mnmlist: Executive Committee Meeting 8th August 2012

1. Present

  • Nicolas Redfern, Brian Parbutt, Sue Verel, Daniel Turner, Maureen Pike, Kevin Quigley, Adam Spencer, Andrew Gibson

2. Apologies

  • Arun, Jamie, Amrit

 

3. Constitutional issues

  • Arun standing down
  • Kevin explains Arun is standing down as Chair due to personal reasons.
  • Whole Exec thank Arun for the amazing job he has done and note our sympathies.
  • No Emergency Meeting called due to proximity of normal AGM. Adam S (previously Vice Chair) becomes Chair with immediate effect

– Arun will no longer be standing for election as a Local Rep in national Fabian elections. As nobody else put their name forward when Andrew sent email around, we will not stand a candidate this year.

ACTION: Adam to send note of thanks and support from entire Exec

  • Exec elections at Notts Fabs AGM (date: 17th October)

– Positions are voted for by attendees of the AGM

  • Numerous Exec members will not stand for re-election due to work, academic or family commitments: these include Andrew (Secretary), Arun (Chair), Adam S (Vice Chair), and Dan T (Exec Officer)
  • Maureen and Exec note the importance of maintaining momentum, as well as organisational competence
  • Andrew asks if other Exec members are likely to stand: Kevin suggests he may stand for chair and notes previous experience in similar party positions, but unsure he could commit to Secretary position
  • Adam willing to stand as Vice Chair again but cannot stand for Secretary or Chair positions due to new work commitments
  • Sue V may be persuaded to stand for Secretary if Andrew can provide some training
  • Andrew suggests he is happy to stand as an Exec Officer to help the transition and show the secretarial ropes to any new Secretary
  • Date of AGM: October 17th agreed as date for AGM, partly based on availability of UNISON building

ACTION:

Andrew to send out notice to members re: AGM

Adam/Andrew to prepare notes about proposed events/themes to present to AGM

 

4. Update/reflections on Liz Kendall event

  • Adam thought it went well considering timing (i.e. Olympics and season) and disruptions due to postponement of event.

– Fair attendance, high participation from audience and Liz was interesting speaker- nice mix of social/care and health issues.

  • Kevin thought it was excellent- was impressed with Liz and turnout in difficult period
  • Maureen dissents.

– Interesting talk but was based on attacking the government, which is easy. There was little focus on Labour policy and vision.

– We did not go into break-out groups (thus less debate/discussion) and there was little challenge to Liz.

  • Kevin does not support break-out groups. Suggests people want to hear the main speaker talk and answer questions. Argues the structure works if the chairmanship is tight.

– He suggests having two different types of event: one with a single, big speaker; one where literature is circulated in advance and is more about research (i.e. local members discussing policy)

  • Discussion and general agreement about the benefits of a diversity of events
  • Sue raises the local Dragon’s Den idea.

– Also notes need to have an annual timetable for big speakers

  • Exec previously drew up a list of potential big speakers

– Agreement to wait until September to invite them

 

5. Future events

AGM

  • Maureen notes a number of event ideas were proposed by members who attended the Liz K event.
  • ‘Re-inventing client focused banks’
  • ‘Land value tax’
  • ‘Meritocracy, social networking and birthright’
  • Members at AGM will be asked for what they want of future events, themes etc.
  • Discussion of whether to merge banking with economy theme

– AG suggests potential Co-op involvement with an event

– Sue refers to economic Plan B report on Compass website

  • Kevin discusses Labour economic policy and need for economic credibility (potential speakers= Chris Leslie, John Mann, Neal Lawson)
  • General feeling banking should be a separate subject/theme but all ideas considered good
  • Discussion of social event. General consensus that we should have drinks (including wine) at our AGM and potential buffet to attract members (Sue will help)

– Probably less expensive affair than Glasman event (where we spent £82)

  • Nicolas notes that corrections to the constitution will need to be made during the AGM
  • Andy Harrop (Gen. Sec of Fabians) and Marcus Roberts have been asked to speak at our AGM

– We now have fixed date. If these speakers can’t make it, we will have AGM without them

  • Discussion of membership benefits

– Whilst we have a list of benefits, it should be made explicit that non-members have to pay to attend events

ACTIONS

  • Andrew to chase up Andy Harrop etc.

