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BAR membership fees increase

Sep 12, 2012
Trade association membership fees.

BAR has recently announced changes within the organisation and explained the reasons for the increase in subscription fees for members. But from members’ points of view, and those considering joining, does this represent an essential progression and good value for money or is it a step too far during these cash-stricken times?

There appear to be three main reasons for the increased fees: to pay for the Code of Practice that is now losing its government funding and will need to be self financing; to provide annual inspections of member companies compared with the three-year programme currently operating; and to pay for the costs involved in conducting a marketing campaign to support the changes. 

BAR also explained that there were several enhancements to the membership criteria coming into effect including: the need for BAR Members to be VAT registered; the requirement for them to have a dedicated and manned office; and the requirement for all members to be of good repute and be financially sound. 

Matt Purdie is a past president of BAR and feels that the additional charges are well worth the expense.  “I don't think that they are enough considering the prestige of the badge and increased membership benefits,” he said.

Matt’s opinion will not be unique.  No doubt many people will agree feeling that this is a positive move that can only be good for BAR and its members long-term.    However, most of the people asked by The Mover for their opinion chose not to comment, presumably they wished to judge the change by results not speculation.

For many years the BAR membership has been asking for higher standards and it would have been inconceivable that anyone would have thought that they would have come at no cost.  However, moving to annual inspections (from three-yearly inspections in the past) is a huge leap in one go and, perhaps a more gradual phasing in would have been preferable.  There was also concern for companies that already have BS EN 12522, and have annual inspections anyway, that will now have an additional cost unless there can be some way of incorporating them. 

As often in recent years the objectors seem to be more concerned about the apparent lack of discussion and communication from BAR than the actual decisions made.  Is this criticism fair or can democracy go too far?  In the past BAR, like many membership organisations, has discovered that if you ask people what they want, they will rarely tell you.  Maybe it is best that the Association just does what it feel is right, shows leadership, and hopes that its members agree.


Has BAR shown leadership or is the increase a step too far while the recession persists?

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