Mildenhall Naturist Swimming Club

Draft Constitution

This constitution closely follows the advice, and much of the wording, recommended by the Charity Commissioners for the constitution of a charitable association. This is both because it is recognised best practice and because it will make it easier for the club to become a charity if it decides to apply. There has recently been a policy change by the Charity Commissioners making sports clubs eligible for charitable status and there is at least one naturist charity so it may be possible.

Constitutions are always horribly boring documents but they are important. It does fit comfortably onto 2 sides of A4 so it could be worse. Constitutions provide valuable protection against things going wrong.

This constitution was adopted at the first AGM held on 5 October 2002.

Constitution

Commentary

Name

1. The name of the association shall be Mildenhall Naturist Swimming Club or such other name as the association may from time to time decide.

Obvious, but essential.

Objects

2. The object of the association shall be to provide facilities for naturist sport and recreation to any member of the public who is eligible for membership.

The affairs of the association shall be conducted as far as practicable as if it is a charity.

This is what the association aims to do. 'Objects' is a technical term.

Vocabulary

3. The National Association is the Central Council for British Naturism, Association of British Naturist Clubs or other national naturist association of similar standing.

So that the whole lot doesn‘t have to be typed every time!

Membership

4. Any adult may apply for membership. Membership is not available to registered sex offenders. Anyone who has had membership or attendance of a naturist event, club or organisation revoked or refused may only join at the discretion of the committee. They become members by completing the membership application form, and paying the membership fee. The membership card is not issued until identification requirements (if any) have been met. A junior membership scheme may be offered, but junior members can not vote or be trustees. The membership fee and structure is determined by a general meeting.

This is recommended by CCBN. Obviously it can‘t guarantee anything, but it should deter as the courts will take a very dim view of anyone offending against it.

The deferred issuing of cards allows joining by post without having to send identification through the post. Doing it all in person is impracticable as members are drawn from a wide area. We don‘t want to risk documents being lost in the post and id is best verified face to face.

5. Membership may be terminated by:

(1) The resignation of the member.

(2) Membership may be suspended, and the membership card retained, at the discretion of any officer or the person nominated by the committee to officiate at a swim. It must be reviewed at the next meeting of the committee and the individual concerned has the right to be heard, accompanied by a friend if necessary, before a decision is made about permanent exclusion. If the exclusion is confirmed, then they will be added to the lists of people unwelcome at naturist events maintained by this club. Organisers of other naturist events and CCBN may be informed at any stage in this process. It is a condition of membership that members consent to these arrangements.

Standard provisions to ensure fairness and consent to being placed on a list as required by the Human Rights Act and other legislation.

6. Members must comply with all child protection requirements as agreed with SAFE or other appropriate advisory service.

Added at 2005 AGM to ensure that no conflict could arise between the requirement for some members of the club to give undertakings or to have CRB checks and for example election to the committee.

Committee and trustees

7. The committee is elected at the annual general meeting and shall comprise chairman, treasurer, secretary and up to 4 ordinary members. Additional non-voting members may be co-opted. They take office, and the previous committee leaves office, at the end of the meeting. If a post becomes vacant for any reason then a replacement may be co-opted by the committee.

8. The chairman has a casting vote at both committee and general meetings in addition to his ordinary vote.

9. The committee are the trustees of the association.

10. The committee should arrange to meet at least twice during the year. Additional meetings can be called by any 2 members of the committee, giving at least 2 weeks notice, or less if all members consent. The quorum is 2 or one third of the members, whichever is greater.

Standard stuff for committees.

Minutes and accounts

11. Minutes will be kept of all general and committee meetings. As a minimum, the agenda and the result of all votes will be recorded.

12. The committee shall ensure that adequate accounts are kept and a statement of account presented to the Annual General Meeting. The accounting requirements of the Charities Act 1993, relevant to the income/expenditure level of the association, where relevant shall be used as guidance.

13. The accounts shall be audited. The auditor may be a member of the association but not the committee.

14. The minutes, accounts and auditors report shall be open to inspection by any club member. However, a copy with parts obscured or removed where essential to maintain confidentiality can be supplied.

Ensure accountability and that the club can be run efficiently. There are sometimes legal and moral reasons why things have to be kept confidential.

Bank account(s)

15. Any bank account(s) in which any assets of the association are deposited shall be operated by the trustees and shall be held in the name of the association. All cheques and orders for the payment of money from such account shall be signed by at least two trustees, authorised by the committee.

Standard provision for security.

Annual and special general meetings

17. Special general meetings will be called by the committee at the request of 1/3 the membership or 10 members whichever is smaller, or at the discretion of the committee.

18. Annual general meetings will by called by the committee at intervals not exceeding 14 months.

19. At least 21 days notice must be given to all members, and must include the motions to be voted on. Other business may be considered, and a vote taken, but the result is only advisory. Notice may be delivered by hand, or by post or by email to the last recorded address.

20. The quorum shall be 7 members, or one-tenth of all the current members, whichever is more.

21. All adult members have voting rights. A simple majority is required for ordinary resolutions to be carried.

22. A report will be provided to the Annual General Meeting by each of the officers.

Normal procedures. The numbers, except the 14 months, are the Charity Commission recommendations. There is deliberately no lower time limit for AGMs. I don‘t consider postal and proxy voting appropriate for a small association. The quorum is a difficult decision. These are the Charity Commission figures. At present (Oct 02) we have 35 members.

Affiliation

23.The association will be a member club of a National Association. The association will be dissolved if it ceases to qualify for membership.

This is to ensure that the club remains a naturist club.

Amending the constitution

24. The proposed amendments will be considered at a general meeting. The resolution must be passed by not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting. The notice of the general meeting must include notice of the resolution setting out the terms of the amendment proposed.

Normal practice and Charity Commission recommendation.

Dissolution

25. A general meeting shall be called to consider it. If the proposal is confirmed by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting, the committee shall have power to realise any assets held by or on behalf of the association. Any assets remaining after the satisfaction of any proper debts and liabilities shall be distributed to National Association(s) and/or club(s) affiliated to a National Association.

If the association ceases to function to the extent that the above procedure can not be followed then all assets shall be given to a National Association, or if that can not be done to some other good cause.

This provision is often forgotten about in a constitution. If it is missing it can be difficult to end the association. The first paragraph is the usual procedure, as recommended by the Charity Commission. The second paragraph has been added because this situation can arise.

Formation

26. The club will be administered by Malcolm Boura until a general meeting can be arranged to confirm the constitution. During this period, this constitution may be amended at his discretion following the general principles embodied in this document. Every endeavour shall be made to ensure that the general meeting takes place within 6 months of the adoption of this constitution.

Adopted:

Signed and dated

Interim arrangements to start the association. Giving a discretionary power to amend the constitution means that comments and criticisms can be incorporated into it before the first AGM. It also allows a committee to be formed to assist in the running of the club until the first AGM.

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