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Linking Support Groups: Statement on the Proposed Confederation

Personal Statement from Jo Anne Brown
on the proposed
Confederation of UK Support Groups

It is not disputed that a similar idea for an umbrella organisation for support groups emerged at the same time last year. The Support Group Network was put into being more than 8 months ago and now has 20 groups in 8 countries as members. All members have the freedom to bring any ideas to the Network and have all opportunities to get as involved as they wish in areas that are of interest to them. Regrettably, the offer to join the Network has been rejected by DAWN.

By creating a second organisation with similar goals could dilute the collective voice of targets, especially in the UK, and effectively remove the raison d'etre. Although a steering group is under consideration to be set up to discuss any such aims and objectives that a Confederation may have, there could be few potential differences between what a second organisation could offer over and above the Networks published aims, except for the stated DAWN directive that it would include UK groups only.

I am personally disappointed about what appears to be the ‘politicisation’ of fighting the good fight and feel that targets of bullying should be supported and represented with a united and inclusive front in order to be effective. Discussions to find a mutual resolution between the two have so far been unproductive, in fact plans to create a Confederation appear fixed regardless, and so making my attendance at any meeting irrelevant. Furthermore, the London Support Group is not in any position to resource any effort in a Confederation, unless a clear case of added benefit over and above the Network could be established, of which the LSG is a member.

With such a clear determination to forge ahead with a second organisation, the following key questions need to be answered at the meeting on the 24th April 2004, if the Confederation is to be understood by support groups and targets in the UK:

Why do the supporters of a Confederation feel there is a need to create a second organisation when the umbrella of the Network is already in existence?

If the Confederation is to be different from the Network, why is dual membership not being considered by DAWN?

If it is suggested by its supporters that the Confederation is to be the same or similar to the Network, why is there a need for this second organisation?

Specific to the UK, the Network has 70% of known support groups as members. If a second organisation is created, who will it claim to speak on behalf of? Furthermore, can you make an assurance that it will speak on behalf of all targets? How will the confederation represent UK support groups if a large majority of support groups choose not to, or are not able to, duplicate the effort and resources needed to be members of both? And if groups don't join both, how can it truly be a 'Confederation' of UK support groups?

Rather than set up a second organisation, would it be more appropriate for a focus group specific to UK campaigning be set up within the Network, so that all support groups may be involved in the most resource efficient way? Are there specific reasons why the supporters of a confederation feel they could not work from within the Network effectively to the same ends?

This statement was issued on 21st April 2004 to the management committee of DAWN, all internet forums where UK targets may be members, members of the Support Group Network and the London Support Group. It is hoped that by issuing this statement in advance of the meeting, a constructive discussion will produce an outcome that will benefit all targets of workplace bullying and their support groups.

Any response to this statement will be published here.

As of 29/7/04 there is no published outcome of the meeting, nor any direct response to the issues raised in this statement.

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Email jo@jfo.org.uk

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