New Branch blood sought!
THE LONDON Freelance Branch meeting on Monday 11 January 2021 is our Annual General Meeting (AGM) at which LFB elects its Committee for the next year. We encourage all full members of the Branch to consider standing for the Committee.
For the Committee posts up for election, and what they entail by way of commitment, see here. (Some posts are remunerated. See the link above for details.)
The Committee includes Members without Portfolio (also known as Members at Large) to take on tasks as they arise, which also present opportunities for new members of the Committee to gain experience before perhaps moving on to other posts. At least one Member without Portfolio has indicated that paid work commitments mean they won't be standing again in 2021, so there will be vacancies.
One area in which Members Without Portfolio could assist, for example, is in the admin around preparing and co-hosting Zoom meetings while the pandemic persists. Should we begin to return to a "new normal" during 2021, we'll need Committee members to help out in finding suitable venues for face-to-face meetings again, as well as possibly needing members with the skill set to help make "hybrid meetings" work - these meetings would be part face-to-face and part virtual.
If you're hesitating, there may still be vacancies for Members Without Portfolio after the AGM, creating opportunities to stand for these posts at subsequent Branch meetings.
Job-shares in all posts are encouraged. This year there are several Branch officer posts that used to be job-shares or whose current post-holders are standing again, but in the hope that they will be joined in their post by a job-sharing co-pilot. In most cases, they'd be happy to continue taking on most of the work of the post, with their job-sharing co-pilot just offering a bit of support when needed.
Our current Chair, Matt Salusbury, was elected unopposed at the beginning of this year on the understanding it would be a job-share, but his job-share has since had to resign due to more paid work commitments. Our present Secretary, Tim Gopsill, also finds himself flying solo in what was a job-share as his co-Secretary has stepped down as he nears retirement.
Both Matt and Tim are happy to stand for Chair and Secretary again this year. They would, however, really appreciate a job-share to stand with them to share some of the responsibilities when needed.
Our thanks to Nick Reynaud-Komiya for his work both as co-Chair and job-share Membership Officer this year, and to Tony Levene for the work he's put in as job-share Secretary this year.
Current Membership and New Members' Secretary Phil Sutcliffe is in a similar position. He's putting himself up for re-election for next year, although his job-share has resigned and some help sharing the post would be appreciated, especially as a welcome surge in asylum-seeker membership applications has added to the paperwork.
Helen Hague, current Training Officer, is standing again and seeking a job-share to help out – particularly someone with digital skills. Jenny Vaughan, our present Treasurer, has also announced she is seeking re-election. Jenny would like a co-treasurer to gradually take over the work of entering data into Branch accounts on Excel, at least up until the accounts are submitted to the NUJ in October. She's happy to provide virtual training, while the Branch will pay for a subscription to Excel for a co-Treasurer if they haven't got a licence already.
We currently have one Welfare Officer, Tim Dawson (also on the Union's National Executive Committee). Tim has also been flying solo this year. Given the volume of requests for assistance in this pandemic year, another Welfare Officer would be appreciated. Due to the very personal nature of a lot of issues about which members approach Welfare Officers for help, LFB has traditionally tried to have one female and one male Welfare Officer where possible.
While the Committee all need to be full members, there is a vacant post for a Student Representative on the Committee with observer status, to champion the interests of the increasing number of Student Members in our Branch, and work with the Committee's team that organise LFB events with schools of journalism.
The current LFB Committee contacts are here. Feel free to get in touch with anyone on the Committee if you are thinking of standing and have questions.
If you are considering standing, contact the Branch Secretaries via the Committee contacts link above, or come along to the AGM in the Zoom equivalent of "in person".
The Committee meets every third Monday of the month, currently via Zoom. In the event that Committee meetings become face-to-face again, the venue (probably in WC1) is to be confirmed and Committee members will be reimbursed travel expenses for meetings.
We also need to elect two auditors (not current Committee members) to scrutinise LFB's annual accounts. One candidate has come forward already.
The Branch may also at some point after the AGM need to elect delegates for the NUJ's stripped-down Delegate Meeting (DM, its conference). This will probably held online sometime in the first half of 2021 - after the April 2020 DM was cancelled due to you-know-what. As the NUJ's biggest branch we normally have nine delegates, although DM 2021 is likely to be different. Watch the Freelance for an announcement of elections of LFB delegates to DM.