Call to Order: Special General Meeting to discuss Changes to Constitution July 2011

Special General Meeting

This is a Call to Order (ie official commencement) of a Special General Meeting being held to discuss proposals by the Executive to change the Constitution of EHN. The resolution under consideration is

"To agree the revised Constittution proposed by the Executive as attached to this forum post".

Two versions of the draft revised Constitution are attached to this post: one with the proposed changes merged and one with proposed changes highlighted. (You can also download the current Constittution from here).

The business of the meeting is being conducted Remotely (ie via this forum rather than through a face-to-face meeting).

The changes have been discussed and agreed by the Executive.

Some Key Changes

A key change is to replace the Annual General Meeting with a Regular General meeting. There was a discussion on the Executive about whether Regular General Meetings should be held every two years or every three years and the Executive eventually voted by a large majority to hold the meetings every two years.

The reason for this change is that all these democratic processes take a fair bit of time to organise and document and we have limited resources. Either 15% of Members or 4 Executive Members or the Chair can still call General Meetings if they want to outside of the RGMs. Meanwhile, the Executive is a strong body with for example 18 people voting on a recent decision to change our financial year. So we have a healthy democracy without going through the motions of an AGM just for the sake of it. Even limited companies now no longer have to have AGMs under the Companies Act 2006.

If the change is approved, there will not be an AGM this year - the next one will be some time around May 2012.

This change also means that elections will only be held every two years. Again, ths seems more than adequate. We do not actually want to be changing Chair and Secretrary every year. Most of the Executive is not elected anyway - it consists of forum reps. But we do want to encourage people to put themselves forward for the Executive where there are vacancies and the Constitution has been revised to make that clearer.

Another important change is the right of the Executive to modify the Constitution provided this does not compromise the democratic rights of the Membership. Again this is just trying to balance democracy with being efficient and not feeling so bogged down in procedure that we can't do anything. We hope the membership does have sufficient faith in its Executive to allow this somewhat unusual provision.

All the changes are documented in the drafts with comments and a summary at the end. If you have any questions, then feel free to email democracy@ehnetwork.org.uk but the preference is to communicate via this forum.

The Process

14 days are allowed for people to discuss the changes and propose amendments, in line with the current Constitution. If you want to make a point, please do so by commenting on this post (or replying to someone else's comment). Amendments can of course be proposed and may be adopted by the Executive or put to a separate vote.

A further 10 days are then allowed for the voting process.

Who can participate

Only Full Members should participate in any debate and only they will be able to vote when the time comes.

Please note that although any individual Full Member (ie Individual, Corporate, Collective or Honorary Life Member) can join in the debate, in the voting it will be one vote per paid-up membership. So if there are 5 Corporate Members from one council (=Sponsoring Organisation) then only one of the 5 should vote.

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Special General Meeting 2011