They have been a long time in the making, but finally the AGS new byelaws are with us! Following a vote by members, in which the new byelaws were almost unanimously accepted, I am pleased to be able to announce that they will take effect immediately. However, we will continue with the same subscriptions format as used the last 2 years, for 2016 –requests have been issued. We anticipate that a revised subscriptions structure will be developed in the coming year to reflect the different composition of membership, in good time for the 2017 subscriptions request being issued. This should not result in increased costs for member companies, the changes in the Byelaws are intended to allow the AGS to reach more of the younger element within member organisations.
I don’t intend to comment on the content of the new byelaws in this brief article. I would however direct any members wanting further information on them, to the explanatory article produced by John Talbot who has done much background work in making these a reality.
Why a need for new byelaws?
The AGS is a trade organisation that exists to reflect industry. In doing so, the Association has a duty to ensure that the way in which it conducts itself reflects modern practice, but also serves members to its best ability. The revised byelaws and indeed members’ structure of the AGS, reflect a belief that the association needs to engage and interact more effectively with both experienced practitioners, but perhaps more importantly, with the younger end of the profession.
For too long, industry as a whole has failed to provide enough relevant and readily accessible guidance and items of interest to young geo-professionals. Available forums have often been nothing more than talking shops for more senior industry practitioners and there has been little to stimulate either recent graduates or indeed students who are studying at HEI’s.
In recognising that industry needs to engage with these young geo-professionals, the AGS has deliberately restructured the membership classes so as to provide better access to the Association. Other initiatives including a new website and easier access to both guidance notes and publications are aimed at ensuring that all practitioners regardless of career status, contractor, consultant or supplier, will find items of interest within the AGS.
This transformation of the Association is not complete and will continue apace through 2016. For example, the Articles of Association require changing, partially so that they are aligned with the new Byelaws, but most importantly to comply with the current Companies Act 2006. The original Articles were drawn up in 1991, based on the former Companies Acts of 1985-89, so they are now well and truly obsolete. Several working groups within the AGS have been given mandates to look at both technical document offerings and marketing of the AGS and its services. We will be seeking input from all sections of the industry, to ensure that the AGS continues to be relevant and provides a service fit for the industry in future years.
The AGS has members who serve on all the major industry professional and learned bodies, including the ICE, Geological Society, Ground Forum, BGA, EGGS and the BDA to name but a few. By having such representation across the geotechnical and environmental sectors, the AGS committee is able to continue to keep abreast of all new developments and more crucially provide commentary and advice to members on matters of potential interest and, or, concern.
In summary then, the AGS is changing. However this is not change for change’s sake but, as I have mentioned, rather to ensure that as a trade association, the AGS provides a service of value to its members, and crucially a service relevant to today’s needs, but able to adapt to tomorrow’s challenges.