Friends of the Earth Board Report

Rebecca Higman, Group coordinator and FoE North East Board member reports on national FoE board matters:

I continue to chair this committee. The LGC has started to meet outside London, and to invite Local Group members from the region in which it is meeting to attend. This has been a great success with up to 15 people a time giving up part of a Saturday to see what the LGC does and to raise issues of concern to them.
The December LGC received an extremely positive report regarding plans for local group development work, which was exciting as this area has been neglected of late.
The March LGC met in Liverpool. It considered the final recommendations on Shaping Our Future, the Local Groups Guidelines for Positive Relationships with Companies, the Planning Campaign, the Teeside community development work and the arrangements for this years Local Groups Conference which will be in Chester.

The LGC oversees the running of conference. An area of work in the next few months will be to review the way conference has been organised in the past few years. We will be considering changes, including the possibility of making part of conference the start of the policy making process.

As chair of LGC I am also “Friend of the Motions”. This year the Board took over the actual writing of Responses to the Resolutions which had previously been drafted by staff. This has resulted in the Responses to the Resolutions going out to Local Groups two months earlier than before.
Last year was the first in which we had a Friend of the Motions and as I have done the job I have realised that it involves more than just ensuring the Board produces a timely Response to the Resolutions. It also means following up to see that the Boards intentions, as stated in the Responses, have been implemented. I am just starting a review of Resolution implementation going back to 1998 and will report back on this in a few months.

The final version has been approved by the March Board meeting. It will be sent out to Local Groups in the next few weeks.

I have been on the Review Group overseeing this process. The Review Group received the final Report on 7th March and it went to the March Board meeting. The recommendations were accepted by the Board and work has started on the development of the implementation strategy. There will be meetings around the country at which Local Groups can hear more about what is planned. We expect the final strategy produced to take three or more years to implement fully, but that we should see some results much more quickly.

The Board decided it should have a vice-chair in June and asked me to take on the role. I accepted for a year, it seemed premature to accept for longer as I am up for election again in September.

I have again been involved in the selection of new Board members, for the Eastern and Cymru constituencies who have been co-opted but will have to stand for election in due course. Also for an IT specialist co-opted for his specialist knowledge, and it will be ‘his’ as we didn’t have a single female applicant.

I also sit on the Personnel committee and the major piece of work in that area has been and will be the development on a new rewards and benefit system. This is exciting as it is the first time that the organisation has used it’s new participative ways of working on an issue that affects all staff, all of whom must therefore be involved in the process. So far it seems to be going extremely well.

There are many other things that the Board has been doing, but I hope this will give you a taste of what I get up to. As always if you want to ask any questions or raise any issues with me please do contact me.

Email   tel. 0114 265 1453
220 Mansfield Rd, Intake, Sheffield S12 2AR