The board has now met to digest and discuss the survey. Your responses have been very helpful in framing the issues that need to be addressed.

Since even talking about change is a change in itself, there is a risk of rushing to action before the thinking stage has been completed. There is also the risk of change being introduced by further ‘top-down’ decision-making when the objective is to stimulate greater associate/member engagement and participation in the running of OPUS.

Accordingly, the board proposes:

  • establishing a transition committee comprising seven associate representatives chosen by the associates, and three trustee representatives chosen by the board
  • to open trustee meetings to attendance by members of the transition committee until the committee’s work is completed
  • to open the 2018 AGM to all associates

The task of the transition committee will be to make recommendations for:

  • reconfiguring OPUS so as to better express the different identities and purposes of the member organisation and the charity respectively
  • the basis and timing for extending full membership to associates
  • the basis and timing for electing and appointing board members
  • the arrangements (such as reimbursement of expenses) that should apply to board members’ participation, given the international diversity of the associate membership

It is expected that our views will evolve as we think further together as an organisation, so please continue to contribute your ideas and suggestions – and please consider putting yourself forward to join the transition committee.

I will publish this email on the website so that it is only visible to and accessible by OPUS associates/members. This will allow you to post comments below it so that an open discussion can ensue.

Best wishes

Sandy Henderson

The Board’s conclusions from the survey results

Identity, purpose and mission

There is no mandate for a change of name.

OPUS is effectively two organisations in one: an educational charity and a member organisation. It may be helpful to think about them separately when addressing what purpose and function they should each serve. For example:

  • OPUS the charity could aim to educate the public in all matters concerning the economic and sociological structure and working of society – on a broader basis than the purely psychosocial.Its functions could include the Listening Post and public events addressing topical issues. It might consider offering more in the way of public education and training in group and team dynamics.
  • OPUS the member organisation could serve the professional interests of its members in continuing education and accreditation/certification and the interests of the public in maintaining oversight of professional standards in the practice of organisational consultancy. Its functions could include the Journal and the Conference. It might consider offering more in the way of professional education and training in core consultancy skills as well as networking, supervision and peer learning opportunities.

The board’s expectation is that these two organisations would remain conjoined but establish clear and separate identities.

Affiliation, membership and eligibility

  1. There is clear support for full voting membership to be extended to associates, although there is division about whether membership should be on equal terms or differentiated via the creation of a senior (fellow) category.
  2. There is also clear support for everyone to be able to choose, upon joining, between full or associate membership without serving any qualifying period.
  3. There is no obvious reason why these changes should not be implemented as soon as possible – either to take effect from 1 April 2019 or sooner.

Management, governance, workload and payment

  1. There is clear support for a mixed model of management, combining hands-off oversight from appointed independent trustees and hands-on leadership of specific OPUS activity streams from elected directors.
  2. If the two organisations were to establish distinct identities (for example, if the member organisation were to become a not-for-profit subsidiary of the charity), this may translate to a board of trustees overseeing charitable activities along current lines and a separate board of directors overseeing the member organisation. Alternatively, if the two organisations continued to operate within a single corporate shell, the board would be a hybrid model comprising 3 appointed independent trustees and 7 elected directors holding specific portfolios.
  3. There is clear support for a board of between 7 and 10 people, with all officers serving 3-year terms before retiring or seeking re-election.
  4. There is clear support for retaining the current split between paid (backroom) and unpaid roles.