1. Why an online AGM?
The MCB election AGM should have been held in June 2020 but had to be postponed because of COVID-19 restrictions for face-to-face public meetings. In compliance with the decision taken by the MCB’s National Council an online AGM is therefore being organised in January 2021. This will preserve the democratic principle in the MCB by providing affiliates the opportunity to elect a Secretary General, Deputy Secretary General and a National Council for the 2020-2022 term.
2. What are the safeguards to ensure privacy and confidentiality?
The data capture software and online voting platform selected is GDPR compliant. All matters relating to voting choices and counts are confidential to the Election Commissioner, Khalid Sofi, and a team within the MCB office. Any external technical consultants involved are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement. No one standing for the election will have a role in the counting process.
3. Who can stand for the posts of Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General?
Anyone who has been nominated as a delegate by an affiliate can stand for the position of Secretary General (SG) and Deputy Secretary General (DSG). The candidates are elected for a 2-year term and an individual can only hold these positions for 2 consecutive terms. The person who may have completed two consecutive terms cannot stand for a third consecutive term.
The candidates must also fulfil other conditions set by MCB constitution and standing orders. The details were provided in the ‘Call for candidates’ notice circulated to affiliates in October 2020 via email and published on the MCB website. Eligible candidates were announced on the MCB website on 14 December 2020. View candidate profiles and manifestos here.
4. Is campaigning allowed?
Yes, while preserving an ethos of mutual respect and cordiality. The MCB office does not provide candidates with delegates’ contact details or help with any canvassing.
5. What are the key dates?
The schedule set by the Election Commissioner is as follows, in adherence to the MCB’s Standing Orders as closely as possible:
For SG and DSG election
|Deadline for nominations
||30 November 2020 [NOW CLOSED]
|Announcement of SG and DSG candidates
||14 December 2020 [NOW COMPLETED]
|SG and DSG candidates’ hustings (via Zoom or equivalent)
||24 January 2021
|Access to online voting platform for SG & DSG election
||25-26 January 2021
For National Council (NC) election
|Affiliates provided with an online form for delegate registration
||week beginning Monday 23 November 2020 [NOW COMPLETED]
|Affiliates to complete delegate registration
||by 14 December 2020 [DEADLINE EXTENDED TO 8 pm SUNDAY 20 DECEMBER 2020]
|Delegates provided with online form for nominations to the National Council (to be made with reference to the ‘List of Approved Delegates’ compiled by the Election Commissioner)
||by 28 December 2020
|Delegates to complete NC nominations form
||by 11 January 2021
|Access to online voting platform for NC election
||25-26 January 2021
For AGM event
|Election Commissioner chairs Election session of AGM (via Zoom or equivalent) – including announcement of SG, DSG and NC election results & address by newly elected SG
||Sunday 31 January 2021
6. How does the voting process work?
MCB members are its affiliates. Each affiliate appoints delegates to participate and vote in the annual general meetings. Each delegate can make the following selections:
- for Secretary General
- for Deputy Secretary General
- for National Council
- Select up to 6 women from the women-only list
- Select up to 23 from the general list of all men and women, which can also include any woman not already selected in the women-only list. At least 1 of these selections must be of a candidate in the same zone as the delegate’s. [Information will be displayed for guidance]
A finalised list of delegates attending the AGM can be viewed here.
7. Who are the MCB’s office bearers?
- Secretary General (SG) and Deputy Secretary General (DSG) – elected by direct vote of delegates
- Three Assistant Secretary Generals (ASGs) & Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer – appointed at the first National Council meeting or subsequently, by recommendation of the Secretary General and with approval of the National Council.
Note: The MCB Constitution and Standing Orders also make provision for appointment of an Assistant Treasurer, who should be a qualified accountant.
8. Composition & role of the National Council
The National Council is the decision-making body of the MCB when the AGM is not in session, and it meets quarterly. The office bearers are accountable to the National Council. It comprises the SG, DSG, 28 nationally elected members (including a minimum of 6 women), 12 zonally elected members, and directly nominated members – one each from affiliates in the national and regional affiliate type category. There can also be a number of co-opted members. To preserve the democratic principle, the number of directly nominated plus co-opted members must not exceed the elected members.
9. Zonally elected members of the National Council
The MCB comprises 12 geographical regions: 9 in England, and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Zonally elected members ensure geographical representation in its decision-making.
The Zonally elected members’ responsibilities include engagement with affiliates, new membership, informing the MCB of local concerns and disseminating information.
Each affiliate is assigned to a zone based on its postcode. In the case of affiliates in the national and regional category, this is the postcode of its head office. The ‘List of approved delegates’ will indicate each delegate’s zone code.
In past face-to-face election AGMs, each delegate has been provided a zonal ballot sheet applicable to his or her zone. This ensured that a delegate only voted for those candidates in his or her zone. To reduce complexity of the online voting platform, it has been decided not to program this into the system. Instead, when casting their votes for the National Council members, each delegate will be prompted by a message to select at least one candidate in their zone.
The zonally elected National Council members will be the one obtaining the most votes in her/her zone, if not already elected to the National Council as a result of the preceding selections.
10. Can observers attend?
Yes. Registration details will be announced on the MCB website www.mcb.org.uk on 10 January, for the online Hustings (24 January) and AGM (31 January) events.
11. What happens if an affiliate or delegate does not have an email or internet access?
Affiliate’s delegates eligible to participate but digitally excluded should email [email protected]