IAM Region 2 Forum Meeting [2009/06]

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The IAM held a meeting for all the cars and motorcycle groups in Region 2 on Saturday 23rd May. Not only was it an opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with other car groups, but it also answers some of the questions that were raised at the recent SAM AGM.

Head Office Report by David Kenworthy - IAM Chairman

The IAM are currently looking at new packages to help recruitment and they are currently recruiting for a marketing person and have stopped all advertising for the moment. They have had a company looking at why people leave the IAM.

Objectives for 2009/10

Improve Group Communication.
One method is via the new NRG committee on which Lilian is a member
Road Safety Campaigns and more media exposure
Continuous cost review and reduction
Plug the leaks to stabilize the membership
Grow the membership via the Skill for Life
Achieve financial stability by at least breaking even, which hope to do this year

Questions were raised about the SfL package and it was stated that it is not covering all the costs. It appears that part of the SfL fee is being put into a 'Young Drivers Initiative' fund which we can ask for a share if we have a programme for Young Riders.

There was considerable annoyance from many of the groups present that the IAM had removed the Young Persons Discount. The IAM explained that they felt the discount was being given to the wrong person, because few young people buy a SfL package, instead it is given to them as a present. However, the point was made that for motorcycle groups that is probably not the case.

£860,000 had gone back to the groups during the past year

The Chairman of Wye Valley Motorcyclists had said that their group had had some lively discussions at their AGM about whether they should split away from the IAM because what did it offer their members.

Discussion on how groups recruit and whilst some were very successful, others were not so. One group said they had put up a stand in their local shopping centre which had proved very worthwhile.

Did you know that all council members including David Kenworthy are volunteers.

Some interesting information was provided on IAM membership, but over 75% of IAM members do not belong to a group.

IAM Subscription Increase

We were advised at the meeting that all members had the opportunity to vote on the proposed subscription increase. The proposal went through because so few of us voted against it. The IAM realise now that it wasn't clear how we could have voted against the proposals and in the future they will change the process so all members will easily get the opportunity to vote on important matters such as this.

IAM Examiner & Observing

Amanda Smith discussed Observing and test issues.

The IAM are trying to organize another Senior Observer Training Day. The IAM are expecting the Snr Observers to then pass this training onto the Observers.

IAM is concerned  about standards and looking at ways to ensure that everyone is trained to the same level. There was some interesting insight into how other groups organize and train their Observers.

One group were very proud of their 99% pass rate and they believe this is because they are continuously checking their Observers and going out on their runs to assist with development. Many groups have an Observer (not the Chief Observer)  who is responsible for ensuring standards are maintained.

It was mentioned that the IAM insurance Surety has reported a 110% claims rate by IAM members, mostly due to reversing accidents.

Comments were made about inconsistencies between examiners and the IAM said that they work very hard to avoid this and everyone should be working to the same standard.

One motorcycle group said that they paid for all of their Observers to attend a training day organized by Rapid Training, so they could target aspects of their specific riding which needed improvement.

The Guildford group does centralised training so their associates get a different Observer each time. They also give every associate a copy of the Highway Code. and send out a letter when they are ready for their test telling them what they have to do and on the back is written common reasons for why people fail the test. They also terminate people if they don't turn up within 3 months, unless there is a good reason. They are typically training about 60 people on a Sunday morning.

One group paid half the cost to have a van covered with their details which is driven around by a local tradesman.

Other groups mentioned that they get out and talk to other non-motorcycle groups and some give presentations in schools and colleges.

Wye Valley said that they don't like using a stand. Instead they all sit around a table with their helmets and bikes and people come over and chat and then they give out their cards.

Another group raffle a SfL package to attract new members, which is purchased by the local group.

Another group have arranged with the local council to put up a banner in the main high street car park that they offer free assessed rides .

One group run a track day and then try to show them how if they became an IAM member it could really help their riding.

It was also interesting when talking to the other motorcycle groups that several groups charge their associates a higher membership fee if they don't pass their test within the first year.

Other Matters

A working party group on Observers subscriptions was setup and this was a first for the IAM. Lilian was actually a member of this group and it send back a recommendation to Head Office to pay a contribution towards the Observers membership fee which has been adopted and the money is sent to the groups.

There was some discussion about whether the SfL package could be split into 4 or 10 payments.

The IAM also kept stressing that the local groups have only £1m in their bank accounts according to the Charity Commission.

There is now a new department of membership services who deal with all the SfL packages, test bookings, membership queries etc. Previously this was split into two groups.

Finally the IAM has saved over £680,000 this year

Lilian Hobbs
SAM Chairman

Sponsored by Andy Anderson

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