IFF RepresentativesManual

Developed for the Assembly May 1995, Revised April-May 1999

 

Contents

1. introduction: The IFF Assembly

1.1 The Assembly Cycle
1.2 The Federation Cycle

2. Before the Assembly

2.1 Preparation for the Assembly Process
2.2 Orientation
2.3 Preparation for your role as a Representative for your member organisation
2.4 Preparing for your role as a Committee or Working Group member
2.5 Helping the international community to prepare
2.6 Putting Items on the Agenda of the IFF Assembly

3. At the Assembly

3.1 Functions of the Assembly
3.2 Assembly Logistics
3.3 Working and Networking
3.4 Language, Talking, Listening and Clarification
3.5 Assembly Process
3.6 Proposals
3.7 Voting
3.8 Committees and Working Groups
3.9 Finances

4. After the Assembly and During the Year

4.1 Reporting to your Organisation’s Committee
4.2 Reporting to your Organisation’s Membership
4.3 Ensuring that there is an IFF Contact Person
4.4 Ensuring the IFF has Up-to-date Contact Information
4.5 Ensuring your Organisation responds to IFF communications
4.6 Ensuring Working Groups and Committees are effective
4.7 Preparing for the Next Assembly

5. And the IFF?

 

1. introduction: The IFF Assembly

The IFF Assembly is the main discussion, sharing, planning and decision making meeting of the IFF. It is the time when the IFF is most fully embodied. It is the only time when the Representatives of all our constituent members organisations Guilds/Associations, Formation Conseils d'accréditation, The Trainers and Assistant Trainers Forum and Feldenkrais Family actually can meet face-to-face. As such it is a very important time for our international community.

The IFF Board of Directors has arranged, with the help of a number of Representatives to previous Assemblies, for this RepresentativesManual to be produced to help us all to make the most productive and positive use of our time together.

If you have been a Representative before many of the things here will not be new to you and may seem simple. We hope, however, that the many of suggestions here are useful to you in your role as Representative.

This RepresentativesManual should be read in conjunction with information about the next Assembly (included in the packet of information sent by the IFF to your organisation) and the IFF Internal Regulations and Status (statutes/constitution).

1.1 The Assembly Cycle

The Assembly is only part of a full year’s cycle of activity. For the IFF to function effectively, decisions of the Assembly need to be communicated and implemented, reports made, Committees and Working Groups need to meet or stay in touch to get their tasks done, Newsletters and Journals need to be produced and read, and much more.

So, this Manual contains recommendations and suggestions for how to make the most of our Assembly:

  • before the Assembly;
  • during the Assembly itself;
  • after the Assembly and in the year between Assemblies.

1.2 The Federation Cycle

The IFF is a federation of member groups, not a centralised bureaucracy. So in addition to the cycle of activity associated with the Assembly, there is an important cycle of information and decisions flowing from constituent member groups, to the IFF especially at the Assembly and back to constituent member groups. This is the basis of a federative organisation.

The IFF Assembly and the IFF Board of Directors (BOD) need you, as a Representative, to bring ideas, information, decisions, responses to the Agenda, questions, needs, desires and priorities from your member groups to the Assembly. We also need you to take ideas, information, decisions, questions, needs, desires and priorities back to your member group.

 

2. Before the Assembly

2.1 Preparation for the Assembly Process

There are a number of ways you can prepare for you role at the actual IFF Assembly. We recommend that you:

  • read the Statutes (statutes/constitution) of the IFF;
  • read the IFF Internal Regulations;
  • read the Minutes from previous IFF Assemblies;
  • familiarise yourself with the other organisations in our international community;
  • bring to the Assembly copies of all relevant IFF Documents: Statutes, Internal Regulations, Agendas, Minutes of previous Assemblies, etc.

2.2 Orientation

In order to help you contribute to and get the most from the Assembly, the IFF BOD has arranged for an Orientation session for people who are attending their first Assembly. If you haven’t attended an IFF Assembly before it is essential that you come to the Orientation session.

If you are a Representative for the first time it may also be very valuable for you to talk to people who have been Representatives for your organisation before about the Assembly, how it runs and your role, etc.

Check the Assembly Agenda for times of the Orientation session.

2.3 Preparation for your role as a Representative for your member organisation

It is very important for you to accurately convey the views of your organisation and clarify your mandate as a Representative. It is important to know what your organisation’s expectations are of you as their Representative.

To determine the views of your organisation throughout the year you could:

  • include an article in your organisation’s newsletter or journal seeking responses;
  • survey your membership about their issues or opinions.

