Saturday marks the 110th anniversary of the IoD’s Royal Charter. But what is a Royal Charter and who can receive one?
The IoD was awarded a Royal Charter on 16 July 1906 and it remains an acknowledgement of the continuing work we do to encourage professionalism in business. It commands us to promote the highest standards among company directors “for the public benefit”.
Receiving the Royal Charter was a hugely significant landmark in the IoD’s history. It gives it the credibility and clout to lobby parliament and support the interests of members more effectively within Westminster.
It also sets out the IoD’s mission and constitution. In 1960, a Supplemental Royal Charter (pictured, above) was issued to recognise amendments to the IoD’s constitution. In fact, this has happened more than once, most recently in 2004, as the IoD seeks to reflect changes in the way the business community requires it to work. Elsewhere, Royal Charters have been used to found cities, universities, royal hospitals, charities and professional bodies.
When an organisation is founded there has to be an official document listing the basic laws, or constitution, of that organisation. If this document is issued by the reigning monarch then it is called a Royal Charter.
The first was issued in 1231 to the University of Cambridge, giving it the authority to award degrees. There are more than 900 bodies in the UK that hold a Royal Charter including the BBC, Royal Opera House, Jockey Club, British Computer Society and, of course, the IoD. It is also the mechanism by which a British town is raised to city status, most recently Chelmsford, in 2012.
Although it is possible to apply via the Privy Council, it is a great honour for an organisation to receive a Royal Charter. One criteria is that it “is normally expected to be of substantial size (5,000 members or more)”.
So, 110 years on, we are still hugely proud of our Royal Charter and mission to promote the highest professional standards of business in the UK.