UKSO – Why are we here?
Maybe because of the unique interaction of recovery and commerce that is the UKSO, many NA members ask this question. We hope this will help.
So, what is the UK Service Office? To quote the World Services Sales Policy:
‘Our mission is to provide services and support which facilitate the continuation and growth of Narcotics Anonymous… this policy has been founded upon two fundamental principles: equitable literature distribution, and overall fellowship continuity and growth through a centralised provision of services.’
The UKSO consists of two sections: Service Ltd., a legal entity known as a limited company, which deals with the world of commerce; and the UKSO Committee – a sub-committee of Region – which represents the fellowship. The committee meets once a month and oversees the running of the company.
What is Service Ltd?
Service Ltd is what you get when you call, write or visit the NA office. It’s based in Preston. It has two Special Workers, working 52.5 hours per week between them. It deals with a turnover which has grown from £100,000 in 2004 to £200.000 in 2017 – although the hours worked have remained unchanged, we’ve just become more efficient. It has acted as insurance agent for NA property, as guarantor for NA leases. It provides credit facilities for all the Area Service Committees of the UK Region, and their sub committees. It supplies literature and merchandise to conventions on a sale-or-return basis so they need less ‘seed’ money. It is often the first point of contact for both the public and professionals. It’s a place you come when you need a medallion for the meeting tonight.
We are a not-for-profit company, if we did make a profit who would we give it to? We can’t donate to the fellowship, for this would be considered an ‘outside contribution’ (Tradition 7). So what we aim to do is break even: we price our literature to pay our expenses. There are no shareholders for Service Ltd, there is only the required Company Directors. This position is held by NA members who either serves on, or reports to, the UKSO Committee.
Why do we need a Limited Company?
To deal with the business world, the Charity Commission recommends the limited company format as the best way of separating the legal responsibilities of trading from the Fellowship. That’s why in 1986, our predecessors set up Service Ltd a limited company that is entirely independent and separate from – but responsible to, via the UKSO Committee – the NA Fellowship. This format also ensures that not one penny of the money you put in the pot goes toward the costs of the Service Office. Remember, we price our literature to pay our expenses, we are fully self-supporting!
As a legal entity, fully accountable to the authorities, Service Ltd presents a professional face to the business community. We submit audited accounts to the government, pay VAT; in fact, without Service Ltd, Customs & Excise would probably say that VAT applies to all of NA’s financial dealings, this could mean VAT would be liable for any NA event that generated revenue: fund-raisers, conventions, all would have to pay VAT.
The UKSO Committee.
The UKSO Committee is a sub-committee of the UK Region Service Committee; just like the Public Information or Hospitals & Institutions committees. The guidelines for our committee state that ideally there will be five members serving a three year term, all of whom will be registered Directors of Service Ltd. There will be four roles: a Chairperson, a Vice Chair, Company Secretary and a Finance Officer. All members are expected to be solvent and financially stable and to have a period of more than 5 years continuous clean time in NA.
A typical agenda would read:
- Open meeting with reading of the 12 Concepts.
- Role call.
- Approval of last month’s minutes.
- Office Manager’s report – any items the committee needs to be made aware of or issues the Special Workers may need help or advice on.
- Financial report – consisting of a Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet reports for the preceding month; a vital opportunity for the committee to look at the company’s financial dealings.
- Chair’s report.
- Any other business.
The Chairperson attends each Region – as each sub-committee is obliged to do – presenting a general written report and a financial report, including Profit & Loss Account and Balance Sheet. It is in this way that the fellowship is kept informed about the activities of its Service Office.
So… that’s the ‘NA office’. But the best way to see what we do is to come to a committee meeting, maybe you’ll even join us.