Our structure and affiliations
The FDA is a democratic organisation and our members are at the heart of everything we do. Our federal structure helps to ensure that all their concerns and interests are fully represented. We are strictly politically neutral, meaning we are taken seriously as the authentic voice of public service professionals.
How are we structured?
The FDA has a federal structure consisting of branches and sections which represent members according to their workplaces, employers and their professional interests.
FDA members elect representatives to sit on the union’s Executive Committee, and cast votes for the FDA’s General Secretary and its President. The FDA’s overall policy is controlled by members who attend the Annual Delegate Conference (ADC), which meets every year.
We have around 30 staff based in central London, as well officials based in Scotland and Wales. They support the hundreds of FDA members who serve as representatives of the union right across all the governments in the UK.
"The FDA is a democratic organisation, meaning the concerns of members like you drive everything we do." - FDA General Secretary Dave Penman
Branches are the basic unit of organisation for the FDA. Most government departments and public bodies with FDA members in them have their own branch, although some small workplaces are combined into a single branch. Most members in executive agencies will be in an FDA branch in common with colleagues from their parent department.
Each branch is run by a small committee and has an elected Convenor (known as the Chair) and a Secretary. Many branches also have a Membership Secretary and some have other elected positions, such as a Deputy Convenor and an Equal Opportunities Officer.
Many routine negotiations and personal cases are handled by these branch officials, but they are not alone. Each branch is supported by a dedicated National Officer based at the FDA’s head office, who handles more serious cases and advises branches on professional and employment issues.
Branches send delegates to the FDA's Annual Delegate Conference (ADC) and, in some sections, they elect members of section councils or committees. Branches do not, however, elect members of the Executive Committee, as these are chosen on a section-wide basis.
FDA members are also grouped together in broadly similar professional groups, called constituencies.
Constituencies are allocated seats on the FDA Executive Committee (EC) according to their size, and members of the EC are elected by the entire membership of a constituency. These are:
Administrators, Accountants and Economists
Association of Revenue and Customs - our dedicated HMRC section
Crown Prosecution Service
Culture - including museums, galleries and libraries
Association for Development and Diplomacy
Estyn (HM Inspectorate of Education and Training in Wales)
Keystone (representing staff at HEO and SEO grades or their equivalents)
Managers in Partnership (An FDA-Unison joint venture representing senior NHS managers)
Northern Ireland section
Ofsted - English schools inspectors
Procurator Fiscal Service (Scottish crown prosecutors)
The FDA is politically independent and we are not affiliated to any political party. Our only purpose is to serve the interests of our members and improve public services. Our independence means we are recognised as the authentic voice of senior public servants.
We are affiliated to a number of other trade union and campaigning organisations, including:
EPSU - the European Federation of Public Service Unions
The Fawcett Society
Institute of Welsh Affairs
Irish Congress of Trade Unions
Labour Research Department
Living Wage Foundation
Public Services International
Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC)
Trades Union Congress or TUC - the FDA General Secretary is a member of the TUC General Council.
Managers in Partnership (MiP) – for healthcare managers
Managers in Partnership (MiP) is a joint venture between the FDA, which represents senior managers, and Unison, the UK's largest public service union. It was created in 2005 specifically to represent managers in healthcare.
MiP represents more than 5,500 members in leadership roles in healthcare, including 300 NHS Trust and Health Authority Chief Executives. They work in all four UK health services, and in the private and third sectors.
MiP is a national branch of Unison and a section of the FDA. Its members belong to both unions and it has its own staff and policy-making powers. It is not affiliated to any political party. You can find out more about MiP on their dedicated website.
National Trade Union Committee (NTUC)
The FDA is also a member of the National Trade Union Committee (NTUC), which provides unions with a single body to consult and engage with the Cabinet Office on issues – such as pay policy and pensions – that affect the entire civil service. The NTUC currently consists of the FDA, Prospect, PCS, Unite, GMB, NIPSA and the POA.