Thursday, 18 June 2015

Where next for the debate on branch funding?

With Motion 106 eighth on the order of business for Friday afternoon it is difficult to see that we will get the debate on branch funding which our Union needs us to have. Twenty years ago there might have been the discipline on Conference floor to get that far down the reprioritised motions (at a time when more delegates understood that it only really matters - at this stage in Conference - to debate and vote upon items opposed by the NEC).

Whilst delegates should not - of course - give up on the possibility of a debate on Motion 106 this afternoon we do need to start considering how branches will engage with and respond to the further work being done as part of the Branch Resources Review.

We need a funding formula which guarantees a basic allocation of a proportion of membership subscriptions if we are to defend branch autonomy, yet we also need an approach to allocating additional funding which meets the needs of the half of branches who are spending more than they have coming in.

More than that though - we need more money for branches overall.

For those who think that this debate can always and only be about how we redistribute the 23.5% going to branches I want to ask this. Why do we have a "Branch Resources Review" and not also a "National Resources Review"?

Did any branch waste a million pounds on Care Connect Learning?

Did any branch incur unbudgeted expenditure of hundreds of thousands of pounds on the Three Companies Project (agreed outside of our structures of lay governance)?

Did any branch build a massive Headquarters building in Euston and then leave two floors empty (earning no income) for four years?

Branches cannot justly be lectured on prudence or financial management from the Centre of our Union.

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