Society opens up debate on future membership eligibility
3rd October 2011
For the first time in its 106 year history, Benenden Healthcare is welcoming open and public debate on whether its membership should be open to all.
In a firm confirmation of the Society’s mutual values, each and every one of its membership of 900,000 will be welcome to contribute to an ongoing debate on ‘open eligibility’, primarily hosted on a new mini-site launched today, www.benendenhaveyoursay.org.uk.
The mini-site features a range of materials to help improve members’ understanding of what open eligibility means and what impact it may have on the Society if introduced. Members will then be able to comment on any articles, vote in polls and contribute to discussion topics around open eligibility.
The Society’s Committee of Management will use the debate to gauge the level of support for open eligibility amongst the wider membership and decide whether to bring a rule change proposition to the Society’s Conference in June 2012.
The exact wording of a proposed rule change would still need to be decided upon, but could potentially remove current eligibility restrictions around members being required to have worked or be working in the public sector or to be employees/members of co-operatives, credit unions and charities.
Society Secretary, Rene Fraioli said, ‘Past Conferences have proved that the concept of open eligibility is one that often elicits a lot of emotion, sensitivity and debate.
‘In a break from the norm, we held an open discussion at our Conference this year in June, with no vote taken, on the issue of future membership eligibility. The resulting views varied considerably, and we are now following that up with a wider debate amongst our entire membership.
‘As far as I know, this is the first time the Society has ever welcome wide open debate across the whole membership. I look forward to a frank exchange of views, but, importantly, expressed in a manner that embraces our mutual ethos.’
Members can also email their views to firstname.lastname@example.org.