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World Jersey Cattle Bureau

Report from the Secretary 2013


The purpose of this report is to summarise the work of the Secretariat from when the current Secretary assumed office in 2007 and initiate debate on ideas for the future.  It is of the utmost importance that the Council of the Bureau thoroughly debates what the future role of the organisation is to be, develops a strategy to achieve this, communicates this to the membership and then adheres collectively to the plan.

The Secretary has held some forthright discussions with senior individuals within the Bureau in recent months during which it has become apparent that not all the Officers share the same vision for the future of the Bureau.  The Secretary can only be effective in meeting expectations when the Council fully support an agreed strategy and its implementation.       

Secretary’s Term of Office from 2007 to present:

The current Secretary has been in post from early in 2007.  The appointment was made on an interim basis, following the resignation of the previous Secretary, as the RJA&HS were due to host the Bureau in the isle of Jersey for the 18th International Conference the following year and it was agreed that a secretariat service would be provided until that time.  The Secretary was then appointed in 2008 for a term of three years until the 19th International Conference in New Zealand in 2011, at which reappointment for a further term was made.  It is therefore important, and timely, that the position is actively advertised in time to consider any applications for appointment at the 20th International Conference in South Africa in 2014.

Summary of the Secretariat’s Projects from 2007 to present:

The Secretariat has completed a range of projects in addition to maintaining the basic day to day administration of the Bureau:

·         Review of Constitution – On appointment the Secretary could find no legal basis of foundation of the Bureau and therefore a considerable amount of time was spent on the preparation of a new constitution and registration of the Bureau as a body corporate.  The Bureau now has a legal status and governance procedures that meet standards that would be expected of an international body.

·         Web site – A new web site has been established and populated with all information pertinent to the WJCB, its activities and members associations.

·         E-News – A new method of electronic communication with all members and contacts has been established. 

·         Members’ data base – A new data base has been populated with a complete members list amalgamating a number of previous data sets.

·         JETA – Two JETA programmes have been run supporting ten young Jersey cattle breeders to attend an international conference. 

·         World Jersey Cheese Awards – The concept of a World Jersey Cheese Awards was initiated and three such events have been held during the period.  This event has been well supported by the RJA&HS.  The experience of the three events reinforces the complexity of logistics in terms of importing food samples into high health status areas and the careful planning required.

·         Review of Bureau function – This was undertaken in 2008 and, having been agreed by the Council, has formed the working basis for the Secretariat during the period.

·         Youth Programmes – These have been reviewed to ensure compliance with modern standards of care.  They have been formalised into a suite of three programmes with the main programme being launched in a joint initiative with Agri-venture.  The first placements of young people on a Jersey breed specific programme took place in 2012. 

·         WJCB Awards – These were reviewed and a new suite of three awards introduced.

·         Accounting – A new accounting and budgeting procedure has been established which has resulted in reduced costs and timely recovery of funds owed.    

The Future

The financial cash flow constraints put upon the Bureau during 2011 / 2012 as a result of funding the publication of the new history book of the breed led the Secretary to initiate an agreement between the RJA&HS (the Secretariat provider) and the President (and subsequently Council) of the WJCB that the Secretary would be contracted for less time to the Bureau, sufficient to cover the basic administrative needs of the organisation, in return for a Secretariat fee reduced by approximately 40%.  This, however, means that there is little time available to administer projects beyond basic day to day administration.  

The discussions referred to in the opening of this report highlight a tension between an image of the Bureau as a ‘travel club’ and the strategy agreed by the Council to position the Bureau such that it provides ‘useful & vital’ functions for the member associations.  The Secretary believes that, whilst the Life Members are an important constituent part of the Bureau, unless the Bureau provides these important functions for the association members it will become a ‘travel club’ and lose the support of the national associations. 

If the Secretary is wrong then the Bureau has the wrong constitution.  The Council of the Bureau is made up of the national association members, presumably because it is they that are deemed to be the most important membership in terms of the breed.  If this is not the case then the Council should be re-constituted with more positions for Life Members as participants in decision making.   It should be noted though that any decisions affecting the breed internationally can only be implemented by the national associations and therefore if the Bureau is aspiring to be the umbrella organisation for the breed it should be constituted for the associations.

It is suggested that resolving this issue is of the utmost importance to provide the new Secretary with the clarity of purpose necessary to deliver a coherent plan.  It must also be recognised that the Bureau has limited financial resources and therefore only a limited amount of time can be purchased if the remunerated services of a professional secretariat are required.  There needs to be a clear determination of what is expected of the Secretary, and if the Bureau requires unlimited hours at little or no cost it should consider a future secretary on an honorarium basis.

Respectfully submitted

James W Godfrey, MSc, FRAgS, MRAC


February 2013

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