Held on 22-Oct-2017 at 4pm at the SHCA Community Centre, Byfleet
Minutes of Annual General Meeting 2017
Surrey Hindu Cultural Association conducted its first AGM on Sun, Oct 22, 2017, as per the advance notice and agenda issued on Oct 5, 2017 via the website, Whatsapp, Facebook and email (to registered members). The meeting was attended by 8 Trustees and a room full of members of the public.
Mr Anurag Saluja
Mr Ganesh Subbarayan
Mr Prasad Khambalikar
Mr Rajib Ghosh
Mr Ritesh Aswaney
Dr Sambasiva Rao Sajja
Dr Shashank Sharma
Mr Srikanth Pratapa
Ms. Sonal Sher
The proceedings commenced with a welcome note by the current President Mr. Srikanth Pratapa, who greeted the audience and thanked them for their support.
Mr. Ritesh Aswaney, Comms Manager, then presented an overview of the Association’s activities and events and highlighted the publicity and outreach efforts. Dr. Shashank Sharma, Treasurer, then presented the financial report for the year ended 31-Dec-2016. It was agreed that this statement of accounts shall be filed with the Regulator. Finally, Mr. Anurag Saluja touched upon future vision for SHCA and showcased some of the efforts towards establishing a permanent place of worship.
Registered members and trustees also approved the proposal to set aside £7,000 towards creation of a Reserve Fund for operational exigencies. This Reserve Fund will allow SHCA to build a robust balance sheet and perform better financial planning for the forthcoming years
After a vote of thanks, the proceedings were then moved to the Election process to elect the new committee. All existing Trustees were eligible for re-election; however, Mr Srikanth Pratapa and Mr Rajesh Rao had already decided not to stand for elections. Each candidate was allocated a few minutes to make their case to the public, and during this exercise, Mr Rajib Ghosh and Mr Prasad Khambalikar nostalgically recalled how they had both agreed to step down once the association reached a stage of maturity, where we are today, and decided not to contest. Dr Sambasiva Rao Sajja recounted some instances of working for the association’s events, as part of his speech. As Ms Sonal Sher was unable to attend, the popular opinion was to consider her for re-election, on account of her being an existing Trustee. Dr Shashank Sharma represented Ms. Sonal Sher’s candidature in absentia. This left 6 existing Committee members and 5 new contestants in the fray, for 4 existing and 3 new places respectively. All contestants were thanked for stepping forward to serve the community, and their spirit of initiative was lauded.
A variety of questions and answers were discussed during the brief session that followed, including discussions about a permanent place. Mr Jaykant Shah made a pointed remark around certain Trustees running parallel events in the community which caused confusion in the past. After the Q&A session, Mr. Jaykant Shah also offered to donate £5,000 to the SHCA, of which, he expressed a desire to allocate £1,500 towards a recreational activity to reward the SHCA volunteers, who have been working tirelessly for the greater good of the community.
Votes were then cast by secret ballot, the election was adjudicated by an independent team of volunteers led by Ms. Rajni Iyer and Dr Satish Singh. A Q&A session was held whilst the ballots were being counted. 79 ballots were cast in total and results were announced. Finally, Mr Srikanth Pratapa, outgoing President, then reiterated how important the spirit of participation was and thanked all contestants for stepping forward and announced the results.
The following existing members were re-elected to the committee (in order of the number of votes)
Mr Anurag Saluja
Dr Shashank Sharma
Mr Ritesh Aswaney
Mr Ganesh Subbarayan
Additionally, the following new members were also elected to the committee (in order of the number of votes):
Mr Guru Pandit
Mr Ravi Thyagarajan
Ms Kavita Rathore
The new committee will meet in the next 2 weeks and announce the new office bearers after holding their discussions.
As part of the closure, a comment was made about the feeling of oneness and collaboration that came from the first AGM, and it was proposed that there be a quarterly general meeting with the public to help forge closer collaboration.
Member Registration Analysis
Member registrations from 5th to 27th Oct 2017
118 individuals registered with SHCA to participate in AGM and new committee elections
65 were men and 53 women - 55%-45% split
Members reside in Addlestone, Camberley, Cobham, Guildford, Send, Weybridge, West Byfleet, West Molesey, and Woking
They belong to all age groups from 16-24 years to above 70 years, however, the age group of 35-49 years is most prominent
A total of 83 members said that they participate in SHCA events frequently i.e. almost every weekend or at least once in a month
Trustee Election Results
Of the 118 registered members, 79 were present during the AGM and participated in the election of the new committee for 2018.
