Society working party on course for proposed February consultation

Since being trailed in the October edition of the Journal, work on readying the proposed new constitution has continued apace. The working party has met twice and, by the time this issue is published, will have met for the third and final time.

It is fair to say that this is a significantly detailed exercise, conducted within a challenging timescale. Things remain on track and members wishing to be reminded of the timetable for the work will find it set out on the Society's website.

As the time for consultation nears (in February), I should perhaps highlight a couple of important issues dealt with in the proposed constitution. First, having spoken with a broad cross-section of members in Scotland and further afield, I know that increasing the opportunities for participation generates much enthusiasm. Without perhaps being able to go as far as some members might wish immediately, I am confident that the new constitution will facilitate a noticeable improvement in this area and will set out the direction of travel as the robustness of technology and the supporting infrastructures permit.

Another advance relates to the current size of the Council, which has increased to the extent that it has perhaps become a little unwieldy. The new constitution proposes a Council of reduced size (by around 20%), but one still sufficient to ensure that the geographic spread of the profession is properly represented. This is a key advantage of sticking to the way Council is currently made up, given that issues affecting members (and of course the public in relation to the profession, e.g. regarding access to justice issues) can vary around the country. One important issue for more rural members of course is participation.

The current draft constitution also sets out some of the Regulatory Committee's responsibilities. I see it as providing a big opportunity for the Council. There is now the opportunity to evolve a sharper focus to Council's work as a result – which will chime well with the advances in better targeting of the Society's plans and activities overall. Any change of this magnitude takes time to bed in, but I firmly believe that the future is most certainly bright.

It is an exciting time to be on Council. What we need now is a new constitution to underpin the progress. More of which, as they say, anon.


The Author
Bruce Beveridge
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