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Committees - Guidelines

The following revised Guidelines came into effect in April 2014, with amendments made to the June 2003 version. They apply to all HKGCC committees other than the General Committee and Chamber Council. They are intended as general guidelines only and not as hard and fast rules. In all cases of doubt, the Chamber’s Articles and Bye-Laws will prevail.

HKGCC committees are designed to cover specific interests. Each committee has its own terms of reference which vary to some extent with the different advisory obligations placed upon them. However, the following common guidelines pertain.

Establishment and Terms of Reference

1. Committees should not be established unless there is a clear need for them.
2. Each committee should have its own terms of reference which set out clearly its working parameters.

Role of the committees and relationship with the General Committee

3. The role of the committees is to provide functional advice to the Chamber General Committee and Directorate (comprising the Chamber CEO and senior divisional heads) on issues and government policies affecting the business sector. No committee of the Chamber, except the General Committee, has executive authority unless specifically authorised by the General Committee. Committees are encouraged to suggest activities such as policy papers, press releases, programmes, projects or missions to accomplish special committee objectives. However, the final decision on whether to implement such activities rests with the General Committee, through the CEO and the Secretariat. While committees may be consulted on such activities, the Secretariat will be responsible for executing such activity once the General Committee determines that it is of overall benefit for the Chamber and authorises the Secretariat to proceed. Such activities will be conducted in the name of the Chamber unless the General Committee, through the CEO, deems otherwise.
4. The General Committee may appoint at least one of its members to each committee. All appointments to Chairmen and Vice Chairmen of committees shall be subject to endorsement by the General Committee.

Committee Meetings

5. In principle, committee meetings should not be held unless there are subjects of importance to discuss. As a general practice, committees are expected to hold one meeting every three to four months.
6. Notice of a committee meeting shall normally be issued by the Secretariat to all members of the committee by mail, fax or e-mail at least 7 calendar days before the meeting date, with the meeting agenda and relevant background papers, if any, attached.
7. Three members of a committee shall form a quorum of a committee meeting.
8. The minutes of a committee meeting shall be drafted by the Secretariat and circulated to all members of the committee for inspection, comment and amendment, normally within six weeks after the meeting. The draft minutes of the preceding meeting shall be submitted to the next meeting for approval, and signed by the Chairman. The signed copy of the minutes shall be filed with the Chamber and shall be open for inspection by any member of the committee.

Membership

9. Each committee should maintain an active and experienced membership in order to reflect in the broadest sense the skills and experience required to fully represent Chamber interests in a particular area or as a whole.
10. Only Full Members of the Chamber are eligible to become members of Chamber committees. Generally, committees are open to all Chamber members, but for some committees, eligibility is limited to members in related fields, as specified in the respective Terms of Reference. Individual Associate Members of the Chamber may, if eligible under the Terms of Reference, join as observers. A committee may, as it sees fit, co-opt individuals from the Chamber membership or outside organizations as observers.
11. Each Full Member of the Chamber may nominate at most one representative to join any one of the committees, provided that the member meets the eligibility requirements of the committee. Nominees are normally expected to be in the business related to the work of the committees. There is no restriction on the number of committees that a member may join. A member company may nominate different representatives to join different committees. Each representative must be either an employer or an employee of the member company.
12. Committee members have a duty to attend committee meetings and to participate in activities initiated or endorsed by the committees. Members who fail to attend three consecutive committee meetings may be invited to resign, subject to the Committee Chairman’s concurrence. Members who fail to attend six consecutive committee meetings shall be deemed to have resigned, subject to the discretion of the Chamber CEO.
13. Membership of the Chamber committee shall be terminated if the member:
  • resigns from the committee;
  • ceases to work in the member company that he/she represents, or
  • conducts him- or herself in ways detrimental to the interests of the Chamber.

Chairmanship

14. Each committee should have a Chairman and one or more Vice Chairmen who must be elected each year from among committee members. The Chairman should not serve longer than two years. In exceptional circumstances, with prior approval of the Chamber CEO, the Chairman may be elected for a third consecutive year.
15. The election of Chairman and Vice Chairmen shall be held annually at the first committee meeting after the Chamber Annual General Meeting. Each committee shall organise its own nomination and election procedures. The election shall normally be the last substantive agenda item of the meeting, before “Any Other Business”.
16. Observers are not eligible for chairmanship or vice chairmanship of a committee, nor are committee members who represent a professional body, trade association or the like.
17. In case of a contested election, the one who receives the most votes shall be elected. In the case of an uncontested election, the confirmed nominee shall be deemed to be elected. The election result shall be submitted to the General Committee for endorsement at its next meeting. Should the General Committee decide not to endorse the result, the committee shall conduct a new election at its next meeting.

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