Future Kennel Club strategy and direction discussed at special general meeting

At the Special General Meeting of the Kennel Club, held on 6 November, more than 300 members gathered to discuss the future direction of the Kennel Club and to hear about the KC strategy in relation to health, education and communications. 

A special agenda item took up the majority of the discussion on the day, which enabled members to discuss issues raised by some members in recent months in relation to three Board members.

Since the meeting Simon Luxmoore and Mark Cocozza have resigned from the Board.  Mr Cocozza remains on the Finance Committee and, at the Board’s request, Jeff Horswell has the Board’s backing to remain as a Director on the Kennel Club Board.

A range of issues have been identified both at the SGM and beforehand and these will be discussed further by the Board.  A number of these relate to the future direction and governance of the Kennel Club; of particular concern to members is ensuring that both functions of the Kennel Club – as a members’ club and a ‘not for profit’ business – work effectively together, as the organisation continues to work to achieve the Kennel Club’s mission to promote the general improvement of dogs. 

Members also spoke at length about the Judges’ Competency Framework, which is being developed to update and refresh the way judges progress in order to improve the standard of judging throughout.  The Board recognises the need to adapt the JCF to accommodate the views of our community of long serving experienced judges that are the heart of the current show scene. 

Newly appointed Kennel Club Chairman, Steve Croxford, and the Board have noted all the issues raised both beforehand at the Special General Meeting.  There is a clear need to engage with members and the wider dog community, in order to address the issues raised.

Following this, there were a number of presentations outlining the Kennel Club’s strategy for continuing to carry out its important and wide-reaching health, education and communication programmes.

Amongst the key visions outlined were the health team’s commitment to reducing health and inherited disease problems in pedigree dogs, and of bringing together the vast amount of research, investment and knowledge within the scientific and dog community to support this mission. The education team outlined its work in streamlining processes for delivering education and looking at new ways to reach key audiences, including new dog owners and breeders. The communications presentation addressed its work in promoting and building the Kennel Club brand.

There were also two resolutions carried at the meeting. The first was to update the rules in the Year Book, to reflect the changes voted for at the 2018 AGM, which removed the need for members to pay an entrance fee. The second was to expand the remit of the Judges Committee so that it advises on judging appointments at all Kennel Club licensed shows, not just Championship shows, and so that it can act for the Board in hearing and deciding upon breaches of Kennel Club regulations, formerly decided by the Shows Executive Committee.

Steve Croxford, who has been appointed as Kennel Club Chairman since the SGM, said: “We are privileged and honoured to have such a knowledgeable and passionate membership and take seriously our duty to ensure that members’ concerns are addressed. The turn-out at the Special General Meeting is testament to how deeply everybody cares about ensuring that we successfully achieve our mission of promoting the general improvement, health and well-being of dogs, and the manner in which we do this.

“We heard some excellent presentations about the work of the Kennel Club and this is something of which we should all be proud. Our challenge now is to take forward the issues that have been raised today and to ensure that we address these in a considered and sensitive manner.”

“Amongst those priorities, we need to ensure that the Board work to better understand the specific concerns of members; to find clearer processes to deal with conflicting views and priorities and ensure this is carried out in a manner of fairness and openness.”

“We are first and foremost a members’ club, comprised of passionate and expert individuals, with dog well-being at their heart but also a company, which is run in a business-like manner, in order that we can invest further in dogs. With the members, Board and staff all working side by side, in a spirit of fairness, inclusiveness, openness and trust we can ensure this organisation of which we are so proud, can continue to achieve wonderful things.”

“There is a clear task ahead for the Board, the individual Directors, and our members and that is to tap into the talents and experience we have across our community.

“We must recognise the traditions and good work done by our predecessors but also ensure the Kennel Club is an organisation fit to meet the challenges of today’s world and what it will face in the future.

“I believe the opportunity is now and by working together there is a bright future for the Kennel Club and all of us that engage positively with it.”