To ensure you can represent your organisation’s views on particular issues, please read the Assembly Agenda as soon as it is available, then:

  • discuss IFF issues and the Assembly Agenda at a meeting of your national committee/board or its equivalent, AND/OR
  • discuss IFF issues and the Assembly Agenda with the office bearers (President/Chairperson, secrétaire, Trésorier, etc.), AND/OR
  • discuss IFF issues and the Assembly Agenda at a meeting of your membership, AND/OR
  • refer to your organisation’s policies, decisions and minutes meetings.

Don’t forget to bring copies of your organisation’s minutes, policies, promotional materials and anything else that would help your in your role and assist or inspire others.

To make sure the financial organisation of the IFF and the Assembly run smoothly, please ensure:

  • you, or one of the Representatives from your organisation, has paid any Assembly Registration Fee that is required;
  • one Representative from your organisation sends details of the fare for the one Representative from your organisation that will be included in the Travel Pool (See IFF Internal Regulations Item 4 regarding the Travel Pool);
  • your organisation has paid its IFF Fees for the current year
  • OR if appropriate, arrange to bring outstanding Fees with (See IFF Internal Regulations Item 3 regarding Non-Payment of Fees).

2.4 Preparing for your role as a Committee or Working Group member

If you are the member of an IFF Working Group or Committee it is important that you:

  • contact other members of your Working Group or Committee to who is going to attend the Assembly and who is going to report the Assembly;
  • let other Committee or Working Group members know if you available for re-election or to continue your role;
  • bring along all relevant papers and documents;
  • ensure that your Working Group or Committee has completed its work;

OR if it hasn’t completed its work:

  • arrange a time to meet before the Assembly to complete the work and prepare a report.

Also, there may be a member of your organisation that would be very suitable and interested to contribute to a Working Group. Please contact them before you leave your country to see if they are willing to do the work and get their permission to nominate them.

Check the Assembly Agenda for times allocated for Working Groups to meet before the Assembly.

2.5 Helping the international community to prepare

You can help the whole IFF community to prepare for the Assembly by:

  • responding to IFF communications about the Assembly;
  • writing about issues for your organisation and the Feldenkrais Method in the IFF Newsletter.

2.6 Placing Items on the Agenda of the IFF Assembly

2.6.1 Agenda items for the IFF Assembly should be sent to the IFF Secretary by the last day of March in every year.

2.6.2 Any item of concern or interest to IFF member organisations may be brought to the Assembly.

  • Some items may be the appropriate for IFF to take action on as an organisation.
  • Some items may be appropriate to be referred to some or all member organisations for further discussion and bringing back to the IFF Assembly.
  • Some items may be appropriate to be referred to some or all member organisations for their consideration and possible action.
  • Some items may fall outside the IFF’s and member organisationsspheres of action, but be of interest and value to be discussed by member organisations.

Please consider these different functions when writing and putting forward your organisation’s proposed agenda items.

2.6.3 It might be most appropriate to put an item on the Agenda for the IFF Assembly as a definite proposal or as a topic for discussiondepending upon the nature of the issues involved and the intentions of your organisation.

2.6.4 Agenda items submitted by constituent member groups for the Assembly

Agenda must be accompanied by written background or discussion paper on the item, to be circulated with the Agenda in the Pre-Assembly mailing.

This allows other members time to consider the item and form an opinion should it proceed to a motion and be voted upon in the Assembly. As the Assembly meet only once per year this helps to facilitate the process of decision making.

2.6.5 Agenda items and proposals from members or the Board may be sent by the Assembly to small groups of the whole assembly or a working group or groups for further discussion and/or refinement. These groups will then make reports and recommendations back to the Assembly.

2.6.6 Proposals requiring the commitment of IFF funds need to be considered by the Board, which will make a report and recommendations to the Assembly.

 

3. At the Assembly

3.1 Functions of the Assembly

The main formal functions of the IFF Assembly are:

  • to approve applications for membership of the IFF;
  • to receive reports from the IFF Board of Directors, Committees, Working Groups and Constituent Member Groups;
  • to discuss issues of importance to our professional community internationally and develop strategies to meet the needs of our community;
  • for Committees and Working Groups to meet, discuss issues and propose action to the Assembly;
  • to set the dues for Constituent Member Groups and receive financial reports and proposals;
  • to set priorities for the IFF for the next year;
  • within the provisions of the Status (Statutes) and Internal Regulations of the IFF, to make changes to the Status and Internal Regulations;
  • to elect the Board of Directors and members of Committees.

While most of these things will happen during the Assembly meeting times, there may be a need to meet with other Representatives to get a particular task done, for a Committee or Working Group to prepare a proposal or report, etc.

