‘Work to be done’ to modernise CIWM

CIWM has sought to provide reassurance over the institute’s financial health and restructuring process, though outgoing CEO Dr Colin Church concedes that there is still “work to be done”.

CIWM will be holding its AGM at this year’s RWM 2018, where the future direction of CIWM will be discussed against the backdrop of disappointing financial results.

Current CIWM President Professor David Wilson wrote in a letter to CIWM members in advance of the meeting that CIWM trustees recognise that CIWM ‘needs to change substantially’ and CIWM has ‘started the reverse of the decline in membership numbers’ under the leadership of Colin Church, who will be leaving his post as CEO in October.‘Work to be done’ to modernise CIWM

In the letter, Wilson states that CIWM posted a net operating deficit of £223,000. This is made up of a £110,000 loss on its business division CIWM Enterprises Ltd.’s activities and a loss of £302,000 from CIWM’s activities, which have been hit by declining membership numbers. These losses have been offset somewhat by a surplus of £189,000 generated by the activities of WAMITAB, the waste management qualification provider.

CIWM and its Trustees have had to support CIWM Enterprises financially over the course of 2017. Despite these figures, Wilson confirmed that CIWM Enterprises had already repaid the amounts owed to CIWM and is now trading profitably in 2018, though ‘the overall position of the Group remains unfavourable’.

Despite the reported losses, CIWM has reserves of £3.7 million built up over the past 25 years, and, while membership numbers fell between the end of 2016 and 2017, down from 5,446 on 31 december 2016 to 5,240 on 31 December 2017, the latest figures show that membership has since risen to 5,520 as of 20 August 2018, up 299 members on that time in 2017.

The letter goes on to state that in January of this year a programme was launched to restructure CIWM in order to provide a high-quality service to its members while cutting costs and returning to profitability.

The programme will have four main elements: constitutional change, work on membership, internal structuring and a revised business plan. Consultancies BDO and Andrew Garcia have been commissioned to provide input and help develop the strategy to take CIWM forward.

Wilson also acknowledged that uncertainty and rumours regarding the leadership of CIWM following Church’s decision to move on as CEO ‘are giving cause for concern to members’, while stating that it does give the ‘opportunity’ to review the leadership structure and ‘ensure that it is indeed suited to the future’. Church is due to step down in October, when Sarah Poulter, current Director of Membership and funding, will take over as interim CEO, with Chris Murphy, current Director of Policy and Professional Standards, will continue to be the external face of CIWM.

‘Fit for the future’

Following the release of the letter, CIWM sought to reassure members that despite the disappointing financial results, much work is being carried out to steady the ship.

Commenting on CIWM’s financial health and its future going forward, CIWM CEO Dr Colin Church, said: “The financial health of CIWM has been top of the agenda for CIWM and its trustees as trading conditions have become more challenging and measures have been taken to reduce costs and increase revenue. These include a refocus on CIWM’s core strength – its membership. CIWM now has a much better understanding of members’ needs and for the last 18 months has been working to improve the membership offer and the technical support that CIWM gives to its members. In addition, the new membership grade structure, approved at the EGM in June, more effectively supports the career path of modern waste management professionals. This work is already bearing fruit with membership numbers growing this year for the first time in a while.

“Changes to the governance structure of CIWM to ensure it is fit for the future have also been underway since 2016 and CIWM members will be asked to approve a number of constitutional changes at the AGM at the RWM show in Birmingham this week. These are designed to make the Institution more responsive and representative and ensure that the body of Trustees has the right balance of expertise and skills for the future.

“And in line with standard corporate practice, external expert advice has been sought to help CIWM develop a business plan to return it to profitability, including the short term hire of an external consultant. Andrew Garcia is working with CIWM Trustees and the senior management team to provide expert advice on the change process and develop a plan that will be presented to Trustees in October.

“As Professor David Wilson said in his letter to CIWM members, we remain confident in the underlying strength of CIWM and its brands; and the Group consolidated balance sheet is strong with substantial accumulated financial reserves which provide the strength and depth to enable it to meet and overcome challenging economic circumstances. But there is work to be done.”

You can read Professor David Wilson’s letter to CIWM members in full on the CIWM website.

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