Steve Dowbiggin has resigned as vice-president of the Institute of Horticulture (IoH) following a dispute over its strategy and possible merger. He believes the IoH membership and council have not been adequately consulted. The Capel Manor College chief executive is “also concerned that all possible [merger] alternatives had not been equally and fully explored”. Dowbiggin’s resignation came before the 1,500-working-member IoH sent a statement to members on future options that could include its abolition. It identified concerns, including: “Should IoH dissolve rather than merge?” A strategic review group said the IoH had “weak governance and lacked any effective delivery mechanisms”. It hopes a merger could help, possibly with the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI), which has 5,500 UK members and an annual income of £2.8m, and already handles IoH’s admin. Dowbiggin agreed to make a statement to HW on his resignation: “I was uncomfortable that other organisations who may be interested in, and capable of, helping the institute achieve [its] exciting ambitions for the future had not been given the same opportunity to access information, talk to the executive and the strategic group and make proposals for consideration by the executive, the council and the membership, as had been afforded to SCI and its officers. “I was disappointed the report of the strategic group has not been published and that discussion of its ideas and recommendations had not been encouraged among the branches and the membership.” The IoH executive meets on 20 June and its council meets on 11 July. A decision will then go to the membership. On behalf of the IoH, executive president Tony Girard said: We’re disappointed Steve Dowbiggin saw fit to comment. We’ll be in a position to comment after 11 July.”
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