Margate Neighbourhood Forum Constitution

Constitution

Margate Neighbourhood Forum Thanet

Adopted on the 12th day of August 2013

1) Name The name of the group shall be the Margate Neighbourhood Forum, hereafter referred to as the Forum.

The Forum shall exist for 5 years from its formal designation by Thanet District Council and at its AGM at the end of year 4 (2017) the AGM will give consideration to a continuing or successor organisation to maintain and monitor the Margate Neighbourhood Plan. The Neighbourhood Plan area shall be decided by the Forum from time to time or as adjusted by Thanet District Council under its statutory powers.

2) The Purposes (Objects) of the Forum

i) To promote or improve the social, economic and environmental well-being of the designated area primarily through the development and implementation of a Neighbourhood Plan;

ii) To prepare a neighbourhood plan in partnership with the local planning authority for the area or in partnership with other forums;

iii) To encourage goodwill and support the involvement of the wider community;

iv) To foster, mobilise and engage community spirit and encourage civic pride;

3) Carrying out the Purposes:

In order to carry out the purposes, the Steering Committee has the power to : -

i) Raise funds, receive grants and donations;

ii) Co-operate, support and work with other groups with similar purposes; by exchanging information, advice and knowledge, including cooperation with other voluntary bodies, charities, statutory and non-statutory organisations;

iii) Promote sustainable development, environmental improvement and conservation by ensuring that communities and individuals have practical tools for accomplishing their visionary ends and aid them by convening, engaging, mobilising and supporting their activities;

iv) Publicise and promote the work of the Forum and organise a programme of community engagement, to include meetings, training courses, public events, seminars etc.;

v) Employ such staff (who shall not be members of the Steering Committee) as are necessary to conduct activities to meet the objects;

vi) Promote the health, social, economic and environmental wellbeing of the residents of the area by working together with all people irrespective of age, sex, ethnicity, ability, religion or political affiliation;

vii) Do anything else within the law which is necessary to achieve the purposes;3

4) Membership

i) The Forum shall take no action unless it is motivated by the purposes of the organisation and shall not discriminate against any individual or group on the basis of age, disability, nationality, race, ability, marital status, sexuality, gender, political or religious beliefs.

ii) The Steering Committee shall keep an up to date Forum membership list.

iii) Forum Membership shall be open to anyone who has an interest in assisting the Group to achieve its aim and is willing to adhere to the objects and constitution of the Forum:

iv) Membership shall be open to all who support the purpose of the 'Margate Neighbourhood Forum' and who give their contact details to the Membership Secretary of the Steering Committee and who allow these details to be used for the purposes of the Forum. Individuals can sign up as members at any Forum public meetings or by contacting the Forum via its website or any Steering Committee member. The Membership Secretary shall maintain a list of members at all times and publish this on the Forum's website.

  • Membership shall be open to all who support the purpose of the Margate Neighbourhood Plan
  • Membership is open to all who live and work in the area or who wish to live in the area
  • Membership is open to all elected local authority councillors whose ward is included in Margate and/or Cliftonville
  • Membership shall be drawn from different places in the neighbourhood and differing sections of the communities in the neighbourhood

v) Where it is considered membership would be detrimental to the aims and activities of the Forum, the Steering Committee shall have the power to refuse membership, or may terminate or suspend the membership of any member by majority resolution passed at a meeting.

vi) Any member of the Forum may resign his/her membership by providing the Membership Secretary with written notice.

vii) Members may be contacted by the Steering Committee from time to time to act as a 'litmus test' for ideas and proposals or to be invited to participate in other activities related to the work of the Forum

viii) Individuals running businesses or otherwise working in Margate/Cliftonville can become Associate Members of the Forum, can attend meetings, including the AGM, can volunteer for the Forum and receive Forum mailings but cannot vote at the AGM

ix) The Forum can liaise with the larger employers in the Neighbourhood Plan area via designated representative(s)

x) Membership of the Forum should at all times be a minimum of 21 individuals

5. The Forum's ultimate authority comes from its Annual General Meeting

i)The AGM, and any other public meetings held, give legitimacy to the Steering Committee of the Forum (as defined in 7) below) and the plans they or Forum task or working groups may develop

ii)If there is more than one public meeting in any one year, one (in April or May) will be designated as the AGM

iii)The AGM will be called with at least fourteen (14) working days' notice once per year by informing all residential properties within the agreed Neighbourhood Plan Boundary, through a best endeavours approach of publishing in local newspapers, posting on the Forum website, the council website and utilising community groups' email distribution lists.

iv)The AGM has the power to both elect, and remove by a vote of no confidence, any member of the Steering Committee.

v)At each AGM the Chair will provide a written report, the Treasurer will provide a set of accounts for the previous year and the Minute Secretary will record the proceedings.

