Examination of Witnesses (Questions 120-139)|
TUESDAY 18 DECEMBER 2001
120. Does that include the management?
(Mr Sparks) No.
121. So how many of the management came from
(Mr Sparks) None of them.
122. So of the Trustees and the managers, how
(Mr Sparks) One.
(Revd Mr Glover) One voice out of how many in total?
(Mr Sparks) Well, there were 23 Trustees and there
are six members of the management team.
123. So out of 29 people, one of them came from
Wales. Do you think that is a fair allocation, a fair input from
(Mr Sparks) Well, Trustees are not appointed on allocation.
Trustees are not representatives. They have a duty to the whole
charity, so wherever you come from is not material because you
all have to have consent for the whole of the charity.
124. So the fact that Reverend Glover was the
only one out of those who voted against it and he came from Wales
is just an accident?
(Mr Sparks) It was not an accident because he made
his views quite clear, but the Trustees themselves as a body carry
the legal duty for the whole charity, not for the parts of England
or Wales that they come from.
125. But with greater representation from Wales
(Mr Nall) Can I put the question back to you and ask
what is the population of Wales?
126. The population is about 2.9 million.
(Mr Nall) What is the population of England?
127. About 50 million.
(Mr Nall) So in terms of 53 million, one member is
not so far out as you might think.
Mr Ruane: Can I say that it is the job of the
Committee to question you rather than the other way round.
128. What about the role of the Chair of the
Committee? The previous Chair, how often did the previous Chair
of the Committee visit Wales and take into account their views?
Lady Toulson, since you have taken over as Chair, how many times
have you been to Wales and how many meetings have you had with
staff in this distressing situation?
(Lady Toulson) I have not met the staff at all and
I have been once to see the Archbishop and that is my sole visit
to Wales. I do not know how many times Bishop Jim went, but I
think Mr Sparks will.
(Mr Sparks) I am not sure that Bishop Jim himself
went to Wales and one of the reasons we do not have the Bishop
as Chairman anymore is because of the impossibility of chairing
this organisation and leading a diocese.
129. So Lady Toulson, you have actually been
to see the staff in Wales since all this blew up?
(Lady Toulson) No, I have not and I think here one
has to think about what the non-executive and executive roles
are, and it is not the job of the non-executive Chairman to get
involved in the day-to-day running of the Society. I am there
to work alongside Mr Sparks and the senior team and to hear their
views, but it is confusing for them if the non-executive Chairman
starts, as it were, to dabble in the day-to-day affairs of the
Society. It is actually a negation of governance and it actually
causes great fogs and misunderstandings, so my remit is very clear.
I am not there to take everyday action in relation to the work
of the Society about governance.
130. I certainly did not mean dabbling in anything
or trying to subvert decisions, but I just thought the role of
the Trustees and the Chair of the Trustees was to show some sympathy
and understanding in the difficult situation.
(Lady Toulson) Yes, I accept your view. I was not
asked to go to Wales. I do not think that there was any
131. Who would have asked you?
(Lady Toulson) Presumably Mr Sparks and his team would
have said, "We want you to go to Wales. We want you to talk
to the staff. They need to hear from you".
132. You did not have any sort of feeling of,
"I really should go to Wales to show that, as the Trustees,
we care about what is happening there"?
(Lady Toulson) No, I did not, and, to be honest, as
the situation became more complex and deteriorated both with the
staff and with the Church in Wales, I do not think I would have
helped at all. It is my job to back the management team.
133. You do not have any independence at all?
It is just your job to back the management team?
(Lady Toulson) Yes, it is, because we have put them
134. So you are not able to take any decisions?
(Lady Toulson) Yes, I make Board decisions about strategy
and policy and we address the issues that are put to us by the
senior management team. What I do not do is unilaterally get involved
in the day-to-day workings of the Society. That is a negation
of my job. It is not what my job is about.
Mr Ruane: Who guards the guards?
135. Lady Toulson, I do not think anybody would
regard this as the day-to-day management of the charity; it is
fairly fundamental, a real change and a real difficulty for Wales.
If I understood what you said earlier, it was that you were a
co-opted member on the Board for one meeting.
(Lady Toulson) Yes.
136. And then you took over as Chairman, but
that you could not take part in the meeting.
(Lady Toulson) I could have done if I had wished to.
I received the papers, as all Trustees did, a few weeks before
the meeting and everything in them with regard to Wales came as
totally new to me, and I did not think it was appropriate for
me, being so new, to get involved in what we are discussing here
which was a long history.
137. And then you went on to be Chairman, but
my point is to ask you is it a good way to induct new members
of the Board, that they do not have the full appreciation of all
the decisions that the Board are about to take?
(Lady Toulson) I think I had the same appreciation
as every other Board member who received those papers. We all
received the same papers. The Bishop of Bath and Wells wanted
to retire at the AGM this October. It was the end of a three-year
term and he was very keen to go because, as you may know, he has
now retired completely and this fitted in with his plans, so he
was always, always going to step down as Chair at this meeting.
There was never any doubt about that and it was essential that
the new Chair started and it was a very unfortunate coincidence
that my beginnings and this tragic situation coincided, but I
am afraid it was not something I could have done anything about.
138. I think the point I am trying to make is
that new members and particularly new chairmen perhaps should
have a fairer grounding and understanding of the momentous decisions
that the Board are about to take.
(Lady Toulson) Yes, well I certainly had no knowledge,
until I got the papers, before the October meeting of the complexities
and critical difficulties that the Principality were facing.
139. Lady Toulson, in the circumstances that
you were in where the Trustees are making the big decisions they
have to make and where, as we have established, the management
do not have any consultation mechanisms for procedures, do you
really think that it should be incumbent on the Trustees to fill
that gap, if you like, not to interfere with management, I quite
agree with that, but to go out there and talk and listen to the
people on the front-line, to help inform you when you make those
(Lady Toulson) My understanding from the October meeting
is that because of a number of service-level agreements in which
we were involved and which were starting to be renegotiated for
March of next year, it was absolutely imperative that we made
the decision finally on that day in October.