As many of you will know our long-standing Branch Chair, friend and comrade, Frank Doran, sadly passed away recently after a courageous battle with cancer.
Frank joined HMRC in 1986, back when it was called the Inland Revenue and computers were feared because they might take over the world… or at least eradicate revenue workers! Frank started his career in the old St Johns House, which was such a crazy place they eventually blew it up and built a new one in the same spot, smaller and with more windows. Precisely when Frank became a rep is lost to history – suffice to say he was the longest serving rep in the Branch so none of us were around at the time.
What is known though is that around the early nineties Frank became a rep after one AGM when he spoke up to criticise the union line on an issue. He was later approached by the Branch Organiser, Keith Hebron, who suggested Frank step up to the plate and become a rep; a challenge he duly accepted, becoming Office Secretary in one of the old North West districts.
In 1997 Frank made his first trip to the annual conference. He expected conference to be a sombre affair but was surprised to find that it wasn’t. The PCS reps from around the country were passionately debating the motions and arguing over the future of the union (the following year PTC and CPSA merged to form the PCS), this experience stayed with Frank and, realising the importance and potential of the annual conference, he passed it on to future Bootle Taxes Branch conference delegates. He attended conference every year up until last when due to his illness he had to pull out at the last minute.
It was perhaps at the annual conferences that Frank shone most of all as a rep, with passion and good humour he relished moving motions and thrived on the politics of the event. He was passionate about ensuring the views of Bootle Taxes members were expressed and accepted as union policy. His last contribution to conference was a typically memorable affair, orchestrating the conference hall to a collective call and response rant at the ills of Pacesetter. The motion was passed. It is perhaps not surprising that during Frank’s time as a delegate Bootle Taxes became a branch that was widely respected by other delegates, and often expected to give the Executive Committee a good kicking!
Frank became Bootle Taxes Branch Chair around 2001 and remained in the position for 13 years, fighting and winning many disputes with management. During this time the amount of reps increased greatly, with Frank challenging and inspiring members to become reps. More importantly he would always be willing to help new reps, encouraging them and supporting them, ensuring the branch became stronger.
Another area Frank excelled at was with personal cases. Those whom have been represented by Frank will know that he had great empathy and could put issues into perspective, providing reassurance during difficult times.
In his dealings with management he aimed to talk them round to his way of thinking without getting angry or shouting – which showed a great deal of tolerance given the way the department turned!
Frank, however, was no respecter of authority. Whether senior manger, FA official or union officer; respect had to be earned. Whilst he didn’t suffer fools gladly, he did so with enough good grace so as they would never know his doubts, the matter at hand being the priority.
His dedication to PCS members was at the forefront of all that he did. Every action members undertook he was there sharing the sacrifice; ready with a reasoned argument, a word of encouragement, a spirited call to arms or to share a laugh and a joke. A stalwart and veteran of many a Bootle Taxes picket line – even turning up and doing his part after he fell ill – he was ever the committed and passionate rep.
Frank inspired a lot of reps in his time both in PCS Bootle Taxes Branch and other branches around the country. He will be missed by all of us.
**PCS Bootle Taxes Branch cannot take responsibility if any dates used are incorrect, most of the branch records were made B.C. (Before Computers). The dates supplied are an estimate by people who knew and worked with Frank**
Below are just some of the tributes to Frank sent in by those who knew and worked with him.
“When me and Frank were in my Decision Maker’s meeting Frank said; “if you’ve got a square peg in a round hole, put her with the other square pegs”
The Decision Maker nodded, I kept my job and got my transfer, and you know what… I’ve never been so happy to be called a square peg!” – Anonymous
“What can I say about Frank… it’s his fault I’m a rep!” – Debbie Rimmer, Bootle Taxes Branch rep
“He inspired me to become more involved as a rep and gave me the courage to take more on. He also told me when we first bought him that Jordan Henderson would one day be a good player for Liverpool.” – Charlie Wilson, Bootle Taxes Branch Organiser
“Frank represented me a few years ago. I was a fledgling personal case worker myself at the time and still trying to learn the tricks of the trade. Being represented by Frank was an opportunity to learn from one who had a gift for negotiation; and learn I did!
He was able to see right to the heart of the matter, identify the issues I was facing and what needed to be done to address them, smooth frayed tempers on both sides and ultimately propose a solution that ensured the correct outcome for me that was also reasonable for management to implement and maintain. What’s more; he did it all with an effortless display of diplomacy.
I will always remain grateful to Frank for the help he gave me, which is but one small example of his hard work and devotion to PCS members and fellow working people, but more than that I am grateful for the inspiration he provided to me as a rep.
We will miss you Frank.” – Dave Gibbons, Bootle Taxes Branch rep
“PCS Bristol West Country Branch would like to send our sincere condolences to your branch on the passing of Frank Doran.
We remember him as a man with no front who spoke as he found yet always had a kind word for everyone. Except management.
Frank always educated as much as he entertained on the conference podium and his knowledge, wisdom, passion and humour will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
PCS has lost a titan.
We have lost a good man.
Please accept all our love and regret that we didn’t get to keep him longer and also our hope that wherever he has gone now is ready for him.” – PCS Bristol West Country Branch
“On behalf of everyone here at East Kilbride please accept our sincerest condolences from our Branch to yours; it’s a terrible loss to the Group, the left & all the members in PT. We’ll be keeping Gerry and all of Frank’s friends & family in our thoughts.” – East Kilbride Revenue & Customs Branch
“I am writing to extend our sympathies to Frank’s family and also his work and union colleagues. A sad loss indeed.
It was always with a sense of anticipation that I listened to Frank at Conference with that distinctive voice.
“Frank Doran Bootle Taxes…again. Here to give the GEC their annual kicking.”
Just the memory brings a smile to my face.” – Branch Secretary, CJ Branch