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Representing our members.

AT THIS time of year, when the AOP holds elections to its council and board of directors, it is useful to reflect on the nature of representation.

The easiest analogy by which to understand the Association's structure of representation is that of Parliament and Government. The Association's council is its Parliament, elected by the membership; the board, its Government, is elected by the council. (It is disappointing that there were insufficient candidates to trigger elections to council in all regions; it is even more disappointing that not all members of council took the trouble to vote for the board).

Underlying the formal structure are the communications that take place continually between the centre and the membership, in both directions. The Association is very conscious of the need to listen to its members and to understand its members' needs and modes of practice. It is also incumbent on the centre to explain the realities of the sector and the political context.

Most members join the Association for professional indemnity insurance and for the defence of their individual and collective interests, a largely passive move. Some join in order to make their views known. They should be congratulated. It is vital for the future of the profession that members speak their mind. It is not enough to grumble to yourself within the confines of your consulting room.

Historically, optometry has been a timid profession. It is time for it to speak up. But it is also time for members to tell the Association what they really believe.

* To read and comment on this piece online, visit the 'Blog' section at Alternatively, you can post your views to OT, 2 Woodbridge Street, London, EC1R 0DG.

Richard Carswell, AOP interim chief executive

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Title Annotation:COMMENT
Author:Carswell, Richard
Publication:Optometry Today
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 18, 2012
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