Supporting and organising Community Members

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2022 Community Conference and Seminar
24 November 2021

Conference notes the work undertaken by the Service Group Executive since the passing of 2016 National Delegate Conference Motion 2 ‘Organising for growth’ and in particular the initiatives taken by UNISON centrally to further examine the issues related to the current barriers and opportunities to developing, organising and supporting our membership, recognising that key lessons can be utilised to share good practice and facilitate the inclusion of community members at all levels of our lay structures in the Community Service Group.

Since 2016, a number of developments have taken place. We now face a completely different political landscape; legislative changes reinforce the pernicious impact of austerity measures on our sector along with renewed constraints on our ability to organise effectively existing and potential trade union members.

The diversity of the Service Group allows for a wide range of structures and models in place for organising, representing, negotiating on behalf of, supporting and developing our membership. A number of these models are innovative, effective and exemplify good practice.

Several models of branch structure underpin the Community membership across our nations/regions, from wholly Community based branches to the placement of Community members within predominantly Local Government and Health and other branches.

In some branches Community members play a full and active part in the decision-making of their branch, in others less so.

Additionally, internal changes within UNISON in the form of initiatives such as Activity Based Budgeting, Regional Compacts and Regional Pool and the advent of Branch and regional Organising Fund bidding processes provide opportunities for us to secure improved support and development for our membership in partnership with Regions and Branches.

The valuable work already undertaken, along with the production of the Service Group Executive’s bi-annual survey, form the building blocks of what we are seeking to achieve for our members in Community and how we play a full and active part at all levels of UNISON’s lay decision-making process and beyond.

Conference believes that, in order to develop successfully and to support our increasing membership base, the service group must develop an effective strategy for organising and developing our collective work and how we inform UNISON’s national bargaining agenda and developmental priorities.

Conference calls upon the Service Group Executive to:

1. Build a comprehensive current picture of the organisation of our membership in UNISON highlighting the various models of organising with an evaluation of these.

2. Consult widely with Branches and Regions, Regional Community Service Group Committees, Self Organised Groups, Young Members, Retired Members and all parts of the Community membership on the barriers to participation and inclusion of our membership at all levels of UNISON’s structures.

3. Begin the process for formulating a strategy for developing and organising the future work of the Service Group and present recommendations to 2023 Community Service Group Conference.