Overall FDA policy is controlled by the Annual Delegate Conference, which meets every year.

How the FDA works

The FDA is a democratic organisation. Members elect representatives to sit on the FDA's Executive Committee, as well as the general secretary and the president. Overall policy is controlled by the Annual Delegate Conference, which meets every year.

The FDA has a federal structure consisting of branches, which represent particular workplaces, and sections, which broadly represent particular professional groups.

The FDA has around 25 staff based in offices near Waterloo station in central London, as well as official based in Scotland and Wales.

Unlike large unions where individual voices can get lost, the FDA provides the ideal forum for members to get to know each other and make an impact on their workplaces and among their peer groups.

Executive Committee

The FDA's Executive Committee (EC) runs the union between conferences. It meets bi-monthly to set priorities, determine union policy and oversee the work of the union's head office. The committee works within the policy framework set by the Annual Delegate Conference.

The EC is chaired by the FDA president, who is elected every two years by the whole membership. Each year, the EC appoints two vice-presidents and the FDA treasurer. Executive Committee members also serve for two years.

The EC has a number of sub-committees to deal with detailed work. These include the General Purposes Committee (the union's most senior officers), equality and diversity, organisation and pensions. The EC can co-opt FDA members who are not on the executive to sit on its sub-committees.

Sections and Constituencies

Sections and constituencies group together FDA members in broadly similar professional groups. They are:

  • Administrators, Accountants and Economists
  • Association of Revenue and Customs (HMRC section)
  • Crown Prosecution Service
  • Diplomatic Service Association
  • Lawyers' Network
  • Statisticians
  • Culture (includes museums, galleries and libraries)
  • Ofsted (English schools inspectors)
  • Education Scotland (Scottish schools inspectors) 
  • Estyn (HM Inspectorate of Education and Training in Wales)
  • Northern Ireland section
  • Procurator Fiscal Service (Scottish crown prosecutors)
  • Managers in Partnership (FDA-Unison joint venture representing senior NHS managers)

Most sections have their own section committees or councils and have a great deal of autonomy over professional issues in their own areas. Each section has a section convenor and secretary, and some have other elected officials. The Association of Revenue and Customs (ARC), as well as being a section of the FDA, is a union in its own right and has its own elected president and executive committee. The FDA general secretary serves as general secretary of ARC.

Constituencies are allocated seats on the FDA Executive Committee according to their size, and members are elected by the entire constituency membership.


Branches are the basic unit of FDA organisation. Most departments and public bodies employing FDA members have their own branch, although some small workplaces are amalgamated into a single branch. Most members in executive agencies are in a common branch with colleagues from the parent department.

Each branch is run by a small committee and has an elected convenor (chair) and secretary. Many branches also have a membership secretary and some have other elected positions, such as deputy convenor and/or equal opportunities officer. Many routine negotiations and personal cases are handled by branch officials, but each branch has a designated negotiator at head office who handles more serious cases and generally advises the branch on professional and employment issues.

Branches send delegates to the FDA's Annual Delegate Conference and, in some sections, elect members of section councils or committees. Branches do not elect members of the Executive Committee, who are chosen on a section-wide basis.