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Glossary of terms

PI Public Information

‘Public Information (PI) in AA means carrying the message of recovery to the still suffering alcoholic by informing the general public about the AA programme. We do this by getting in touch with the media managers, Welfare Officers in industry and the Trades’ Unions, Schools and indeed any organisation of a public nature whether it be organised or voluntary, which is in a position to pass on the knowledge of the existence of AA and what it can do for the still suffering alcoholic.

‘This includes giving talks to doctors, nurses, social services, police, magistrates, community groups, business groups, schools, colleges and trade and professional unions and associations. Open and public meetings, exhibitions, displays, posters, newspapers, magazines, radio and television also come under the heading of PI.

‘Experience has shown that intergroup and regions are the bodies that can most usefully discuss PI matters and from which one or more PI committees can be formed.’ Service Handbook, p. 18

PI Officer

Public Information Officer:

a service position at group, intergroup and region


The PI officer is elected by their group, intergroup or region to carry AA’s message to all those organizations that are not being covered by sector-specific officers, i.e. those organizations that do not come under Health, Prisons, Probation, Employment, Armed Services or Young People. At intergroup level, a PI officer will typically coordinate with these other officers, take on tasks for which these officers don’t have capacity, or where an officer role is vacant. At group level, the PI officer will cover these areas themselves. If a list of organizations in the local area doesn’t already exist, PI officers will usually draw one up, and set about contacting them by phone, email, and in person, to offer literature, and to speak to staff about AA. A PI officer will often also recruit volunteers from the local meetings to deliver talks and help with making contacts. The Regional PI Officer supports the intergroup PI officers by helping them coordinate their activity, by offering experience and advice, and by taking responsibility for region-wide organizations that cross intergroup boundaries.



An intergroup is comprised of ‘GSRs – Group Service Representatives – from all AA groups within specific areas, [who] meet together in order that they may coordinate local activities such as public information, telephone and prison services.’ Structure Handbook, p. 5

Intergroups typically meet once every two months, where they elect officers who carry out the intergroup’s functions and where these officers report back on their activity. As well as a Chair, Secretary and Treasurer, these officers include a PI Officer, as well Health, Prisons, Probation, Employment, Armed Services and Young People’s Liaison Officers. Any alcoholic may attend intergroup, but right to vote on matters is reserved to GSRs of participating groups and elected officers. The main functions of Intergroup are to arrange insurance cover for the groups in the intergroup area, coordinate PI activities through a PI officer and other designated officers, and receive money from groups, which is passed down to region. Intergroups may create subcommittees to oversee conventions or other activities that should be coordinated between groups.


Young Person’s Liaison Officer

a service position at Intergroup and Region level

YPLOs are elected by their intergroup or region to carry AA’s message to organizations that encounter young alcoholics. A Young Person in AA is ‘someone who came into AA at the age of 30 or younger, and so will have experience of getting sober at a young age, the better to relate to the particular problems faced by young people seeking to live sober…YPLOs will work closely with other service officers, in particular those in Public Information,’ to help carry the message of recovery to young alcoholics.

YPLOs may invite young members of AA in their intergroup area to collaborate with them in carrying the message. The YPLO will typically draw up a list of institutions to contact – particularly schools, universities, and youth organisations – and set about making contact via email, telephone, and in person, offering to send AA literature, and to talk to staff members, as well as the young people themselves, about what AA is and how it may be able to help. They will then typically assign young AA members to give talks, have a presence at welfare events, and talk to staff.


An assembly of intergroup representatives covering a geographical area


AA Great Britain (including English Speaking Continental Europe) is divided into sixteen geographical areas, called ‘regions’. A region is ‘an assembly of neighbouring intergroups…in a convenient geographical location with common internal and external interests.’ Structure Handbook p. 91

The aims of each region are:

‘To promote communication and cooperation between neighbouring intergroups, thus implementing our Tradition of Unity and creating service boards or committees where needed
‘To ensure that the region recognise areas that are sparsely served by the Fellowship do not remain isolated but become part of that region’s responsibility
‘To share intergroup experience in the field of co-operation with outside agencies, prisons, health services, schools, social services, alcohol abuse agencies, churches, courts, Probation Service (Criminal Justice Services in Scotland), industry, and any other appropriate institutions and areas of society
‘To increase opportunity for members to participate in our Third Legacy of Service
‘To enable members with particular experience to serve a wider area’
Structure Handbook, pp. 91 – 92

London Region North (LRN)

the assembly of intergroup representatives covering North London


London Region North, or simply ‘Region’, is used to refer to the Committee, Assembly, and subcommittees of London Region North, which supports eleven intergroups.

In forming London Region North, GSRs from all the meetings in the region, plus two representatives from each intergroup, are invited to attend regional assemblies, which are held three times a year.
One assembly takes place before Conference in spring (pre-conference assembly); another after Conference (post-conference assembly); and the Annual Assembly takes place in the autumn.
At these assemblies, officers are elected to the Region Committee, which coordinates PI activities in the region, oversees the region’s budget and administers the region other tasks. The Assembly also elects delegates to represent the region’s groups at Conference in York.
The Region Committee receives surplus funds from intergroups, makes use of some of this money to conduct PI in the region and cover the region’s expenses, and passes all surplus to York. Regional officers form subcommittees which perform PI activities, supervise conventions, and organize regional events, such as the annual service workshop.
Region officers attend meetings in York with regional officers from other AA GB regions, to share experience and coordinate activity.
The term ‘York’ is used to refer to a number of different entities which are based at or meet in the city of York.

These entities include:

The General Service Office of AA Great Britain (GSO)
The Annual Conference of AA Great Britain (Conference)
Numerous national subcommittee meetings of various the PI disciplines
Numerous seminars attended by intergroup and regional liaison officers
People can mean different things when they speak of going to York (for a subcommittee meeting), or suggest you ask York (by which they may mean GSO), or say something was decided at York (meaning the at the Annual AA Conference).


The AA Structure Handbook uses the terms ‘Group Service Representative,’ and ‘General Service Representative’ when referring to the role of GSR. The GSR is the link between the group and AA as a whole, representing their group conscience at Intergroup, and in the case of London Region North, at Region. In practice, this means that GSRs typically attend intergroup and region meetings, vote on matters on behalf of their group, and put themselves forward for officer positions. They will then normally report back to their groups the activities at Intergroup, Region and Conference, alert group members of service opportunities, and encourage members into service below group level.

This document is based on the 2020-11-28 YPLO Starter Guide, by Nico P.