3.2 Assembly Logistics

Most of the Assembly organisation is undertaken by the IFF BOD and people from the host organisation in the country where the Assembly is held. toutefois, there are a whole range of practical tasks involved in putting on an Assembly. If you have time during the Assembly, please check with the organisers to see if there is some way you can help.

3.3 Working and Networking

Apart from the work involved in the formal part of the Assembly, one of the main benefits of the IFF Assembly is the opportunity for Feldenkrais Teacher-Practitioners from different countries, trainings and backgrounds to get together and share ideas and experiences. This kind of networking is a vital part of the Assembly and of building a genuine international community of the Feldenkrais Method.

Having a meal, drink, chat or dance together is a great way to get to know your fellow Representatives and we encourage everyone attending to seek out new people to socialise with and get to know.

3.4 Language, Talking, Listening and Clarification

At this state in the development of the IFF, English is the language used for the Assembly. This can cause difficulties for Representatives for whom English is their second, third or fourth language!

In order for the Assembly sessions to run smoothly and for all Representatives to participate and contribute it is recommended that:

  • speakers, and particularly native English speakers, speak slowly and clearly;
  • participants actively listen to the speaker;
  • Representatives ask the speaker to slow down, speak more clearly or louder as necessary OR ask the President or facilitator for a pause in order to clarify a point with the meeting or with other Representatives;
  • Representatives who speak the same language or languages sit together to allow them to clarify points without stopping the meeting;
  • One person, or one member from each language group is asked to take on the assignment of thinking about the clarity of speech and communication. This person is mandated to interrupt the speaker if Representatives cannot understand the meeting. This position could be rotated;
  • Representatives ask one of the members of the Board of Directors or the Assembly Host/Hostess to clarify a point or provide background information on an issue;
  • talking within the Assembly room should be kept to a necessary minimum (to ensure understanding and participation).

3.5 Assembly Processes

The IFF Assembly process is not static: new processes may emerge and be adopted though time and with the agreement of the Assembly.

3.5.1 In the IFF Assembly, as well as meeting as the whole Assembly group, we make extensive use of small group processes. The aim of the use of small group processes in the Assembly is to:

  • maximise participation of all member groups;
  • make it easier for people from different language backgrounds to discuss issues thoroughly;
  • generate quality ideas, solutions and proposals for the Assembly.

Some of the processes regularly used in IFF Assemblies include:

UNE. Small Groups of the whole Assembly

Involves the whole Assembly group meeting in small groups to discuss one theme, topic Agenda item or proposal.

These groups may be planned for in the Agenda or called for by the membership or Board during the course of the Assembly.

B. Working Groups

Small groups organised around a particular interest, topic or proposal. They are designed to create an outcome during the course of the Assembly, par exemple: a report back to the Assembly, discussing a topic on the Assembly Agenda with the intention to making a proposal to the Assembly, setting up an on going working group for a project, etc.

These groups may be on the Agenda before the Assembly or be formed during the Assembly.

C. Information Sharing Groups

Groups meet around a particular topic to share information and discuss. The topics may be the same or similar over several years because some topics are recurrent for the community. These groups are designed to share common interests, discuss common problems and especially information, ideas, strategies and solutions.

These groups may be listed on the Agenda or created during the Assembly.

D. ‘Meet the Board

The ‘Meet the BoardSessions are a special kind of information sharing group. Guilds or Representatives circulate in a group and hear from other Guilds and Representatives about the experience of their country or organisation. ‘Meet the Boardallows IFF Board members to get an overview of issues and developments in the world.

3.5.2 Agenda Items and Proposals

As stated in 2.7.5, Agenda items and proposals from members or the Board may be sent, by the Assembly, to small groups of the whole assembly or a working group or groups for further discussion and/or refinement. These groups will then make reports and recommendations back to the Assembly.

Situations where the Assembly MAY send Agenda items to Small Groups of the whole Assembly or a Working Group, could include:

  • on request of the proposing group;
  • when an issue is know to be, or emerges to be, particularly controversial or complex;
  • when several amendments are proposed;
  • when complex or detailed amendments are proposed;
  • when discussion in the whole group becomes extended and it appears that the item needs further clarification or development.

3.6 Proposals from Small Groups, Working Groups, Committees and the BOD

In order to minimise confusion about proposals:

  • all formal resolutions or proposals from Committees, Working Groups or Constituent Member Groups or the BOD should be written and either photocopied for distribution or written up for display on the overhead projector or on paper on the flip-chart (See Internal Regulations Item 12.2).

