While the steering group guide the day to day running of PCSR they don’t see themselves as at the ‘top’ of PCSR – there is no single place from which decisions are made and/or from which instructions emerge. Decisions about the direction of PCSR as a whole are made at the PCSR AGM, held in the autumn of each year. Practical decisions on a day to day basis are made by the PCSR steering group.
When planning a particular event or project a couple of steering group members often work together with a PCSR member(s) who have a specific idea for it, and most decisions are made on that project level, unless the decisions have an impact on PCSR as a whole, in which case they are taken to the steering group, and, possibly, the AGM.
PCSR’s aim is to make decisions by consensus rather than by vote, which applies to the steering group and the AGM. In other words, everyone present needs at least to accept a given decision, even if they don’t agree with it. For example, a small minority might gracefully bow to the general preference, or they might not, in which case the debate gets more interesting and generally takes quite a while longer! Sometimes, it may be possible for both or all positions to be accepted – for more than one way of doing things to co-exist. So far we have done pretty well with this approach, even though it can be very time-consuming, and minorities occasionally feel overlooked, which we need to keep an eye on in our ongoing process and review.
With regard to decision-making at the AGM the minutes of the previous meeting are circulated to the membership a couple of weeks before the AGM. The previous year’s AGM minutes are then discussed and agreed as the first agenda item of the next AGM.