In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic social distancing restrictions imposed by the government in March 2020, the board decided to cancel the 2020 AGM and conduct its business with the 2021 AGM.
There was no crucial AGM business that had to be conducted in 2020. There were no proposed resolutions for the AGM at that time and there will be no director elections as the number of candidates equalled the number of vacancies.
Key reasons for this were uncertainty over how long the restrictions, which prevent any form of public meeting, will continue (on Sunday 29 March 2020 it was confirmed at the government press conference that some level of restrictions is likely to continue for six months), the significant percentage of long-standing Railfuture members who are in the at risk category, uncertainty that the AGM would be quorate (25 members must be present throughout the AGM), and whether those present would be representative of the membership as a whole.
The decision was taken on Saturday 28 March. There was no benefit in delaying this decision as we would have no better information in April when advance tickets, which many members book, would be released. After April Railfuture would forfeit the deposit for the venue if it cancelled.
A notice about the cancellation was provided with Railwatch 164, which was published a week before the original date of the AGM.
The RUG Awards and Campaigner of the Year Award will be rescheduled.
Railfuture is not alone in cancelling events. There has been no Grand National, and will be no Glastonbury, Eurovision, Euro 2020, Wimbledon, Open (Golf) or Edinburgh Fringe in 2020, whilst the London Marathon is postponed until October 2020 and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics until 2021. The UK government has postponed the local elections, including those for mayor, from May 2020 to May 2021. In the railway industry, Rail Live has been postponed from June to September 2020, the Infrarail 2020 railway infrastructure trade fair has been rescheduled be co-located with the Railtex 2021 exhibition, and the InnoTrans event, which is held in Berlin, has been rescheduled from September 2020 to April 2021.
Update: Railfuture is not a charity, However, the Charities Commission has advised charities that under the Charity Commission Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for the charity sector, they are legally allowed to cancel their AGMs for 2020 and many have done so.
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