June’s election is exactly why we need you to support the Political Fund

Published: 09 May 2017 Ezine

The announcement of a ‘snap’ general election is a good example of why it is important that the Society has a Political Fund.

For the Society to continue to campaign on the issues important to members and patients during the so-called ‘regulated’ period leading up to UK elections means registering with the Electoral Commission. This is not open to us as a trade union unless we have a Political Fund in place and operating.

Election campaigning law is highly complex and during these regulated periods in the run-up to UK general elections and elections to the devolved assemblies/governments, there are costs that can only be met from a separate fund financed by the voluntary contributions of members - the union’s general funds cannot be used for this purpose.

Last year, members voted to set-up a Political Fund and you are invited to contribute to ensure that we are not ‘gagged’ in raising issues such as the NHS, staff pay and conditions in the critical period before an election.

If you go to www.sor.org/sor-political-fund there is more information about the Fund and a simple form to complete. The cost is only £2.40 a year.

Later this year we will be required to ask members to make changes to the Fund. The initial legislation in the Trade Union Act 2016 was vague as to the ‘transition period’ during which unions with a political fund would have to implement the changes. This has now been resolved.

Consequently, we have had to amend the Society’s Political Fund rules and are required to have them approved by the Trade Union Certification Officer before submitting them to members for formal adoption. We’ll let you know how that process will be taken forward.

Most importantly, none of this stops us building the Fund.

I appeal to you to become a contributor. The cost is only £2.40 per year. It is very easy. Go towww.sor.org/sor-political-fund

The unexpected election scheduled for 8 June shows why it is so important for the Society to be prepared.

We will be responding to the issues that are important to our members. In future, we will only be able to do that in the critical period before an election if we have a strong Political Fund, supported by members.

A 30-second guide to the SoR Political Fund

·      If the Society wants to register with the Electoral Commission to campaign on issues such as the NHS in the period before a general election, or an election for the devolved parliaments/assemblies, money used to fund specific elements of such a campaign must not come from the union’s general funds.

·      The Society has a Political Fund that will be used to pay for the key campaign activities leading up to an election.

·      Members contribute to the Fund on a voluntary basis. It has no relationship to your Society membership subscription.

·      The voluntary contribution is £2.40 a year.

·      It’s easy to sign-up. Go to www.sor.org/sor-political-fund