Citizens Advice Scotland members vote in favour of reforms

A critical independent report, published last year by Deloitte, recommended changes in governance and a new five-year strategic plan

Members of Citizens Advice Scotland have voted to approve significant reforms to the charity, including radical changes to the charity’s board, after a highly critical independent report on the charity’s governance was published last year.

In a vote taken yesterday at a general meeting in Edinburgh, CAS members backed 32 recommendations included in a governance review by the accountancy firm Deloitte, which was published in July 2016.

Among the recommendations approved were changes to the board’s structure, the ability to have a vote of no confidence in trustees, to review the structure of trustee board committees, the introduction of a six-year tenure limit for trustees and a new five-year strategic plan for the charity. It will also move to appoint a new chair.

A statement from CAS said that 90 per cent of members voted in favour of the reforms and a new board should be in place by the end of March.

The vote on the governance reforms had been put back from November after four member bureaux took last-minute legal action to prevent the vote going ahead.

CAS’s adoption of the Deloitte report’s recommendations comes after a turbulent 18 months at the charity. In August 2015, Margaret Lynch, the former chief executive, was suspended by the charity before being dismissed in early 2016.

The charity’s former chair, Dominic Notarangelo, also left the charity in June before Deloitte’s report was published, having been warned that the review would contain direct criticisms of the board’s leadership.

In March, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills reportedly ordered the charity to carry out its review, withholding half the annual funding it provides to CAS to ensure the charity complied.

Agnes Robson, acting chair of CAS, said: "I am delighted that the package of governance reforms proposed by the CAS board has been so warmly endorsed by the members.

"These measures will ensure that CAS can move forward confidently, and with the necessary robust governance framework in place, to support the Citizens Advice service in delivering much-needed benefits, debt and consumer advice in communities across Scotland."

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