Constitution

CONSTITUTION OF THE CAMBRIDGE COMMONS

September 2014, revised June 2017 and January 2018,

Amended at AGM October 2018.

Name

  1. The name of the association is The Cambridge Commons and it will take the organisational form of a non-incorporated charitable association. The organisation will act as a hub for progressive national and local bodies and local inhabitants.

Objects

  1. The association’s charitable objects are:

(a)       to raise public awareness of the extent of poverty in Cambridge and Cambridgeshire and to promote informed debate on the causes of poverty so as to encourage measures that could lead to understanding and the relief of poverty;

(b)       to raise public awareness of the range of inequalities in incomes and wealth in the United Kingdom and through educational means to encourage support for a lessening of the financial, power and other inequalities between people;

(c)       to promote public understanding of the effects of low pay upon the quality of life of individuals or families who rely on low-paid employment;

(d)       to consider policies and measures that could improve the well-being of all persons living in the area;

(e)       to consider what contribution greater equality could make to improving the well-being of all persons living in the area, economic development in the area and the quality of life for all inhabitants and the local communities.

Powers

  1. In pursuance of the objects set out in clause 2 (but not otherwise), the association shall have the following powers:

(a)       To organise public meetings, petitions and demonstrations; to issue and publicise leaflets, books, statements, films and recordings; to establish commissions; to hold social events;

(b)       To carry on any other activities which further any of the above objects;

(c)        To purchase, take on lease, hire, or otherwise acquire, any property or rights which are suitable for the association’s activities;

(d)       To apply for grants or to borrow money, and to give security in support of any such borrowings by the association;

(e)       To employ such staff as are considered appropriate for the proper conduct of the association’s activities, and to make reasonable provision for the payment of pension and/or other benefits for members of staff, ex-members of staff and their dependants;

(f)        To effect insurance of all kinds (which may include officers’ liability insurance);

(g)       To invest any funds which are not immediately required for the association’s activities in such investments as may be considered appropriate (and to dispose of, and vary, such investments);

(h)       To liaise with other voluntary sector bodies, local authorities, central and other government departments and agencies, and other bodies, all with a view to furthering the association’s objects;

(i)         To establish and/or support any other charity and other progressive organisation, and to make donations for any charitable purpose falling within the association’s objects;

(j)         To take such steps as may be deemed appropriate for the purpose of raising funds for the association’s activities;

(k)        To accept grants, donations and legacies of all kinds (and to accept any reasonable conditions attaching to them);

(l)         To do anything which may be incidental or conducive to the furtherance of any of the association’s objects.

General structure

  1. The structure of the association shall consist of:

(a)       the Members, namely anyone who is advancing, or has indicated a desire to advance the association’s objects, or wishes to receive news about the association.  Members:

  • have the right to attend the annual general meeting, any special general meeting and any organisational meeting, to determine collectively the actions and policies of the association and take decisions in relation to changes to the constitution itself; and
  • will hold regular meetings and generally control and supervise the activities of the association;
  • shall elect such officers as are deemed necessary, including a treasurer and secretary; no officer shall act as spokesperson for the association, except after consultation with the Steering Committee;
  • shall as necessary establish smaller executive committees, temporary or permanent, to which they may delegate decision-making powers;
  • shall adopt such policies as they regard appropriate, to guide the conduct of the association.

(b)       A Steering Committee, consisting of the Chair, a Vice-Chair, the Treasurer, the Secretary, any other officers elected as provided in (a)(iii) above, the leader of each committee established under (a)(iv) above (collectively the “Serving Members”), and all other Members who notify the Secretary that they wish to join it. The Secretary shall maintain a current list of those in the Steering Committee. Members who fail to attend three successive Steering Committee meetings without explanatory notification may be excluded from SC membership. While ultimate power and authority resides in the MEMBERS as provided above, unless the MEMBERS resolve otherwise,

  • The Steering Committee has the power, authority and duty to act on behalf of all Members in respect of all matters concerning the administration, policy, and activities of the association;
  • Such powers and authority shall not extend to usurping those powers conferred on the Members as a whole in paragraph 8 (as to charging of fees), paragraphs 11-21 (AGMs and special general meetings), and paragraphs 31 and 32 (constitutional amendments and dissolution);
  • There is a duty on the Steering Committee to preserve this constitution and ensure that the affairs of the association are conducted in accordance with it;
  • Meetings of the Steering Committee shall be quorate if all Serving Members are given due notice, and two-thirds are present including either the Chair or Vice-Chair. Minutes shall be kept by the Secretary, and made available to Members;
  • If the membership of the Steering Committee reaches a total of 15, deemed the maximum for effective conduct of business, a cap will be placed on self-declared membership until a vacancy arises.

