“Perception is reality” – Lee Atwater (US politician)… at least that’s what Google says.

When your professional position is dependent on your reputation then perception is reality. Just ask people what they think about the reputation of, say, Tiger Woods, Robert Hughes and, to some extent (and not in a related sense), the Essendon Football Club.

It is clear to me that involving lawyers does not encourage transparency, so I wouldn’t expect transparency if I was an Essendon supporter, and I don’t expect transparency as a non-Essendon supporter. There are times, however, when legal advice is required and transparency is the unfortunate victim. I am hopeful that the Institute will be able to steer clear of such situations going forward.

Now I could spend an entire article going on about the ridiculous situation that we find ourselves in with Essendon and their historically belligerent President, plus the fact that for a government body dealing in confidential information ASADA seems to have more leaks than Julian Assange. I won’t do that, not because I don’t want to, but because it is not particularly relevant to our profession and a large majority of members would not give a <complete as you wish> about Essendon or even the AFL.

Perception is very important though and there is a fine line between ‘being your own person’ and complying with the expectations of a professional and an actuary.

Why am I raising this?

It has become evident from responses to various reviews that are currently underway that individuals have very different perceptions of the Council, our education process, the role of Appointed Actuaries and the role of the Institute.

Hopefully the results of these reviews and their dissemination to members will enable members to understand each of these important areas in terms of what is being done and why. The intent being to realign, as far as is possible, members perceptions with reality.

In my previous article I promised an update on our June Council meeting.

I, along with other Councillors, have received feedback that updates in the magazine tend to be too far past the Council meeting and have lost some relevance.

Following our last Council meeting Councillors had an informal discussion about the performance of Council. We spent some time discussing the elements within Council that worked well and those that did not. Overall, the discussion was positive but there were a range of areas where the need for improvement was identified.

One area for improvement, which members should have noticed, is in relation to the publication of the items considered by Council at its meetings. It was agreed that the delay between meetings and this article means that using the President’s

Update is less than ideal. Thus, it was agreed that we would aim to have a summary of the meeting proceedings published in the members’ section on the website within two weeks of a Council meeting.

Hopefully this will go some way to improving the transparency with which Council operates.

I encourage you to read through the Council meeting summaries and to provide input into our governance and mission statement reviews which are both nearing completion.

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