The Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland
CHANGE TO GOVERNANCE – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The following frequently asked questions and answers are provided to members to help explain the governance changes to the Scottish Constitution documented in the draft 30th edition of the Constitution and Laws:
Why are we changing?
This proposal is in response to the recommendations from Grand Committee on 9th September 2021 on the five working group reports, which were subsequently ratified and agreed on the floor of The Grand Lodge of Scotland on 28th October 2021. Specifically, that Grand Secretary, with the appropriate support of subject matter experts, was to “Design, develop and deliver a strategic governance structure for the Scottish Constitution.”
The new governance structure also addresses key findings from the recent membership survey. It is intended to improve the democratic structure of governance of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, while enhancing the effectivenessof the standing committees, and improving the delivery of strategic objectives.
By succinctly setting out what changes are proposed, why they are considered necessary and how they will operatewithin the overall governance structure of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, it provides a blueprint for improvement,ensuring the Craft is fit for the 21st century.
What are the benefits to the craft in general and the Provinces/Districts and Lodges in particular?
At the core of the proposal is the recognition of the need to modernise the Craft while retaining its traditions. An important aspect in delivering such an improvement is for the Grand Lodge of Scotland to make better use of the skills, knowledge, and experiences of its membership. The benefits of improved governance include:
- Prudent executive actions to deliver long-termsuccess
- Significant risks are recognised, managed, andrecorded
- Appropriate decision-making processes andcontrols
- Transparency, openness, and accountability in allactivities
- Compliancewithlegal, financial, regulatory and policy requirements
- Measuredoutputsand outcomes used to improve future performance
- Human, financial, and other resources are managed efficiently and effectively
- Improvedreputationand relationships with members and other stakeholders
This proposed framework contributes to a common understanding of our vision, strategic direction, regulatory compliance, accountability, and decision-making processes. The object of the framework is to help providetransparency, clarity of purpose and encourage ownership amongst staff, stakeholders, and partners.
Sound governance will enable Grand Lodge to monitor its strategic objectives and consider whether they lead toimproved performance and provide value for money.
The effective and efficient use of resources focused on improved performance will ensure a coherent and coordinated approach across the Craft in Scotland. It will allow the Provinces, Districts and Lodges to combine their activities for the greater good of the organisation.
When and how will it happen?
The process is already underway and will be formally incorporated at Grand Lodge in October 2023.
The Design Stage and related tasks have been completed. The second stage of Implementing andBenchmarking is already underway with the expected
completion date of October 2023. Stage 3 Measuring and Monitoring and Stage 4 Learning and Reporting will follow consecutively. Thereafter, the process becomes one of continuous improvement.
The whole process will also be subject to critical review after three years to ensure it is fit for purpose or, alternatively, requires further refinement.
Who will be involved?
Development of the governance structure will include opportunities for individuals to learn or improve skills and abilities as members of committees. It also provides opportunities for members to apply existing skills and experience to a new situation. As well as being able to influence the development of the Craft in the Scottish Constitution. It is open to any suitably qualified brother to submit an application.
How can I get involved?
Grand Secretary shall maintain a Register of Interests which will comprise a list of members (together with a note of their Lodge, rank, professional qualifications, experience and contact details) who have, and are willing to voluntarily provide to Grand Lodge, skills, expertise and experience in matters which will assist Grand Lodge in the proper and efficient conduct of its administration, business and activities. Appointments to and removals from the Register of Interests will be managed by Grand Secretary.
Why will it be better?
The ability for standing committees to co-opt members will be enhanced by a process of self- application frombrethren keen to share their skills and experiences with the standing committees.
The encouragement of self-application builds on the current register of members interests and sends a strong signalthat there is a genuine desire by Grand Lodge for the participation of the brethren in its drive for continuousimprovement.
This approach is more inclusive and clearly demonstrates that the Craft throughout the Scottish Constitution recognises the quality of its global membership and affords ALL an opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way to the success of the organisation. It also ensures that fresh thinking and ideas are continuously brought into the committee environment which will drive innovation and inhibit complacency.
How will this affect me?
The existing schedule of communications and committee meetings of the Grand Lodge of Scotland is not conducive to swift and agile responses required in today’s fast moving technologically driven businessenvironment.
Our current Grand Committee does not set the strategic direction of the organisation and there is a gap between the means of operational delivery expected from the various standing committees. Because the work of standing committees is fed back to the current Grand Committee, there is a structural time-lag. Consequently, actions and deliverables are not always optimised.
To address the structural issues and enhance coordination it is proposed that the Governance and Strategy Boardwill have delegated responsibility to deliver the strategic vision of the organisation. The Board would make decisionsand act without the need to continually refer to Grand Lodge. In other words, it would ‘make it happen’.
The precedence of delegated decision making, and its effectiveness, is evidenced by its use on the DisciplinaryCommittee.
With the Governance and Strategy Board observing and reviewing performance across all areas of delivery, GrandLodge can be assured that its ability to manage risks across the organisation is improved. Moreover, learning fromexperience by monitoring performance supports the ethos of a learning organisation focused on continuous improvement and ensures delivery of an efficient and effective strategy.
Who participates in the committees and how are they chosen?
Brethren are encouraged to apply if they consider that they can assist in the strategic governance of the Craft in the Scottish Constitution.
We are moving from a nomination process to an application process in order to be part of the governancestructure. The proposed arrangements focus on
delivery. What was intended and did it succeed. It will require suitably skilled and experienced brethren to drive progress.
The committees can also co-opt those who can help it in its activities.
What will happen if we don’t change?
Stagnation, regression more time being wasted on the wrong things. It will represent a huge, missed opportunity tobring the Craft up to date with modern business practices that it allows it to make decisions quickly and in real time.By refusing to change we will suffer a slow and painful demise as we get wrapped in more admin and committees for the sake of committees and we will disillusion those who could make a real difference to our organisation. To ignore those members with real assets and skill sets would be a massive, missed opportunity that will see people leave the organisation who could make a real difference to taking us forward.
What if it doesn’t work?
Part of the new structure includes a monitoring and evaluation process which
will be reported annually to the October Regular Communication of Grand Lodge. This will ensure annual objectives are being achieved and the strategic vision remains relevant. This proactive approach to continuous improvement ensures that any shortcomings are quickly identified and addressed. Further to this, the whole process will be the subject of criticalreview after three years in operation to ensure it remains fit for purpose.