Constitution of the West Ealing Centre Neighbouhood Forum
The name of the organisation is the “West Ealing Centre Neighbourhood Forum” (hereinafter “the Forum”).
2. Aims and Objectives
The Forum is a voluntary association of individuals and organisations. Its purpose is to produce a Neighbourhood Plan to further the social, economic, environmental and general well-being of individuals living in a designated area of central West Ealing and to further the interests of businesses operating in the same area. It shall operate without distinction or discrimination on the grounds of sex, disability, sexual orientation or race, or of political, religious or other opinions.
The Forum shall cover the area of West Ealing centre shown in Schedule A, subject to any amendment as may be agreed with Ealing Borough Council acting in its capacity as Local Planning Authority.
a) Full membership shall be open to :
i. individuals who live in the area;
ii. individuals who work in the area, whether for business carried on there or otherwise;
iii. community organisations which operate in the area, through their duly appointed representatives;
iv. businesses, educational establishments or other entities which operate in the area, through their duly appointed representatives.
v. Individuals who are elected members of Ealing Council, any part of whose area falls within the Area, who shall be ex officio members.
vi. Individuals who have a material and ongoing social, cultural, economic or financial interest in or involvement in the area.
b) Any applicant eligible for membership under paragraph 4a and who supports the aims and objects of the Forum shall become a member of the Forum on submission to the Secretary of a request to join which
i. provides satisfactory evidence of eligibility; and
ii. provides contact details which may be used by the Forum for its lawful purposes.
iii. is accompanied by any subscription or fee which the Forum may have approved through a General Meeting.
c) The Management Committee may refuse to accept, or may revoke, membership of any individual or organisation which in its opinion fails to meet the criteria for membership or which acts in a way inimical to the aims and objects set out in paragraph 2. Any person or organisation whose membership is revoked shall have the right to appeal to a General Meeting of the Forum called under paragraph 8.
d) The Management Committee will use all reasonable endeavours to seek to ensure that, so far as may in all the circumstances prevailing from time to time be realistically possible, the membership of the Forum reflects opinions and attitudes from across the mainstream political spectrum.
5. Management Committee and Officers
a) The day-to-day business of the Forum shall be conducted by the Management Committee (“the Committee”). Subject to decisions of any General Meeting, the Committee shall comprise 12 members elected by a General Meeting in the proportion of one-third residents of the Area, one third by the representatives of community organisations as identified in para 4.a.iii, and one third by representatives of business and other organisations as identified in para 4.a.iv. Councillors or others elected to public office for any part of the borough shall not be eligible for election, but may be eligible for co-option under para 5.b. The term of office of any member of the Committee shall expire at the next AGM convened and held after the AGM at which the member was elected, but members shall be eligible to stand for re-election for a continuous period not exceeding three years.
b) The Committee may co-opt up to eight additional voting members for a term to expire no later than the next following AGM. The power of co-option shall be used inter alia to ensure that as far as possible the Committee has a reasonable balance and is representative of the local community.
c) The Committee shall elect from among its members a Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and any other officers as it sees fit. Their duties shall include:
i. the Chair: chairing all General, Stakeholders Group and Committee meetings, and in the event of a tied vote exercising a casting vote; and being jointly responsible with the Treasurer to answer to the General Meeting on the conduct of the financial affairs of the Forum;
ii. the Vice-Chair: assuming the Chair’s responsibility for chairing meetings in the event of the Chair being unable to do so;
iii. the Secretary: handling the Forum’s administration including minutes of meetings and all matters relating to applications for and records of membership, ensuing compliance with data protection legislation;
iv. the Treasurer: handling all the Forum’s financial business, preparing financial reports and jointly with the Chair answering to the General Meeting on the conduct of the financial affairs of the Forum.
d) The Committee shall meet not less than once every two months. The Secretary shall give at least seven days’ notice of meetings to all members of the Committee. Five members shall constitute a quorum. Any meeting of the Committee which is not quorate may continue its deliberations but any decisions taken will be subject to ratification at the next meeting of the Committee.
