THE COMBINED ARMED FORCES FEDERATION UK (CAFF UK)
2nd ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING UNION JACK CLUB WATERLOO Tuesday 6th JUNE, 2006. LAWRENCE ROOM 2.00 P.M.
- Minute’s Silence in Remembrance. Apologies Treasurer’s Report Membership Report Publicity Officer 's Report Secretary General’s Report:
- Vote of thanks to the Executive Committee Progress Report and Annual Report Membership's Letters Research - Lauren Griffin Funding - Charity and Lottery Support from MPs Approach from AFPG Media Support and Recruitment
- COBSEO - Membership and FORUM attendance 2006 (The Confederation of British Services and Ex Services Organisations)
- Date of next AGM
Members please note, future AGMs will always be held on the second Wednesday in May in the Union Jack Club, Waterloo. Any changes to this will be posted on the Internet Web site. Further information included in Report. Always let the Secretary General know in writing if attending please!
|David Robson (Secretary General)|
|Chris Watkin (Treasurer & Chairman)|
|Michael Kennedy (Publicity Officer)|
|Frank Rixon BEM (Membership Secretary)|
|Margaret Derham||Ray Drinkwater|
|F Brunt||Bob James|
|T Whitley||Cecil Taylor|
|David Lee||Roy Lloyd|
|F C Poole||Patrick Hunt|
|Reg Wheeler||Malcolm Lee|
|William Phillips||Veronica McCurdy|
|Rosalie Sheridan||Elizabeth Robinson|
|Ian Hunter||Peter Bettany|
|Tom Watson||Pauline Scott|
|Tony Wheeler||David Grundy|
The Chairman led the meeting in one minutes’ silence in Remembrance of Colleagues and those who have fallen in defence of the people of our Country.
Apologies: were received and recorded
- Treasurer’s Report: The Treasurer presented the accounts and expenses sheet for the year to March 2006 and reported that approximately £11,000 was currently held in Deposit and Current accounts.
Annual renewals were regularly being received from Members whose membership was due for renewal each month, although there were a number who were either choosing not to renew or who were simply overlooking their reminders - this is running at approximately 5% of the membership.
Some direct assistance had been given to the widow of a Member in this country and SSAFA had been contacted to assist relatives of two members who had passed away abroad. No-one had sought to make use of the additional services offered on the Registration Form.
The liaison between the Membership Secretary and the Treasurer was working well with regular receipts each Saturday of new member registrations, cheques and standing order forms. The Registration Form had been amended, recently, to allow members to choose (in addition) to pay by standing order just once per annum (£24,.00). Although Standing Order arrangements entailed additional work initially, they were much easier to manage at renewal and members were encouraged to use this facility, in future. He recommended that annual subscriptions be maintained at £24.00 (or £2.00 per month) which was agreed.
In conclusion, the Treasurer was pleased to be able to present accounts which demonstrated that the Federation was now in a strong position financially, compared to when he took over some two years ago. He regretted though that the pressures of his personal business affairs now meant that he had to relinquish these duties.
A Vote of Thanks was moved by the Secretary General and it was agreed that Michael Kennedy (Publicity Officer) be appointed as the new Treasurer.
Members present were pleased to hear that Frank Rixon was now recovering from his recent hospital admission and that membership now stood at c. 750 world-wide with new members increasing at a rate of between 6 and 10 each week.
A Vote of Thanks was moved by the Secretary General for all the hard work and commitment given by Frank Rixon, together with the Good Wishes of the meeting to both he and his wife.
Publicity Officer’s Report: Michael Kennedy presented his Report and referred to his attendance at the Veteran’s Forum and the resulting networking opportunities which were greatly valued. He referred to opportunities to be considered in terms of MP sponsorship and the industrial/commercial letters for sponsorship which had been the cause of much discussion at the last AGM. He also referred to the publicity recently given to the British Armed Forces Federation which appeared to be setting up in parallel to our organisation:
At the Veterans’ Forum Michael was able to discuss with several Senior Service Officers, references to recent articles in the press regarding the pros and cons of any means of representation for the Armed Forces in relation to conditions of service, especially legal and financial. The conclusion seemed to be our Federation had a long way to go before the “top brass” and politicians could be persuaded.
