Yorkshire Quaker Governance Group
(previously Simplifying Charitable Functions Group)
Minutes made by Area Meetings 2023-24
Brighouse West Yorkshire
AM meeting – 14 January 2024
4. Relationship with QiY Trustees
A) Simplification. We have received a minute from the Simplifying Charitable Functions Group entitled Keeping the wheels turning: Quaker Governance in Yorkshire, as follows: [YQG minute reproduced]
David Bower has spoken to the minute and distributed a 4-page document that details the proposals for each LM to consider. This has started the conversation on this issue and we hope that LMs will take time to consider the paper, as well as the online briefings, and report back to our meeting in March. We have had an opportunity to comment or ask questions. There will be much work needed at ground level and it is important that all meetings will feel involved in the process, to ensure a successful outcome. The document from the Simplification group is attached to these minutes.
Our discussion today and previous CYAM meetings on the subject suggest that there is general support within CYAM for the proposal made by the group and we hope that comments to our March meeting will confirm this.
Further details can be found on the Quakers in Yorkshire website. From the homepage and under Simplification go to Recommendations; it is all there.
We thank David Bower for his work on our behalf and hope that he is willing to continue as our representative with this group.
Craven & Keighley
AM meeting – 9 December 2023
2023/92 Trustee matters
d. Simplification for Quakers in Yorkshire Trustees have welcomed the minute from the Quakers in Yorkshire Simplifying Charitable Functions in Yorkshire Group proposing that we move towards a single charitable body across Yorkshire with Area Meetings remaining as separate Quaker bodies.
We ask our constituent LMs to consider this proposal together with the background papers which will be circulated and to report back to our meeting in March, when this is likely to be the major topic. Erica Cadbury is available to help all LMs regarding this matter.
Pickering & Hull
Sheffield & Balby
AM meeting – Sunday 14 January 2024
Minute 7. Yorkshire Quaker Governance
We have received the 18th November 2023 minute of the Simplifying Charitable Functions Group, now the Yorkshire Quaker Governance Group. We have also received a paper setting out the background to the minute. Both of these have been sent out in advance and are attached to these minutes. We also have access to additional material at https://quakersinyorkshire.org.uk/simplification/
We have heard from our representative on the Yorkshire Quaker Governance Group, Ann Hindley, of its recommendation that there be one Yorkshire-wide registered charity replacing the seven Area Meeting charities which currently exist.
The Yorkshire-wide charity would be responsible for finance, property, safeguarding, employment, compliance (risk management, data protection, health & safety, etc.) and public accountability. The charity would require paid professional support and advice. Area Meetings (AMs) would continue to operate as Quaker bodies, without separate legal status. They would be responsible for spiritual and pastoral matters and for witness.
We were asked to share what questions we had on the recommendations so far, that could be fed into the group’s discernment in developing the proposal.
Whilst we recognise the value of pooling some areas of responsibility – particularly financial and property related we feel we would need further information and time for discernment to know if we think this is the right way forward. In our Area Meeting we delegate a great deal to Local Meetings and value having a trustee body that includes Friends with a range of experience to represent our Quaker community. We heard concern about finding Friends to serve on the centralised trustee body and whether this more formal and distanced group might not be able to make the nuanced and quick decisions that serve us well at the local level.
We can see that a new arrangement could provide solutions to some of the current difficulties experienced in our own and other Area Meetings. We see the advantage of reducing the number of trustees needing to be found and a potential lessening of the burden on existing roles.
We are concerned that the burden placed on the Trustees of a Yorkshire wide charity would be significant and that it might be difficult to find Friends to serve in these roles.
We have made a note of the questions asked on the matter, which list is appended to the minutes. We ask that these are taken back to the Governance Group to be included in their continuing discernment. We understand our AM trustees are also considering the group’s proposal and we ask them to respond to the group directly. In principle, we agree that the group should proceed with its work to reach the next stage of the change process, taking into account all the queries they will receive and in the understanding that we are not yet clear that we unite with the proposed structure. We will be glad to be involved in further discernment when the group are ready to bring us further information for our consideration.
We thank Ann for her work on the Governance Group and for presenting its recommendations to us today.
AM meeting – Saturday 13 January 2024
2024/6 Simplifying Meetings: Minding the Future
David Olver, Clerk of QiY Trustees has sent a minute from the QiY Simplifying Charitable Functions Group which was circulated with this agenda together with additional information. The Group recommends moving towards a single charitable body across Yorkshire with Area Meetings continuing as separate Quaker bodies but not as Charities. David would like Area Meetings to respond in principle by 30 April 2024.
Martina Weitsch, Clerk of YAM Trustees and a member of the Simplifying Charitable Functions Group, spoke to Friends about this recommendation and how it came to be made. She focussed on the current duplication of work amongst the seven Area Meetings in Yorkshire, on the extent of responsibilities and the difficulty in appointing enough Trustees to carry out this work. Friends raised a number of questions and made numerous comments all of which were noted by the Assistant Clerk. There was concern about the tightness of the timetable and also awareness of the need for rethinking in this kind of way and of the support that Trustees may well need. Particular mention was made of the way Welsh Friends have embraced a similar reorganisation and we were reminded that big Quaker projects can bring joy and fun.
We thank Martina for her presentation which is circulated with these minutes. In March we shall consider: ‘Is this a good direction of travel?’
Papers for 2023 meetings
Papers for meeting on 29 May 2023:
Papers for meeting on 26 June 2023:
- Options analysis for a single charity
- Mapping Trustee Responsibilities and Other Tasks done by AMs in terms of which can be done from anywhere and which need local input
- Options for 3 AMs and 2 AMs
- Simplifying Functions – Property
- Notes on progress in Wales, Scotland and London
- Notes on meeting held on 26 June 2023
Meeting on 31 July 2023:
Meeting on 1 September 2023: