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Branch Consultation

28 October 2014

Branches vote to reject changes

Back in May 2014 Conference passed resolution (E7) that we would look at the democratic structure of Conference and the way we elect delegates. It was agreed, subject to a branch vote as it represented a rule change, that Divisional Councils would take a much more active role in the Conference procedures, electing delegates and putting forward motions to Conference. This would have represented a substantial cost saving to the Association and also given us the opportunity to have a Conference much more representative of our membership. I regret to report that the Branch vote has gone against the democratic will of Conference and rejected these changes. 

Firstly I must stress that the responsibility for this failure must rest with the Executive Committee and ultimately myself.  We acknowledge that there were some concerns both with the timescale and the lack of detail. The EC did feel that the timescale, whilst challenging was achievable. 

This failure to agree will have cost implications to the Association, approximately £25k to £30k and, of course, this effectively leaves us facing in two directions. Ultimately the EC would still like to implement the will of Conference but clearly this will not be happening for the 2015 Conference and the status quo will remain. This of course means that Divisional Councils will no longer need to meet to agree delegates and motions to Conference and any extra Divisional Council meetings booked need to be cancelled. 

We now need to reflect and explore why the Branches felt unable to support the Conference resolution. Therefore we are requesting Branches write to the EC, not only reflecting their concerns but also what more they feel the EC should be considering to renew our democratic structures. We will be discussing this at our January EC meeting so we would like responses by 31st December. We will then look to, wherever possible, address these concerns then put a reserve motion to Conference, to progress the previous Conference decision in a form that meets the wishes and needs of delegates. 

Clearly we are now not facing the same time constraints as previously, however, despite the work of your EC to address the deficit, the bulk of the pain being felt by our staff due to a significant reduction in numbers, the need to reduce expenditure still does apply and so action is being progressed. 

Mick Carney

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