Concepts Short Form
Final responsibility and ultimate authority for A.A. world services should
always reside in the collective conscience of our whole Fellowship
The General Service Conference of A.A. has become, for nearly every practical
purpose, the active voice and the effective conscience of our whole Society
in its world affairs.
To insure effective leadership, we should endow each element of A.A.—the
Conference, the General Service Board and its service corporations, staffs,
committees, and executives—with a traditional “Right of Decision.”
At all responsible levels, we ought to maintain a traditional “Right of
Participation,” allowing a voting representation in reasonable proportion to
the responsibility that each must discharge.
Throughout our structure, a traditional “Right of Appeal” ought to prevail, so
that minority opinion will be heard and personal grievances receive careful
The Conference recognizes that the chief initiative and active responsibility
in most world service matters should be exercised by the trustee members of
the Conference acting as the General Service Board.
The Charter and Bylaws of the General Service Board are legal instruments,
empowering the trustees to manage and conduct world service affairs. The
Conference Charter is not a legal document; it relies upon tradition and the
A.A. purse for final effectiveness.
The trustees are the principal planners and administrators of overall policy
and finance. They have custodial oversight of the separately incorporated and
constantly active services, exercising this through their ability to elect all the
directors of these entities .
Good service leadership at all levels is indispensable for our future functioning
and safety. Primary world service leadership, once exercised by the founders,
must necessarily be assumed by the trustees.
Every service responsibility should be matched by an equal service authority,
with the scope of such authority well defined.
The trustees should always have the best possible committees, corporate
service directors, executives, staffs, and consultants. Composition, qualifications,
induction procedures, and rights and duties will always be matters of
The Conference shall observe the spirit of A.A. tradition, taking care that it never
becomes the seat of perilous wealth or power; that sufficient operating funds and
reserve be its prudent financial principle; that it place none of its members in a
position of unqualified authority over others; that it reach all important decisions
by discussion, vote, and, whenever possible, by substantial unanimity; that
its actions never be personally punitive nor an incitement to public controversy;
that it never perform acts of government, and that, like the Society it serves, it will
always remain democratic in thought and action.