RHS members have voted in favour of a change to the RHS Bye-Laws to enable RHS Council, in circumstances deemed exceptional, to support the election of a new member of Council who, at the date of nomination, has been a member of the RHS for less than three years.
At the Special General Meeting held on 19 February 2021, RHS President, Keith Weed, declared that the resolution had been passed and that the amendment would take effect immediately. In order to introduce the new amendment in a measured way, Council also decided only two people who have been members of the RHS for less than one year can be ordinary members of RHS Council at any one time. There are 19 members of RHS Council in total, including the President and Treasurer.
The change will enable RHS Trustees to approach people of talent from a wide range of backgrounds, who may not yet be members. Whilst RHS Council has a wealth of horticultural knowledge and rich mix of commercial and charitable experience, it urgently needs critical new skills and experience in technology, data, mental health, inclusion and environmental and social sustainability to further strengthen its role in society. The gardening charity cannot afford to wait to access exceptional candidates who have the skills it needs now.
RHS President Keith Weed, says: “Thank you to all our members who participated in this vote. Our horticultural knowledge and passion for gardening is core to everything the RHS does, and must always be embedded through this charity, but we must also adapt to ensure we continue to thrive for the next 200 years.
“For example, some 30 million people used our website last year to grow their gardening knowledge, demonstrating how vitally important it is that, as well as having the highest levels of horticultural knowledge, we must also improve our technical expertise and further innovate in the digital world to succeed as a charity and best support this nation of gardeners. We need to have a more inclusive approach, which should start at the top and must therefore include the Council (our trustees) to ensure it better reflects the backgrounds, interests, knowledge and needs of all of us.”