THE governance ‘task force’ which has been set up under SRU President Dee Bradbury to look into how the governing body for rugby in Scotland should run in the future will carry on its deliberations past the 31st May deadline for motions to this year’s AGM.
This raises a number of questions about the task force’s authority given that Bradbury is due to step down as President at August’s Annual General Meeting. Concerns have been raised that the AGM will either be pushed back, or called and opened as scheduled despite the coronavirus lock-down but then immediately adjourned, which would leave Bradbury in post as President and as Chair of the Council for another year.
This would leave Vice-President Ian Barr – who was elected with an overwhelming majority as a champion of the club game two years ago and who was originally requested by a joint forum of the National clubs on 22nd January to lead the governance review – stuck kicking his heels on the sidelines.
A note issued to the Scottish Rugby Council yesterday on behalf of Bradbury by Angela McCracken, senior solicitor for the SRU and Council secretary, said:
Since the previous update last week, the Task Force on Governance met virtually again yesterday [Sunday].
The group acknowledge that the current Covid 19 situation has presented many challenges, including how to conduct its own work in the current uncertain circumstances and to the rugby community as a whole. The welfare of our people and clubs is always the first priority.
As the group’s discussions have progressed, the themes that the Task Force are considering have become clearer. The work is continuing at a steady and thorough pace. The Task Force are some distance away from providing any recommendations and is aware that clubs are concerned that the Task Force will present motions to the AGM. The pace of the current work is such that the work of the Task Force will continue past 31 May 2020, the deadline for AGM motions.
Before any recommendations are put formally to members, there will be a full consultation phase with all our members. Any consultation will be followed by a period of reflection to ensure that all concerns of members are addressed. As the government guidance on the current Covid 19 crisis develops, we will examine how best to implement this consultation.
Bradbury’s ‘task force’, which was set up in the aftermath of Sir Bill Gammell‘s governance review being almost unanimously rejected by clubs in January, has been the focus of significant concern within the club community.
A letter to Bradbury from 38 member clubs calling on any review of governance to be pushed back until after the AGM so that it could be carried out in a more transparent and timely manner was effectively ignored by the President, who issued an update to clubs last week to declare it is still full steam ahead.
A major concern about the ‘task force’ is the lack of clarity as to its terms of reference. This most recent update says that “the themes that the Task Force are considering have become clearer” but does not give an indication of what they might be, or offer a way for clubs to feed their own concerns into the process.
There is much confusion about what in the governance structure needs to be addressed, and anxiety that there has yet to be an official rebuttal from Murrayfield of Gammell’s recommendations.
The update also promises full consultation with the SRU membership and a period of reflection, but that won’t come as much comfort to those who witnessed how the Gammell consultation process panned out.