The 2018 RQA Annual Conference took place between the 31st October and the 2nd November at Manchester Central, close to the centre of Manchester. Over 500 people attended throughout the two and a half days. The opening session was led by Vanessa Grant, with an candid look at Manchester and it’s rich history in music and football to name just two. Fergus Walsh (BBC News) then took the stage for his keynote presentation on 'Making Sense of Headlines and Health', which was followed by a very healthy Q&A session from the audience, who could pose a question to the speaker at anytime during the session using the conference app. This turned out to be a great success with popular questions being voted to the top of the list, ensuring that everyone could openly have their say.
As the day went on the attendees were treated to presentations on data integrity and GDPR as well as the debut of the fringe sessions. These sessions were a chance for a more roundtable discussion. The room holding all three talks was alive with chatter and a chance to get delegates moving around keeping engaged through various means. Initial feedback suggests that this format was a success and something we can look to continue with in the future.
Thursday afternoon saw the conference become more stretched with five concurrent streams throughout the venue. Lively debate and Q&A was had in all the various QA clinics. The audio (and video where possible) of these will be available to RQA members by the end of the month, so stay tuned to the website. The Gala Dinner was it’s usual low key self (!). Vanessa took the time to recognise Angelika Tillmann (2018 Conference Chair) and Jane Elliston (2018 Deputy Chair) as well as a special mention, an subsequent standing ovation for RQA Conference Manager Tony Ward, who is due to retire from the association at the end of the year. What happens in Manchester stays in Manchester, so you will have to ask any attendees you know for further details from there!
The conference was finished off with another keynote presentation – this time from Simon Gillespie (British Heart Foundation), a lively debate session and then an update from JSQA about the 2020 Global QA Conference, to be held in Sendai.
The office would like to extend it’s thanks to all of the faculty, exhibitors and delegates who made this year’s conference such a successful one. Next year’s edition will be the 3rd European QA Conference, and will be held in Dublin. Stay tuned for more information in the new year.
RQA has a duty to hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM) at least every 15 months. All RQA members have the right to vote on each AGM resolution.
For the AGM 2018, on 31 October, there were four resolutions:
• To accept the minutes of the previous AGM;
• To adopt the Annual Report of the Board;
• To adopt the Statutory Accounts;
• To adopt the revised Articles of Association.
Vanessa Grant, the RQA Chair of the Board, opened the meeting by welcoming all present – around 75 members.
On a show of hands, along with 22 postal votes in favour, the minutes of the previous AGM were accepted by the meeting.
The Chair then presented the Annual Report of the Board highlighting key activities within the year, such as the Global QA Conference. Since the Chair’s term of office draws to a close at the end of the year, Vanessa thanked Board members, Committee members, volunteers, and the RQA office, for their support.
Roger Cope, the RQA Treasurer, presented the Financial Report including details of Association income, expenditure, and the Statutory Accounts. The Treasurer explained the drop in reserves, and the actions required to maintain financial health; highlighting ways in which RQA members can support the Association, such as developing learning material and publications through the Volunteer Programme.
Tracy Gilbert, the Board member with oversight of Global Engagement updated the meeting on RQA’s collaboration activity, including the discussions and actions arising from the International QA Society Dinner in November 2017.
On a show of hands, along with 22 postal votes in favour, the Annual Report was adopted by the meeting.
On a show of hands, along with 21 postal votes in favour (one against), the Statutory Accounts were adopted by the meeting.
The Chair went on to explain the changes to the Articles of Association – to increase the number of Board members by two, and to commence the Board member Term of Office on 1 January following the AGM.
Since the changes to the Articles requires a Special Resolution, the Chair called for a formal ballot of members. Ballot papers were distributed to all the AGM attendees present who hadn’t voted previously. The completed papers were collected, collated and counted.
By formal ballot, the revised Articles of Association were adopted with a majority of 93% (a majority of 75% is required).
The Chair thanked the members for voting, before moving on to the Formal Notices and Announcements.
With heartfelt sadness, the Association had announced the passing of Nicky Dodsworth earlier in the year. Nicky died after a short battle with cancer. She was an ambassador for the profession, but she will be best remembered for being an immensely likeable person.
The next announcement was the resignation of a Board member – Louise Mawer. In presenting Louise with a set of crystal glasses, the Chair thanked Louise for her commitment, enthusiasm and approach to her Board responsibilities, and to the challenges faced by the Association.
The Chair confirmed that Louise will continue to support the RQA in various working parties and initiatives.
Once again, the RQA Award had generated lots of lively debate at Board meetings. For 2018, the RQA Award went to two worthy recipients:
• Allison Jack for her countless long-term and valuable contributions to the Association, especially her work with the PV Committee.
• Sameera Thanathparambil for her boundless energy and infectious enthusiasm, especially relating to GCP Committee liaison, support for the forthcoming India Regional Forum event, and leadership of the award-winning RQA Volunteer Programme.
The Chair again thanked everyone for attending, and closed the meeting.
The revised Articles, and the details and outcome of the Special Resolution, will now be filed with Companies House for processing and approval.