Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Five (Assistant) Heads are better than one?

For no good reason whatsoever I shall blog today's NEC meeting in reverse order and therefore begin with Roger Bannister's valiant - if doomed - attempt to move reference back of the report of the Staffing Committee (which I supported).

Roger was addressing the manner of the announcement to NEC members of the decision to recruit additional Assistant General Secretaries (AGSs) (about which I blogged when it was announced - http://jonrogers1963.blogspot.com/2010/08/four-more-voices-for-public-services.html).

Roger queried both the need for additional posts at this level and the decision to proceed with such an important decision without a discussion at the full NEC.

President Angela Lynes ruled that we could not "refer back" a report of the Staffing Committee because of its Rule Book autonomy from the NEC (which may be debatable) but permitted a vote on whether or not to receive the report (a proposition eventually agreed by a convincing majority).

The debate saw a spirited defence of the decision from Dave Prentis and a reasoned intervention from lead North West Region NEC member Bernie Gallagher who highlighted the fact that attempts to debate the election of officials at Conference are ruled out of order for fear that they could breach the contracts of staff, yet here we are happily appointing new staff without even considering the option of electing to the newly created posts.

I asked about the fact that Dave's original letter on this topic had said that "As part of a restructuring process, the new posts will be ringfenced to existing staff and members and advertised internally..." I pointed out that I had had correspondence with the Chair of Staffing querying the wisdom of this approach.

Dave Prentis told the NEC that since his letter in August the Union had thought again and that the posts were now being advertised openly. Whether or not this changes the outcome (and one need not be too much of a cynic to think that it won't) this does at least mean that the Union is behaving in a manner consistent with one of the common justifications for the appointment, rather than election, of officials (and in a manner less vulnerable to challenge).

Although I would support the election of these senior officials, if they are to be appointed at least we now know that anyone can apply and that the appointment panel can - at least in theory - choose from the widest pool of talent. I hope that those recruiting these senior officials will not play favourites or defer to anyone's presumed preferences.

So, dear reader, send those applications in now!

Here's the link for those reading this blog for career opportunities (who may be in the wrong place online) - http://guardianjobs.mobi/default.aspx?tem=ite&pa=0&gid=0&sid=0&job=79546.

Noting that we are advertising for five AGSs to fill the five posts I wonder what that means for the incumbent (http://pipl.com/directory/people/Bob/Abberley)?

Given the Presidential ruling earlier today I suppose I oughtn't even to ask but I feel almost guilty now for not having done so earlier...

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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