Since November 2016, PMIA (previously known as Value Added in Africa) has made several changes to its governance:
- In 2017, we tendered our annual accounts process and changed auditors from Cooney Carey to KSI Faulkner Orr. This change represented a cost saving to the organisation as well as an increase in services – as part of their service to us, KSI now control all correspondences with the CRO and the UK Companies’ House on our behalf. Prior to KSI’s appointment, this work fell to a part-time bookkeeper who regularly filed our paperwork late, resulting in financial penalties for missing deadlines.
- 2017 saw PMIA change bookkeeper to someone with more experience in preparing charity accounts. The new bookkeeper has brought with her improved systems such as maintaining our payroll via Sage software instead of previously-used manual Excel spreadsheets. She has been able to complete our accounts over a half morning a week instead of 2 days a week, again representing both an increase in service and a cost saving.
- In 2017, PMIA’s company secretary completed Company Secretary and Board Duties’ training at the Carmichael Centre and subsequently passed on guidelines to existing board members on their duties. A new board induction pack was created and signed off with the existing members. Three new board members were recruited in late 2017/early 2018 using this newly established induction process.
- At the end of 2017, PMIA established its first governance sub-committee to review general organisational governance, oversee policies and identify gaps. The new committee has an established Terms of Reference and has completed its first policy review in 2018 which will be signed off at September’s AGM. This committee was created as a lot of PMIA’s internal policies were out of date and not suitable for the organisation’s mission and purpose. There was also a need to create new policies in light of new legislation (EG: our M&As had not been updated to reflect the CRA’s new guidelines nor the 2014 Companies’ Act).
- In 2018, PMIA joined the Thompson Reuters Foundation Trust Law programme. This was because the organisation had no legal representation to oversee major changes like the updating of its M&As. Joining Trust Law enabled PMIA to access high-level legal counsel on a pro-bono basis. We now work with Arthur Cox pro-bono and have updated our member register for the first time in the organisation’s history as well as created a new M&A document. Through this work, we have officially changed our name from Value Added in Africa to Proudly Made in Africa (changes accepted by the CRA and will be registered with the CRO on 17th September 2018). Since 2015, we had been operating under two names which caused great confusion to our funders and supporters and diluted our brand impact.
- In 2018, PMIA became members of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) in Amsterdam, the United Nations She Trades programme and the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) in London. We trained all commercial team members to the internationally-recognised SA8000 labour rights standard (this training was conducted free of charge by Social Accountability International). This was done in response to the need to make our Proudly Made in Africa award more robust.
The Proudly Made in Africa Award is a mark of excellence; a way for consumers to identify quality products from Africa and to attest to the social standards under which the product was produced. Prior to 2018, the award had no international affiliation and did not use any recognised industry standards to decide awardees. Furthermore, staff and board members assessing the criteria for the award had no formal training to an internationally-recognised standard. This was considered a serious issue and a possible preventer to the expansion of the award as a recognised branding tool and credible award. Becoming members of the ETI enabled us to adopt their base code and uphold it when we conduct visits to producer operations. Having SA8000-trained staff enables us to apply internationally-approved methodologies during our producer checks against the ETI base code. And being members of the SAC and She Trades cements PMIA as thought leaders in our sector and ensuring that our voice is not only credible but listened to.
- 2018 will see PMIA create its first Annual Report. Since 2009, we have had our accounts audited externally and published financial statements but 2018 will be the first year we will publish an Annual Report (using Good Governance templates). Unfortunately, it is not ready to be published alongside our application for this award.