Constitution

NAME

1. The name of the Forum shall be "Meath Community & Voluntary Forum".

2. The Community Forum is made up of representatives of the Community/Voluntary Sector.

AIMS & OBJECTIVES

The Forum is a meeting place for all groups and individuals active in the Community & Voluntary Sector in each electoral area (hereafter referred to as the sector) as defined by the Government White Paper, October 2000.

FUNCTION

1. The Forum provides a structured environment for:

§ Sharing and receiving of information between members

§ Seeking advice, support or views of the sector

§ Developing and adhering to models of best practice within the sector

§ Building linkages between Government, local authority, various organisations and agencies and the sector at national, regional, county and area levels

§ Recommending actions to enhance the sector

§ Representing the sector at a range of appropriate fora

§ Contributing to the county-level platform

§ Working collectively to build the capacity, voice and effectiveness of the sector

2. To keep in touch with new developments, new methods and new approaches within the economic, social and cultural development strategies of the County Development Board.

3. To publicise and assist the promotion of the Forum to a wider audience through the mediums of radio, newspaper and organised events.

4. The Forum shall be open to new ideas, strategies and methods proposed by its members.

5. To make representations to the County Forum, County Development Board, the Strategic Policy Committees and other relevant Working Groups or Bodies on common issues that affect the Community.

6. To promote Community Development throughout the County and on a regional and national level, and to support the development of linkages with other Community and Voluntary Fora within the County.

7. To assist new groups by offering support, information and guidelines and encouraging community activity in parts of the Community where it is absent.

8. The Forum will be a vehicle for local consultation and information dissemination by Statutory and Local Development Agencies.

9. This Forum does not propose to replace the work being done by Public Bodies and Agencies but shall encourage all such efforts. However it shall rightfully expect their co-operation and confidence in matters of communal interest.

MEMBERSHIP

Membership of the Forum will be by affiliation and shall be open to groups who fulfil the following criteria:

1. Be able to demonstrate that they have been in existence for six months prior to completing their application form.

2. Have a listed membership of at least six people.

3. Have held an Annual General Meeting at which Officers are elected.

4. Have a written constitution/statement of aims and objectives.

5. Documentary evidence of compliance with the foregoing requirements shall be provided to the Forum secretary when requested. Matters requiring clarification in relation to membership shall be determined by the "Rules Interpretation and Affiliation Committee".

6. There shall be a register of member groups.

7. The Forum will always be open to new membership.

8. Groups seeking formal affiliation must have their affiliation ratified at a meeting of the Forum.

MEETINGS

1. Single Group Issues – the Forum will decide collectively if it will deal with the issue.

2. The Forum shall endeavour to reach decisions by consensus. Where the Forum decides to use a voting procedure to determine any matter, voting will be confined solely to properly affiliated groups as set out in the affiliation register. In relation to ordinary decisions of the Forum, a straight majority will prevail. Where representational issues are being decided, proportional representation may be used to determine the outcome if the Forum so decides.

3. Each affiliated group will have one vote.

4. Voting shall be discharged on behalf of the group by the person so nominated to do so on the affiliation form. Two substitute voters shall also be indicated on the affiliation form. In the absence of the nominated person to exercise an organisation's vote, the vote may be exercised by the nominated first substitute and, in his or her absence, by the second nominated substitute. No other person other than the person first nominated or either of the two substitute voters (in order in which they have been nominated) may exercise a vote on behalf of any group. The nominees empowered to exercise a vote may be changed by a group provided the Forum secretary is notified in writing, using the Forum's official form to be provided for this purpose. Such notification must be received not less than ten (10) clear days prior to a meeting and shall be signed by three members of the group, including its chairperson and at least one other officer.

STRUCTURE

1. The Forum shall organise its activities and business as it sees fit.

2. There shall be five Community Fora organised to correspond with each of the five Electoral Areas (Navan, Trim, Kells, Slane, Dunshaughlin) and a Sectoral Forum for groups that deal with community groups on a countywide, sub-county or sectoral basis.

3. The Forum shall meet regularly but not less than four times a year, one of which will be the Annual General Meeting (AGM). The Forum shall determine the dates of its four mandatory meetings at the beginning of each year, including the date of the AGM.

4. Officers of the Forum (Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, etc.) will be elected at the AGM.

5. The Chairperson, or in his/her absence the Vice-Chairperson, shall act as Chairperson for the duration of the meeting, provided a quorum has been reached. In the absence of the Chair/Vice-Chair, an Acting Chair may be appointed for the duration of that meeting only, provided that a quorum exists. A quorum, for the purpose of any properly convened ordinary monthly meeting, shall be a minimum of 5. The quorum, for the purpose of any properly convened AGM, shall be 50% + 1. If a quorum is not present, the meeting shall not be a valid meeting of the Forum. A valid meeting of the Forum may adjourn. An adjourned meeting may reconvene if so determined.

