Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Feedback from the Trustees.

If you look to your left, there is a link named ‘Ouch!’ under the heading ‘The Issue.’ The first post was a letter that I sent to all the RNID trustees some time ago which identifies my two main areas of concern. The first paragraph talks of the need for deaf people to have a say or suffrage at RNID. In respect of feedback on this issue I have some good news and bad news. Unfortunately the bad news is more recent, so I’ll start with that.

Somebody suggested to me that I contact RNID trustee, Malcolm Bruce MP because nobody amongst all the trustees is more likely to understand the importance of democracy and having a hand in your own affairs. Incidentally, Jackie Ballard has compared her role to that of an MP in the last ‘one in seven’ magazine.

My e-mail was as follows:

Dear Mr Bruce,

I'm not sure if you have received my letters to you in your capacity as RNID trustee at Featherstone Street. I am a deaf person who, amongst others, have been concerned about the disenfranchisement of deaf and hard of hearing people at RNID.

There has been some discussion of this matter by deaf people here:

Draft letter to RNID Trustees

RNID claims to represent all nine million deaf and hard of hearing people of the UK, but does not give us a say or a vote in matters which directly concern us. This excerpt from the above site explains what I would like to see implemented:

"I think, in the age of internet, there are better ways to expedite a feedback process. I see the role of trustee as rather like that of an MP – where the interests of constituents are carried forward through surgeries/consultation."

I would like to ask whether you agree that deaf people should be able to have a free say on matters which concern them and, if so, whether you will press for deaf people's suffrage at RNID.

Yours sincerely,

Although I received a very nice reply from Mr Bruce’s assistant informing me that Mr Bruce will respond, that e-mail was sent on October 12th (over two weeks ago) and I have still not heard back from him. This means that I will have to take the provisional view that Mr Bruce does not think it’s very important for deaf people to able to have a suffrage or say at their own organisation.

However, there is some good news too. Another trustee, Dr Judith Langfield, instructed the executive assistant to the chief executive to write to me to say that she will bear my comments in mind. The most promising and enthusiastic response came, unsurprisingly, from Jeff McWhinney, who thanked me for my efforts and gave me some good news on the training of deaf people at RNID senior level.

So there you have the catch so far – a bit of a mixed net.

1 comment:

MM said...

I'd be concerned about bias, can you be an RNID trustee and an MP ? Mr Bruce has been active at Westminster regarding BSL access and support,and mentioned often via the G.O.D blog, yet is a trustee of a charity that has little or no deaf representation in it... a conundrum if ever there was one, and according to Ms Ballard (A failed politician), the trustees decide on directions, not the paying membership too.