District society row intensifies.

The row over the future of the English ICA’s 22 district societies has intensified after it emerged two members are trying to force the institute to hold an extraordinary general meeting to discuss reforms, writes Philip Smith.

Don Heady and Noel Kelleway of the South Essex society are seeking to raise 1,250 signatures to force the institute to hold a meeting to debate the planned moves to replace the societies with 10 regional organisations.

Heady, a former institute council member and past South Essex society president, said the planned changes to the district society structure were so fundamental that all members should have the chance to consider and discuss them.

He claims the changes would result in a significant loss of volunteer support for the institute.

He said: ‘You can’t implement a plan like this from the top down, it has to come from the bottom up.’

‘Without the district societies there will be no independent thought in the institute,’ he added. But John Collier, secretary general of the institute, defended the changes.

‘The plan confirms our continuing commitment to the vital role of the 22 district societies. I believe that is why nearly all district society presidents have indicated their support for the regional project.

‘We cannot see any gain for our members in spending some #100,000 of their money on an EGM which will merely reconfirm these points,’ said Collier.

Related reading