Traditionally, general service committees and intergroups/central offices have performed different functions. Central offices provide local services; general service committees maintain the link between the AA groups and the AA General Service Board by means of the Conference. So these two separate but vital service structures coexist in many areas in mutual cooperation and harmony.
At the time the Conference was started, there were already well-established central offices in several large cities, providing service for local AA groups and members. Today, there are many more central offices throughout the US and Canada, supported by the AA groups in the communities they serve. Each group elects a representative to attend central office meetings.
These offices provide such services as:
In contrast, the Conference structure is the method through which all AA groups in an area can provide the most effective communication within the area and between the groups and the General Service Board and GSO on matters of policy that affect AA as a whole. These include policy on: Conference-approved literature, AA public information, AA cooperation with the professional community, AA activity in treatment and correctional facilities, AA finances, the AA Grapevine, and the election of trustees to the General Service Board.
Many areas find that a liaison between the central office/intergroup and the area committee is very helpful in maintaining good relations and communication. In some areas the liaison has a vote at the assembly; in others, a voice but no vote.
More information on working together is available through GSO and in the pamphlets "The AA Group" and "Self-Support: Where Money and Spirituality Mix," as well as in the Guidelines on Intergroups/Central Offices.Reprinted with permission from the book The A.A. Service Manual © Copyright 2004 AA World Services, Inc., Pg. S37-S38
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