23 June 2021


Neal Kinnersley was one of our branch’s delegates at the recent PCS National Conference – here he tells us how it went.

This year’s national conference was a totally different experience for delegates attending, with a virtual conference held for the first time on Sunday and Monday 13 and 14 June. Members will be aware that usually conference is held in Brighton with delegates attending there.  

For all that we missed this year – I’m a huge supporter of the good effect delegates experience in being away and debating together and being immersed in how the union works – it has to be admitted that there were many plusses to the virtual conference, with it allowing many more delegates to attend as long as they were pre-registered. It looks like this type of conference, the first to be held nationally by a union in the UK, might be the way ahead.    

This year’s PCS Welsh Government and Senedd Group AGM was also held as a conference for the first time, with slightly better attendance than previously. Seven motions passed unanimously covering issues including facility time for reps, environmental issues, support for those suffering domestic abuse and for the social model of disability, and bringing the group constitution up to date.  

Both conferences were supported by the company Cue Media whose help was essential in running the conferences smoothly. And reps had a task of getting up to speed with the new requirements of pre-registering and recording who would speak when. I even as chair had the giddy pleasure of being counted in – “Back to you in 5, 4, 3….” when I was back “on air”. But with more reps and branch members attending the extra stress of organising was well worth it.    

All branches in the group held mandating meetings and followed their mandates for the national conference, but with the setting up of a Whatsapp group, the entire group could discuss motions as they were being debated and help each other’s decisions when there wasn’t a mandate to follow. This allowed much more discussion and sharing within the group, 

All members were affected by reports of the issues at DVLA, where a solution to the ongoing dispute was apparently turned down by secretary of state for transport Grant Shapps and where staff health was put at risk. The Cardiff branch has made another payment to the DVLA hardship fund from its fundraising account. This was one of several debates where we were reminded of the hardships faced by colleagues in Whitehall departments.  

Important decisions this year were made; on the way forward for the union, including the futures of the staff we employ, working to safe and appropriate return to the office post-Covid and long Covid, support for carers and much more. These are available in the news section of the PCS website. Next year should be even better, with more ordinary members hopefully getting involved in watching the union’s decision making in action.


Darllenwch yr erthygl hon yn Gymraeg