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Service - AA's 12 Concepts

The twelve concepts of world service are an interpretation of the world service structure.
In these concepts we also see a set of principles that have already become traditional to our service, but which have never been clearly put into words or put into written form.

Like the previously written Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions and the Council's instruction book, these service principles are also the result of long consideration and thorough negotiations.

1. The final responsibility and authority of AA's world service activities should always rest with the collective conscience of our entire society.

2. In approving a permanent charter for their Central Council in 1955, the AA groups gave the council full authority to carry out the tasks of our world service activities and thus made the council the actual voice of opinion and effective conscience of our entire society, except for any change to the twelve traditions or clause 12 of the council's charter.

3. As a traditional means of creating and maintaining clearly defined operational relationships between the groups, the council and the AA Central Service Council and its various service communities, secretariats, committees and implementers, and to ensure their effective management, it is proposed that we give each of these fundamental elements of world service the traditional "right to decide".

4. Throughout our council structure, we should maintain at all levels of responsibility the traditional "right to participate", ensuring that each class or group of our world servants is granted voting representation in appropriate proportion to the responsibility each bears.

5. Throughout our world service structure there should be a traditional "right of appeal", thus assuring us that the opinion of the minority will be heard and that requests for redress of personal grievances will be carefully investigated.

6. On behalf of AA as a whole, our central service council has primary responsibility for maintaining our world service activities, and traditionally has the final decision-making power in matters of wider general procedures and use of funds. But the council also recognizes that the main initiative and implementation responsibility in most of these matters should primarily rest with the members of the council's fiduciary when they work with each other as the Central Service Council of the Alcoholics Anonymous society.

7. The council acknowledges that the charter and rules of the central service council are legally binding documents; trustees have full authority to handle and manage all Alcoholics Anonymous world service matters. It remains clear that the council charter itself is not a legally binding document: instead, it rests on the power of tradition and its ultimate effectiveness on the power of the AA purse.

8. Trustees of the Central Service Council act in two main roles:a) In more wide-ranging matters concerning general procedures and the use of funds, they are the main planners and implementers. They and their most important committees handle these matters themselves. b) In relation to our separate registered and established service organizations, the position of the trustees is mainly the ownership and control of the entire corporate capital of these organizations, and they have the power to choose all the directors of these organizations.

9. Good service managers, who we choose with practical and appropriate methods, are essential for our operations and security at all levels. The trustees of the central service council of the Alcoholics Anonymous society must necessarily be responsible for the primary management of the world service activities handled by AA's founders in their time.

10. All service responsibility should be based on sufficient service authority. The limits of such authority should always be clearly specified either by tradition, resolution, special assignment specification or appropriate documents or rules.

11. Since trustees have ultimate responsibility for AA's world service activities, they should always be assisted by the best possible standing committees, service community leaders, executors, secretaries, and counselors. Therefore, matters concerning the structure of these basic committees and service councils, the personal characteristics of their members, the manner of leading service activities, interchangeability and mutual relations, and the relationship of the special rights and obligations of our executives, secretaries and advisers to the remuneration of these special workers, should always be the subject of serious care and attention.

12. The council's general operating basis: In all its actions, the central service council must keep in mind the spirit of AA's traditions and carefully ensure that the council never becomes a hotbed of dangerous wealth or power; sufficient operating funds and a generous reserve fund are its reasonable financial principle that no member of the council is ever placed in an absolute position of authority over any other member of the council; that all meaningful solutions are sought through discussion, voting and, whenever possible, general consensus; no action of the council should ever have a decisive impact on a person or become an incitement to public controversy; although the council acts to serve Alcoholics Anonymous, it should never take administrative action; and that, like the Alcoholics Anonymous society it serves, the council will always remain democratic in thinking and action.

Recommended reading:

* TWELVE CONCEPTS of AA World Service by Bill W.
* Concepts Checklist. A Service piece for home groups, districts, areas (Service Material from the General Service Office) here is the link to the pdf file.

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