e) The Committee may appoint sub-committees to carry out specific roles or projects. Any such sub-committee may co-opt such persons as it thinks fit to enable it to perform its function but shall not take any action beyond the terms of its appointment and shall report on its activities to the Committee.
f) Decisions of the Committee shall be taken by a simple majority of those present and voting except on a substantive issue or proposal such as the content of a proposed neighbourhood plan which shall be subject to a requirement for a majority of those members elected by residents and businesses under para 5.a.
g) The Committee shall keep minutes of all its proceedings which shall be available for inspection by any member on giving no less than ten days’ notice to the Secretary.
h) Any member may attend any meeting of the Committee and may speak at the discretion of the Chair but may not vote.
The general meeting of all members shall be the controlling body of the Forum.
7. Annual General Meeting (AGM) & Election of Officers
a) An AGM shall be held on a day to be appointed by the Committee not later than three months after the end of the Forum’s financial year.
b) The business of the AGM shall include
i. a report from the Chair on the activities of the Forum since the previous AGM and its plans for the forthcoming year;
ii. a report from the Treasurer as to the financial position of the Forum;
iii. consideration of and, if thought fit, approval of the accounts of the Forum for the previous financial year together with an independent report on those accounts;
iv. appointment of an independent inspector to report to the following AGM on the accounts for the current financial year;
v. any other business as required by the Constitution or as directed by the Committee;
vi. consideration of any motion which has been submitted by a member of the Forum in time for circulation with the notice of the AGM;
vii. election of the Committee for the forthcoming year.
c) The Secretary shall give all members at least 21 days written notice (including email) of the time and place of the AGM. Such notice shall include details of all business to be transacted at the meeting.
d) Nominations for election to the Committee shall be invited in advance of the AGM and must be proposed and seconded in writing by members with the signed consent of the candidate. Nominations shall be duly submitted to the Secretary of the Forum not less than 2 days prior to the date of the AGM.
e) Election of members of the Committee may by taken en bloc if there are no more nominations than there are vacancies to be filled unless any member objects, in which case the meeting shall vote on each nomination separately.
f) In the event of there being more nominations than vacancies, a secret ballot shall be held with ballot papers being distributed at the AGM for return by the end of the meeting. Voting shall be ranking the candidates in order of preference and shall be counted by the Single Transferable Vote method. The meeting shall agree to the appointment of one or more scrutineers to act as returning officers and to advise the Chair on the results.
g) The AGM may, by a vote of not less than two-thirds of those present and voting, agree to consider any urgent or important business which has arisen since dispatch of the notice of the meeting.
8. Other General Meetings
In the period between AGMs, the forum shall meet as a General Meeting of all members at intervals of not more than three months. At least 14 days written notice (including email) shall be given to members. A General Meeting of all members shall be called within 28 days of receipt by the Secretary of a request in writing signed by no less than five members, stating the purposes for which the meeting is required and the resolution proposed.
9. Conduct of General Meetings
a) Twenty members (or one-fifth of the membership if less) shall constitute a quorum. A quorum is not required to receive the report and accounts.
b) Voting at general meetings shall be by show of hands, except as provided in sub-paragraph 7.f above.
c) A member who is unable by reason of illness or disability to attend a general meeting at which a ballot is to be held shall be entitled to appoint a proxy to vote on his or her behalf. Notice of appointment of a proxy must be received by the Secretary not less than 24 hours before the meeting.
d) Formal minutes will be produced for each General Meeting and posted on the Forum’s web site no later that seven days after the meeting took place.
e) Conflict of interest must be declared. Members with a conflict of interest should withdraw from discussion and voting on the issue in question.
a) The finances of the Forum shall be controlled as follows:
i. The Forum’s accounting period shall be annual ending on 30 April.
ii. A General Meeting may decide to set a subscription rate for membership of the Forum together with such different categories of subscription or concession as it thinks fit.
