In 2020, the ICA governance meetings (Executive Board and Programme Commission), were held virtually bringing together members from all over the world. In 2021, due to the current circumstances, the ICA will host these meetings in the same format to discuss key topics for the year.
ICA governance is in the hands of two main bodies: the General Assembly (GA) is the highest decision-making body in the ICA which decides on the long-term strategic direction for the organisation as well as overseeing its management. In between GAs, responsibility for managing ICA’s operations lies with the Executive Board (EB), which implements the GA decisions and, if necessary, proposes adjustments to the strategic direction.
In regards to ICA's technical and professional programme, it is the Programme Commission (PCOM) which is the body in charge of overseeing and supporting the organisation’s professional activities, including the workplans of ICA Expert Groups (such as the development of tools and standards, management of projects, etc.) and the programme for the ICA Conferences and Congresses.
These two ICA governing committees usually meet twice a year: one session in the first semester of the year, usually taking place in April and a second session which takes place either before the ICA Conference or Congress or in October or November in a given year. In 2020, PCOM and EB were scheduled in April, June, and November, and were held in a virtual format for the first time in the organisation's history. For 2021, the meetings will take place again virtually between April 7th (PCOM) and April 8-9th (EB).
PCOM Meeting, November 14 2020.
What was discussed in 2020?
Thanks to the contributions of our members, the ICA has a new strategic plan ‘Empowering Archives and the Profession 2021-2024’ which is built on three pillars: (1) Collaboration and Cooperation; (2) Transparent, Accountable and Inclusive and; (3) Relevant, Empowering and Empowered.
In order to enable ICA to be more collaborative, accountable, transparent, diverse, empowered and empowering, we needed to amend the Constitution to reflect these ambitions along with the operations of our two governing committees.
The Executive Board approved at its virtual meeting on 23 June 2020 an initial set of constitutional reforms. All these proposed reforms will be presented during a hybrid Extraordinary General Assembly slated for October 2021, and they include:
- Giving Category D members the right of vote
- Changing the ICA conferences from annual to biennale
- Changing the Section of Professional Associations into the Forum of Professional Associations
- Reforming the Programme Commission
These are the major highlights, but there are other reforms that will be proposed to the membership ahead of the Extraordinary General Assembly. The Executive Board has also established a working group to examine the processes and operations of the committee, with findings to be presented at the upcoming Executive Board meeting in April 2021.
PCOM Membership Reforms
The Diversity Working Group, formed in Adelaide 2019, delivered its report and recommendations to the VP Programme in April 2020 and both PCOM and the EB voted to approve the recommendations in June as abovementioned.
The report recommends:
Moving away from executive appointments to PCOM and toward elections among self-nominated candidates. Most PCOM members would be elected by the ICA membership at large, based on ballots that provide the candidates’ home country, institution, expertise, previous ICA experience, and linguistic background. Each election would also provide information about returning PCOM members so that elections can be used to re-balance PCOM in any dimension of diversity that needs correction.
- Each of PCOM’s strategic focus areas (currently the Training Programme, Africa Programme, and New Professionals Programme) would have a dedicated seat on PCOM, which would be filled using a slightly different process to ensure necessary expertise. In those cases, and also in a seat reserved for a current new professional, PCOM members would vote among candidates who meet the qualifications.
- The call for nominations for both types of PCOM seats would be widely publicized to the ICA membership.
- Branches, Sections, Expert Groups, and other ICA bodies (FAN, FIDA, SPA) would not have representatives on PCOM, but instead the improved PCOM would have a far more robust communication strategy.
What will be discussed in the first meetings of 2021?
In the case of EB, the meetings will be dedicated to discussing the final proposed Constitutional Reforms for the Extraordinary General Assembly scheduled on October 18, 2021. In addition to this, and the usual operational matters related to the ICA, the Executive Members will also talk about the Elected Officers Succession Planning.
On the other hand, PCOM will be focused on the activities of ICA-PCOM professional programmes developed in 2020, priorities for the current year, and the projects prioritized by the ICA Expert Groups for 2021. As a novel element for this meeting, the Active and Alumni New Professionals and the chairs of the Expert Groups will join this first session of the year.