Memorandum from NFWI
TO: Federation Chairmen and Treasurers
CC: Federation Secretaries, Federation Resolution Coordinators, NFWI Trustees, Senior Staff
FROM: Alexandra Barker, Interim Research and Campaigns manager
Date: 6 August 2020
I am writing to share with you the final resolutions process timetable for 2020/21, which I attach here.
As you will be aware, the first stage of the process will run as usual with all federations and WIs able to submit resolutions to the NFWI up until 11th September.
On 1st October, federation representatives and member delegates will meet virtually to discuss the longlist of resolutions and create a shortlist. Details regarding this aspect of the process were published in a memo included in the July mailing, the July issue of WI Life and further information can be found on the main WI website and My WI.
I am pleased to inform you that the shortlist of resolution will be published on the WI websites in early November and in the late November issue of WI Life, as per previous years, for members to cast their individual votes on the resolution they support the most.
We recognise that some federations and WIs would usually meet in-person in November and December to discuss the shortlisted resolutions in order to support their members in making their decisions. As the situation surrounding Covid-19 remains uncertain, it is not clear how many WI meetings or events will need to be cancelled and we appreciate that this may cause you some concern about how you will plan for and support your members at this stage of the process.
I want to reassure you that, as detailed above, there will be resources available from the NFWI to support members in making their decisions. We hope this will minimise the pressure on federations and WIs to hold meetings if this is not feasible and enable all members to make informed selections.
However, if useful and possible, we would still encourage you to hold virtual meetings so that your members have an opportunity to discuss the resolutions if they would like to. Alternatively, if you feel comfortable and it is feasible in line with Government Covid-19 guidance, you may prefer to meet in-person. We will continue to update our meeting guidance for WIs as Government advice evolves. You can download this on My WI here: mywi.thewi.org.uk/nfwi-news/articles/resumption-of-wi-meetings
You will notice that after this point in the timetable there are some changes, which were unavoidable due to the Annual Meeting taking place several weeks earlier than usual.
Every effort has been made to ensure that regardless of this members have sufficient time to consider the resolutions throughout the process.
The main difference to note is that voting on Annual Meeting resolution/s will take place after the Annual Meeting next year, as opposed to at the meeting itself. This decision was made by the NFWI Board of Trustees to give members’ time to discuss the resolutions and decide how they wish to vote. WIs will have late April and the entire months of May and June to cast their votes, before reporting their decision/s back to the NFWI via an online form. An alternative method will be available to WIs where it is not feasible to do this digitally.
We recognise that the timing of this will mean that the 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 resolution processes will overlap. However, on balance, it was felt that altering the process for 2021, so that voting takes place after the Annual Meeting over two months, would provide members with the most time and flexibility and would therefore be the best approach.
The Public Affairs Department also considered a number of alternatives, including reducing the length of time WIs would have to cast their votes on the Annual Meeting resolution/s to just one month. Whilst this would have prevented an overlap with the following years’ process, it would likely have placed WIs under significant time pressure as they would have had a limited window (compounded by two bank holidays) within which to arrange meetings with their members. Similarly, the option to continue the usual practice of voting taking place at the Annual Meeting was considered. However, it was decided that this would not be workable as WIs would not have had sufficient time to consider the resolution/s fully and make their selections.
As this year’s resolution process will be slightly different due to Covid-19, it provides an opportunity to see whether there are more effective, inclusive and flexible ways to running the resolutions process going forward. As such, we would welcome your views and experiences throughout, to enable us to learn and continue to improve the process for following years.
Please cascade this information to WIs in your federation. It will also be circulated in the August mailing.
If you have questions or concerns about the timetable, please get in contact with the Public Affairs Department (firstname.lastname@example.org) who will be more than happy to support you.
With best wishes,
Interim Research and Campaigns Manager