Options for a new RDS

The society‘s national executive is looking at ways to make RDS more effective.

One idea is to find the resources to employ another person who could co-ordinate campaigning.

According to a report compiled by RDS treasurer David Butterworth that is not yet possible given the slender financial resources we have to rely on.

But executive officer Nat Taplin has come up with an idea which could allow him to concentrate on promotion and membership recruitment while allowing other resources to be earmarked for a campaigns officer.

A new campaigns commitee, could be set up, possibly based on one or more of the society‘s existing committees.

The executive is keen, however, that all the change going on in the rail industry and in the society itself is harnessed to enable the healthy body of volunteer campaigners we already have to campaign more effectively.

The aim is to give more elbow to the society‘s local branches and to the many rail user groups who look to RDS for support and encouragement.

One early suggestion that the society‘s specialist committees should be abolished to free resources for a campaigns officer has met with powerful opposition.

The importance of the committees in providing support in depth has been emphasised. They also provide forums where rail activists can co-operate..

The importance of the branches has also been recognised and ways are now being devised to strengthen them and make them more effective. While options for change are being considered, the society is continuing to be pro-active in promoting the rail cause.

Nat Taplin has been preparing a response to the White Paper on Integrated Transport and national executive member John Stewart with help from Jonathan Bray and others has been producing an excellent package of briefing papers for campaigners. Early copies were available at the National Rail Users Conference in London on 26 September. Later they will also be available from Nat Taplin and for downloading from our worldwide web site on the internet.

National executive member Jonathan Bray will also be organising a series of regional forums for campaigners to discuss how best to take advantage of the new climate following the White Paper.

In addition, to ensure that all members and activists can take a proper part in discussions over the future of the society, a series of branch meetings is being organised from November to January at which the issues can be raised.

And a members‘ questionnaire was included with the current Railwatch issue.

The society may also commission research into how RDS can best broaden its appeal and take a more influential position within the alliance of other campaign groups.

We need to be more professional while maintaining the power of our voluntary campaigners.

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