Thursday, June 24, 2004

WMANUS is currently facing a bit of a weird situation!

Earlier today we had a bit of an odd thing happen at the extraordinary conference, which we held to co-opt our Area Convenor Training & Development.

However only four institutions there with eight votes, making the conference inquorate but we decided to press on and hold an indicative vote anyway, to which the following results were announced:

Darren Holmes 2
William Salt 1
Re-open Nominations 5

This means that the Executive would be stupid if we decide to co-opt either of the candidates. Indeed, the votes for the candidates were likely to have come only from the institutions fielding candidates.

So what can we do?
Some members of the executive had a chat afterwards and came up with a few options, which we will research in more detail before our first executive meeting(17/07/04). We also plan to send out a consultation to our Constituent members on the matter, which can also form the basis of our discussions.

The options
1. Do nothing: We simply wait until September and call our Winter Conference at the earliest opportunity. We open nominations as normal and see who comes forward.

2. Ask unions in the WM region to second a member of staff: Unions around the region already have skilled staff employed doing comparable roles. It may be possible that a union could "rent" a member of their staff to us for a certain number of hours per week and they could run our administration and/or training functions during the time seconded to us.

3. Employ a member of staff directly: We'd set up a temporary contract. They would take on some or all of the convenor's duties. We'd need to discuss how the job roles were altered and responsibilities divided between Sarah (Convenor Campaigns & Communications) and the member of staff, and whether we took someone on part-time or full-time.

4. Pay members of the part-time executive: Certain members of the executive (we'd need to work out a way of choosing who) could be paid to take on various responsibilities of the Convenor (T&D).

My evaluation of the options (please let me know how you feel

1. We cant Do nothing because NO suitable candidates have come forward thus far and are unlikely to, If anyone does come forward they would be those doing part-time courses, and those willing to leave their course in September to take a year out. And that's not a huge pool of candidates.

2. Secondment has some advantages. The staff member would already have skills and experience in the area we're looking for. We'd get more than a part-time member of staff's worth of work because their work in their current union would be complementary to that in WMANUS. The need for training would be greatly reduced.

3. Employing a member of staff. There are so many sub-options to this that it's difficult to evaluate this as a general option. The advantage with this is that they're all ours, and we're far more likely to get someone than looking for a secondment. We'd have more freedom to define the job role and jig Sarah's and the staff member's roles to make them as complementary as possible. There are, however, legal hoops through which we'd have to jump- right from the moment we put out an advertisement for the job in the local or national press.
There are also several questions we'd need to answer. Would we want a full-time administrator, or a part-time member to fulfil most of the duties of the T&D convenor? Would we employ just for this year, reverting to two elected convenors, or would we make this a permanent thing with time?

4. Pay members of our part-time exec has advantages in that we need waste no further time in searching for another member. This does, of course, depend on there being people on the exec with adequate time to devote to the task, and we'd need to devise some way of making sure that work was tied together.

If anyone has any ideas, which would help me, come to decision on which option I should vote for or alternative ways of tackling the problem please let me know.


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