Membership of the committee
Efficient management committees are ideally made up of people with a range of skills, knowledge and experience that can add to the overall strength of the committee. Members of management committees may also include people who represent certain groups or organisations providing a particular service such as those representing consumers, Indigenous interests, mental health services, disability services, youth services, etc. Most associations strive to nominate their ‘ideal’ committee as few things create more difficulties than a dysfunctional committee.
The rules of your association will determine what qualifications a committee member must have, and whether a member of the committee must be a member of the association.
Under the Act a person is excluded from being on the committee without special approval from the Commissioner for Consumer Protection if they:
- are bankrupt or their affairs are under insolvency laws;
- have been convicted of an indictable offence in relation to the formation or management of a body corporate in the last five years;
- have been convicted of an offence involving fraud or dishonesty punishable by at least three months imprisonment in the last five years; or
- have been convicted of an offence under section 127 of the Act, where a person has allowed an association to operate while insolvent in the last five years.
It is the responsibility of each individual nominating for a committee position, rather than the association, to ensure that they are eligible.
A person fitting the above criteria who wishes to accept an appointment to a committee must submit an application for approval through AssociationsOnline to the Commissioner for Consumer Protection with the prescribed fee.
The association can take steps to ensure that all prospective committee members are aware of the requirements, and should also undertake those checks that the association believes are reasonably required to ensure that all committee members are appropriately qualified.
For example, associations can raise awareness by adding a box to nomination forms requiring candidates to declare that they are not disqualified. Depending on the nature of the association and the position, an association may also require incoming committee members to provide police clearance certificates.
This is common in large associations where committee members are paid, but may not be considered appropriate or necessary in a smaller association where committee members are volunteers or are well known to one another.
Associations should ensure that the processes in place for the election of committee members meet the requirements of the new law and that all elected members are eligible to hold their positions.
For example, associations may wish to add a tick box to nomination forms requiring candidates to confirm that they are not an undischarged bankrupt and do not have one of the current convictions specified by the Act.
The Act requires an incorporated association's rules to include provisions about the name, constitution, membership and powers of the committee responsible for the management of the association.
The rules need to be clear about the committee’s membership, what it is to be named and what functions are permitted to be carried out. The rules must also include provisions about:
- the election or appointment of committee members;
- terms of office of committee members;
- how the office of a committee member will become vacant;
- filling casual vacancies on the committee; and
- the quorum and procedure at meetings of the committee.
The Act also requires associations to keep up-to-date records of the names and addresses of all members of the committee and any other office bearers. Members of the association are entitled to inspect and copy the record on request, but are not allowed to remove the record.
Members have a right to know who their committee members are and if necessary how to contact them. Well-managed associations ensure that this information is readily available to their members, often through newsletters or by other means.