3.7 Voting

The voting procedures for the Assembly are different from many meetings you may have experienced. Each IFF Constituent Member Groups (par exemple, Guild or Association) has one vote in the election of the Board of Directors and Committees; each Representative has a vote on other issues. (You can also vote by proxy for other Representatives your Guild/Association may be entitled to but who are not present at the meeting

Because the IFF is legally incorporated in France the voting system follows many features of the French system. It is essential that you read Items 10, 11 et 12 of the Internal Regulations (concerning Electoral Procedures, Voting on Issues other than Elections and Detailed Procedures for Proposing and Voting upon Resolutions) before the Assembly.

It is recommended you keep the Internal Regulations and Status documents with you during the Assembly.

3.8 Committees and Working Groups

  • Committees and Working Groups will meet during the Assembly in Assembly meeting times or at other times.
  • Please consider joining a Working Group or standing for election to a Committee.
  • If you do join a Working Group that continues through the year, it is essential that you leave information on how to contact you with the Working Group convenor/contact person, that you know what the Group’s mandate is and that you stay in touch with other members of the Group to ensure the Group’s work does get done.

3.9 Finances

It is preferred that you pay the Assembly Registration Fee, your organisation’s outstanding Fees, and give details of fares for the Travel Pool upon pre-registration before the Assembly to the IFF Treasurer or Director responsible. Special arrangements may be made with the Treasurer to pay at the time of the IFF Assembly in certain circumstances.

See Item 13 of the Internal Regulations for more information on Finances.

 

4. After the Assembly and During the Year

There are a range of things you can do to ensure the IFF can continue to work throughout the year:

4.1 Reporting to your Organisation’s Committee

After the Assembly it is important that your organisation is informed about what happened and of any decisions that may need to take action on.

4.2 Reporting to your Organisation’s Membership

It is important also to ensure your members are kept informed — after all, they are paying dues to the IFF. Representatives and their member organisations in the past have used a number of means to do this:

  • circulating an Assembly report to members;
  • discussing the Assembly at a meeting of your organisation’s Committee/Board;
  • publishing a report in their newsletter or journal;
  • reporting to general meetings of members;
  • attending conferences, trainings, regional meetings, etc. and reporting to members there;
  • making sure the Assembly Minutes are circulated to all relevant people.

4.3 Ensuring that there is an IFF Contact Person

It is essential that the IFF has someone who is responsible for communication between your organisation and the IFF. Different organisations do this in different ways:

  • for some constituent groups the Representative who attended the last Assembly (or one of the Representatives) continues to be the primary contact person for the IFF;
  • for other constituent groups an Office Bearer (Président, secrétaire, etc.) is the IFF contact;
  • other constituent groups appoint someone especially to be the contact person, par exemple,: IFF liaison, IFF portfolio holder, etc.

If the contact person changes, it is their responsibility to ensure that someone else is chosen and the IFF informed.

4.4 Ensuring the IFF has Up-to-date Contact Information

If the IFF is to stay in contact and the flow of information in the Federation is to work the IFF needs up-to-date information about the IFF contact person, your organisation’s Office Bearers, addresses and phone numbers, etc.

If there are changes of information about your organisation it is vital to inform the IFF Secretary or Communication Co-ordinator.

4.5 Ensuring your Organisation responds to IFF communications

It is very easy for a chain of communication to break down and this can lead to long delays in getting things organised. It is important that your organisation responds to IFF communications in a timely manner.

4.6 Ensuring Working Groups and Committees are effective

Try to make sure your Working Group or Committee stays active.

  • If you don’t hear from the convenor/contact person, then start communication with the convenor or other members yourself.
  • If you can’t carry out a particular task then let the convenor know.

4.7 Preparing for the Next Assembly

The next Assembly comes around all too soon.

  • Make sure your membership is informed of issues and the opportunity to input into the Agenda.
  • If you can’t be a Representative, then make sure your organisation chooses one and that you or another Representative brief the new Representative.
  • Use the IFF Newsletter to express your views about the last Assembly and help identify how the next one can be most useful in the development of the Feldenkrais Method.

 

5. And the IFF?

The IFF is all of us. Your Board of Directors will, however, try to ensure that:

  • information is sent to you in a timely manner;
  • the Assemblies, with the assistance of our local hosts, are well organised with suitable venues, accommodation and meeting places;
  • there are opportunities to meet and exchange experiences and ideas on important issues and aspects of our common work, to develop a co-operative spirit and to socialise and have a good time as well as work.

 

 

This RepresentativesManual

This RepresentativesManual was prepared in 1995 by Cliff Smyth, with input and feedback from Bonnie Rich Humiston, Nancy Schumacher, Glenice Hall, Daniel Rosenfels and Lesley Balinski. It was revised in 1998/9 by Tanya Saxon, with input from Glenice Hall, Bonnie Rich Humiston and Cliff Smyth. Thanks.

Please send the IFF any suggestions for additions or improvements.

 

Available on the IFF Website April 2002