Chapter 3 » 3.24
Nominations and appointments
The following suggestions for good practice are intended to apply to all our meetings and committees and to the appointment of Friends and, where appropriate, attenders.
- In general a nominations procedure should be used when the appointment is to an office in the meeting, or for any other service of importance. Receiving nominations from the body of the meeting is not generally a good method of making appointments.
- The great responsibility resting on nominations committees and their clerks cannot be too strongly stressed. Nominations committees should be large enough to be representative; impulsive Friends may need to be questioned, whilst the cautious and conservative may need to be encouraged to consider new ideas. The committee needs a balance of experience and age-groups. Members will need to have knowledge of the meeting and be prepared to take pains to understand the qualifications needed for the required appointments. They will need to be clear about the requirements of the office and where appropriate should consult the requesting body. They will also need to be discerning in judgment and tactful in manner. It is important that the members meet in a spirit of worship. Some meetings have found it helpful to survey the gifts of their members in a systematic way.
- Nominations committees are appointed on behalf of the meeting, and suggestions for their consideration put forward by other members of the meeting may well be helpful to them. Such suggestions are best made directly to members of the nominating group. A nominations committee should act when asked to by its meeting or committee and only in exceptional circumstances on its own initiative.
- Nominations committees are appointed in many ways. Sometimes names are suggested from the body of the meeting, on other occasions a special committee is asked to bring forward names of Friends to serve on the nominations committee. In some circumstances participating bodies send forward representatives. It is important to ensure openness and to prevent any suggestion of an inner group; thus membership should be for a limited duration. Many meetings retire one-third of their nominations committee every year on a rotating basis.
- A nominations committee should think carefully before bringing forward the name of one of its own members for appointment. Any such nominee should withdraw from the meeting when her or his name is being presented.
- A nominations committee should meet in a worshipful manner. Committee members will occasionally need to consult each other by telephone, but this should not be the normal means of conducting the committee’s business.
- The nominations committee is not the appointing body and must bring the suggested names to the body for which it acts. Members of this body have the responsibility for approving the names or not and must be given the opportunity to express any doubts they might have. Sometimes it may seem impossible to find someone to serve. Nominations committees should not hesitate to bring their problem back to the meeting to ask for both guidance and practical help.
- The duration and scope of an appointment should be explained to all who are asked to accept nomination; the approach should not be made casually or acceptance taken for granted. It will be helpful to ask those nominated if they would consent to serve if the meeting required it. When a nominations committee brings forward a name it should not then be necessary to appoint ‘subject to consent’. However it is important that it is made absolutely clear that the appointment would be made by the meeting in its discernment and not by the nominations committee. It will be helpful to indicate when the appointment is likely to be made.
- Those nominated to serve as clerk of a meeting, elder, overseer, treasurer, registering officer or as a member of any nominations committee should be in membership. Those nominated to serve as a trustee must be in membership. In case of difficulty the Recording Clerk may be consulted. (For further guidance on the appointment of elders and overseers see 12.07–12.09.)
- Where two Friends would be expected to work together (e.g. as a clerk and assistant clerk) care should be taken to talk the proposal over informally with them before making any firm approach.
- When it is decided not to renominate any Friend holding an appointment, care should be taken to convey this information sensitively in person or by letter well before nominations are submitted.
- Nominations committees should be required to report from time to time on their thinking and their way of working.