Am I being undermined

(7 Posts)
Cazzymaddy Mon 14-Jan-13 11:57:49

Background: I have worked part time (10 hours per week) in the office of a community centre since 2005. I am employed by the management Committee (approx 8-9 people at any one time) who do their role on a voluntary basis. I have never had any complaints about my work and just got a pay rise again this January. Part of my work involves taking room bookings (and the associated admin). People can book via text, phone, email or via the website. Although I am only present in the office 10 hours a week, I have always taken bookings outside office hours and when I am on holiday etc etc as it is a simple procedure involving only a text or email. One of the Committee members (who was not on the Committee when I was originally employed) has often tried to undermine me in the past in small ways but these have just blown over in the past, sometimes I have had to complain to the Chair who has supported me 100%. Anyway, this member rang the office today and asked for a concept called Virtual PA to be discussed at our next meeting- I googled it afterwards and it appears to be employing a company to do my job - am I being too sensitive or am I being undermined and forced out? The reason given was that elderly people would not like to leave a phone message, text or email for enquiries.

In my defence, I know this business inside out and have very good working relationships with all our associated agencies from the local authority to our insurers, so from my very basic Google I cannot see how introducing a third party will be beneficial as not all enquiries are to do with bookings and also, I maintain the bookings diary so I could see the possibility of double bookings if a third party is operating independently.

does anyone have any experience of Virtual PA?

flowery Mon 14-Jan-13 12:05:25

I think feeling forced out based on one member of the committee wanting to discuss something is premature to say the least.

One member of the committee wanting to discuss something doesn't mean it will happen.

You have no reason to think even if everyone wanted to use a virtual PA, that they would therefore dismiss you. There are all sorts of things a virtual PA can do. It might be none of your work, or it might be filling in during the 30-odd hours you are not in the office. Perfectly reasonable of them to be thinking about elderly people preferring to speak to an actual person rather than texting emailing or leaving a message.

No reason a virtual PA service couldn't work alongside you, there is no reason for double bookings if you set up a good system, just as there wouldn't be if you were doing a job share.

I think you are being over sensitive and prematurely worried about this. See what happens and what is proposed if anything. Yes it's possible they might want to outsource your job entirely, and if they do you'll be told, but I don't think at the moment you have any reason to think that.

alanatitchmarsh Mon 14-Jan-13 12:27:36

Agree with flowery. Let it run it's course.

They might change their minds when they realise how much a virtual PA will cost. Sounds like a daft idea. Surely older people are used to leaving messages on answer machines. It's hardly a new invention, is it?!

Cazzymaddy Mon 14-Jan-13 13:10:36

Thanks- yes, I tried to find out the costs of it but its difficult to put a true figure on it without contacting one of the companies directly. Oh well, only til 4th Feb to find out- I was concerned as this member has already roped 2 others in to agree with him but I wait and see how it pans out.

alanatitchmarsh Mon 14-Jan-13 19:48:58

Just try to stay calm. I very much doubt they will go for it.

Unless they have a dedicated VA it will be a bit like ringing a call centre in Delhi. After all, we all love call centres, don't we? wink

annh Tue 15-Jan-13 08:36:23

"Roped two members in to agree with him" - agree with what? That the idea of the Virtual PA service should be on the agenda? It doesn't sound like there has been anything to agree with yet. Far from undermining you, it sounds as if the committee may be trying to expand and improve the service they offer. There is no point in worrying until after some discussion has taken place at the meeting and you know what is being proposed.

Cazzymaddy Tue 15-Jan-13 22:15:50

No, agreeing with him that we should have a Virtual PA. I don't have a problem with expanding the service but all bookings need covering for duty management purposes. What this means in practice, is that I cover the lion's share of each months bookings (which i do enjoy as it is me who has direct contact with hirers) and the rest is shared out with the other Committee members but ironically, this member does very little, if any cover!

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