Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Why union branches have to follow the money...

Picture from last weeks packed Greater London workshop on branch finance in the UNISON centre. NEC Chair of the Finance Committee, Josie Bird, led the training supported by National and Regional officers.

The aims of the training were:-
  • To understand the principles of activity-based budgeting (ABB) 
  • Discuss the benefits of activity-based budgeting to your branch
  • Consider how OLBA functions can help support the budgeting process
  • To identify the next steps for activity-based budgeting within your branch
It was an exceptional turnout for a training on branch finance. It used to be the case in some branches that financial planning and budgeting wasn't all that important. They would just role over the last years accounts and add a bit for inflation. Thankfully this is no longer the case in most branches (I hope). The entire union movement is under attack by this Government and we have to make sure that all our money is used effectively to defend us.

I was there as Regional Finance conveyor. I closed the training by thanking the all those who helped organise this meeting and especially my NEC comrade, Josie Bird. I am proud that my union grows its rank and file lay activists, so they can take on such positions of responsibility.

I also pointed out I used to be a treasurer of a branch that had hundreds of thousands of pounds in reserves, which was very scary for someone who didn't have a finance background. I wish then I had the kit and support that is now on offer.

At the best of times it is vital that we have sound financial governance, never mind nowadays, the worse of times, when we need to make sure that every penny we have is well spent.

We must never forget either that our funds do not belong to the "union" nor to the "branches" they belong to our members and it is our absolute duty to make sure that they are spend properly and solely in their interests.

Picture of  London Regional Secretary, Linda Perks, leading discussion on workshop outcomes.
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