ERS Council Elections are coming up – here’s why you should stand

Author:
Lizzie Lawless, Membership Officer

Posted on the 22nd July 2021

Could you help us shape the future of electoral reform in Britain? Why not consider standing for our Board?

This year our members are electing the ERS’ Council, and we’re looking for passionate reformers to share their time, energy and ideas.

The Council is the driving force behind the Society. Elected by our membership, the Council members set our strategy and take an active part in shaping the direction of our campaigns.

With just weeks to go before nominations open on Wednesday 4th August, we want to outline what being on the ERS council entails and why you should consider getting involved.

What do members of the Council do?

The Electoral Reform Society is governed by an elected Council made up of its members. The day-to-day running of the Society is done by the staff team, which the Council oversees.

The Council meet with senior staff and work to ensure that the ERS has a clear and relevant set of aims and an appropriate strategy for achieving them.

Council Members are also the legal directors of the ERS, with collective responsibility for ensuring that it is legally and financially compliant, well run, and effective in carrying out its vital mission to fight for our democratic rights.

In short, they help the Society be the best it can be, to take on the challenges ahead.

“I got a huge amount from serving on the ERS Council. I loved working with the very passionate, very talented staff team and also getting to know other committed activists and helping advance the cause of electoral reform.

I’d really encourage anyone to stand for election, in particular people who want to work at the governance level of an organisation: looking at the finances, strategy, the longer term. It’s a really exciting opportunity to look at the big picture rather than the nitty-gritty that we all have to deal with in day-to-day jobs.”

Clare Coatman, Council Member 2011-2017

What do I need to know about the Council elections?

Every two years, 12 members of the Society are elected by the membership to form the Council. Once elected, they can co-opt a further three, if extra skills are required.

Our members elect the Council using the fair and proportional Single Transferable Vote, and the new Council takes office at the close of our AGM.

To stand for election, you need to be an ERS member who is 16 or over, has not been disqualified from acting as a Company Director and has not recently worked for the Society.

"It’s a great way to contribute to an important cause: making our democracy work better and for everyone. That’s work that is desperately needed – now perhaps more than ever.

There’s no question my time on the Council was also good for my own personal development. I strengthened my leadership skills, learnt more about issues to do with our democracy, and I understand the governance, legal and financial aspects of running an organisation better than I did before. Above all, I learnt from the fantastic and diverse experiences and knowledge of my fellow Council members and the amazing team we had at ERS."

Amy Dodd, ERS Council Chair 2013-2017

I’m thinking of standing for election but I’m not sure I have the time or experience

Being a Council member is not a day-to-day role; in fact, there are only four meetings a year, held either in central London or online, plus the AGM.

While the Council is ultimately responsible for the decisions and actions of the ERS, it cannot and should not do everything. Instead, the focus of the Council is on strategy, performance and making sure the Society is well run, rather than daily matters.

We would love to see a fantastic range of candidates from across the country, with different backgrounds, experiences and viewpoints that they can bring to the Council.

Travel, accommodation and childcare costs

We want our members to be able to elect a Council that is representative of the diversity of the UK, that can scrutinise the ERS from a range of different perspectives, and who you may not imagine would usually sit on a company board.

Nobody should miss out because they are caring for others or need extra support. That’s why we cover any reasonable expenses, like travel, meals, overnight accommodation, and even things like childcare costs.

You don’t even need to have sat on a board before to put yourself forward – so what’s stopping you? 

How do I stand for the Council?

Nominations open this year on 4th August, and we will be contacting all our members with details of how to nominate themselves nearer the time.

For now, if you are interested in the Society and in nominating yourself to stand for election to our Council, become a member today and we will be in touch with everything you’ll need to stand. The deadline to submit a nomination is 25th August.

Do you still have questions?

If you have any questions about standing for the ERS Council please contact us on [email protected]

We’re looking forward to you getting involved!

Become an ERS Member today

Get involved with the Council

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