INTRODUCTION

Branch chairs in England were phoned by BF and asked to help with two related issues:

  • A longstanding problem that branches have felt distant from CC with poor communication
  • The recent problems as a result of branches elected unconstitutionally no longer being represented on CC.

 What follows are the main themes people discussed. They include results from SHA London’s formal vote on the issue.

 INFORMATION FLOW THROUGH NATIONAL MEMBERS.

Oxford: There is a channel to and from CC through national members. However, they are not delegated by the branch to vote on the national CC so cannot be a reliable channel – in either direction.

Chester: Their national member keeps them informed about CC business.

A BRANCH CHAIRS’ GROUP, BRINGING BRANCHES TOGETHER, SENDING MESSAGES TO CC

Oxford: With no powers, may be useful, but is limited. It would need teeth – fitted into the governance arrangements.

Yorkshire: A group of branch Chairs

London: CC to set up a liaison group between branch chairs, and to include Wales and Scotland.

West Midlands: There should maybe be a permanent chair plus secretary or nominated branch member WhatsApp group which would link all. Hopefully this might be a forum where co-operation could develop. Also a regular face to face meeting of branch Chairs and Secretaries.

SHARING AND SUPPORTING BRANCHES’ ACTIVITY

  • Jean to write to branches to ask them to send her anything that your branch is doing.
  • Set up a branches section on website. (Oxford and Manchester)
  • National SHA will notify branches of work with Shadow teams and invite relevant expertise to input
  • SHA will formally notify SHAL and other branches in writing of any actions or decisions which directly impact on branch functions
  • To optimise on skills and avoid duplication, SHA will keep branches in the loop re work involving local CC members
  • Not formalized. Ad hoc. Or joint action, or supporting others’ action.
  • Branches could write blogs, as Vivien Walsh of Manchester has done. She had lots of very useful responses to her article on the fight for Manchester Royal Infirmary.

CO-OPTION

Oxford: W Mids has a lot of people on CC. Why can’t you co-opt others?

London:

    • 67% of respondents support asking the CC to co-opt all of our 9 delegates to CC
    • keeping the current arrangement until next AGM and organising as many co options as possible – including ensuring those branches without CC reps of any kind are given space.

DATE OF AGM

Oxford: hold an early AGM

London:

    • Hold an AGM in 2021, planning appropriately around public health needs, co-opting our delegates onto CC in the meantime.
    • In the event that Central Council does not agree to interim co-option, in the interests of inclusivity we would expect that the AGM is brought back to December 2020 and proper timely notification to branches in line with Clause 13 in either case.

OTHER SUGGESTIONS:

  • Defer decisions till after AGM
  • One off rule change to co-opt previous delegates.
  • More listening to the branches. Before CC makes a decision – asking branches what do they think of this?
  • CC needs to base its decisions on what the membership thinks.
  • Branch chairs could be trained up to be national chairs.
  • Hold an SGM to reinstate delegates.

CONCLUSIONS

Probably the most popular and practical suggestions were:

  • Branches should use their national delegates to feed back on CC decisions
  • A process to bring together branch chairs and secretaries
    • A WA group
    • A regular or ad hoc meeting
  • Co-opt onto CC as many people as is constitutionally allowed from those branches with no CC delegates
  • Set up a branch section of the website where branches can announce their local activities
  • National SHA to notify branches of work with Shadow teams and invite relevant expertise to input
  • SHA will notify branches of any actions or decisions which directly impact on branch functions
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