Members who attended our spring meeting in March were given an update on IA’s restructuring plans and how they would affect our Swindon group should they be endorsed by local member organisations at this year’s National Council Meeting held in April.
I can now tell you that IA’s plans to convert from an unincorporated charity into a charitable company limited by guarantee at national level were overwhelmingly endorsed by local member organisations.
In addition, the National Executive Committee’s proposals to offer new contracts (and they are legally binding contracts) to member organisations of either branch or affiliate status were also overwhelmingly endorsed.
So, where does all that leave Swindon IA?
Well, at the present we are being “encouraged” to choose an option without delay.
However, Swindon is in a unique position in that our current constitution states that our beneficiaries are ‘ostomists’ rather than solely ileostomists. With the support of members, we applied to the Charity Commission in 1996 for this amendment, which was granted as it better reflected our membership - both then and now.
At our summer meeting, our chairman will be presenting a PowerPoint presentation featuring the three main options being offered to us:
1/ Branch status were we effectively hand over the responsibility of running Swindon IA to the national body, thereby surrendering our autonomous charity status.
2/ Affiliated status. Although retaining our autonomous charity status there would be restrictions with more central control.
3/ Leave the IA network and continue as a local ostomy patient support group charity.