Malcolm Clarke is Chair of the Football Supporters' Federation (FSF). Last November the FSF held a Special Conference which approved a package of organisational and constitutional changes. Malcolm explains why below.
Following questions about possible conflicts of interest which had been raised at the 2010 Fans' Parliament, the National Council considered an external report on the governance arrangements of the FSF.
It also reviewed the current financial situation of the Federation and the mixed employment position which had grown up, for very good reasons, over a period of time, because of the fact that the FSF was not an incorporated organisation able to employ staff directly.
We had three members of staff employed by A19 Ltd (a Company set up by two FSF members to deliver services under a contract with the FSF). We had a member of staff employed and line managed by A19 but outside the A19 contract.
We had two members of staff employed by A19 outside the A19 contract but line managed by the Chair, and one self-employed contractor. This was a mixed and complex situation, which needed to be simplified in the best interests of Federation, and to create a unified staff team.
The fact that we had no charitable arm may have restricted our access to certain types of funding.
The Special Conference therefore agreed to establish an FSF incorporated Company to employ staff directly and to set up a charitable arm. The organisational architecture adopted is very similar to that successfully employed by Liberty.
Under these new arrangements:
- The National Council retains broadly its current composition, but will have a greater focus on policy issues, rather than operational issues.
- The National Council has appointed an Executive of seven (Chair, Deputy Chair plus five others) which is both the Executive and the Board of a new FSF Company, which directly employs all FSF staff and manages the operational and financial affairs of the FSF. This body is however accountable to the National Council.
- Only the Chair and Deputy Chair will be directly elected by the Annual Conference. The Secretary and Treasurer are now appointed by the National Council.
- To give greater continuity National Council members will be elected for two-year terms of office, with half retiring each year.
- A new FSF Charitable arm has been established, with a separate Chair and Trustees.
- A Chief Executive, Kevin Miles, who is head of the paid staff, has been appointed.
- A19 Ltd is in the process of being wound up.
We believe that these new arrangements put the FSF in a much better position to meet the various financial and other challenges we face, and make us a more effective campaigning organisation on behalf of fans.
You can read more about the FSF and download our latest constitution here.
Chair of the FSF