Sunday 1 September 2013

Why Traders Have Asked For a Seat On The Board

Getting more customers to the QVM is probably always going to be the number one wish for traders, but we should also concentrate on something a little less sexy, something that is  nonetheless critical to achieving long term sales improvement at our market.

That critical something is trader involvement in decision making. And we are not just talking about being consulted when it suits management but more importantly, setting up a structure that gives traders a say for the long term. This is why Traders Representatives have asked for a range of measures right up to a Trader being on the Board of QVM.

There is substantial global evidence that the role of key stakeholders, like QVM Traders, is most appropriate at the highest levels of decision making. Here is a quote from Barcelona’s IMMB who run some of the worlds most noteworthy markets - "Whether the form of (market) government is public or private, we can say that success has always been determined by the involvement of traders in different aspects of management, as true agents of markets". Another pertinent example is provided by a UK council currently looking to review its market and market governance - "The Wholly Owned Management Company would be managed by a board of directors, usually of 12 to 15 people. The Board would include councillors, elected trader representatives, local authority nominees and independent members with relevant experience in commercial retail”.

Traders have a lot to offer. We are at the grassroots of this market's main function which is retail sales. We are a barometer for the health of the market and indeed, retailing generally. We are the interface for customer, community, and social involvement and, in short, we are the on-site retail experts.

Measuring the performance of our market and making decisions that establish its future should not be done without significant and direct trader involvement. Whether that should be done with a seat on the Board, or a position on a Board/Council sub-committee, or simply having Board and Council representatives sitting on the current QVM Advisory Committee has yet to be thrashed out. Either way, setting a structure and culture that embraces the role of traders in this market, is critical to its ongoing health and growth.

The QVM Advisory Committee (previously known as  TAC) is a body made up of 10 elected Trader Representatives who represent each area of the market. The committee is chaired by the QVM CEO. The QVM Advisory Committee meets at regular intervals to consider and advise on market issues, and minutes are provided to the QVM Board.