6. Officers shall stand down each year but shall be eligible for re-election with the consensus of the Forum at the AGM. The maximum term of office for each officer will be two years. After serving a term of one or two years, officers standing down may stand for re-election again after a minimum period of one year.

7. Any Officer wishing to retire before his/her term of office has expired may do so, provided that the resignation is submitted in writing to the Chairperson or Vice-Chairperson 28 days before the resignation becomes effective.

8. Working groups can be established if considered necessary.

9. Members must attend meetings regularly. If a member is absent from three consecutive meetings a review of membership will be carried out.

PROCEDURE FOR MEETING

Running of Meeting

§ Apologies/Attendance

§ Adoption of Minutes

§ Matters Arising

§ Reports from Officers, delegates, etc. (if any)

§ Business of Meeting

§ Correspondence

§ Any Other Business

Notice of the meeting, in writing, and the Agenda shall be circulated not less than five (5) clear days prior to the meeting. The notice will be circulated as widely as possible and must be sent to all affiliated groups to the person so designated to receive such notice. Non-receipt of notification will not invalidate the holding of a properly convened meeting. The Forum may vary the order of business at a meeting with the agreement of the Forum. The meeting shall be conducted in an efficient and business-like manner. The ruling of the Chairperson in relation to the conduct of business at the meeting shall be binding. The meeting shall commence punctually at the appointed time and should conclude not later than 2 hours after the time of its commencement, unless otherwise decided by the membership i.e. for training purposes etc. At the commencement of the meeting, the Chair should agree with the Forum a time by which the meeting will be concluded.

If a quorum is not present within 30 minutes of the time appointed for the commencement of the meeting, the meeting will be deemed to be void. The meeting must be reconvened in accordance with the rules of the Forum.

Minutes

§ The minutes shall be kept by the Secretary and circulated prior to any meeting. When adopted, the minutes shall be signed and dated by the Chairperson of the meeting. Approved and signed minutes shall be retained by the Secretary.

§ The Secretary shall also maintain the affiliation register and the Forum's contact list.

§ Officers on leaving office shall provide all records, including financial and otherwise, and supporting documentation to the incoming officer.

EQUALITY STATEMENT

§ The Forum shall implement an all-inclusive, non-racial and non-political approach in carrying out the objectives of the Forum.

§ The Forum shall strive in its composition for a balance in gender, age and geographical representation of organisations actively involved in economic, social and cultural development throughout the Electoral Area.

§ The Forum shall seek to address the economic, social and cultural problems of marginal disadvantaged areas throughout the Electoral Area.

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

§ An Annual General Meeting of the Forum shall be held each year at such place and time as the Forum determines.

§ Members of the Forum shall be notifed, at least 14 days in advance of the date, time and venue of the AGM.

SPECIAL GENERAL MEETING

§ The Forum may hold Special General Meetings. Such meetings may be called by the Chairperson at his/her discretion or by the Chairperson when requested to do so in writing by a minimum of six affiliated groups. Seven clear days in writing must be given prior to the calling of a Special General Meeting. The quorum for any such meeting shall be ten (10) affiliated groups.

FINANCE

§ The Forum shall appoint a Treasurer at each Annual General Meeting. A financial report shall be provided by the Treasurer at each meeting of the Forum. The Treasurer and the Chairperson shall be joint authorised signatories in relation to any spending on behalf of the Forum. Expenditure over 300 euros must be approved in advance by the Forum before the funds are discharged on behalf of the Forum. The Forum shall maintain all necessary books of account and record, including financial records, as required and necessary to fulfil its obligations and needs, whether required by statute, regulation or other, inferred or otherwise.

§ All funds of the Area Forum shall be deposited as soon as possible after receipt in such financial institution as the Forum may, by resolution, designate.

§ A financial statement of accounts shall be recorded in the event of the Forum receiving monies or grant aid and a Treasurer shall be appointed.

INTERPRETATION OF THE RULES

§ The Forum may appoint a Committee of not less than six members, which shall be responsible for the interpretation of this Constitution or any rules made thereunder. This Committee shall also clarify matters for the Forum relating to affiliation. The Committee shall be known as "The Rules Interpretation and Affiliation Committee".

§ The Chairperson's decisions in relation to procedures and the running of the meeting shall be final. The rules interpretation committee shall, when requested to do so either by the Chairperson or the Forum, interpret any matter relating to the Constitution. The determination of any matter by this committee shall be final and binding on the Forum.

AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION

§ Any item of this Constitution can only be changed at an Annual or Special General Meeting of which no less than fourteen days notice has been given.

§ A minimum of two-thirds majority of the affiliated membership of the Forum shall be required to call an Annual or Special General Meeting to amend the Constitution of the Forum.