Hear the latest news from Director-General Diana Owen. 

Our AGM on 19 May was an historic occasion for ROSL: the first time we have held an online AGM; many more members than usual attending and a crucial vote on the proposed new governance arrangements for the origanisation.

With our Chairman in Australia and members everywhere in lockdown, we needed to find a way to keep ROSL’s business moving along as far as possible. In April, after taking legal advice, Central Council made the decision to move the AGM online and our IT Director, Charles Verrier, got to work setting out all the steps that would be needed to ensure that we were compliant with our bye laws and to ensure that members could see and hear the meeting and take part in the governance vote. The agenda was confined to the basics: adopting the 2019 Annual Accounts which had already been signed off by our auditors, our Finance Committee and by Central Council; approving the appointment of auditors for 2020; and a vote on the governance proposals. I am pleased to report that more than 130 members attended (our quorum is 50) and 100% of the members eligible to vote, voted in favour of the proposed governance changes. A recording was made of the AGM which will be available through the Member Portal and the questions raised by members before and during the meeting, with answers, will also be posted there for members to see.

A second confirmatory EGM will be held on 4 June at 10am BST (register here) to confirm the changes to our Royal Charter only which were outlined by our Deputy Chairman, Anne Wilkinson, at the AGM. Our Director-General Designate, Dr Annette Prandzioch, will also be joining us at the EGM and will be in conversation with our Chairman. Please do join us.

We are also planning a series of webinars with our members, take a look at our events page here, and there are lots of opportunities to keep in touch with our work on our website and particularly through our ROSL at Home pages.

More than half of our team have been furloughed so please bear with us if we are a little slower in answering your calls and emails. We are also preparing detailed risk assessments and plans for re-opening our clubhouse, when we know that it will be safe to do so. You can help us to develop our plans by completing a simple survey that will be emailed to you shortly which aims to assess how many members might wish to visit Overseas House in the coming months and what you would like to do when you’re there, bearing in mind continuing social distancing and other government advice.

A big thank you to all our staff who are coping so magnificently with everything that this crisis is throwing at them – and to you, our members, for your help, encouragement and support. I can’t tell you how valuable that is.

Diana Owen


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