Following ex-Trustees were re-elected for 2017-18
(in order of preferential votes received)
1. Mr Anurag Saluja
2. Dr Shashank Sharma
3. Mr Ritesh Aswaney
4. Mr Ganesh Subbarayan
Following were elected as new Trustees for 2017-18
(in order of preferential votes received)
1. Mr Guru Pandit
2. Mr Ravi Thyagarajan
3. Ms Kavita Rathore
Trustees elected for the next period
Left to Right: Mr Anurag Saluja, Dr Shashank Sharma, Ms Kavita Rathore, Mr Ravi Thyagarajan, Mr Guru Pandit, Mr Ritesh Aswaney, Mr Ganesh Subbarayan
1. Why was an AGM Conducted on Sunday, 22nd Oct, 2017
The Surrey Hindu Cultural Association is a Charitable Incorporated Organization (CIO), registered with the Charity Commission. We formally launched operations on 20th Feb 2016 and our constitution strongly recommends holding the first AGM within 18 months of registration. We were also preparing to submit the financials to the Regulator, and it was, therefore, important to share this information with the public in advance.
In addition to the regulatory requirements, an AGM is a way to engage the community at large, help make the community feel more involved in the running of the organisation and its initiatives. It also presents a way for people to have their questions and queries answered, and offers an opportunity for the Trustees to present a report of the initiatives to date, discuss the financial position with the people in preparation for submission to the Regulator, and additionally review future plans.
2. When was the AGM announced, and how was the general public made aware of it?
In the committee meeting on 2nd September, the topic of the AGM was tabled and minuted and it was decided that a date proposed and socialised to conduct the AGM. A notice of the intent of the AGM was circulated on Oct.5, 2017, via all our communication channels i.e. the Website, the Facebook Page, Email to registered members and messages on the SHCA Whatsapp Groups (1,2 & 3).
3. Why was registration required to attend the AGM?
A registration page was created and shared to help get an idea of numbers, and to allow people to provide their contact details, in case they weren’t already connected to us via one of our communication channels.
In addition, as elections were due to be held at the AGM, it was important to have a count of the voters in order to arrange for sufficient numbers of ballot papers for the election process to run smoothly. Regular Reminders were posted, principally on Whatsapp, to encourage people to register to the attend the AGM. 118 people registered to attend the AGM. Some quick background research reveals that this is a very healthy registration count, even for very large temples in the UK, which have annual attendance in the hundreds of thousands. We, therefore, like to thank you for your enthusiasm and support.
4. Why were elections held during the AGM on 22nd Oct 2017?
As per our governing document, the CIO Constitution , which has been filed with the Charity Commission, mandates that all current Trustees step down at the first AGM. (Please see Clause 13) It, therefore, becomes imperative, to ensure the smooth running of the organisation, that the members are able to elect new trustees, based on the information shared with them on past performance and future plans by the current committee.
5. Why has the number of committee members reduced from 9 to 7?
The governing CIO Constitution mandates a minimum of 3 Trustees. It was felt that we needed to compact the team to increase focus and cohesiveness, whilst still maintaining the ability to represent a good diversity of views. It was therefore proposed that the Committee be resized to 7 members, and for purposes of continuity and guidance, 4 places would be reserved for existing members, and 3 places would be opened up to new members.
6. Why were new committee members elected to the board of Trustees?
SHCA's governing document, the CIO Constitution, in addition to mandating all trustees step down at the first AGM, also mandates that 1/3rd the current Trustees retire. It was therefore important to onboard new trustees to provide a level of continuity in future elections. New Trustees also bring fresh new ideas and help reinvigorate the cause.
7. How was the election process shared and agreed?
A slide deck was created and circulated, and a conference call was arranged for the Board of Trustees on Sat, 14th October to discuss and agree on this proposal, where the general consensus was to go with the proposal, despite some minor differences on the date of the election.
It was however felt that decoupling the election from the AGM was not desirable, as the Constitution very clearly mandates that existing Trustees step down at the first AGM, and moreover it would be particularly onerous to expect the public to attend two meetings in quick succession.
It was therefore in the best the interest of the organization to present an opportunity to the people attending the AGM to select and elect the new committee members.
8. How were the elections conducted?
An independent team of volunteers led by two very respected members from our community were given charge of conducting the elections, none of the candidates were involved in executing the election process on the day of the election. The volunteers signed a sheet attesting the vote counts for complete transparency.
9. Why was a weighted election system (Preferential ballot) used?
A ‘first past the post’ system is usually suitable for electing a single candidate, however, it doesn’t work as effectively when more than one candidates have to be elected, which was the case with our committee elections. The method of preferential votes is employed quite widely across a variety of private organisations, in addition to being used to elect members of parliament in some countries. (Please see Preferential Votes on Wikipedia for more details on the history and usage of this system)
10. How can I be more involved and collaborate with SHCA to share ideas, and help with events and operations?
SHCA is a completely volunteer-based organisation, and therefore we rely heavily on your support. Recent events like the Diwali Mela have highlighted the power of the community when we all come together as one united entity. We are always open to ideas and constructive comments on how we can improve on our current programs and introduce new initiatives.
A very good suggestion was raised at the AGM, one about quarterly meetings with the public. We propose to take this suggestion onboard and conduct quarterly meetings, where new ideas and initiatives could be discussed. In addition, you can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we aim to get back to you with a response within a week of receiving your emails.
AGM 2017 photos
The new committee will meet on over the coming weeks to discuss the pressing issues, priorities, and events for 2018
Please look out for communication on WhatsApp (SHCA Events Group) and on this website soon.