Governance of The Wine Society
The Society's Committee (the Board of Directors) is comprised of eight elected members and up to five members who are co-opted from the membership, one of whom is the CEO.
The legal roles and responsibilities of the Committee, the powers attributable to it and many of the matters which govern how it operates are dealt with extensively in the Rules of The Society.
In practice, the Committee represents the interests of the members and is involved with setting and approving the strategy of The Society and ensuring that it is managed appropriately through the oversight of appropriate controls and a strong governance structure. The role of the Committee is carried out through monthly meetings together with sub-committee meetings and involvement with working parties. Because the organisation is a mutual the Committee is more involved with The Society and the member experience than might be the case for a non-executive director of a comparable-sized private company or Plc.
Like all companies, our aim is to have a Committee which has a balance of skills and experience relevant to the challenges that The Society is facing now and in the foreseeable future. We believe it is important to have professional experience such as finance, legal and marketing represented by Committee members. Balance is also important so that we do not, for example, end up with too many of one skill set. The skills currently represented by the Committee include accounting and finance, legal, marketing, IT and digital, commerce and, as you might expect, wine.
Co-Option of Specialists
The route of co-option to the Committee is one which we believe is unique to The Society. Co-optees play an equal role with elected members on discussions and decisions about the business and its future direction. The exceptions are on voting rights, where co-optees do not take part in the co-option of other co-optees or the chairing of sub-committees.
Co-option provides us with the ability to bring a specific skill set onto the Committee when it might be of particular relevance – for example this year we have co-opted a member with extensive experience of digital strategy. Co-option is for a period of a year, though we frequently find that we ask co-optees to stay on for a further year or more where we have found their contribution to be especially valuable and where they continue to enjoy their involvement with The Society. A proportion go on to stand for election to the Committee when a vacancy arises.
Selection of co-optees is carried out by a sub-committee of the elected members of the Committee through a small number of group discussions and, on occasion, one to one meetings. Potential co-optees should have a level of experience which will be of benefit to The Society and have usually worked in a senior position. They should be supportive of mutuality and have an understanding and appreciation of the ethos of The Society. The ability to work in a group is also important.
Meetings of the Committee are held in London and Stevenage, usually on the third Wednesday of each month (with the exception of August) in the late afternoon/early evening. In September, November and May these meetings are for a half a day. In addition Committee members attend sub-committee meetings and some member events around the country.
Members of the Committee receive an honorarium dependent upon the number of meetings which they attend. Reasonable travel expenses are also reimbursed.
Being Considered for Co-Option
If you are interested in being considered as a co-opted member of The Society's Committee in the next one to three years please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or write to The Chairman detailing your relevant experience and why you think you would be an asset to the Committee.
The Wine Society,
Gunnels Wood Road,