The meeting will be held using Zoom Video Webinar, which will allow The Kennel Club members to attend the event as it happens, and raise comments and questions using both the chat function and verbally, it is anticipated.
Although the ‘roadmap’ for easing Covid restrictions in England may allow for some indoor events to take place from 17 May, The Kennel Club Board felt that with the uncertainty over this date and the potential requirement for limited capacity, combined with punitive liabilities for venue costs should a cancellation or postponement be required at short notice, an interactive online meeting was the preferred option.
There is also no guarantee that The Kennel Club staff required to facilitate a physical meeting in June would have received their vaccinations by this point, with the target for all adults set to be by the end of July, and thus would not be forced to travel to attend such a meeting if they were not comfortable doing so.
Under its Articles of Association, The Kennel Club AGM must take place by the end of June 2021 and thus there is not the option to delay the meeting until later in the year when it may be possible to hold it in person. However, The Kennel Club is committed to holding a physical Special General Meeting later in the year, presuming the conditions allow for this.
The Kennel Club members have been invited to submit items for consideration for the agenda and nominations for new candidates for The Kennel Club Board in advance of the meeting as usual.
All voting will take place in advance of the meeting, as in 2020, and will be managed by The Kennel Club’s independent scrutineers, Mi-Voice. There will be no voting on the day.
Members are also invited to submit questions in advance of the meeting and have been advised that questions received in advance will be given priority on the day. Members will be able to ask questions during the meeting itself and these will be answered live where possible. Any questions which it is not possible to answer on the day will be collated and circulated to the members in a report after the AGM.
Kathryn Mansfield, The Kennel Club Secretary, said: “We understand that some members may be disappointed that the Board has opted not to hold a physical meeting in June, given that this may prove to be a possibility by that stage, but we hope that they understand that the welfare of both the members and The Kennel Club staff must take priority until such time as the vaccination programme has been fully rolled out.
“The Board has taken a practical approach to a difficult situation and followed the example of several other members of the Association of London Clubs in reaching this decision. It was deemed undesirable to potentially create disappointment by opting for a physical meeting only to be required to cancel or rearrange this, or limit the number of members who may attend. It is hoped that by holding the meeting online, some members who are unable to travel to London, or would feel uncomfortable in travelling, might be able to participate.
“We hope that members without the necessary technology to partake in the meeting will not feel disenfranchised as they will have the opportunity to vote on all items on the agenda, and it should hopefully be permissible for them to meet indoors with other members with the necessary technology to view the meeting by this date.
“We very much look forward to a productive and interactive meeting in June, with the sincere hope and expectation that members will be able to gather together later in the year for the SGM.”
Details of the precise format of the meeting and how members may join the AGM will be sent with their AGM pack in early June.