Associated Issues: General sir Michael Walker, Chief of Defence Staff, commented before a Commons Select Committee that: “A Federation would weaken the chain of command and undermine the effectiveness of the military.” Mr Don Touhig MP, Deputy Defence Minister and Minister for Veterans, agreed ! (I wonder which Union sponsored Mr Touhig to become an MP? They would say that, wouldn’t they, especially if it highlighted any incompetence in the Senior Ranks or by Government Ministers! – comments by the Secretary General).
Michael also discussed the future possibilities of MP sponsorship with a Group Captain Andrew Ades. He suggested that this was something to which the Federation should give some serious consideration. He was also able to clear up an area of confusion, raised by Mr Attlesey, regarding a pension issue related to superannuation credits. For the benefit of our Membership, both Graduated and Superannuation deductions made during service in the Armed Forces are taken into account when establishing the levels of the State Retirement Pension.
Advice was offered to Jimmy Lloyd, prior to an interview with his MP (Mr G Hoon). However, as predicted, Mr Hoon was not sympathetic towards the pro-rata pension claim unless it could be shown that contributions had been made. This is a contentious issue, of course, as the Federation intends to demonstrate.
A request from Colin Grigg regarding the question of pro-rata pension provision for those leaving the Armed Forces prior to 1975 - we will welcome his support as a Member and keep him up to date. Membership details are on our Website: www.caffuk.org.uk
- The Secretary General be requested to pursue informal talks with the British Armed Forces Federation, with a view to mutual assistance
- Sponsorship letters be reconsidered when the Secretary General’s Report is ready for publication
- The Publicity Officer be thanked for his Report and his attendance at the Veterans’ Forum
- Secretary General’s Report: The Secretary General expressed his thanks for the excellent support he had received over the year from members of the Executive Committee and stated that, in future, the AGM will be held on the second Wednesday in May at The Union Jack Club (London), unless changes were published on the website. As in the past, only Members without an email address will be sent copies of relevant papers through the normal postal services.
Correspondence had been received from a number of Members, explaining their position (and thanks to the Federation) which had been most helpful and encouraging in assisting the Secretary General to formulate a clear view of the problems which were being experienced.
Much of the Research had now been completed, thanks to the assistance of Lauren Griffin who had been employed to assist from funds which had been made available through membership subscriptions – it was anticipated that there was still some additional work to be undertaken and it was hoped that Lauren could continue to assist when she returned from, holiday in South America.
The Federation was now in membership of COBSEO (The Confederation of British Service and Ex Service Organisations) and this had provided an opportunity for Michael Kennedy (Publicity Officer) to attend a recent meeting and place the Federation at the forefront of discussions taking place with regard to the future of pensions for ex servicemen. He had also been able to liaise with ex Senior Officers of the Armed Forces and place Government representatives and MPs on notice of our intentions.
The Secretary General drew attention to the fact that ex Servicemen, as represented by the Federation, were the only public sector “workers” who had been consistently ignored by the lack of pension provision by this present, and previous, Governments. His Research was now well on the way to a Conclusion which would clearly demonstrate this. However, he was anxious not to divulge too much, at this stage, since he was fearful less the impact may become diluted, before a formal presentation of his Report to the MOD.
The applications for both charitable status and lottery funding had been unsuccessful which had been very disappointing because of all the work these applications had entailed.
The Federation had been approached by another Armed Forces Pensions Group with a view to a merger since it appears that their efforts (and, it was believed) their finances had been absorbed by legal fees which seemed to have benefited the lawyers, rather than its members. Whereas the officers of the Federation were positive about the benefits of such a merger, no further discussions had taken place.
Media reports had been positive over the last twelve months with the Secretary General appearing in newspapers and on radio local to him in the Hampshire area. Additionally, a local newspaper editor in Essex had also offered to print an advertisement for the Federation, as a result of media interest. This had led to some additional enquiries about membership.
Members present were promised a Draft Report by September for their consideration, prior to formal approaches being made to the MOD.
- The Secretary General be sincerely thanked for his report and for the encouragement which this had given to the members present.
- The Secretary General be requested to pursue informal talks with the Armed Forces Pension Group, and the British Armed Forces Federation, with a view to mutual assistance
- Members present consider where the Robin Day programme in which he interviewed the Rt Hon James Callaghan might be found. Suggestions were made that this would have been either 1962/63 or 1974.
- Date and Time of next AGM: Agreed: Wednesday 9th May 2007
The meeting closed with Members present thanking the Executive Committee, on behalf of all Members, for all their work over the past year.