6. Forum Steering Committee

i)The Steering Committee (SC) exists to co-ordinate, implement and monitor the work of the Forum including developing a Neighbourhood Plan for Margate. It will prioritise, schedule and publicise the work of the Forum.

ii)The SC is a working committee made up from Forum members elected at the AGM and representatives of Residents' Associations within the designated Forum area, all of whom have a vote.

iii)Steering Committee members will be elected at the AGM, and are: Chairperson, Vice Chair, Treasurer, Minute Secretary and Membership Secretary plus up to 5 Open Place members (total 10)

iv)Non- voting SC members with specialist skills may be co-opted onto the SC and the SC may set up Task or Working Groups of Forum members for specific projects or tasks to be undertaken

v)The SC will liaise with relevant bodies such as the Universities, Colleges, Sports Clubs, business associations, the local authorities and the elected representatives for Margate and Cliftonville.

vi) Steering Committee decision making can be by consensus or after a vote - the Chair will have the casting vote.

vii)The Steering Committee has the power to hold votes of no confidence in any member by simple majority vote

viii)Only full members of the Forum may stand for the Steering Committee and should be nominated by a member or Associate Member

ix)Representatives of Residents' groups and associations on the SC are responsible for communicating between the Forum and their group/association

7) Meetings: (AGM, Special General, Steering Committee )

i) The Steering Committee shall meet at least four times a year. Meetings shall enable the Group to discuss actions and monitor progress to date, and to consider future actions.

ii) All members shall be given at least fourteen (14) days' notice of when a meeting is due to take place, unless it is deemed as an emergency, dates of meetings shall be publicised on the Forum's website.

iii) At least FIVE (5) members of the Steering Committee must be present in order for a meeting to be quorate.

iv) It shall be the responsibility of the Chairperson to chair all meetings or a designated deputy in his/her absence. All meetings shall be minuted and the minutes made accessible to the public, in addition to being published on the Forum's website.

v) The AGM shall take place no later than twelve (12) months after the end date of the signing of this constitution. At least fourteen (14) days' notice must be given before the meeting takes place.

vi) All registered members are entitled to vote at the AGM. Voting shall be made by a show of hands on a majority basis. In the case of a tied vote, the Chairperson or a designated deputy shall make the final decision.

vii) Emergency Special General Meetings to allow the members to decide on important Issues, may be called by the request of any 3 designated Forum members.

8) Finance

i) Any money acquired by the Forum, including donations, contributions and bequests, shall be paid into a bank account operated by the Steering Committee in the name of the Forum. All funds shall be applied to the furtherance of the objects of the Group and for no other purpose.

ii) Any deeds, legal documents and/or cheques etc. relating to the Forum shall be signed by at least two (2) of the following Steering Committee members: Chairperson; Vice Chair, Treasurer; Minute Secretary.

iii) Income/expenditure records shall be the responsibility of the Treasurer, who will be accountable for maintaining records of income and expenditure. Official accounts shall be maintained, and will be examined annually by an independent accountant who is not a member of the Group. The Treasurer will present an annual financial report to the membership at the AGM and intermittent reports to the Steering Committee upon request, in order to ensure funds are utilised effectively and that the Group stays within budget. The accounting year of the Forum shall run from 01 April to 31 March.

9) A Neighbourhood Plan - the Process

i) Any decision to undertake, consult on or submit to the local planning authority for approval any neighbourhood Plan shall be subject to a vote of the full forum.

ii) All consultation on the Neighbourhood Plan will be presented to all residents, businesses' and concerned people, whether members of the forum or not.

iii) The forum shall set up a website to publicise the Community Engagement and Neighbourhood Planning process, record it and seek views of the public.

iv) The Steering Committee, can delegate a 'Neighbourhood Plan Team' to work with the local planning authority and any independent experts and advisors on the neighbourhood plan as they see fit.

v) The Steering Committee can delegate to the 'Neighbourhood Plan Team' the tasks of preparing the Neighbourhood Plan and stages in this process will be publicised and opened for consideration and discussion by the full membership of the Forum.

10) Alteration of the Constitution

i) This constitution may be amendedby a two thirds majority of members present and voting at the Annual General Meeting or at a Special General Meeting.

ii) Any proposed changes to this Forum or dissolution of the Forum must be conveyed formally, in writing, to the Minute Secretary. The Secretary and other officers shall then decide on the date of a special general meeting to discuss such proposals, giving members at least four weeks (28 days) notice.

11) Dissolution

i) The Forum may be wound up by a two thirds majority of members present and voting at a Special General Meeting. Any money or property remaining after payment of debts must be given to an organisation with similar (charitable) purposes.

This constitution was adopted at an AGM held on.....12th August 2013 ..... by the following persons:

Liam Nabb Chair 12/08/13

Peter Miles Treasurer 12/08/13

Dan Chilcott Vice Chair 12/08/13

Geoff Orton Minute Secretary 12/08/13