Work on a new constitution for what was at the time called PRA North began in earnest in June 2014 with the circulation of a note outlining a concept for improved governance. The aim was to put in place a number of measures which would begin a process of modernisation.
The vehicle for modernisation was a new constitution which was designed to strengthen governance to overcome a number of weaknesses and at the same time to learn the lessons from the past. The lessons learned stemmed, in the main, from problems, which had been evident for a number of years with the management of a particular branch.
There were three principal weaknesses: the inability to reach and attract sufficient new members: the inability to take action at regional level against either individuals or branches which were misbehaving and the insistence that each branch should be a registered charity.
The insistence on each branch being a registered charity was a significant disadvantage. Each registered charity is a legal entity and therefore cannot govern another charity. Furthermore, no charity can govern what then amounted to 88 branches nationwide. ABA branches are not charities.
Initially, the President of the PRA and the then Regimental Lieutenant Colonel welcomed the work being conducted. Both realised that with a rapidly reducing membership roll coupled with an inability to use modern communications to advantage let alone the arcane recruitment policy, the PRA faced a bleak future. The work being carried out would see measures introduced which would help to bring PRA North into the 21st century and at the same time it would act as a model for other PRA regions to consider.
In late 2014 HQ PRA published a strategy for the future. It offered very little of substance apart from some suggestions about how to manage a decline in membership. A meeting of the PRA Executive Committee was convened in February 2015 to discuss the strategy and to make recommendations. The Chairman of PRA North was invited by both the President and Chairman of the PRA to attend this meeting. The Chairman of PRA North agreed to attend but was prevented from doing so by the members of the PRA Executive Committee who overruled both their President and Chairman.
In order to still be able to put forward proposals to the PRA Executive PRA North prepared a short paper for consideration. The paper was radical and gave two options for the future governance of PRA North both of which were similar and based on a revised constitution, except in one respect.
Option 1 proposed a new constitution, which saw decision-making in the hands of a PRA North Executive Committee with a single registered charity and the recruitment of new members becoming a branch responsibility. Option 1 would have been called PRA Scotland. Option 2 was the same but would only take effect if Option 1 was declined and would result in those branches that supported the new constitution leaving the PRA. The PRA Executive Committee rejected Option 1. Option 2 was therefore put in place and saw the birth of the Airborne Alliance in September 2015.