With the exception of the conference and the AGM most of the week was full of internal meetings that either I can't tell you about or you wouldn't be interested in - probably both. However, our spring conference in Birmingham - which apparently is now called our National Conference as opposed to our Annual Conference (which is also national).......don't worry, it's changing! - was an excellent day. Opened by our outgoing President, Steve Palmer, we then had an introduction to the day from Martin Ferguson, Head of Policy at Socitm which really set the scene very well. Michael Frater (ex CEO of Surrey CC) pulled no punches and went down exceptionally well with the delegates. We had a great presentation by Simon Norbury (@redpepper52 ) who stepped in at the last minute and saved the day when Prof Colin Talbot was unavoidably prevented from speaking. A number of the presentations from the plenary sessions and the workshops can be found HERE.
I have to say that I was 'on edge' during the morning sessions because I knew there was the AGM at lunchtime. In the event I had no need to be as the members were supportive as ever, although quite rightly some serious questions were asked.
Apart from 3 new and extremely capable vice presidents: Kay Brown, Glyn Evans and Steve Halliday we were voting on two crucial issues for our Socitm vision and development plans.
The first was the introduction of new accredited professional membership options which will be optional and run in parallel with our current membership route.
If anyone would like further details about this new structure please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The second significant vote, which was related to our agreeing new articles of association, was the broadening of the criteria by which a member is elegible to become a vice president, and therefore president of the society. Following the vote any senior member from the broad public sector (ie not just local government) and the third sector is eligable to be considered for the highest elected offices within Socitm. These decisions are entirely in line with the vision agreed by members in 2008 which focussed upon professionalism, democracy and inclusion. Thanks to the great new team of professional senior staff we are making real progress in embedding the vision and seeing it shape the Society.
And.....part way through the buiness our then President, Steve Palmer, who has presided over, and paved the way for these significant changes handed the mantle (well a ridiculously heavy chain) over to our new President Jos Creese. Jos, I know, also has some great ideas about where the Society is heading.
All in all, a great event and a very positive AGM. Thank you to all our staff and members who continue to support Socitm and just make it all happen.