Statement to members: guidance notes for trade unions
Rules for the timing, content, distribution and copying of the statement to members about the annual return, including a model statement.
Trade unions must issue a statement to members within 8 weeks of submitting their annual return to the Certification Officer. You can use the model statement to members (MS Word Document, 28.5KB) provided by the Certification Officer.
The statement must specify the following financial information relating to the period of the annual return:
- the total income and expenditure of the union
- how much of the income consisted of payments in respect of membership
- if the union operates a political fund, the total income and expenditure of the fund
- the salary and benefits paid by the union to each member of the executive, the president and the general secretary
The figures in the statement must be consistent with the contents of the annual return.
The statement must also include:
- the full report made by auditors of the union on the accounts contained in the return
- the name and address of the auditors
The statement must also include the following ‘irregularity statement’ in full:
‘A member who is concerned that some irregularity may be occurring, or have occurred, in the conduct of the financial affairs of the union may take steps with a view to investigating further, obtaining clarification and, if necessary, securing regularisation of that conduct.
The member may raise any such concern with such one or more of the following as it seems appropriate to raise it with: the officials of the union, the trustees of the property of the union, the auditor or auditors of the union, the Certification Officer (who is an independent officer appointed by the Secretary of State) and the police.
Where a member believes that the financial affairs of the union have been or are being conducted in breach of the law or in breach of the rules of the union and contemplates bringing civil proceedings against it the union or responsible officials or trustees, he should consider obtaining independent legal advice.’
How to provide the statement
Distribute the statement to your members either by:
- sending a copy of the statement to each individual member, or
- using any other means which it is the practice of the union to use when providing information of general interest to all its members
The second option may allow the union, for example, to include the statement in a publication sent to all members, or post the statement on its website or email the statement to members. Whatever method is used for the second option, it must be union’s usual method for providing information of general interest to all members.
Annual return in lieu of the statement
The union may provide members with a copy of the full annual return in lieu of issuing a statement. If you choose to do so, it will not be necessary to also provide a separate statement to members. However, you must still provide members with the irregularity statement.
Copy for the Certification Officer
You must send a copy of the statement to the Certification Officer. If you’ve issued the statement by posting it on the union’s website, it is not sufficient merely to refer the Certification Officer to the website – you must send a copy of the statement to the Certification Officer.
Where the union has issued a copy of its annual return to members together with a separate irregularity statement (in lieu of issuing a statement), it is not necessary to send the Certification Officer a copy of the return. However, you must provide written confirmation that the annual return has been issued to members and provide the Certification Officer with a copy of the irregularity statement issued.
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