The last twelve months has been a real challenge for the branch, and I would like to thank the majority of my colleagues for their support and guidance with all the adjustments we have had to make in a short space of time! To enable us to operate effectively and efficiently, this has obviously come at a financial cost to set up and sustain but I feel the investment has been more than worth it, with reduced travel costs and meeting costs which has countered this expenditure.
We are now spending more time on what is important, the members! This is due to the considerable reduction in traveling time to and from office space. Online meetings and communications have certainly moved the Branch forward and will continue to do so.
We have invested in a website, app, cloud storage service, cloud security service, dedicated email service, online meeting with conferencing service and an email distribution service.
The aim was and still is to improve communications with the membership, which after listening to members was one of the biggest gripes.
We have invested in our officers also, in supplying them with the equipment we demand our employers to supply if working from home.
The branch has a very healthy balance. As of 24th March 2021, the General account held E125,948.76 and the Political account held 2,449.26, making a total of €128,398.02.
We have now paid the price for Our frugalness and Our March rebate has been withheld due to going over our 12-month threshold but hopefully some of the plans in the future for learning, improved visibility and of course the battle ahead with possible industrial action will all benefit the members and reinstate the monthly rebate as soon as possible.
I can report that the audits for both 2019 and 2020 were completed in trying circumstances due to Covid with only minor improvements called for by the Auditors. I would like to thank Bob Hope and Dave Murray for their Own personal time spent on the accounts and mention that I have added their recommendations to the propositions for consideration to the AGM regarding the Constitution.
With the onset of the pandemic, we purchased hand sanitiser, masks and no touch tools to assist the members, which proved to be popular. We have recently affiliated to the local Labour party groups in our branch area and the cost of this is paid through the political account we hold.
We sadly lost a number of members over the last 24 months some of which were attributed to the pandemic. This is reflected in the increased death benefit payments we have incurred. I would like to thank Colin Winsby in his role as the Retired Members Officer in liaising with the deceased members families and myself.
With this review, I will send out the audit reports for 2019 and 2020, and a nominal code balance report for 2019 and 2020 for complete transparency of the accounts and expenditure over the last 24-month
In addition, we have purchased some new equipment to replace Old and obsolete devices and we are going to decide at the next BCCM how best to recycle and possibly donate it to a worthy cause after data cleansing it.
Finally, I would like to address a subject raised by the Branch Secretary. Our strength is our unity, and to hear of made-up notions that officers mortgages are being paid by the branch along with other irregularities, is frankly insulting. More importantly, at a time where we face our biggest challenge for more than 30 years, this is divisive and extremely damaging. It is coming from a place of self-gratification and to regain the loss of control once had.
Therefore, I ask those people intent on damaging Our cause through self interest to stop and re-assess their values.
This concludes the Finance Report for 2021. I will also send out the Financial Plan for 2021.
I will also send out the financial plan for 2021.
Yours for Consideration
Great Western Branch