Well, it was comfortable enough in the end. Yesterday's annual general meeting saw the Society head off David Flint's budget proposal based on a £400 practising certificate fee, by a vote of 1,150 to 480 once all the proxies were counted.

While there was obviously a concerted exercise to muster support for the Society's position, Mr Flint failed to catch the mood of the meeting with some very sweeping assertions about the Society's conduct and perceived failures.

However the Society does now have a clearer idea of what its commitment to greater transparency will mean in practice. Several criticisms were aired of the financial statements presented: it transpired that last year's accounts had been adjusted (though without affecting the overall surplus) to provide a comparison with this year's, which had been prepared on a different basis, and there were complaints that it was unclear what some of the heads of expenditure actually covered. In the result, further information will be posted to the Society's website to clarify points raised.

That apart, the meeting was content with the treasurer's explanation that it is prudent to keep a level of cash reserve when the only way to bring in extra money during the financial year is to call a general meeting to agree a special levy on members, and accepted his assurances that the Society's ability to representat its members would be severely hampered by the Flint proposal.

And he offered the prospect of a reduction in next year's fee of something in the region of £100 if current estimates prove accurate once the budget process is complete.

One thing most speakers were agreed on was that it was good to have the debate. And the Society knows, if it did not before, that members are ready to call it to account if it is not seen to be safeguarding their interests. Which is no more than in keeping with the mood of the times.