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Derbyshire County Cricket Club Governance Change: Frequently Asked Questions from forums at Derby and Chesterfield

1870BusinessClubFollowing the two recent Members’ Forums at Derby and at Chesterfield on a proposed upgrade to the corporate governance of the Club, a list of answers to frequently asked questions is outlined here.

Several questions asked at the County Ground were repeated a week later at Chesterfield, in which case only one response is provided.

We’ve had a 15 man Committee for years – why do we need to change and why now?

Professional First Class county cricket clubs are now complex businesses and we need to ensure that Derbyshire has all the skills on its elected Advisory Board to manage the business in the best interests of its Members.

That can’t always be guaranteed given the present structure.

We plan to embark on a major period of ground development and it’s crucial to have a management team in place with the skills to oversee that and to ensure the continued financial stability of the Club.

Put simply, if you get on a plane as a passenger, you want to know the pilot who is flying you is qualified to do the job.

Is this new Board going to get paid?

No. All roles on the proposed new Advisory Board would continue to be unpaid.

Is this Supervisory Board a new concept?

The new model is similar to that used by mutual building societies with an elected Board of Directors comprising of individuals with the specific skills required to help run the business. Similar models of governance are already in operation successfully at a number of First Class county cricket clubs including Somerset, Surrey and Yorkshire.

Won’t a smaller Board of Directors mean the Club will lose touch with the views of ordinary Members?

Absolutely not; the new Board will appoint a number of Regional Representatives from within the Club membership. Their role will be to act as a local contact for Members to air their views and as a Club representative within their local community.

To ensure comprehensive coverage of the entire county and also members living outside Derbyshire, a maximum of twelve Regional Representatives is anticipated. Each will be allocated a small budget to enable them to host Members Forums and to ensure that the Club has a visible and active presence in the local communities across our catchment area.

To ensure the Regional Representatives have an effective and clear voice, they will have direct access to the Club’s Chief Executive where they can raise any concerns or make suggestions that have been canvassed from the Members.

The proposal allows up to 12 months for the appointment of the Regional Representatives but it is anticipated that the new appointees would be in place within three months. While the new Advisory Board will appoint the Regional Representatives, the recruitment and selection process itself will be communicated and coordinated by the Chief Executive’s Membership Services team.

What is happening to the Committee Members that wouldn’t stay on the proposed new Advisory Board?

Every elected Committee Member who would be stepping down will continue to be associated with the Club and some may be appointed into the newly created Regional Representative roles.

Isn’t this just about paving the way for Chris Grant to buy the Club?

Absolutely not; the Chairman has stated publicly on numerous occasions that, on his watch, the Club will remain a Member owned club, and Members will retain their voting rights. It is they who decide who to elect and who not to.

Isn’t this just about the ECB telling us what we should do?

The ECB provides Derbyshire with around three quarters of all of our revenue – without this, the Club simply could not put a First XI on the field.

We are working hard to reduce our reliance on ECB income but this takes time and we need new facilities to grow our revenue streams from other sources.

The £1m Grant from the ECB will pave the way to significantly improve the facilities at The County Ground.

Naturally, the ECB want to ensure that Counties use this money wisely for the benefit of their Members and spectators; and that they have the skilled personnel in place to do this.

If the proposal is not approved by Members, will the ECB still grant us the money?

The ECB have specifically recommended that we have in place a qualified Executive body responsible for the day-to-day delivery of the agreed objectives prior to submitting our County Business Plan for approval.

Can I no longer stand for the Committee/Board?

Yes you can. However, going forward, anyone that does stand for election will need to demonstrate that they have a relevant skill that can help the Club and fulfill a specific role.

Individuals that just love the Club and want to help out will be more than welcome to do so and may want to be considered for a Regional Representative role.

Who is Sir John Gains and why is he joining the proposed new Advisory Board?

Sir John Gains is one of the best known figures in the UK construction industry having been Chief Executive of John Mowlem, one of the UK’s leading contractors, with 45 years experience on his CV.

His construction and facilities management experience will be invaluable to Derbyshire on the proposed new Advisory Board as we embark on ground development.

What if Members don’t support the Committee’s proposals?

In the view of the Committee, this would be a major setback for Derbyshire. It could also seriously jeopardise the ECB funding required to underpin future ground development.

I note that, as a member, I receive a share of the Club with value of 5p. Do I have any financial liability for the Club’s financial performance should a loss be made or any financial difficulty encountered?

No. There is no personal financial liability associated with being a Member of the Club.

In two years’ time, who will be responsible for ensuring that the criteria to stand for the individual roles have been met?

In future, when a Member is considering standing for the Supervisory Board, the Member would be expected to indicate which role they were standing for along with their suitability for this role designated within the new Club rules. Applications to stand will be reviewed by the Supervisory Board.

How will we ensure that the criteria outlined in the Club rules do not rule out strong candidates for the individual roles who may not have all the formal qualifications?

The roles outlined in the Club rules have been developed as guidelines which are designed to raise the standard of the governance and decision-making. In reviewing an application to stand for election to the Supervisory Board, the criteria will be treated as broad principles on which to base a decision.

Are the roles and requirements for each of the roles set in stone or will they continue to be reviewed and refined?

The new roles are designed to provide a more effective, more efficient and more stable form of governance. The new Rules allow for the roles to be updated and amended and we envisage opportunities for the roles to be updated at each AGM to reflect the changing needs of the Club.

Why do we have to wait for two years to vote for the new Supervisory Board?

As we move through the change in governance which will pave the way for securing important financial investment, it is important that the Club demonstrates continuity and stability in its governance and leadership. It was felt that recommending the best-qualified existing Committee members to continue for a term provided this stability, alongside the appointment of Sir John Gains whose credentials are introduced above.

Members will have an opportunity to stand and vote for Supervisory Board members in two years time.

What happens in future if there are no suitably qualified candidates to stand for election to the Supervisory Board?

The principle of “co-option” currently in operation for the General Committee will continue. In this instance, the Board will be entitled to “co-opt”, or in more simple terms, appoint, a suitably qualified individual to the Supervisory Board. At the next election period, the co-opted Board Member would stand for re-election by the Members in the usual manner.

Why are there three non-voting positions on the Supervisory Board?

Currently, the six votes would be held by the six members of the Supervisory Board, each of whom is directly elected by the Members. The Chief Executive, Head Coach and Finance Manager are executives of the Club and would be appointed by the Supervisory Board but would not vote.

How long is the President‘s term of office and who will appoint the individual?

The new Rules state that the President shall be appointed by the Supervisory Board for a period of one year at the AGM. We apologize for any confusion caused by the fact that the letter incorrectly states a two-year term of office.

How much will we be borrowing in order to fund the ground development project?

The preliminary estimate for our forthcoming ground development project is a cost of around £2.5 million. This will provide improved facilities for members, players, corporate clients and spectators including a new members’ pavilion. Subject to our successful application for funding for £1m from the ECB, we are working with Derby City Council to submit a bid to borrow £1.5m from local and/or regional government funds. This will be secured at a competitive rate over an extended period and repayments will be funded by the planned revenue increases from improved facilities.

When will the blue-print for the ground redevelopment be ready and where will the new pavilion be built?

We anticipate being able to share with Members the plans for the ground in July 2013 once we have fully understood and scoped out the future requirements for The County Ground and the associated revenue model that will support our plans.

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