Support to Members
Assembly members received a gift of thanks of £200 for attendance at each of the weekends 1 to 4. All travel and subsistence costs were reimbursed and accommodation was provided. The move online significantly reduced the formal time involved in Assembly attendance, but in recognition of the extended duration of the commitment and the preparation required, a gift of thanks of £150 was provided for attendance at each of the four online weekends.
Maintaining relationships with members and providing them with a high level of support were key responsibilities of the Secretariat. Survey data from members gathered during Assembly weekends shows that members consistently felt supported during the Assembly process, with between 94% – 98% of respondents feeling ‘very satisfied’, or ‘satisfied’ with the support and assistance provided by the Secretariat across Assembly weekends (Member Survey, weekends 1-7).
Members support needs were identified at the beginning of the process and arrangements put in place to ensure everyone was able to fully participate. These arrangements ranged from the provision of additional resources to cover the costs of caring responsibilities, such as childcare or personal assistants to attend meetings to support individual members, and the provision of materials in large print. In addition to these measures, steps were taken to work closely with members who required other support. A safeguarding policy and procedure was set in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all members during the in person and online meetings.
Moving the Assembly online brought additional challenges, including around access to equipment and the internet. These issues are likely to be very important for similar initiatives in the future.