The institute’s Northern Society has already made its media relations manager redundant due to financial pressures. Other districts fear they will soon be forced to follow suit.
Despite assurances from the institute that its plans to introduce the business centres would not affect the district societies’ existence, one district member said: ‘We see it as a creeping cancer.’
The working party recommended that societies should remain the main local interface with members with business centres set up to provide administrative support.
‘The institute will manage the human resources aspects and bear any financial arrangements which may be necessary for staff who do not have a role in the new structure,’ the working party report said.
But Simon Lundy, president of the Northern Society and senior partner at Sunderland-based firm Jennings Johnson, warned the plans would not bring the institute closer to its members as was intended.
‘Regional business centres will be working for London, not for us in the districts,’ he said.
The societies have been on activity based funding which runs out on 31 December 2000. Some members fear the loss of funding could spell the end of societies’ current role as the business centres gear up for full implementation.
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