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 that the changes to the district society structure were so fundamental that all members should have the chance to consider and discuss the proposals.
Heady believed that instead of bringing members closer to the institute, the moves would have the opposite effect.
He claimed the changes would result in a significant loss of volunteer support which would be detrimental to the effectiveness and ability of district societies to deliver high quality local services to members.
Heady told AccountancyAge.com: ‘You can’t implement a plan like this from the top down, it has to come from the bottom up.’
Heady said that he believed that one of the driving forces behind the proposals was central control.
‘Without the district societies there will be no independent thought in the institute,’ he said.
But John Collier, secretary general of the institute, defended the proposals for the district societies.
‘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.
In October Accountancy Age revealed that as a result of the changes nearly 50 staff would be made redundant and forced to apply for new jobs in the regional structure.
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