LETTER OF COMPLAINT
We have today written to Yvonne Pattison and Chris Winters, National Co-Chairs. Here is what we said:
Dear Yvonne and Chris,
We write to you, on behalf of London Branch, to complain about a number of incidents that have happened in recent months.
We are very concerned to hear that several members of our branch made a complaint of Anti-Semitism to you last October after the National AGM. To the best of our knowledge they have yet to receive any sort of reply.
Following the resignation of both our NEC Representatives in November 2015 there was extensive correspondence between the Branch Chair and National Officers and Officials. We were very concerned as to how the branch could continue to be represented on the NEC given that we no longer have the power to conduct an election for these posts. After two months we were advised that the process had to be conducted nationally but, in the event of an election, the branch would have to bear the cost.
We were advised that, by the deadline set, only one nomination had been received at National Office and that person was duly appointed as London Branch’s NEC Representative.
Following that appointment there was correspondence between the Branch Chair and National Officers and Officials requesting clarification of the status of any observers we might wish to send to the next meeting of the NEC. It was confirmed that we would be able to send an observer and that they would be able to speak with the permission of the Chair. On 18th February the request of our Branch Chair to attend the NEC meeting on 22nd March was noted and accepted.
On the afternoon of Friday 18th March our Branch Chair was notified by email that she would not be granted permission to speak. Unfortunately, due to moving office premises, none of us had access to computers. National Office had been made aware previously that the Branch Officers were engaged in an office move.
We were dismayed and extremely disappointed when we heard that our Branch Chair, who attended the meeting in good faith, was publicly denied permission to speak especially as no mention had been made of this to her during the hour and half that the meeting was inquorate.
Although reference was made to the Standing Order 1(g) “that they shall not take part in the meeting” we are of the opinion that our Branch Chair could have been allowed to speak under 1(f) by which “the NEC may invite a representative of each of its Committees or any other persons to attend particular meetings of the NEC”. Nowhere does it state that they would not be allowed to speak.
Not only was this whole episode handled very badly but, by denying our Branch Chair permission to speak, she was unable to address the proposed Budget for the coming financial year and the impact that it would have on this branch. As our one representative had not been fully briefed on this matter (in the expectation that the Branch Chair would be allowed to speak) we feel that this branch was not assisted in participating fully in the deliberations of the NEC.
We are also concerned that at the NEC meeting in November the Chair of Steering Committee was asked to prepare a report for this meeting about issues arising from the 2015 AGM. This was to include issues arising from the handling of the Annual Report. Our Branch Chair had been in correspondence with the National Chair since 2014 about this issue and the extent to which it might conflict with the ballot for motions. It appeared that the Steering Committee Chair had only been asked to report on matters of quoracy. In any event, due to lack of time, the report from the Chair of the Steering Committee was not reached and therefore not discussed.
It is our understanding that, due to the mismanagement and chairing of the NEC, important matters such as the Finance Report were not discussed properly and, in our opinion, were rushed through. This is of particular concern to us as the current Treasurer has not responded to emails from our Branch Chair since December when she asked about the future financial implications for this Branch.
We trust that you will share this correspondence with all the other National Officers and Officials, and the other members of the National Executive Committee.
We shall be sharing this correspondence with members of London Branch.
London Branch Officers