Recommendations Governance Investigation: the focus on transparent cooperation

June 19, 2021

Following the brief summary of the confidential report with regard to the Governance Investigation, investigator Gerrit Mastenbroek presented a number of recommendations. In June and July, together with the two recently appointed Board members, the Board is going to consider the follow-up actions we need to take. The planning is to seek agreement about this with the Member Council and the involved body(ies). The follow-up actions will be implemented forthwith or will become part of the KFPS Year Plan with the intention to give the members an update in the third trimester.

Nine topics

The Board has subdivided the recommendations from the report into several groups, which are: communication in general, Member Council, Board, connection bodies, vision for the future, Stallion Inspection Regulations, communication policy, gift policy and the internal organisation. The recommendations are based on the the investigator’s conclusions.

Communication in general: improvement programme culture

We see that within our Society people talk a lot ‘about’ each other instead of ‘with’ each other. This leads to unrest. This culture needs to be resolved with a cultural improvement programme. For a positive influence on mutual trust, the collective cooperation within and between the bodies needs to have a more open, transparent and motivating character.

Member Council: appointment members of the Member Council and size Member Council

The Member Council should adopt a critical attitude regarding the appointment of new Council members, for instance by using profiles to recruit and select suitable candidates. The use of external assessments could be an option. An additional suggestion would be to reduce the size of the Member Council in order to operate more effectively.

Board: selection procedure Board members

The procedure for recruiting Board members does not always lead to success. The Board should be able to nominate their own candidates to the Member Council so that the Board can also select on cohesion and team spirit. Seeking external expertise and/or a member of the Member Council is recommended.

Board: self-evaluation Board

The investigator has come to the conclusion that the Board was not capable of building bridges to the Member Council. In order to find out if the Board is capable of breathing new life into the Society, a self-evaluation of the Board is recommended. A sizeable society with large interests such as the KFPS requires a strong Board that can provide good management.

Board: Board and supervision legal entities

As of 1 July 2021 the new Law “bestuur en toezicht rechtspersonen” (wbtr: management and supervision legal entities, ed.) becomes effective. The principal objective of this Law is to prevent conflicts of interest within foundations and associations. The Board needs to investigate if and to what extent this new regulation requires adjustments within the KFPS.

Connection bodies: tackling problems by independent people

Potential interests of officials and parties interfere with the management of the Society. Problems and other challenges should therefore be resolved by people with a high degree of independence. For maximum success of actions any conflict of interest has to be ruled out as much as possible: no matter what form or which persons concerned.

Vision for the future: Society goals and breeding goals

The investigator has come to the conclusion that the Society is struggling with their vision on the Friesian horse. It is essential to develop a clear vision for the future: “What should the Friesian Horse look like 15 to 25 years from today”? Concrete objectives have to be formulated regarding exterior, sport, recreational use, sustainability/durability, health, population numbers and costs for the Society. Quite frequently these objectives are in disharmony and create dilemmas the Society is obviously struggling with.

Stallion Inspection Regulations: integration with conditions Central Examination

We are working with separate regulations that can cause (unnecessary) white noise and debates. It is recommended to merge the Stallion Inspection Regulations and Conditions Central Examination into one Stallion Inspection Regulation, in which the breeding goal becomes embedded so that the breeding goal will be incorporated in the Regulations. By integrating these regulations potential inconsistencies will be prevented.

Stallion Inspection Regulations: authority of the Board in relation to binding advice

In the prevailing regulations for the approval of stallions the advice from the Stallion Inspection Committee is binding, as long as the regulations have been correctly applied. The recommendation is to give the Board the leeway not to adopt the binding advice from the Stallion Inspection Committee if: a) the Board decides the approval clashes with the common interests of the Society; and b) the Board believes the advice clashes with the breeding goal.

Stallion Inspection Regulations: presentation of the binding advice

It is recommended that the Stallion Inspection Committee shall present the binding advice to the Board, the Director and the Manager Inspections. For the benefit of checking the binding advice against the Statutes and Byelaws a report in writing shall be required.

Stallion Inspection Regulations: publication of final report within one week after approval

The communication concerning the approval was not done in a transparent and timely manner. This however, is necessary for open and transparent operational procedures within the Society. The final report has to be published on the KFPS website within one week.

Stallion Inspection Regulations: predate testing for roaring

It is recommended to predate testing for roaring, just like semen- and X-ray testing, to before the start of the Central Examination, so that we get a better and earlier insight into the presence of roaring within the population.

Communication policy: Press- and Social Media policy

Careless sharing of information via the Press or Social Media creates commotion within the Society. The advice is to develop a Press- and Social Media policy so that communication is done in a careful manner. Uniform and careful communication when going public helps to build a good and solid reputation for the Society.

Communication policy: minimising contact between Stallion Inspection Committee and stallion keepers

The investigator has found that frequent contact between the stallion keepers and the Stallion Inspection Committee occurs. It is recommended to create more distance between the stallion keepers/training stables and the Stallion Inspection Committee/Jury members by channelling the communication to the stallion keepers via the Manager and/or Director. And in exceptional cases via the Board.

Gift policy: overall ban on giving gifts

The giving of gifts leads to a potential (appearance of) conflict of interest. It is recommended to impose a complete ban on giving gifts to the Board, the office organisation, the Stallion Inspection Committee and the other Jury members. It is also recommended to install a notification obligation for these bodies relating to received offers or gifts.

Internal organisation: education

Further professionalisation of the Society is required. It is recommended to carry out a closer scan of the internal organisation and staff. This will reveal the potential for improvement and creates a basis for activities like a reliable education of new Jury members.

Internal organisation: benchmark

The investigator has pointed out the Studbook is considered to be “expensive”. It is recommended to come up with a clear benchmark for the Society to find out if the rates and costs of the Society are conform market.

Internal organisation: cooperation with other studbooks

Joining forces can be a boost for more professionalisation. Stepping up the cooperation with other studbooks can result in more financial cost-effectiveness, better sharing of available knowledge, more opportunities and increased professionality. The consideration could be to start with IT, health and/or genetics.

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