Proposed joint event with Sheffield

  • Maureen has been in contact with our colleague from Sheffield Fabians.

– Notes Sheffield are keen to hold events in Sheffield

  • General agreement that proposed joint events with Sheffield are unnecessary, complex and unappealing to membership
  • Agreement that we should keep Sheffield Fabians informed of our events and to welcome their members
  • Discussion of need to boost membership in north of county

ACTION

  • Maureen to decline offer of joint events with Sheffield/Leeds Fabians
  • Maureen to explore putting on events and rallying members in north, Mansfield, Worksop etc. Potential autonomous events?

Dragon’s Den event

  • General agreement that it is a good idea
  • January/February suggested
  • Sue notes that we almost did this event and it was quite easy to organise
  • Lots of good members who could speak on issues

Stephen Twigg

  • November 1st is agreed date
  • Working group for this event: Maureen, Kevin, Sue 

– Andrew suggests working group liaise with Lee, who is good at web/publicity

  • Discussion of a brief Exec meeting after the AGM for event planning purposes.
  • Discussion of theme:
  • Amrit sent email to Exec arguing for multiple speakers, including potentially teachers/ students/ people with experience of the education system. Argues the speaker needs to ‘be challenged’. Andrew sympathetic with idea
  • Discussion of secondary speaker. David Mellen suggested as possible speaker

– Exec split on the value of a second speaker. Adam and Kevin want a single speaker. They suggest debate is had during Q&A sessions

  • Adam calls a vote on whether to have one or multiple speakers.
  • Four in favour of single speaker; four against
  • Maureen votes in favour on the grounds that Stephen Twigg can hold a room, although generally disapproves of single-speaker events and wants debate

– Andrew notes that he cannot be involved in the event and so doesn’t want to make other people’s jobs more difficult by pushing for greater complexity

  • Final decision: We hold Stephen Twigg as single speaker event but hold a Dragon’s Den/ debate/ local member event after that to ensure a diversity of events.

 

6. Website/publicity

  • Consensus that Lee is doing great job on web and multimedia aspect of Liz Kendall event was excellent
  • Adam wants more blog contributions from members
  • Discussion of using Notts Fabians email address rather than personal
  • For sake of continuity, use the person’s position in society rather than their name  EG/ secretary@nottsfabians… rather than andrew@nottsfabians…
  • Nick may need to show certain Exec members certain functions of Gmail=

ACTION: Nick to set up fabian email addresses

 

7. Comments from Treasurer

  • Nick has recently emailed everyone an accounts summary and accounts in full.
  • Nick discusses Paypal charges (i.e. when people sign-up online)
  • For normal member (@£5), Paypal charges 35p. It works well
  • However, for concessionary members (@£1), Paypal charges 23p. Also, we pay fee to national for local (but not national) members. Not good situation. Expensive for us.

– p.s. Nick unsure when we have to pay fees for non-national local members

  • Discussion of membership forms
  • Andrew notes that new members don’t always fill out the form properly. This causes us problems in our dealings with national society. Please make explicit when signing people in to events!
  • Consensus that date of birth on form is unnecessary and annoying to members
  • Brian notes that we have a relatively small amount of money
  • In a sense, UNISON provides a hidden subsidy (i.e. Brian is often here, so we do not need to pay overtime to staff etc.)
  • If we needed to use a new venue, it could be very financially prohibitive
  • Maureen notes Sheffield is insolvent for similar reasons
  • Nick notes our costs thus far have been low.

– Glasman event wine, website stuff, money box, Andrew claimed £5 for biscuits/drinks at last event

 

ACTION:

Nick will remove concessionary option from website

Andrew to remove DoB from membership forms- may need to contact Arun for originals…

 

8. Dates of future meetings, Exec and otherwise.

  • AGM and Stephen Twigg sorted.
  • Wait until AGM to arrange an event planning session…

 

9. AOB

  • Andrew notes disquiet re: single speaker events and suggests that it is made abundantly clear to members that we plan to have alternative types of events… perhaps send out invites to Stephen Twigg/ Dragon’s Den events at same time?