How to organise a port welfare committee

How to organise a port welfare committee

Your PWC should elect a chairman and vice chairman. A secretary should be appointed either from a national welfare board or by the members.
The chairman and vice chairman should be elected for their experience and understanding of seafarers’ welfare needs locally. Ideally they should represent an organisation that is not in a position to benefit from any proposal (e.g. a grant application) requiring endorsement from PWC members. Committees may wish to consider electing a chairman, who has recently retired from one of the member organisations. Such persons can sometimes bring many years of experience as well as the respect of other members.

The positions of chairman and vice chairman should be regularly reviewed by election.

The secretary’s role is to:

  • Arrange the date and place of meetings
  • Prepare and circulate meeting agendas with member’s reports
  • Spread the details of issues that may be of national or international significance
  • Record and distribute minutes
  • Maintain a database of members
  • Liaise with the chairman over all the aforementioned and any other issues of significance
  • Distribute, to other interested organisations, the minutes of each meeting and any matters of significance
  • To lobby, on behalf of the members when appropriate, local or national organisations to improve seafarers’ welfare

Committees should hold annual general meetings (AGM). During the AGM membership can be confirmed and any required elections can be held.
When a country has more than one PWC it is beneficial for representatives from all PWCs to meet annually. It is usually the chairmen or vice chairmen who meet.

Choosing the location of your PWC meetings

Try to vary the location of your PWC meetings. By visiting the offices, meeting rooms or social clubs of different members you can help people to learn about each other and develop a better understanding of their colleagues.

How often should your PWC meet?

Meetings should be arranged between 2-4 times per year. It is important to remember that if only two meetings are held annually, then any member that misses a meeting will have an absence of 12 months.

Reports of PWC members

Members should be encouraged to provide written reports, to the secretary, in time for distribution with the next meeting’s agenda. This is particularly important when there is an issue of concern, as it enables other members to consider a response and suggestions. Verbal reports can be made either as a substitute or an update.

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