Published: February 16, 2020

RSPBA commits to clarity

The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association has committed to “increasing transparency and . . .  implementing new measures in the future,” according to a February 16th story in the Daily Record, one of the UK’s biggest newspapers.

The commitment comes after the association published a statement regarding the conclusion by the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) that a formal investigation of the RSPBA’s handling of its £1-million-plus renovation of its headquarters at 45 Washington Street was not necessary.

The now eight-day-old RSPBA statement did not make mention of the OSCR’s call for improved transparency, which the OSCR provided to pipes|drums. The association has not responded to invitations from pipes|drums to comment.

The Daily Record article described the RSPBA as “a piping charity,” and drew attention to the £1500 first prize for Grade 1 at the 2019 World Pipe Band Championships, one of the biggest events of any kind in Scotland. The article is published in both the online and print editions of the paper, with the print version carrying the headline, “PIPE UP NEXT TIME YOU SPLURGE £1M.”

Regular invitations to Embelton and RSPBA leaders to provide the organization’s perspective, including a recent offer to Chair John Hughes of an unedited video interview about the matter, have gone unanswered. With a few rare exceptions in the last two decades, comments from within the organization have come only from sources speaking on condition of anonymity.

As always, pipes|drums continues to welcome the association’s perspective.

Embelton made a verbal commitment at the annual general meeting of the association’s Northern Ireland branch on November 30, 2019, to provide documentation on the renovation, but has not thus far delivered on the commitment.

The RSPBA’s annual general meeting is scheduled for Saturday, March 14th, at the Trades House of Glasgow at 85 Glassford Street.

An RSPBA member band has only one vote on association motions, and that vote must be from the band’s designated secretary who must be present at the meeting, but proxy votes are allowed, according to the organization’s constitution. Bands based far away from Glasgow, and especially those in Northern Ireland, have complained about the difficulty to attend the meetings.

The RSPBA requires all bands competing at their events, including the many from outside Britain that are paid members of recognized sister associations, to have a paid RSPBA membership. These “overseas” bands do not have an official vote on RSPBA matters.

The UK Government provides guidelines for charities and their meetings on its website, including: “The aim of the AGM is to provide the charity trustees and/or officers the opportunity to explain their management of the charity to the members. It also provides the members of the charity with an opportunity to ask questions before voting on business items on the agenda.”

 


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