RSPBA executive proposing revamp of structure
Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association Chairman Kevin Reilly has developed a “white paper” and, since May, 2008, has presented it to the various branches within the governing National Council of the organization in an apparent attempt to change substantially how the association is governed and managed.
pipes|drums has obtained the document through a source inside the organization who has shared the material on condition of anonymity.
The four-page document entitled “The Way Forward” refers to the reduction in representation of the bands within the RSPBA’s National Council with fewer National Council members representing larger, merged branches. Reilly’s proposal calls for a full-time Executive that operates much like a management team of Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer and other C-level posts that would typically be found within publicly traded or listed company.
The source wondered whether the reorganization proposal would mean less political representation from member bands. The RSPBA has been criticized for and perceived by some as an organization lacking transparency.
“I am concerned that the RSPBA has little or no oversight by the regulatory authorities within the UK,” the source said. “As such, this results in an organization with little transparency or requirement to demonstrate the unbiased acumen required to make sure that the organization succeeds rather than the inflation of certain individual’s egos.”
Reilly and RSPBA Executive Officer Ian Embelton did not respond to inquiries and invitations from pipes|drums to provide further insight on the matter.
The RSPBA’s current structure comprises 12 branches, each with proportional representation by elected National Council members, who, along with the Music Board, make up the rule-making body of the Association. The executive branch of the RSPBA consists of President George Ussher, Chairman Kevin Reilly, Vice-Chairman Gordon Hamill and Chief Executive Ian Embelton, who are responsible for the Association’s day-to-day operations.
Current RSPBA branches:
Ayr, Dumfries & Galloway (1 NC rep)
Dundee, Perth & Angus (1)
Glasgow & West of Scotland (2)
London & South of England (2)
Lothian & Borders (2)
North of Scotland (2)
North East England (1)
North West England (1)
Northern Ireland (2)
The document calls for the amalgamation of the existing branches to be reduced to five “regional centres,” each representing as many 101 member bands, as in the case of the proposed “Scotland West” local committee.
The proposal suggests that new membership levels would be created, with “local” paying members able to compete only in events run by the local committee and not allowed to have a voice or vote at the association level.
Also proposed is that the RSPBA “becomes a Company Limited by Guarantee. By doing this it will protect the people within the association it will make it easier to make changes to the ‘articles of memorandum.'”
The whitepaper goes on to state, “We should be locking [sic] several ‘venture’ companies that would allow us to make use any [sic] profits for the advantage of the parent company.”
Another insider, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said about the Way Forward proposal: “They can make the UK into one Branch with one representative on the National Council, [but] the organization can only be as efficient as its rules and procedures.”
In 1998 the RSPBA commissioned a “Millennium Group” that ultimately presented a similarly wide-reaching proposal entitled “The Millennium Report” that was rejected by the association’s membership in a snap vote at the organization’s 2001 annual general meeting.