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GUIDING PRINCIPLES Reviewed September 2013
1) North Yorkshire Intergroup – Purposes and Aims.
An Intergroup is ‘any number of A.A. groups who exercise their voluntary choice to affiliate together in order to aid their common purpose of carrying the message to the still-suffering alcoholic’.
By using their combined strength and unity they attempt to improve and maintain good relations with all organisations in the community, such as hospitals, prisons and probation services, family doctors and clergy, business, work-places and the media.
In addition, they can provide a two-way channel of information and service between all the groups within the area. With this aim in mind, Conference has recommended that each group within an Intergroup area should appoint a suitably experienced member to represent it on the Intergroup; and that Intergroups should meet regularly, wherever possible six times per year.
Because each group remains autonomous, the Trusted Servants of an Intergroup are there to assist and co-ordinate these aims as part of the overall service structure of the Fellowship in the hope that our combined experience, strength and hope may further the developing and carrying of this message.
The A.A. Service Handbook for Great Britain of April 1998 suggests in Guideline no. 4 that an Intergroup can help in all these aims.
North Yorkshire Intergroup is attempting to follow Guideline no. 4 in all its suggestions. This document is intended merely to augment and clarify the detailed mechanics of running an Intergroup whilst remaining in keeping with the spirit of the Fellowship and the Traditions.
1) North Yorkshire Intergroup – Structure
General Service Representatives.
Each group within North Yorkshire Intergroup (NYIG) may elect a member to serve as its General Service Representative (GSR) at NYIG. It is suggested that any such member should have at least two years continuous sobriety. The G.S.R. may vote in secret ballots where necessary for his or her group and make decisions at Intergroup meetings on their behalf. It is desirable that each group should also select an alternate representative in case the G.S.R. is unable to attend at any Intergroup meeting; such alternate may vote on behalf of their group only when the G.S.R. is absent. Observers are welcome to attend at all Intergroup meetings but may not vote and may only express their views at the invitation of the Chairperson.
Any group wishing to participate in the NYIG is invited to register both the group’s and the G.S.R’s details with the Secretary to facilitate communication by post or e-mail. NYIG recognises the autonomous right of any group within the North Yorkshire area to join another Intergroup or indeed not to join any Intergroup at all.
The NYIG officers are:
Officers should ideally have at least two years continuous sobriety and should serve for not less than two or more than three years upon election. Careful consideration should be given to staggered rotation so that in the interest of continuity all Officers do not terminate their service at the same time. Members may be co-opted if any vacancies occur among the officers before the expiry of their term of office; in such circumstances the co-opted member, along with any others, could be recognised for formal nomination and possible election to the postat the next meeting of Intergroup. Officers may also co-opt members for specific purposes such as organising workshops or public meetings and may also form sub-committees for specific purposes.
d. Trusted Servants
Intergroup may also elect Trusted Servants for other positions such as:
Employment Liaison Officer
Health Liaison Officer
Prison Liaison Officer
Probation Liaison Officer
Public Information Officer
Share Liaison Officer
Telephone Liaison Officer
but only after these vacancies in service have been notified to the groups. NYIG will issue a clear outline of each role with reference to NYIG’s ‘The Role and Duties of Principal Officers and Trusted Servants’ as well as the relevant guideline when such vacancies occur, in order that the groups and their nominees clearly understand the duties and responsibilities involved in such positions.
All Trusted Servants, when rotating out of office, should ideally not serve again as a Trusted Servantfor a period of one year. All Trusted Servants of NYIG should forward a written report to the Secretary in time for such reports to be forwarded to the groups with the agenda.
In accordance with Conference policy, NYIG affirms and supports the appointment of a non-rotational Archivist to support the Regional and National Archival activity.
‘An Intergroup Trusted Servant or Officer is accountable to Intergroup. If a Trusted Servant or Officer of Intergroup fails to attend for two consecutive meetings without reasonable explanation, he or she should understand that the position will be assumed to be vacant and nominations sought.’
2) North Yorkshire Intergroup – Procedures
Frequency of Meetings
NYIG will meet four times per year. These four meetings will include an A.G.M. at which the Treasurer’s accounts shall be presented and reviewed having been independently audited by an Intergroup or Regional Treasurer, together with an Intergroup Inventory. ‘Ad hoc’ inspections of Intergroup accounts may also be made by any two Group Treasurers at any time. Additionally, NYIG may organise workshops on specific topics from time to time
The Secretary is responsible for notifying each participating group of the dates of Intergroup meetings and workshops as well as providing agendas, minutes, notifications of vacancies, and nominations so that there is ample time for each group to discuss the contents and for the Group Service Representative (GSR) to be informed by their group conscience.
NYIG recognises the right of each constituent group to scrutinise nominations for Officer and Trusted Servant positions in advance of election to such positions. Ideally nominations and supporting information should be included with the agenda materials prior to an Intergroup meeting. Nominations received at Intergroup meetings and which have not been pre-notified to groups are acceptable but such nominees, if elected, would have to be endorsed at the subsequent meeting of Intergroup. Such individuals would be fully mandated and encouraged to carry out their duties as Officer or Trusted Servants ‘elect’ in the interim period. Groups and individuals should not however be discouraged from presenting further nominations in this interim period.
Nominees should provide a proposer, the endorsement of their home group, and a summary of their sobriety and service history. It is strongly suggested that nominees also need a sound working knowledge of the Big Book, the 12 and 12 and other A.A. literature such as ‘A.A. Comes of Age’ and the pamphlet ‘The Group Handbook’, and that they should be prepared to familiarise themselves with the latest edition of the A.A. Service Handbook for Great Britain.
Nominees are expected to attend the Intergroup meeting at which their nomination is being considered; Failure to attend will lead to deferral of the election process or the possible election of an alternative candidate at that meeting.’
Elections for all Officer and Trusted Servant positions (with the exception of Archivist which is non-rotational) will be conducted by paper ballot and by simple majority where two candidates are standing for election. When more than two candidates are standing for election, in the event of an overall majority for one candidate ie when one candidate receives more votes than the combined votes of all the other candidates, the winning candidate is appointed. If this is not the case and there is no overall majority for one candidate, the candidate with the lowest number of votes drops out and a re-vote takes place on the basis of a simple majority vote. Those eligible to vote include all GSR’s or their alternates, and Trusted Servants. No individual may have more than one vote.
Trusted Servants should not be out of pocket as a result of their service work, and therefore any reasonable out-of-pocket expenses are to be promptly reimbursed by the Treasurer.
In keeping with the aims and traditions of the Fellowship, NYIG trusts that group consensus will follow from most of the discussions at the Intergroup meetings, underlining the whole ethos of our Fellowship and ensuring that minority opinion is heard and considered.
Whilst NYIG recognises that Intergroup meetings are business meetings and should therefore be conducted in a businesslike fashion having particular regard to the guidance in the Traditions and the Concepts, NYIG endorses Guideline 17: ‘Personal Conduct Matters’ and does not tolerate bullying, harassment, or discriminatory behaviour in any form at its meetings.
NYIG shall be free to consider the updating of these Guiding Principles in light of future knowledge, suggestions from Conference, new technology or for any other reason. Therefore, these guiding principles are to be reviewed annually by NYIG at the A.G.M., although they can be amended or updated at any Intergroup meeting, subject to ratification at the next A.G.M.