 

Qualifications for membership

  1. Membership shall be open to all persons who wish to advance the association’s objects.

 

 

Application for membership

  1. Any person who wishes to become a member may do so, unless the Steering Committee doubts good faith.
  2. Members (or the Steering Committee on their behalf as the case may be) shall review all changes in membership at the first meeting after any such change. All approvals or otherwise of membership will be notified to the individuals concerned.

Membership subscription

  1. Membership of The Cambridge Commons will be free, but the Members may at any point decide at a general meeting to introduce a membership fee to join or to retain membership. Any such charge will make provision for people with low means.

Register of members

  1. The Secretary shall maintain a register of members and past members, setting out the full name, email and where practicable street address of each member, and the date on which s/he was admitted to (or retired from) membership. The list of current members may be maintained on a customer relationship management system (e.g. mailchimp).

Expulsion from membership

  1. Any person may be expelled from membership by way of a resolution passed by majority vote at a meeting of members, providing the following procedures have been observed:

(a)       at least 21 days’ notice of the intention to propose the resolution must be given to the member concerned, specifying the grounds for the proposed expulsion;

(b)       the member concerned shall be entitled to be heard on the resolution at the meeting at which the resolution is proposed.

Annual General Meetings (meetings of members)

  1. The membership shall convene an annual general meeting (“AGM”) in each year. Not more than 15 months shall elapse between one annual general meeting and the next.
  2. The business of each annual general meeting shall include:

(a)       a debate on the strategy and the activities of the association;

(b)       consideration of the annual accounts of the association;

(c)        the election/re-election of officers as referred to in clause 4(a)

(d)       a review of the Steering Committee’s operation, membership and exercise of its powers, duties and authorities.

  1. A maximum of two special general meetings (“SGMs”) may be called by members within a twelve-month period. Any member may request the Secretary to convene an SGM, provided that s/he has not already done so within the twelve-month period, and that no more than one such SGM has already been called within that time. Absent bad faith, the Secretary will convene such meeting by giving due notice to all Members.

Notice of general meetings

  1. At least 14 clear days’ notice must be given of any AGM or SGM; the notice must indicate the general nature of any business to be dealt with at the meeting and, in the case of a resolution to alter the constitution, must set out the terms of the proposed alteration.
  2. The reference to “clear days” in clause 17 shall be taken to mean that, in calculating the period of notice, the day after the notice is posted, and also the day of the meeting, should be excluded.
  3. Notice of every AGM or SGM shall be given to all the members of the association.

Procedure at meetings

  1. No business shall be dealt with at any AGM or SGM unless a quorum is present; the quorum shall be 6 members present in person. If a quorum is not present within 15 minutes after the time at which a general meeting was due to commence – or if, during a meeting, a quorum ceases to be present – the meeting shall stand adjourned to such time and place as may be fixed by the chairperson of the meeting.
  2. As a general rule, decisions shall be taken by majority of those present who vote; every member shall have the opportunity to express their view; and where a vote is necessary, every member shall have one vote, which must be given personally.
  3. If there is an equal number of votes for and against any resolution, the chairperson of the meeting shall be entitled to a casting vote.
  4. A resolution put to the vote at an AGM or SGM shall be decided on a show of hands.
  5. The Chair or in his/her absence, such other member as the Chair nominates, will chair AGMs and SGMs.

   Personal interests

  1. Any member who has a personal interest in any transaction or other arrangement which the association is proposing to enter into, must declare that interest at any meeting; he/she will be debarred from voting on the question of whether or not the association should enter into that arrangement.
  2. Members may be paid all travel and other expenses reasonably incurred by them in connection with the carrying-out of duties on behalf of the association.

Conduct of members

  1. Each member shall, in exercising his/her functions on behalf of the association, act in the interests of the association; and, in particular, must seek, in good faith, to ensure that the association acts in a manner which is in accordance with its objects (as set out in this constitution).

Delegation to sub-committees

  1. Any meeting of members may delegate powers to any sub-committee consisting of one or more members and such other persons (if any) as they may determine; they may also delegate to an individual officer or member such of their powers as they may consider appropriate.

Operation of accounts and holding of property

  1. The signatures of two out of three signatories appointed by the membership shall be required in relation to all operations (other than lodgement of funds) on the bank, credit union and building society accounts held by the association.

Minutes

  1. Minutes shall be made of all proceedings at meetings, and shall include the names of those present, and (as far as possible) shall be signed by the secretary or nominated member.

Accounting records and annual accounts

  1. The Treasurer shall ensure that proper accounting records are maintained in accordance with all applicable statutory requirements.
  2. Annual accounts, complying with all relevant statutory requirements, shall be prepared; if an audit is required under any statutory provisions or if they otherwise think fit, the Steering Committee shall ensure that an audit of such accounts is carried out by a qualified auditor.

