Divisional Councils have the traditional role of branch governance, ensuring that the member branches operate in accordance with TSSA rules and supporting any branches that may find themselves in difficulty. Divisional Council also act as a forum where branches can get together with other branches in their Divisional Council area to exchange information, experience and best practice and to create networks of communications. For this reason, my own Divisional Council moves their meeting to different venues in their area and allows members of the local branch to attend as observers. This helps in building TSSA activity in areas where it might be less visible and active.
Divisional Councils are organised on an area basis and group together all the branches within that area. Each branch elects a number of delegates to their Divisional Council based on the number of members in their branch. The delegates are elected on an annual basis. Each Divisional Council area has a member of the TSSA Executive Committee, elected by the members of each branch in that Divisional Council area.
As an example of how a Divisional Council can make a difference, the North West Divisional Council supported the efforts of a small number of Liverpool members in re-establishing a Merseyside branch, and, before the Covid19 lockdown, it was assisting the Crewe & Cheshire General branch in surveying its members in an attempt to increase member participation.
Although we do have a certain amount of ‘business’ to conduct, at least half of our meetings are given over to a guest speaker. Recently Graham Stringer MP talked to us regarding ‘Public Transport in the North West’; Laura Smith MP talked about ‘My First Six Months in Parliament’ and Manuel Cortes addressed the question of ‘Where Now’ following Labour’s 2019 election defeat.
Divisional Councils are also perhaps best placed to form links with various Regional Organisations such as the Regional Trades Union Councils, and the growing Regional levels of Government.