AGM and tower constitution
Our AGM was on Weds 14th October at 8.45pm.
Below is our constitution. We are not formalising this so we can change it at any point but it provides a framework to work within.
If nothing else please note this:
The draft constitution
1/ This informal constitution represents guidelines for how Merstham band organises itself and formalises key issues where necessary and provides a framework which the band endorses
2/ Each year in October there will be an annual general meeting to elect officers.
A minimum of three weeks prior to that meeting, agenda, constitution and any outstanding issues to be circulated.
AGM procedure – target time 30mins:
Outgoing tower captain to run:
1/ Tower Captain’s report (1 minute)
Keep it brief – essentially thank team and highlight and minute what has happened in past year
2/ Steeplekeepers report: (1 minute)
Very brief – but critically to formally record (via minutes) what has been done in the past year and what needs to be done in coming year(s). May be best handled with a few words with detail on hand-out sheet of paper.
3/ Secretary/treasurers report (2 minutes) (balance sheet on paper available to all the band)
Secretary/Treasurer introduces the balance sheet and proposes next year’s budget, subs etc.
4/ H&S, safeguarding etc (5 minutes)
Report on any accidents/near misses/lessons to learn from other towers
Formally tell the band that there is a risk assessment for the tower which is available on request, and formally ask the tower if they have any health and safety concerns or tips.
Report on safeguarding (under 18s and vulnerable adults) policies – what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour – report on who is an isn’t DRB’d – formally tell band there is a safeguarding policy (actually a vulnerable person policy) and ask the band if they have any vulnerable person concerns or tips.
5/ Training report (1 minute)
Brief – if only to note how many people have been trained, how they have been trained etc for the record and give thanks
6/ Social secretary’s report –(1 minute) –
Brief - essentially to note what has happened
All current postholders will stand down. The outgoing secretary will oversee the election of the new tower captain before standing down. Potential postholders may have 30 seconds or so (if they must!) to issue a short election statement.
A clear majority is necessary to elect an officer – if there is a draw/not clear majority then all those NOT in the tie/top three drop out of the election and the election is rerun. If a clear majority is not achieved in this second ballot then simple majority will suffice. If a person is unopposed then no election is necessary. The election will be with pieces of paper (including absentee votes) dropped into a hat anonymously overseen by outgoing secretary.
The tower captain cannot stand for more than three consecutive terms
Procedure will be:
A/ Elect tower captain.
B/ Incoming tower captain will speak for less than one minute outlining intentions eg s/he may set out ethos/policy and nominate training officer if s/he doesn’t want to run the training him/herself (please note this may affect who wants to stand for following positions)
C/ Elect deputy tower captain
(incoming tower captain now takes over election procedure)
D Elect secretary/treasurer
E/ Elect Steeplekeeper
F/ Elect social secretary
9/ Any other business
(detailed discussions will be discouraged on the basis that the discussions could have taken place before prompted by agenda
10/ Meeting ends. Minutes to be produced within one week
The tower should aim to be self financing and not seek funds from the PCC (unless in an emergency)
Once finances allow, a cash float is required of not less than £200 eg to cover weddings (paying ringers if funds from church has not arrived), incidentals eg training record books etc
Once finances allow, Steeplekeeper will receive £100 per year in cash as float to cover incidentals, all expenditure to be accounted for at the end of the year preferably via receipts in the alternative with written notification to tower captain eg email.
All non emergency routine expenditure must be budgeted for in advance. Emergency means the bells are unringable.
Aim to keep sinking provision fund which grows sufficiently to cover scheduled expenses. Eg new ropes should not be considered an emergency, they should be scheduled expenditure. Steeplekeeper is instrumental in estimating required fund.
A request from four regular ringers, or half of regular ringers, or the vicar/curate, can demand and force an extraordinary general meeting to re-elect all or some of the officers. If necessary a curate/vicar could be asked to oversee such a process
If a ringer does not pay their subs following reasonable requests, they are not insured and cannot ring
Elected posts are:
Tower Captain: Overall responsibility for ensuring the bells are rung, the bells and ringers are safe, the finances are sound, training, relations with the PCC are healthy and that the band thrives.
Deputy Tower Captain: Assists the Tower Captain as required.
Secretary/Treasurer: Responsible for finances, for running the AGM and elections, (and admin tasks to ease the Tower Captain's load).
Steeplekeeper: self explanatory.
Social Secretary: Organises Christmas dinner, bellringers quiz and other social events.
Elected roles can be shared or roles combined but the Secretary/Treasurer must be independent of the Tower Captain and Steeplekeeper, and there must be three separate people to aid decision taking.
Eligibility to vote/stand
Regular ringers at Merstham can stand for positions and vote. It will be possible for any absentee to vote on the election of the Tower Captain. All nominations to stand for Tower Captain must be declared in the tower talk one week prior to the AGM. Absentee voters will inform the out-going Secretary of their choice which will remain confidential. This must be received by the morning of the AGM at the very latest.
Absentees are also able to nominate themselves for an electable position(s). They must inform the out-going Secretary of their nominations by the morning of the AGM at the very latest (except Tower Captain nomination which has to be in the Tower Talk one week prior). Their nomination must remain confidential up to the point of the election of that position. Last minute votes or nominations can be received under exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the secretary. In the event of a tie the vote will be held until absent ringers are contacted and add their vote.