/ Which? Membership

What to expect at the Which? AGM

Join us at the 20/21 Which? AGM

This year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) is fast approaching, so I wanted to make sure our Ordinary Members are aware of the details and what they can expect. 

This year we will once again be hosting the AGM virtually, so we are asking members to join us from the comfort of their own homes.

I appreciate that some people may be disappointed to not be able to attend in person but, given the continuing risks surrounding Covid-19, the Council and I felt it necessary to err on the side of caution for the safety of our members and staff. 

As well as a brief overview from me and CEO Anabel Hoult, and the formal business of AGM – such as approving the Annual Report and Financial Statements – there will be the chance for you to ask questions of me and other members of our Council of Trustees, as well as the Board and leadership team.

To allow us to try to get to as many questions as possible, I would encourage you to pre-submit your questions to agm@which.co.uk but there will also be opportunity to ask questions on the day through the virtual platform’s chat function.

We listened to your feedback from last year regarding the Q&A function and we’re now using a different platform that allows us to acknowledge that your questions have been received. 

If you have any questions about attending the event, please post them in the comments below and a member of Which? staff should be able to help.

For any questions for Board, Council or staff members, please send them to agm@which.co.uk or save them for the event, as we’d like to give other members the chance to see questions answered directly – one of the benefits of attending the AGM.

Event information

All Ordinary Members should have received their pack containing a copy of the Annual Report and Financial Statements, Notice of AGM, and a proxy voting form. This should contain all the details you need to attend but just in case, here they are again: 

When: Saturday 27 November 2021

  • 09:30 am: Members can access the Virtual AGM platform
  • 10:30 am: Virtual AGM begins
  • 11:50 am: Informal Q&A
  • 12:30 pm: Close

Where: Broadcast to you from Which?, 2 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 4DF.

Instructions for joining can be found on page 29 of your AGM booklet.

Will you be there?

If you would like to attend the virtual AGM and haven’t already let us know, please email us at agm@which.co.uk including your membership number and postcode.

You can also complete the form at the back of your Notice of AGM booklet and return it in the enclosed envelope by Thursday 11 November 2021. Please take note of your login details, printed on your proxy form, before you post this back to us.

By telling us you are attending the Virtual AGM, we can better plan the event. We hope to see you there!

Comments

I wonder why this convo is devoid of comments?

I shall be (virtually) attending – and asking two questions if given the opportunity. Are any other regulars here (virtually) going?

I propose attending.

Given the vaccination effectiveness and the relaxing of all restrictions I can so no good reason why a physical-attendance AGM – socially distanced if necessary – could not be held in conjunction with an online attendance and participation.

In my experience, physical attendance leads to more questions and discussion of responses than is possible in an online-only version, when it might be easier to avoid awkward contributions.

With over 8000 people currently in hospital with Covid and many more suffering from the disease, Which? has made a responsible decision, as have many other organisations.

Hi Malcolm, we do understand that some members will be disappointed with another fully virtual event. We start planning the event months in advance and when we started doing so this year, we felt that it was too tricky to predict what further/new restrictions might be introduced by the time we held the event in November, or what the nature of the pandemic would be. When planning, the safety of our members and staff is a top priortity – given this, we felt it was safer and less confusing to stick with the virtual format for now.

In England I understand we are more or less back to a restriction-free life with venues like theatres, concert halls, cinemas, clubs, schools, universities…. reopened. We are not seeing the exponential rise in cases as is happening on the Continent – Netherlands, Austria, Germany for example – helped here, presumably, by our excellent vaccination and booster programme. I hope we will not go backwards but, with this protection, I understand the inevitable infections will be generally much less serious and new restrictions can be avoided.

As most people attending the AGM will be of more advanced years, vaccinated and probably boosted, I think a physical AGM would have been quite practical, with social distancing (advance registration is necessary), proof of vaccination and face masks a requirement perhaps. Otherwise, at what point do we draw a line under Covid? It is going to be with us, seemingly, for evermore just like ‘flu. We cannot be hermits for ever.

@cbranson, thanks Charlotte. I understand the caution but I would have thought an optimistic view could have been taken, in view of the vaccination success. Were there to have been a turn for the worse the public event could have been cancelled.

The last AGM was held in the Which? offices. This one could have been planned for there again with short-notice cancellation quite easy. So many other public gatherings were arranged as the pandemic seemed more under control.

malcolm r says: Today 15:02
So many other public gatherings were arranged as the pandemic seemed more under control.

It’s difficult to know where it’s going at the moment; infections and deaths have been moving upwards since June pretty steadily. There have been troughs, but the figures speak for themselves, one reason why Wales and Scotland do not believe the pandemic is more under control and have kept many restrictions in place. In Wales it has become political; Labour and Plaid have joined forces to stop the Tories abolishing restrictions. England has no such option, and it will be interesting to see which policy was wiser. With roughly 6000 people a week being admitted to hospitals the omens do not look good.

I suppose the cynical might ask why one party believes risking health to make money is a sound decision.

From New Scientist, today:

After a period of relative calm in terms of the coronavirus’s evolution, further notable variants are now emerging. An offshoot of the delta variant, known as AY.4.2, appears to be slightly more infectious than the original delta, and could slowly replace it. Several other new variants are being monitored, including one that seems to have evolved undetected in Central Africa before spreading to Europe and beyond.

None of these emerging variants appear to be hugely more infectious or better at dodging immunity than delta, so aren’t expected to trigger major waves of cases around the world. But the bad news is that it may be only a matter of time before such a variant evolves.

People of more advanced years are more likely to have underlying health issues, and would be reluctant to use public transport to travel to the Capital. With Christmas shopping now underway, the risk of contracting Covid increases. I would much prefer to be a safe hermit than a dead one.

David Osborne says:
27 November 2021

I have just left the AGM meeting and lost the left hand documents section where you said we should fill in a questionnaire. Will you send this link to all the attendees please.

Hi David, no problem, I can send that over. Are you happy for me to email this across (we don’t want to publish the link publicly as it’s for attendees only)?

@cbranson, @jon-stricklin-coutinho, Charlotte, how many members joined this year’s AGM please?

Hi Malcolm, we had just over 50 members attend this year’s AGM.

@cbranson, thanks Charlotte for replying so quickly. I wasn’t sure whether the people icon displayed on screen with a number was representing attendance.
Given there are over 600 000 members, an attendance of less than 0.01% must be extremely disappointing. Considerably less than attended in person in the past, which is surprising. What is Which? considering to get more interest from members in its affairs?

This lack of interest seems to be seen not only in the AGM, but in, for example, its Convos and Which?’s seeming lack of interest in pleas to engage with members more directly.

“Considerably less than attended in person in the past, which is surprising. “

I didn’t think the pub dive afterwards was the big driver but perhaps…. {grin}

Joking apart I too had fully expected a far larger turn-out.

Hi Malcolm. The AGM is just one of the ways in which we engage with members: as you may already be aware others include Have your Say emails, the Connect panel, and indeed here on Which? Conversation, so hopefully members will be able to find the level of involvement which is right for them. With the AGM, we’re aware the numbers are small, however only Ordinary Members are invited to attend, so the ratio isn’t quite as extreme as what you’ve presented in your comment. We do review feedback and take this into account when planning next year’s event but we are also mindful that the AGM might not be an event of interest to all members. We are also looking at other in-person events for when it is right and safe to do so.