I’ve got a list as long as a long thing about stuff that I want to blog about but just never seem to get round to it for one reason or another, mainly just because I’m a bit crap I think. Anyway, high on the priority list is the this stuff about the future of the branches and groups. Representatives attended a workshop at CILIP, with the aim of figuring a way to change how the branches and groups work.
Just for a bit of background; representatives were sent the agenda for the day CILIP Workshop for Branches and Groups It was super important to get the opinions of as many of the South East branch members so I could actually represent their views on the day.
A number of people responded to the three main discussion points for the day:
- What is the branch and group network for?
- How do the activities align with ambition?
- Developing a new framework for working together.
Here are the notes I made from the discussions that took place around these main points Branch and group workshop Luckily CILIP Wales’ and fellow tweeter Mandy Powell was there to make sure all the discussions were noted down. It was lovely to meet her in real life, as well as Amanda Poulton who I also keep up to date with on Twitter.
So, I circulated the main discussion points to the members of the committee of the South East Branch and to members of the sub branches so that I could actually represent their views on the day and number of people responded. It was important to me to get their views across.
I also just wanted to note down a few thoughts I had about how the discussions went and the general feelings that came across throughout the day.
CILIP chief executive Annie Mauger opened the day with a short presentation about what our discussion points were and the kind of thing that we are working towards; a new way of working for the branches and groups.
We were in groups of a mixture of representatives from branches and special interest groups. First up for discussion – what are the branches and groups for?
What became apparent from these discussions is that there is a lot of crossover in the purpose and the aims of the branches and groups. Very broadly speaking it was seen that the branches provided opportunities for anyone, regardless of sector/role etc, where as the groups were focused much more on a specific aspect of information work or a specific factor. However the things on offer, like networking opportunities, professional development opportunities remain pretty much the same across the branches and the groups.
Discussions were active and people had many points to put across. What people seemed to find difficult, or what people wanted to know if is if people at CILIP already had ideas as to what should happen to the branches and groups. What Annie made very clear was that the branch and group structure could not to continue as it is; it is too costly to run and the functions of the branches and groups could be delivered in a more efficient way. Annie gave an example of one group having 17 bank accounts, which does seem a bit loco! The administration of that must be a nightmare. What Annie also made clear was that we as representatives of the branches and groups and therefore members should have full involvement in shaping our future.
It was clear that people do feel uncomfortable by the changes that needs to be made. There were some feelings of tension at certain points throughout the day again, I think due to the uncertainty about what the future holds.
Daniel Sabel who works for the governance department at CILIP made the point that it wasn’t just the branches and groups that were going to have to make changes. Changes are happening throughout the whole of CILIP and again throughout the profession. What’s important is that we are involved in the changes being made and this workshop was an opportunity to do so.
What is obvious is that this is not going to be an easy process, as such a lot of people are involved in moving toward making a decision about how we can move forward and change the way we work to become more efficient and meet the needs of members.
The day was challenging and no decision was made about the future of branches and groups. Obviously it will take more discussion than in just one day to reach that point, however I do think that we did make progress in establishing the purpose of the branches and groups and also starting to look at ways in which we could work together in a more collaborative way.
How we achieve that is the process that we are going through now. What struck me throughout the discussions is that the new professionals should totally get on board with this, a fresh perspective may be able to give some fresh ideas.
I personally do think the work of the branches and groups is essential and provides real opportunities to members in there professional development and networking and developing skills and so on, but I also recognise that this could be delivered in a more efficient way.
Discussions moved down to how we could perhaps work more collaboratively. Collaborative working does happen across many of the branches and groups already. Whether we can do this more efficiently was another discussion that happened. We also talked about whether different special interest groups could merge. We did discuss several options of ways that we could move forward to change the branch and group structure.
As someone that is still fairly new to the profession and defo new to the way that CILIP works, it’s clear that there is a lot of history that is still attached to the branch and group discussions. This is why I think the views of new professionals or people that are members of CILIPcould help move discussions forward. I’m not saying that established professionals don’t have valid opinions to offer. All I’m suggesting is that a mixture of viewpoints and experiences can help with these discussions.
So how did the day finish?Annie brought the day to an end recognising that more discussion needs to take place. Notes of the discussions of the day will be circulated to branches and groups for discussion at committee meetings and another workshop will then take place later in the year to hopefully move nearer to a decision for a new framework for the branches and groups to operate in.