It's the APM Board Election. Should you bother?

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I’ve had it myself. An anonymous and official looking envelope drops through the post box. Is it a bill? Tax rebate? Something exciting? Hmm.  Someone wants me to vote in their election for something or somebody. Do I bother? It can be a tough choice – do I engage with breakfast or my democratic freedoms? Sadly, even a company secretary can need persuading to engage with lofty matters such as somebody else’s corporate governance. 

APM bucked the national trend last year. Our turnout was well into the upper quartile at 17.8%. Although less than 18 out of 100 will sound low for most purposes, it is actually highly creditable in this context. Turnout in membership body elections is notoriously low and falling. We think we achieved a big uplift in turnout last year by a mixture of good publicity, more reminders and making the online voting process easier. 

So, with this good performance, do we still need to improve? We certainly want to. Given that we think we’ve now made the process pretty slick, how can we improve from here? Well, I think we will need to try and convince you that this election is an important thing to be involved in. 

Much depends on how one thinks about the impact and importance of a vote and what it can mean. I recently had the opportunity to vote for the trustees of a pension fund.  Is that important or appealing?  I might instinctively think ‘no’. However, if you were to ask me if I care whether a rank amateur or politically motivated candidate takes control of the multi-million pound investment that is intended to secure my retirement, then I might well change my mind. 

Here’s another example. Despite cross party involvement and millions of pounds of state promotion, the elections for Police & Crime Commissioners achieved a paltry 15.1% turnout. Some concluded that people just couldn’t see how the vote affected them. By contrast, votes in the recent referenda in Scotland and Greece achieved huge turnouts. Clearly, the results of these polls really mattered to people. 

You might know that full members (MAPMs and FAPMs) are also members of APM as a company. They have legal rights that were hard won through Parliament and the courts. Chief amongst these rights is that of voting for the board. As full members, YOU choose who sits on the board. Therefore, you decide who sets the strategy and direction of the Association and who holds the staff to account. Through that activity, you will of course also influence the shape and direction of the profession as a whole.  I suspect that if you ask yourselves this question, most of you really do care about the outcome.  Isn’t the future of your Association and your profession something worth getting involved in?  I would say so and I urge you to take part and to cast your vote.

Full details of the candidates standing in this year’s election can be found here.  The pages also list their answers to additional questions for those who would like more detail on their views.  There is also a forum where you can directly ask them all questions. 

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Posted by Mike Robinson on 25th Sep 2015

About the Author
Mike Robinson is Company Secretary at the Association for Project Management.

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