SEVERAL new ways of encouraging membership have been proposed by the Kennel Club. One is a general membership category which would be cheaper and open to new members who could apply without being proposed – but only if they show ‘a clear interest in dogs’.

  Another is a joint membership at a lower cost for two or more people living at the same address.

  The categories allow people to tailor their membership according to what they want from it and what they are prepared to pay, the KC said.

  After discussing the matter the Board said it believes it is now time to go out to consultation; this was promised by chairman Simon Luxmoore at last month’s special meeting.

  Over the years, various decisions have been taken to extend the membership, and the last time the number of ‘ordinary’ members was increased was in 2002 when the maximum was doubled from 750 to 1,500; honorary life members, honorary members and overseas members were not included in the total.

 Feedback

Since then the number of members has increased ‘steadily’ to a current total of 1,250, some way below the number allowed under the club’s articles of association. Three years ago the General Committee set up a group to look at the issues involved, and extensive research was undertaken to which many people, members and non-members alike, contributed. However, the KC said this week, feedback on the current and prospective models of membership was ‘entirely inconclusive’, except that it was agreed broadly that membership should recognise ‘achievements and commitment to the world of dogs’.

  Now the KC wants to hear members’ views on the draft proposals which, it says, would offer existing and prospective members the opportunity to adapt their membership according to whether they want to use the club’s facilities at its London headquarters.

  It is the first time in nearly 15 years that the KC has made such a significant move to involve more people in its work.

  Under the proposals, full membership would be similar to present arrangements, offering the usual access to club rooms, full voting and membership proposal rights, Crufts entry pass and publications. This would be priced as at present at £160 a year, £150 if paid by direct debit.

  The option of household full membership for two or more people living at the same address would cost £260 (£250), three people £385 (£375) and so on; only one set of publications per household would be sent. Any additional member at the same address would pay a further fee of £125 per person, with full membership rights but with no additional publications.

  To encourage new membership and keep ‘the much-valued membership of those no longer able to travel into London’ it is proposed that a level of general membership be offered at £60 (£50) which would not provide full voting rights until three years have elapsed. These members would be allowed to use the club rooms only for annual or special meetings – again only after three years. 

  They would not be entitled to attend members’ events other than as a guest of a full member, could not propose people for full membership or receive entry to Crufts. They would receive the Kennel Gazette and annual reports but not the Stud Book and the Breed Records Supplement.

  If a member downgrades from full to general they will not have to wait three years before being able to vote again. People can apply to become a general member and would not need to be nominated, and they would not have to meet KC personnel beforehand, unless the Board requests this.

  “A clear interest in dogs should be apparent on the application, and the names would continue to be published in the Kennel Club Journal for members to consider their suitability,” a spokesman said. “They would be voted on by General Committee as at present.”

  It is proposed that the entrance fee would be set at twice the annual subscription for the level of membership chosen – £300 for full members, as at present, and £100 for general members.

 Upgrading

Those who want to ‘upgrade’ from general to full must have served for three years as a general member or previously as an associate, or be nominated by a full member as at present. They would have to pay another entrance fee of £200 to avoid people using general membership as a cheaper means of becoming a full member, the KC said, but any general member elected to serve on the General Committee or a sub-committee can do so without further payment and would be entitled to use the club premises for the duration of their service.

  The KC is suggesting that the limits on the total number of full members are left as they are ‘until there is a need to consider a change’; the Board will review the limits in place ‘dependent on the demand’.

  It has been suggested that honorary life membership can be proposed for any member who has paid their subscription for 40 or more years, no matter which level and the respective length of each although, the KC said, it is appreciated that some members may feel that this should be restricted to full members who have paid their subscription for 40 or more years as at present.

  Overseas members would be invited to take up full or general membership if they wish.

  It is proposed that associates of three years or more should be invited to apply for full or general membership without nomination, while those of less than three years may be nominated by an existing member to become full members or apply for general membership without nomination.

  The process for electing both through this route would then follow the stages as at present.

  “Associates of three years or more would be invited to apply for full or general membership without nomination while those of less than three years may be nominated to become full members by an existing member or apply for general membership without nomination,” a spokesman said.

  “It is not the intention to offer associates a path to voting rights without them being elected by the General Committee during the process as with all other candidates; hence the need to ‘apply’ rather than automatically transfer.”

  Feedback, from members only, should be emailed to james.skinner@thekennelclub.org.uk or by post to James Skinner, the Kennel Club, Clarges Street, London W1J 8AB, by January 31, so it can be collated and presented to the membership at the AGM in May.