In line with NIPSA’s Rules, branches are required to hold their Annual General Meeting (AGM) during the month of October. A reminder to all branches of the rules and to take into account the following points in making the arrangements to hold the Branch AGM.
A main purpose of the Branch AGM is to elect the Branch Officers and Branch Committee, etc for the next year. The Agenda for the Branch AGM should therefore include:
- election of Branch Officers and Committee members for the incoming year;
- election of Health and Safety Representatives (normally elected for a 3-year period);
- affiliation to Trades Councils;
- other relevant elections, for example, for Departmental or Section Committee or Panels, etc; and
- other relevant business.
For further guidance in preparing for your AGM, Branch Officers should refer to Section 4 plus Annexes A and B of the NIPSA Constitution. Copies of these sections are available to download at the bottom of this page.
It is important that Branches seek to ensure maximum participation both in Branch Committee membership and in the work of the branch, especially in view of the threats to both public services and public servants. It is also important, where possible, to ensure that Branch Committees reflect the range of work areas/sectors/functions within the area of the Branch’s jurisdiction.
The Challenge Ahead
The challenges for NIPSA and NIPSA representatives in the incoming year are difficult, however given the fragility of the UK Government there are key opportunities to break the public sector pay cap, make inroads on workers’ rights – including improvements on zero hours contracts and other issues. In the Northern Ireland context the absence of a devolved administration brings with it challenges for all civil and public service workers and we must not allow the absence of an administration to detrimentally impact on our members. In addition the issue of Brexit/Exiting the European Union is a matter of grave concern to members in that as every day passes there remains more and more uncertainty.
NIPSA Organisation and Recruitment
In the current climate of attacks on jobs, public services, terms and conditions, pay, etc now more than ever it is vital that Branches are active and well organised. NIPSA is seeking to strengthen our Branches and make them better equipped to deal with the many threats that face members. One such threat is the effect on staff/services of permanent posts being left unfilled and the costly and exploitative overuse of private sector recruitment agencies. Our latest research on this issue shows the scale and cost of this economic approach. The full report Agency Boom in the Age of Austerity is available here and an Executive Summary is also available to download.
In the past the role of the Branch Organiser did not always feature high in many Branches but it is a vital role. All Branches, therefore, are strongly encouraged to ensure they appoint a Branch Organiser at their AGM. Support is available by way of input from the NIPSA Organisers, training events and seminars to support Branches and their Organisers in this role. In the year ahead, we have to make it a key priority to increase trade union recruitment and organisation of all workers (agency or permanent) and to make the issue of full-time staffing levels a key agenda item at every level of our negotiating work.
Branches can use the NIPSA website to inform members of Branch meetings, details can be posted by clicking on the Branch meetings button on the home page and then completing the electronic pro forma.
General Equality Monitoring
Branches are reminded of the need to be conscious of balanced representation in the elections particularly on a gender basis. The Union is committed to improving the level of female representation. It is essential for the purposes of gender equality monitoring that you include gender identification for all posts when you complete the enclosed AGM form.
Provision of Interpreters and Crèche Facilities
NIPSA will pay the cost of providing sign language or interpreters and crèche facilities, for Branch AGMs if required. However, as the number of signers available is limited, an application should be made well in advance of the meeting. If someone in your Branch requires the provision of an interpreter or crèche facilities, please contact NIPSA Headquarters.
Conduct at NIPSA Meetings
Branches are reminded of NIPSA’s guidance on conduct at meetings approved by the General Council. A copy (yellow paper) is also attached for reference.
On 25 May 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation (“the GDPR”) came into force. The GDPR requires us to look at the way we use the personal information of our members and the reasons for which we use it. It also requires us to keep the members whose personal information we hold informed of our purposes, our obligations and their rights. A hard copy of our Data Protection Policy is enclosed in this AGM pack. This and the Privacy Notice it contains can be accessed on our website. www.nipsa.org.uk/Privacy_Notice.
Finally, once your AGM has taken place, do please complete and submit the attached AGM return form to NIPSA Headquarters as soon as is possible. This is crucial to maintaining an accurate record for communication purposes, which will enable us to keep Branches informed of issues as well as advising of the range of membership services. Please include email addresses where available.
Also available to download below is a fillable version of the Branch Return Form (which can be completed using Adobe Reader). A copy of the AGM flyer/poster and the Branch Section Rules. I hope your Branch has a successful AGM.