The Exeter City Supporters’ Trust (The Trust) operates in accordance with its Rules, the first purpose of which is:
“to ensure that the Club is properly governed and takes proper account of the interests of its supporters and of the community, and that professional football continues in Exeter with the appropriate facilities.”
The Trust has a duty to balance the virtues of openness to our members with the need to protect the business operation of Exeter City Football Club (ECFC). It would clearly not be in the interests of the Club or Trust to disseminate all financial and other sensitive information available to the Trust Board (TB), as to do so could prejudice the Club’s commercial and other interests. The Trust and Club must also be aware of and comply with all statutory requirements including the Data Protection legislation.
This does not mean blanket secrecy, however, and the TB seeks to be as open as it can within this framework. It is committed to ensuring probity and that strong governance including financial governance is exercised over the affairs of ECFC. This note highlights the ongoing governance arrangements that the Trust has over the financial and business affairs of our club and the ways in which the Trust is an integral part of the operation of ECFC.
The TB plays an active role in its governance and strategy of the Club, both collectively and through the work of its members of the Club Board, and has the ability and firmness of purpose to act if necessary, while not interfering in the day-to-day management of the Club.
Currently the TB nominates half the Directors of the Board of Exeter City Football Club (CB) – four of eight in total, one of whom is the, the Trust Chair. The three other members of the TB are elected to the CB from its membership, normally for a three year term. Each of the Club Board Directors has statutory obligations which amongst other things relate to the Club’s finances. Through the CB, robust financial monitoring is conducted which provides those representatives with the information they require to adequately scrutinise the financial affairs of the Club.
In addition, the Trust’s Finance and Governance Group chaired by one of the CB Members, has responsibility for ensuring that they are satisfied as to the financial state of the Club, to do this they receive a monthly précis of the Management Accounts and reports on cash flow and related matters. The Group report on their scrutiny of these to the full TB at its regular meetings.
In addition to the above, the Club and Trust have recently concluded a formal agreement (available for Trust Members to view on this website) which provides the framework within which the Trust is able to exercise prudent governance over ECFC and sets out the specific areas and decisions for which the approval of the Trust as majority shareholder required before the Club can take action or commit expenditure.
In particular, the TB reserves under this agreement the right of approval for the Club’s Budget and Business Plan and of major capital expenditure decisions.
The Trust and Club are furthermore jointly undertaking the drafting of a Governance Manual to set out the procedures under which this Agreement will operate and other related issues, and will be revising the Club’s Memorandum and Articles of Association.
The TB strives to conduct as much of its business as is commensurate with the commercial and operational confidentiality needs outlined above through the open component (Part A) of its meetings, and always welcomes attendance of Trust Members at these meetings. Dates of Meetings are published in advance, and it is helpful (though not essential) that Members notify the Trust Secretary of their intended attendance so they can receive the necessary papers and other details.