PC considered that this was the minimum required to operate, considering EARMA’s size and proposed services.
The next issue would be the identification and securing of long-term office space. PC believed it was important to establish a recognisable location for the Members, preferably in the political centre of Brussels.
WK supported this view. He claimed that there was a high demand from Members and potential Members to be able to visit EARMA’s office. The current office was not permanently staffed, making this difficult. WK did not believe that this was in line with the image EARMA wanted to project.
PC explained that in order to realise a staffed office there would be a significant amount of work to be done. This would include the need to:
• Issue job descriptions and personnel specifications
• Advertise and recruit staff
• Select staff who were committed to and knowledgeable about association management
• Define contractual details and social benefits
• Implement a payroll system
• Fully resource the office with PCs, telephones, faxes and other equipment
Review and implementation of changes to the Constitution
PC recalled that the Constitution had been formed 14 -15 years ago. A number of amendments had been made to the membership pricing/ structure 3-4 years ago.
PC considered that further changes to the Constitution were necessary in order to:
• Take account of the new governance structure
• Allow for more online voting (which would allow for better communication channels with Members)
• Review the membership structure in the future.
PC made clear that the Members would have the opportunity to vote on any proposed changes to Constitution.
Review of membership structure
PC took the opportunity to expand on the need to review the membership structure.
He explained that at the moment there were only ‘Institutional’ or ‘Ordinary’ Members, and put forward the idea of a new class of ‘Corporate’ Members.
PC explained that at the moment only 10 people from a single institution could benefit from EARMA services, at a total cost of €750. Some organisations, however, had 30-40 research managers and were prepared to pay for more people to benefit from EARMA’s services. It might therefore be desirable to offer a more banded structure to cover membership of companies and institutions.
At this point, WK expanded on the corporate membership idea, adding that membership might also be extended to organisations that provide services to the research management community. This would provide EARMA with additional resources.
WK pointed out that the idea of corporate membership had already been tested and discussed with a number of companies that would potentially be keen join EARMA on a corporate basis.
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