UNISON’s joint branch and regional assessments enter the digital age

A key organising tool is updated to help the union ‘better face the challenges of the future’

The process by which UNISON branches organise and collaborate with their regions is going digital.

The Organising Framework is a bespoke digital solution for the paper-based Joint Branch and Regional Assessment (JBRA) process, which has been in use for the past 10 years.

The digital version goes active on 1 October, after which paper forms will no longer be issued. Regions are currently being briefed and will support branches over the coming months with the new approach.

The JBRA was originally introduced after a national delegates conference decision in 2007, which emphasised the importance for the union to maintain strong and effective branch structures.

It represents a partnership approach, where regional organisers are charged with supporting lay officers to build branch organisation and to make change where it is needed.

This is undertaken collaboratively between a branch and a regional organiser, sharing information about the branch’s objectives and plans and identifying next steps and any support needs.

The development of the new digital process has been overseen by a joint senior lay-staff steering group on behalf of the development and organisation committee, taking on board feedback from across the union.

“The Organising Framework is the next generation of the joint branch and regional assessment process, for the digital age,” said UNISON assistant general secretary Roger McKenzie.

“It aims not just to make the process paper free, but more collaborative. It will enable branches, with regions, to move the union forward and better face the challenges of the future.”

UNISON asks that each year branch reps sit down with their regional organisers and complete the framework together. This involves looking at information provided by the branch, answering short discussion questions and committing to actions. These actions  can then be reviewed at regular intervals throughout the year, and new ones added.

At the same time, data sourced from the Organising Framework will inform decision-making at all levels of the union.

The digital process will be available to branch secretaries, chairs and treasurers and appropriate regional and UNISON Centre staff, via a simple web address from any device with an internet connection.