Kate Bailey CMLI, Trustee and Chair of the LI Policy and Communications Committee, discusses next steps for the LI Board and Council’s ongoing governance review
The Landscape Institute Board of Trustees and Advisory Council are currently considering potential improvements to the ways our organisation is governed.
We have now set up a Joint Working Group (JWG), comprising volunteers from both Council and Board, whose role is to make recommendations and provide options for a ‘modern, flexible and agile governance structure’ for the LI. The JWG will be required to provide a report and a summary with recommendations, including any relevant options for the future LI governance model, to both Council and Board.
What is LI governance?
The LI is both a charity and a professional membership organisation. Three separate documents govern the Institute: our Royal Charter, our (recently updated) By-Laws, and our Regulations.
Our Royal Charter, granted over two decades ago, outlines our charitable objectives. In brief, these are:
- to protect, conserve and enhance the natural and built environment for the benefit of people, place and nature;
- to share knowledge relating to landscape architecture, and promote landscape research and education; and
- to ensure high standards of knowledge, competence and conduct for those who practice landscape architecture.
At the top of the LI governance structure is the Board of Trustees. The Board are the ‘decision-makers’, and are legally responsible for the charity’s operation. They take advice from member groups, including Advisory Council, and delegate some responsibilties to three Standing Committees. Supporting and delivering this system at the local level are the 12 LI branches.
The JWG held its first meeting at the end of November to discuss draft Terms of Reference for the group. This document outlines the overall purpose and reporting procedures for the working group, as well as membership, appointments and terms. It describes a number of key responsibilities, including ‘to ensure the recommendations consider the range of views of the wider membership‘.
The Board of Trustees formally approved the updated Terms of Reference on 8 December 2020. The JWG is now on track to commence its work before the Christmas break, and it will continue to convene until the group has fulfilled its purpose.
The proposed timescale for the governance review initially envisaged that work would start in September-October 2020. However, slippage in the outline programme for the project, as a result of unavoidable work pressures, have meant that evidence-gathering via reference groups is now unlikely to begin until the early months of 2021. In the meantime, a few members have already begun to contribute their views and suggestions for change. The JWG welcome these contributions and will take them all into account in due course.
We realise that individual emails will be difficult to identify and collate for consideration. We’ve therefore created a feedback form in the LI members’ area to enable members to submit comments and views in advance of a member-wide consultation in the summer of 2021.
LI members can visit the Members’ Area to stay abreast of all our governance updates. Look out for more updates over the coming months.