Notices

  1. Any notice which requires to be given to a member under this constitution may be by email to the address last notified by that member, or in other writing delivered personally or to any address last notified by that member.

Constitutional Amendments

  1. The constitution may be altered by a resolution passed by a simple majority voting at an AGM or SGM, providing due notice of the meeting, and of the resolution, is given.

Dissolution.

  1. The Cambridge Commons may be dissolved by a resolution passed by a simple majority voting at an AGM or SGM, providing due notice of the meeting, and of the resolution, is given. Upon any dissolution, the Treasurer shall discharge all debts and any surplus funds will be donated to The Equality Trust (www.equalitytrust.org.uk), or such other similar organisation the Chair at the time of dissolution shall nominate.

 

 

Initial members of the management committee

 

Chair                          Henry Tam

Vice-Chair                 Stuart Weir

Secretary                   Richard Allen

Treasurer                   Kimon Roussopoulos

Communications     Mark Page

 

This constitution was adopted at a meeting on 10th September 2014, and revised at a meeting on 13th June 2017, at which time the members of the steering committee (superseding the management committee) were as follows:

 

Chair                          George Weyman

Vice-Chair                 Stuart Weir

Secretary                   Richard Allen

Treasurer                   Kimon Roussopoulos

Communications     Mark Page

 

This constitution was further revised at a meeting on 10th January 2018, at which time the Serving Members of the Steering Committee (superseding the management committee) were as follows:

 

Chair                          George Weyman

Vice-Chair                 Stuart Weir

Secretary                   Richard Allen

Treasurer                   Kimon Roussopoulos

 

The constitution was amended at the AGM held on 11 October 2018 (changes to quorum), and new officers were elected as:

 

Chair                          George Weyman

Vice-Chair                 Daniel Davidson

Secretary                   Lurdes Duarte

Treasurer                   Kimon Roussopoulos

 

 

 

 

 

The Cambridge Commons (“TCC”)

Equality and Diversity Policy

(adopted 13 June 2017)

 

  1. Aim

1.1       In carrying out its functions TCC is committed to promoting equality of opportunity for all, and to ensuring that no individual is discriminated against in the planning and delivery of any of its activities.

1.2       TCC therefore aims to ensure that the values of equality, diversity, and respect for all are embedded into everything that it does.

 

  1. About this policy

2.1       This policy is intended to demonstrate TCC’s commitment to eliminating discrimination and encouraging and valuing diversity among members (including officers), and other persons with whom TCC interacts.

2.2       TCC recognises its responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010, and is committed to meeting them in full, because a culture that embraces equality and values diversity will help it to ensure that everyone feels involved and included in TCC’s plans, programmes and activities.

 

2.3       TCC aims to create an environment which respects and welcomes everyone, and in which no form of bullying, harassment, disrespectful or discriminatory behaviour is tolerated by anyone towards anyone. This particularly applies in relation to the ‘protected characteristics’ named in the Equality Act 2010:

Age, disability, gender reassignment, income, marriage or civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

 

  1. Responsibilities

3.1       TCC understands that for equality to be achieved this policy needs to be made understandable to, and embraced by, members (including officers).

3.2       The policy is fully supported and has been agreed by TCC’s management committee.

3.3       All members (including officers) have a responsibility to ensure that their own language and actions are consistent with the spirit as well as the contents of this policy.

3.4       Overall responsibility for the implementation of this policy lies with the Chair.

 

  1. TCC commitments

4.1       TCC recognises that an Equality and Diversity Policy alone is not enough to ensure that equality and diversity are central to everything that it does.

4.2       TCC will seek to create an environment in which diversity and the contributions of all members (including officers) are recognised and valued in all that it does. In this way TCC hopes to provide an example of good equality practice and promote community cohesion.

4.3       In introducing this policy TCC recognises that many people are unfamiliar with the ways in which discrimination and disadvantage affect people’s health, well-being and quality of life. TCC will therefore support people to develop equalities awareness and understanding.

4.4       To ensure that TCC is meeting the aims and the spirit of this policy it will:

  1. a) Discuss and review how well it is implementing this policy, and (adjust practices/develop an action plan) where necessary, and no less often than annually
  2. b) Assess any significant new or revised policies and procedures for their impact on equality
  3. c) Embed equality and diversity into development plans
  4. d) Ensure practices and procedures are consistent with the aims of this policy.
  5. Working with contractors, suppliers and partners

It is important to TCC that suppliers, contractors and any other individual or organisation working on behalf of TCC are aware of and agree to comply with this equality and diversity policy while that work is underway. In addition, TCC is committed to:

  1. using accessible venues for events and meetings;
  2. using plain English, and offering accessible communications, for example, emails, letters, reports and publicity materials as far as it is within its means to do so.

 

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