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Plans to reintroduce local ICAEW town groups in the West of England

Historically, town groups mainly existed to provide CPD training for chartered accountants. As the number of training organisations increased and online courses started to appear, the need for local groups to organise courses diminished and so the majority of such groups fell into natural decline and folded.

In the innovative new version, town groups will be asked to perform a dual role - as a channel for two-way communication between ‘grass roots members’ and ICAEW headquarters and as mutually supportive ‘chat shops’. The idea is that professionals will get together over a pint, a meal, or a coffee, to share problems and solutions, and to feed back to the ICAEW any dissatisfaction with its services and suggestions for change. The aim is to draw in sole practitioners and professionals from small firms who have no obvious peers to ‘chew the fat’ with, and no voice on the ICAEW’s national committees.

Members have been heard to say: “There have been times when I wished I’d known another chartered accountant in a similar position in the region” the reinvented town groups should save others from this situation, besides being an excellent way to help ensure that the full diversity of ICAEW members is heard.

It is envisioned that the new town groups will become viable with as few as half a dozen or so members and that they will, over time, grow to whatever size is necessary to match the local need. The key to success will be grass roots members as the driving force, however both Martin Warren and ICAEW West of England are keen to provide the necessary support to get such groups off the ground.

And the timeframe for achieving this?  The Stroud Town Group is started this autumn and the West of England committee has stated that they would like to see another three groups up and running by the end of 2019. This is an interesting venture and one which has the potential to respond effectively and productively to the call from the centre to get feedback from members and to deliver value to all.

Please get in touch with Martin Warren if you have any queries.