Today’s blog is by Bill Scott, the Chair of the Trustee Board for the new NAEE.  In what follows, Bill explains the background to the changes that have taken place and some of the detail of the revised arrangements.  He stresses that, amid all the change, there’s also a lot of continuity.

Over the 50+ years of our existence, the National Association for Environmental Education (UK) has tweaked its constitution a number of times to make relatively minor changes as we adjusted to altered circumstances.  We have just made another, but this time it is quite a significant shift on two fronts.

The first is that we have become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation – a CIO.  This is the Charity Commission’s preferred constitutional framework for a lot of charities now, both large and small.  Moving to this mode of operation has meant that we could both modernise our constitution in line with Charity Commission norms, but also offer trustees the sort of personal liability protection that they need.  Our new constitution is now both clear and comprehensive, and covers (almost) all eventualities.  It’s now much easier to understand who does what, how to call a general meeting, and who can (and can’t) be members.  All this will make our operations smoother and more transparent, and the shift to the CIO was (relatively) painless.

The second shift is likely to prove the more significant, however, as we have taken advantage of the move to a CIO to change our governance.  We now have a much clearer distinction between our Trustee Board and the officers of the Association who carry out its week-by-week activities.  The latter, who comprise the executive chair, vice-chair
, and treasurer, form a core executive group along with co-opted members with responsibilities for publications, the website, social media, networking and our bursary scheme.  The executive chair and vice-chair are both ex-officio trustees of NAEE and sit on a 6-person trustee board alongside our president and three directly elected trustees.  These are elected by members at an AGM and serve 3-year terms (renewable once).  The charity board is responsible for the governance of the charity and for setting policy and strategy, but it delegates to the executive committee responsibility for the day-to-day management of NAEE business.  This has created a greater separation between trustees and executive officers, whilst ensuring that the communication between them is strong.  The first trustees of NAEE as a CIO are: Elected – Gabrielle Back, David Fellows and William Scott; Ex-officio – Sue Fenoughty and 
Nina Hatch.

Although we have retained our charitable purposes in broad terms – we are still promoting environmental education, after all – we have slightly changed the emphasis.  Here it our new charitable object:

To provide a public benefit by advancing environmental education within early years settings, primary and secondary schools, and institutions responsible for teacher education within the UK and elsewhere, in particular but without limitation by

[i] facilitating curriculum development through the provision of resources, information and ideas for teachers,

[ii] providing financial support for pupils to visit outdoor education centres, and

[iii] collaborating with organisations that have related objectives.

Given the state of the world, we think that there is still much that needs doing in each of these three areas.

Although we have this revised object and structure (and a new charity number – 1166502), much also remains the same.  Our website and email contacts are unaltered, banking and financial arrangements are unchanged, and social media and the journal continue as before.  In that sense, day-to-day activity just continues – but with a new purpose.  If you have any questions about our the ‘new’ NAEE and what we do, or you want to help or join us, do look at the website [ www.naee.org.uk ] or get in touch at: info@naee.org.uk

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William Scott, Chair of NAEE Trustees