iii. The Treasurer shall maintain for a period of six years or until the winding up of the Forum whichever is the sooner and pass on to his or her successor all accounting records which shall be subject to independent inspection and reporting to the AGM as provided in paragraph 7.b.ii and such records shall be available for inspection by any member on giving not less than 10 days notice.
iv. The Treasurer shall open and maintain a bank or other appropriate account in the name of the Forum which account or accounts shall be controlled by a mandate requiring the signature of no fewer than two of the Officers as listed in paragraph 5.c.
v. Audited Forum accounts will be made publicly available and will be published on the Forum’s website within three months of the Forum’s financial year end.
vi. A record of income and expenditure must be provided each year to the Annual General Meeting.
vii. Accounts should be independently audited if the turnover of the Forum exceeds £5,000 in the year in question.
viii. Accounts should be open to inspection by members on request.
ix. The Forum may raise funds by donation, grants, or other means. The proceeds of such fund-raising shall be used in furtherance of the Forum’s aims as set out in this constitution.
x. The Forum shall maintain a bank account. Cheques, transfers, or other banking instruments and instructions shall be the responsibility of two signatories who must be members of the management committee.
xi. Signatories must not be related or members of the same household.
xii. Records must be kept of any petty cash transactions.
11. Constitution and Interpretation
a) In this Constitution the term “community organisations” includes charities, churches and other religious establishments, welfare organisations and other bodies which operate wholly or partly within the area and whose aims are consistent with the objects of the Forum.
The term “Neighbourhood Plan” includes, but is not limited to, a neighbourhood development plan as defined in the Localism Act 2011.
b) In the event of any question arising where the interpretation of this Constitution is in doubt or where it is silent, the Committee shall have the power to act according to its own interpretation and at its discretion.
c) Other than as may be required by law, amendments to this Constitution may only be made by a majority representing two-thirds of the members present and voting at a quorate General Meeting.
d) Any requirement in this Constitution for notices or reports to be distributed to members of the Forum shall be deemed to have been satisfied if such notice or reports have been sent by e-mail, by posting on the Forum’s website or by other electronic means. An individual member may request hard copies and in such a case the Committee reserves the right to make a charge to cover the extra cost incurred. Formal notices from a member to the Committee may be sent by e-mail, subject to validation against a written signature submitted to the Secretary in advance.
12. Alteration of the Constitution
The Constitution may be altered by resolution at a General Meeting provided that the resolution is passed by a majority of two thirds of the members present at the General Meeting.
a) The duration of the Forum shall be for six years from the date of adoption of this Constitution unless it is previously wound up or extended by resolution of a General Meeting.
b) On dissolution of the Forum any remaining assets shall be distributed to the community organisations which remain as members at that date in proportions to be decided by the Committee, which shall retain responsibility for completing such distribution for a period ending six months from the date of dissolution, failing which any remaining undistributed assets shall be transferred to the “ Pathways Trust”, Ealing, its heirs or successors.
14. Code of Conduct for Management Committee members
a) The role of the Management Committee is to conduct the day to day business of the Forum in an efficient, fair and responsive way. In taking decisions on behalf of the Forum, Committee members must always be aware of their responsibility to represent all those living and working in the Forum area.
b) All Committee members must comply with this constitution and code of conduct at all times.
c) Committee members should conduct themselves in a manner which respects the views of others. Racist, sexist, personalised or inflammatory comments are not acceptable.
d) Committee members must never use their position to seek preferential treatment for themselves, relatives or members of their household. Any pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests must be declared at committee meetings.
e) Committee members cannot receive any payment from the Forum, other than for bona fide expenses as approved by the Treasurer and submitted and recorded in writing.
f) Any serious breach of this Code of Conduct may result in a committee member being asked to resign, or being suspended by a majority vote of the committee.
15. Confidentiality & Data Protection
It is the responsibility of the Management Committee to ensure that all data held or shared by the Forum is done so in accordance with best practice and within the recommendations and terms of current data protection legislation. Specific responsibility for monitoring & compliance is that of the elected Secretary to whom all initial requests should be addressed in writing.
17 June 2014