SIR, If there is only ever one RHASS AGM members attend can I respectfully suggest it needs to be at this next AGM, which is on Thursday 6 June at 16:00. Members should have received an email with details, attendance in person at Ingliston or by zoom.

It is unclear what caused the delay in the timing of the AGM but I suspect it will only be due to significant financial issues and not of the positive kind, otherwise you can be sure that the RHASS PR machine would have kicked into action.

Only by registering for the AGM will members be able to view the draft accounts, and submit questions. Will the accounts be better this year than 2022? I fear not.

I hope that members who register will receive the accounts in sufficient time to allow for a good level of scrutiny. In recent years the practice has been that members had less than 48 hours to review the accounts prior to the AGM which is less than satisfactory. On April I was informed that the aim was to have the accounts circulated to members a week in advance of the AGM to give that time for proper scrutiny.

Members have, over the years, asked questions and raised concerns but these have largely been dismissed. To be seen to be at all critical of RHASS results in comments that members are not supportive and how dare they question those that, apparently, know better.

In fact the only apparent additional engagement members have with the RHASS is when they are being asked to, yet again, put their hands in their pockets - it appears members’ pockets are seen to be of the deep kind.

RHASS is a membership charity and members should feel confident to speak out and feel they are being heard. It cannot be left to just a few members (of which I am one) to question. It is then assumed that the silent majority of members are all quite content -though I do wonder how many directors are ‘getting it in the neck’ when they are out and about at the shows

If you have a few minutes, do check out the new RHASS website with all the corporate messaging of vision, mission and values.

Reading the updated website RHASS ‘brings people together from all rural corners... We are a membership charity with around 16,000 members. This community is built on a legacy of integrity, honesty and genuine care... We are a community with a diversity of thought, but common interests and challenges.’

All very laudable but how accurate is that, I wonder? Directors work incredibly hard, giving up many hours on a voluntary basis.

Some are in the inner sanctum of decision making but I wonder how many feel that they are able to speak freely and challenge senior management and have their voice heard.

It is not at all clear to me who is really in charge and responsible for running the organisation. In the absence of such clarity it then becomes much easier to blame someone else and I wonder how much of this will become evident as individuals try to ‘cover their backsides’. There needs to be effective governance, delegation and one accountable officer surely - how else do you run an organisation?

Accountability and transparency are words that I have used before and seem sadly to continue to be lacking. Is there now a need for a review of the governance model?

Something has to change, members do have to speak otherwise I fear that a decline may continue until we have no Highland Show as we know and love it. RHASS is more than the Highland Show, I appreciate that, but it is still our flagship event and what many consider RHASS is all about. In finishing, let’s have a great Highland Show, meet new friends, share past memories but remember the need to make voices heard.

Janice Milne, Thornhill, Stirling