Welcome to the World Jersey Cattle Bureau
On 23rd February, 2007 I resigned from the post of Secretary for the World Jersey Cattle Bureau both because of the demands of this role on my time, well in excess of the agreed level, and the fundamental flaws in the operation of the Bureau itself. In essence, the latter flaws being a main cause of the former problem.
I hope that my resignation will prompt a serious review of the operation of the Bureau so that its potential can be realized in practice rather than just in concept. Already the decision has been made to put the basic administration of the Bureau in the hands of the Royal Jersey Agricultural & Horticultural Society until the 2008 Conference in Jersey Island. Being part of a full-time office will no doubt provide those involved with the practical experience of the Bureau functions to allow them to offer practical advice as to the future operation of the Bureau – as the past two years have for me on a freelance basis.
Together with the experience of past and present Officers and Council Members, and that of the numerous Bureau association and individual members around the world, and input from the RJA&HS, myself and the previous Secretary/Treasurer, Derrick Frigot, we have an opportunity to solve the practical problems that have faced the Bureau for some time.
At the Council Meetings held in Switzerland in June 2006, various decisions were made concerning a range of actions – in total over 50 individual action points were involved and some 15 individuals (plus the association members). At the meetings, deadlines for these points were agreed, included in the Minutes of the 2006 Meetings which were completed by 20th July, 2006 and then added to the WJCB website to be accessible to all. In addition, I e-mailed the individuals involved with details as to their tasks and deadlines.
However, as of the present (April 2007) only a handful of significant tasks have been completed (Classification Group report; RJA&HS notified of Jersey 2008 theme approval; Brazil 2007 costings; 2006 Minutes; Youth Travel guidelines), with only about a third of the remaining points having limited action carried out – for the rest no action has taken place.
In many cases, the Secretary’s actions were reliant on earlier steps having been carried out, and it has been particularly frustrating to receive either no input or, at best, limited or preliminary input. By the end of January 2007, it was clear that even if the input did arrive it was not going to be possible to fit in all the necessary stages of consultation, approval and the production of any final report for the Brazil Council Meetings in June/July 2007.
Unfortunately, in addition to these numerous input failures, in most cases the communications received by the Secretary from others involved in the Bureau operation was, at best, inconsistent. There are some notable exceptions to this, but the majority of the time the information, reports, etc promised at the 2006 Council Meetings in Switzerland was not forthcoming.
For example, in a few cases notification of a visit to another country was sent but despite requests for comments, however brief, following such a visit nothing was received. Other visits were only noted indirectly and it is likely that many other visits or other involvement with Jerseys around the world have not even been hinted at.
It could be said that the Secretary could continually send out reminders, requests, even demands for such input, however this all takes time – and the time allocated for the role of Secretary in 2006 was basically used up by March/April of that year. If the Bureau wishes to appoint or employ a more full-time person to such a role then it is possible that with a major effort each week (or even daily) those involved in the Bureau could, in time, be ‘trained’ to produce the promised work in a reasonable time for it to be processed for its implementation or for presentation at the next Council Meeting.
However, it is clear that the above problems mainly stem from a lack of time and/or a lack of motivation amongst those carrying out the Bureau’s tasks. Most of us involved in the Bureau’s operation are busy people and clearly cannot devote more than a limited amount of time to the tasks concerned. Of course, these time constraints can be overcome if there is sufficient motivation – but clearly there is not, in most cases.
Does this lie in the way that the Bureau is perceived and operated at present? What will produce enough motivation for people to go home from the Council Meetings and carry out their agreed tasks promptly? These are the questions we need to answer in Brazil this year – and hopefully produce a new way forward by the Conference in Jersey in May 2008.
Suzanne E Le Feuvre
Secretary, World Jersey Cattle Bureau (up to 23 February, 2007) April 2007