A Summary of the WB’s Service System Discussions
We spent much of our January meeting holding discussions about the next stage of the
Service System workgroup. We spent two full days in discussions with the Service
System workgroup members and staff and will be formulating a new, revised proposal
in the upcoming weeks. We expect to have this next draft to you by March. We hope it
will be the basis of further discussion that will help us to frame what proposals will be
contained in the 2012 Conference Agenda Report.
Much of our discussions were about how components of the system work as well as
how they work together based on being Purpose Driven, Group-focused, Defined by
Geographic Boundaries, Flexible, and Collaborative. Our discussions will be reflected in
the revisions of the proposals, but this eblast should give you an overview of our ideas
in the meantime. We are also working on developing material about processes that we
believe can help us all be more effective in working toward our vision.
So many of you have held and are planning to hold workshops and discussions about
these proposals that we wanted to let you know as soon as we could about our
discussions of your input and the direction of our ideas for revision of the proposals. We
reviewed the more-than-100 pages of input you submitted, and we thank each of you
for helping to shape the proposals and move this work forward.
“Collaborative” will be added to the list of foundational principles. There are now five
foundational principles: collaborative, group-focused, purpose driven, flexible, and
Successful service provision depends on all the elements of a service system working
together toward our common primary purpose. This means that structure, processes,
people, and resources must work together, and that components of the system must
cooperate both “vertically” and “horizontally” throughout the structure.
A service body devoted most centrally to meeting groups’ needs will continue to be a
central part of the proposals. We do not feel it is necessary, or helpful, at this time to
recommend a particular option—linear or two-track—for local services, but will try to
outline the different options and provide reasons why a community might prefer one or
Things that will happen at GSU meetings:
o Informal training and mentoring
o Discussion of group issues, group sharing, no business
o Welcoming and outreach to new groups and members
o Orientation and introduction to service (recovery literature & service literature,
traditions, concepts, etc.)
o Informal information sharing (e.g., upcoming events, LSU activities, new
merchandise, NAWS issues topics)
o In some instances or circumstances, GSUs may be involved in some service
delivery (e.g., putting up flyers in the community or supporting a local H&I
GSU attendance is open: Groups send a delegate and any interested member can
We have spent quite a lot of time at our last two board meetings discussing how we
believe an LSU actually works. These discussions will result in better clarification of our
vision of this component of the system rather than any real change to the structural
model already offered.
Revisions to the proposals will describe the local service unit as comprised of a local
service board and a regular (three to four times a year) planning conference, including
an annual planning assembly event.
Local Service Board:
o Includes chair, vice chair, treasurer, secretary, delegate(s), and service
coordinators for essential services
o Meets monthly or as needed
o Oversees workgroups and routine services; coordinates the planning assemblies;
develops budget and strategic plan to be reviewed, input, and approved by the
planning conference; maintains external relationships; sends a delegate to the
next level of service.
o Consists of group and/or GSU delegates, LSB members, project coordinators, and
o Meets three to four times a year
o Starts with an annual assembly (see below) to gather input and set planning
goals. Planning conferences follow the stages of the planning cycle. They are
used to prioritize, approve workgroups and budget created by the LSB, monitor
and report, change direction as necessary, evaluate service delivery, and elect
o There may also be training sessions and a session for interfacing with the
intermediate, state/national, and world services levels (like a CAR workshop).
o As throughout the system, decisions will be made by consensus where possible.
o The annual assembly is a planning event that gathers input from everyone to set
planning priorities (like our environmental scan).
o It consists of everyone who attends the quarterly/triannual planning conference..
All interested members are encouraged to attend.
Intermediate bodies are those service bodies created to meet needs of density or
distance or language. In essence, they are intended to span a gap between one level of
service and the next in places where the NA community is densely populated, such as
New York, or where the distances are great, such as Texas, or in places where the
population is bilingual, such as Montreal. They are “permanent” and they are within the
delegation stream. While it may be tempting to rename an existing service body an
“intermediate body” to minimize the impact of restructuring, that’s not the spirit of the
proposals. A clear need must be established to create an intermediate body.
As already stated in the proposal, they are not created to provide shared services
outside of the delegation stream. We acknowledge the need to explain how shared
services will function in the new system and are asking that some of you who have
experience with shared services share your experience with us.
The board needs to further discuss what we mean by “state,” “nation,” and “province.”
In the revisions to the proposals we will more explicitly acknowledge that the terms
“state” and “province” are more flexible than simply “US states, Canadian provinces,
and everyone else is a nation.” Some type of “state” approach may be applicable to
countries such as Brazil, Russia, Mexico, and India with many meeting and multiple
regions. Conversely, it may make sense to combine states in places like New England.
The issue needs further discussion.
We will be recommending a seating model based on state/national/province service
bodies. We recognize that this model may have a shelf life due to the size of the WSC,
and we will continue to be interested in exploring something like a “zonal” seating
model (with the understanding that the “zones” as we now know them might need to
be revamped to make such a model workable). At this time, however,
state/nation/province seating seems most practical.
Further seating criteria need to be developed, including but not limited to better
defining “state” and “nation” (see above).
Zonal forums have only really been addressed in the proposals insofar as they do or
don’t factor into seating. Their role in the system needs to be better defined in the
Ultimately, we would like to see concrete material on processes, like the ideas on
planning discussed above in the “Local Services” section. However, given our perennial
struggles with leadership and communication processes, we just don’t feel like we are
there yet. We will be offering fundamental principles related to leadership,
communication, and planning (and possibly decision-making, and what we are currently
calling information management and issue management) in the next drafts of
Issues for Further Discussion
The following items need further clarification and discussion. This is by no means an
exhaustive list. These are simply the items that came up in our recent discussions that
we didn’t have time to fully address:
o Fund flow, including how the GSU is funded
o Literature distribution—where will groups buy their literature?
o Legal issues: corporations, insurance, RSOs
o Synching planning cycles throughout the system
o Who creates intermediate bodies?
o Who determines LSU boundaries?
o How do shared services (committees) work?
o The state/nation issue—e.g., Brazil, Mexico, India, Russia
o Further seating criteria
This is only meant to be a summary and an effort to help in your discussions about this
project. A more complete revision to the proposals will be coming to you soon. We want
to thank you again for your efforts in having these ideas discussed locally and ask that
you let us know how we can help to support your efforts.
A Summary of the WB’s Service System Discussions