Council news

The society’s council held its first meeting of 2024 on 22 February in London. Two of the key discussions centred on the website and a project looking at options for the future of the bp society.

Website update

Dominic Emery, deputy chair, reported on the website update. The site went live after the annual general meeting in November and the main body of the site and the navigation are working well.

Following a slight delay, the PayPal payment system is now operational and three regions – Home Counties North, Midlands and North East – are also using the website event process. Over time, Dominic hopes other regions will adopt this and further training for regional teams (coordinators, organisers and treasurers) will be made available. However, there is no pressure to adopt the website event process. It is entirely up to the regional teams.

Also as part of the revamp of the website, it was discovered that about 800 of the 4,000 email addresses held by the society were wrong for one reason or another. A lot of work has gone on to cleanse the list and council was grateful to members who responded to the message in the February newsletter about updating their email address. One of the issues is that a lot of account registrations have needed updating. Many of the access issues have fallen on Elaine Bush, Helen Dunning and the Brandspace team to resolve, and council acknowledged all their hard work in this regard.

The website team also needs to check on email receipt of the monthly electronic newsletter – ‘News update’. This seems to be working well but members on the email list may receive another communication about it to check on its delivery.

The next council meeting is scheduled for 16 May and Dominic advised that he hoped to have some analytics regarding uptake and usage of the website by that time.

In summary, the hard work of updating the website is done but there is further work to do to ensure smooth running, hence the offer of training. The post-commissioning teething issues following the cut-over from the old to the new website needed more work than anticipated, but the project is now moving into a regular monthly maintenance cycle.

Options for the future of the bp society

With the new website up and running, Dominic Emery has now been asked to look at options for the future of the bp society.

At the council meeting in February, Dominic explained that membership of the society is currently at 6,100, but this is declining by around 200-300 people annually. Prior to the general data protection regulations (GDPR), it was possible to collect the names of recent bp leavers and pensioners and provide them with the bp society ‘offer’. However, since GDPR, this has become much more challenging – in short, there is no systematic way of bringing in new members.

Some of the key regions which previously drove society membership were based around former bp industrial sites which have long since ceased operations (e.g. Kent and Llandarcy refineries) and from which there are no new members.

Additionally, the bp corporate funding of £30,000 a year to the society is up for renewal at the end of 2024.

Taking all these points into account, it now seems an appropriate time to consider future options for the society.

To help with this project, Dominic set out his proposed working team: Kate Owen, Mike Brookes, Martin Myers, Elaine Bush, Gerald Morill, Christina Folkes, Steve Evans and Steve Powell.

Dominic explained that the working team will look at:

  • how to attract new members to the society;
  • whether the current event-based model is the best way of fulfilling the ‘aim’ of the society and whether additional or alternative offers should be considered;
  • whether the current annual subscription/event subsidy funding model is appropriate or whether alternatives (such as a one-off lifetime fee) would be preferable; and
  • what other companies are doing.

In addition to the working team, Dominic is keen to know what you, the members of the society, think about the future of the organisation. Your views are vital if the society is to reflect your needs and expectations going forward. Do please let us know your thoughts by emailing Dominic directly at: We may also want to send out questionnaires on particular topics as the work proceeds.

We will keep you informed of the latest developments in the August newsletter.

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