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Annual AA Conference - Audience sitting in a conference hall in the dark

Annual Conference

To understand how our annual conference works, it helps to know a little bit about the structure of the AA.

Think of it like an upside-down pyramid.

Unlike most organisations, which are ruled from the top down, the AA takes its lead from the Fellowship – the thousands of members who regularly attend an AA group across Great Britain and English Speaking meetings in Continental Europe..

Each AA group can nominate someone to represent them at regional level. These regional representatives meet regularly; there are 16 regions in Great Britain and Continental Europe.

The AA has a charitable body, known as the General Service Board, which oversees the maintenance, legal and financial work that supports, and safeguards, the AA Fellowship. Trustees are nominated from the regional level to sit on the Board.

AA members from across Great Britain gather at the annual conference, which takes place in York, usually in April.

Individuals or groups in the AA Fellowship can raise questions they have for the conference, such as the goods and services that the General Service Board provides, and issues that affect the Fellowship as a whole . Members are kept informed of how and when to raise questions, in advance of the conference, via the AA Service News.

Members of the fellowship then discuss these questions at the conference, and so act as the ‘active voice’ and ‘group conscience’ of the Fellowship, raising any concerns, questions, or operational matters that the Fellowship may have.

The responses to these questions are drafted and published via our newsletters. Conference reports are available to download from our online Document Library.

A simple majority vote by conference is a recommendation to the board and the fellowship to put a proposal into action, whilst a 2/3rds majority is a binding recommendation on the Board to carry out the conscience of conference except when to do so would contravene the Board’s own legal and financial responsibilities.

In this way, Conference though it does not govern, serves the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous in Great Britain.

In order to safeguard the founding purpose and mission of the AA, changes can’t be made to our core principles: The Twelve Steps or Twelve Traditions without three quarters of all groups worldwide agreeing to the proposed change.