EdFringe Board: Noms Open

Jul 24 2020 | By More

Nominations open for EdFringe Board of Directors

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society has opened nominations for the three vacant places on its board of directors and announced a September date for its 2020 AGM.

There is one available seat in each of the Show Participant, the Venue and the Open categories. The deadline for nominations is noon on Thursday 20 August 2020. Voting details will be circulated a week later and the Society AGM will be held by Zoom at 12.30pm on Thursday 17 September 2020.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society’s shop on the High Street. July 2020. Pic: Thom Dibdin

The Society says that it is particularly encouraging nominations from disabled, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic candidates to both provide a more representative body and help drive its diversity and accessibility policies forward.

However, the main challenge to the Board in the immediate future is coping with the unprecedented demands of the Covid pandemic.

The current Board had attempted to postpone elections until 2021, due to the difficulties posed by the Covid pandemic which has caused the Society to take on a £1M loan to avoid insolvency. Postponement was voted down at the recent EGM (See news story: Elections for EdFringe)

The extent of these difficulties is set out in an open letter from the Society’s Chief Executive, Shona McCarthy, to all those wanting to put themselves forward for nomination to the Board (detailed below).

governance and guidance

The Board of Directors is directly involved in overseeing the future of the Edinburgh Fringe as well as providing governance and guidance to the Chief Executive and to Fringe Society staff.

Nominees to the Board need to be paid up members of the Society and to be nominated by two other members of the Society.

Board members stay in post for four years. The board can appoint additional members with specific skills to help it function. There is no payment for being on the board, although expenses are reimbursed.

Full details of how to stand for the Board have been sent to all Society members and are available, with supporting documents outlining the legal responsibilities of board members, on the EdFringe members pages here.

Key Dates

Thurs 20 August 2020: Closing date for nominations.
Thurs 27 August 2020: Voting instructions to be sent to membership
Weds 2 September 2020 (12 noon): Last chance to renew Fringe Society membership in time to vote in the elections.
Thurs 17 September 2020 (12.30pm): Fringe Society AGM, to be held via Zoom.
Friday 18 September 2020: Election results published on edfringe.com.

Letter to all potential candidates

Letter from Shona McCarthy to potential candidates about the 2020 elections.

The Fringe Society Board and Executive are keen to ensure that any prospective trustee standing for election in 2020 is aware of the financial position of the charity and the particular risks associated in the current context.

The global pandemic has presented specific financial challenges for the Society and, for the first time ever, we were faced with the possibility of insolvency. It is therefore critical for new board members to read and fully understand all of the information presented to them as we seek to stabilise and strengthen the Society.

We received a £1M loan from the Scottish Government which has prevented insolvency and ensures our survival into 2021, and we have a commitment to repay this loan over the next six years. Trustees must ensure that they are aware of the financial responsibilities that lie with them as Directors (see OSCR guidance). Your attention is drawn to the risk assessment outlined in the 2019 Statement of Accounts.

We want to come back stronger, more resilient and develop a more mixed economy financial model, so new Directors will be required to bring support, expertise and energy to help move the Society forward.

In 2017, we asked an extensive range of people to help us shape the future of the Fringe Society and to highlight how they would like to see the Fringe develop. This resulted in our Blueprint (download here) adopted by our Board alongside the 2018-2023 business plan.

This document set us eight key challenges to support the Fringe landscape to:
become more open;
 enhance our international reputation;
 be affordable;
 find a new permanent home;
 be inspiring;
 develop our street events;
 become more sustainable; and,
 help tell the story of the Fringe.

We have made significant steps to achieving these challenges and we are looking for Board members who can support and grow these ambitions. Underpinned by awareness that the Society does not run or control the Fringe, but through strategic leadership and working with our stakeholders, we can collectively influence the political and cultural bodies to make a step change in those areas out with our control, such as sustainability and affordability.

We want to encourage members to come forward from diverse backgrounds, to represent the breadth of people who form the Fringe. Our ambition is to grow a more representative Board, from different ethnicities, young people, local residents, working class people, D/deaf and disabled people, to join our existing Directors and professionally govern the society, bringing fresh perspective and voices to the table.

When you fill in your nomination, we encourage you to demonstrate how you can bring that enthusiasm, commitment and diversity to drive the Society forward.

Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive
Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society


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