Ward denies risk to district societies.

Graham Ward, president of the English ICA, was forced last week to defend himself against accusations that the institute is planning to close down its district societies.

Speaking at the institute general practitioners conference at Warwick University this week, Ward said: ‘There are 22 district societies now and there will remain 22 district societies for the foreseeable future.’

The denial came as the institute executive discussed a report on proposed modifications to the structure of the district societies, which will be debated at the next institute council meeting on 4 October.

Ward said the report reaffirmed the institute’s commitment to the district societies with more investment in staff and training. He also emphasised the long consultation process which had been undertaken to develop the new plans.

Some delegates accused the president of misleading them and creating the impression the societies were not under threat. Some claimed the outlined plan would involve a reduction in full-time staff and premises. One delegate said: ‘If you get rid of the people and the buildings, you ain’t left with much else.’

Accountancy Age will run a fuller conference report next week.

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