Transition Marlborough - Constitution
Version 1.0: dated 24th October 2012
This document is the version that was 'voted through' at the AGM on Wed 24th October 2012.
The name of the organisation shall be Transition Marlborough (referred to in this document as TM).
The core purpose of TM is to mobilise and facilitate community action in order to respond effectively and positively to 'climate change' and 'peak oil', where the phrases:
- 'climate change' refers to the significant overall global warming effects created by increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere produced by human activity - principally carbon dioxide caused by the burning of fossil fuels, and;
- 'peak oil' refers to all fossil fuels, including oil, being a natural resource which is therefore limited and where the rate of extraction will in due course 'peak' (estimates vary but could be in just a few years); increasing scarcity therefore increasing the costs of all fossil fuels and necessitating urgent conversion of energy use to more renewable sources.
TM aims to achieve this core purpose through the following objectives:
- raising awareness of the issues of climate change and peak oil in the Marlborough area
- providing a framework for an effective response to climate change and peak oil, including facilitating the creation of an Energy Descent Plan (meaning a plan to progressively reduce our dependence on fossil fuels by both reducing our absolute energy consumption and conversion to renewable sources)
- encourage people in the Marlborough area to respond positively to addressing climate change and peak oil issues in the community
- develop approaches to help protect the area from extreme weather events resulting from climate change
In order to achieve its aims TM may:
a) Raise money; apply for grants; invite and receive contributions
b) Open and operate bank accounts
c) Take out insurance
d) Issue contracts, engage contractors and employ staff as necessary
e) Organise courses, events and projects
f) Work with groups that are sympathetic to our aims and exchange information and advice with them
The organisation's Membership is open to anyone in Marlborough and the surrounding villages (broadly defined by, but not confined to, the Wiltshire Council definition of the Marlborough Community Area) who is:
- interested in helping TM to achieve its aims, and
- willing to abide by the principles of TM defined by this document.
We do not discriminate on the grounds of gender, disability, political or religious affiliation, race, sexual orientation, marital status or age.
All Members can attend any meetings held by the Hub/Development Group or any Activity Group that is formed as part of the TM organisation
Subscriptions and Donations
Annual Membership subscriptions may be levied and ad hoc donations are encouraged in order to raise funds for the operational management of the organisation.
TM is an enabling organisation with a federation of Activity Groups interested in issues that relate to our overall aims (such as food, energy, transport, recycling, permaculture, etc.), all working to support and deliver the core purpose of TM.
TM has designated officers (Chairperson, Treasurer, Secretary and Website Administrator) and is supported by the Hub/Development Group which has representatives from each of the Activity Groups. The role of the Hub/Development Group will be reviewed annually at the AGM.
The active TM Membership consists of all the Members of all the Activity Groups as well as general Members who may not wish to get directly involved in any particular Activity Group.
The whole of TM is governed by the principles set out in this document which is managed by the Hub/Development Group and by the representatives of the Activity Groups and voted upon by all Members. The way TM Members operate is determined by these principles. If any TM Member acts in a way that is at odds with these principles, his/her actions can be challenged by other TM Members. The principles can only be changed at an AGM.
Relationships with other organisations
TM can form partnerships, e.g. with the local Town Council, schools and other local non-party political community groups and associations, by a concensus of the Hub/Development Group members, so long as the partner organisation is not doing anything that encourages increases in greenhouse gas emissions or increases in the consumption of fossil fuels. All TM partner organisations should agree with TM's aims and objectives. TM partner organisations may be given permission, by a concensus of the Hub/Development Group members, to use and add content to designated areas of the TM website, however TM reserves the right to remove anything that does not support our aims and objectives. Individuals from partner organisations may be invited to attend Hub/Development Group meetings.
The TM Hub/Development Group Meetings
Members of the Hub/Development Group meet regularly. Any member of TM may attend these meetings. These meetings are chaired by the designated Chairperson or their representative. Minutes are taken by the designated Secretary or their representative. These meetings are the main way in which Activity Groups and individuals are held to account.
The Chairperson is voted into office by the whole membership at AGMs: until a first AGM is held an initial Chairperson is agreed by the Hub/Development Group members. AGMs will be held each year before the end of October. If the Chairperson is required to step down for any reason, before the next AGM, an interim Chairperson will be voted in by the Hub/Development Group.
Chairperson duties: to compile the agenda for Hub meetings, advertise the date of the next meeting, chair Hub/Development meetings, ensure that meeting minutes are taken and uploaded onto the TM website, help motivate Activity Groups, promote TM locally and nationally. To be one of the signatories for TM financial activities, cheques, etc.
The Secretary is to be selected by the Hub/Development Group members.
Secretary duties: to take minutes at Hub meetings and upload them onto the TM website.
The Treasurer should be someone who is trained in finance and is appointed by the Hub/Development Group members.
Treasurer duties: to maintain and report management accounts for all of TM's activities; aggregate individual Activity Group budgets into an overall TM budget and to manage all approved payments associated with Hub and Activity Group projects.
The Website Administrator is to be selected by the Hub/Development Group members.
Website Administrator's duties: to ensure the smooth running of the website, provide appropriate web site usage advice and guidance to other Hub/Development Group members and Activity Group members.
To be quorate these meetings need to have a minimum of two officers (or their designated representatives) and four Members present.
Any Member of TM can call a Hub/Development meeting to discuss an urgent matter or an amendment to the TM principles. The caller of the meeting shall give all Hub/Development Group members reasonable notice of any such meeting together with notice of the business to be discussed.
Decisions are normally made by concensus; in cases where there is not a concensus and a vote is called for a decision is based upon a majority of votes, the chair shall have a casting vote in any situation where there is an equality of votes.
Management of individual Activity Groups
Each Activity Group nominates an Activity Group Contact. The nominated individual acts as the point of contact for the Activity Group and as a link to the Hub/Development Group.
Activity Group leader duties: to call meetings, help develop projects with other members of the group, propose budgets for the Activity Group, raise funds, report back to the Hub/Development Group, ensure that funds are properly spent, ensure that their website content is up to date.
These shall be overseen by the designated Treasurer and one other person from the Hub/Development Group, to assist.
a) All monies received by or on behalf of TM shall be applied to further the aims of TM and for no other purpose.
b) Funds for TM are held in a designated bank account which is agreed by the Hub/Development Group.
c) Any proposed spend must be agreed by the Treasurer to confirm that the spend is within budgetary limits
d) Any proposed spend above £50 should be notified to the Hub/Development Group by email or at a Hub/Development Group so that agreement by concensus or a majority vote can be obtained to approve the proposed spend
e) Any requests for payments made by a TM Group or Member must be supported by appropriate receipts and the documented approval if more than £50
f) Any payments made by TM shall be authorised by two nominated members of the Hub/Development Group
Each Activity Group shall manage their own budget which is aggregated into an overall TM budget by the Treasurer. Any funds raised by an individual Activity Group shall be 'ear marked' for their use within the overall budgeting process.
All budgets and management accounts shall be open and available to scrutiny by all Members of TM.
7) Alterations to the Constitution
The Aims of TM cannot be changed. Changes to other parts of the constitution and the principles must be agreed by a two-thirds (2/3) majority of TM Members present at either an AGM or a Special General Meeting.
TM may be wound up at any time if agreed by a two-thirds (2/3) majority of TM Members present at either an AGM or a Special General Meeting. In the event of winding up, any assets remaining after all debts have been paid shall be given to another organisation with a similar aim.
9) Adoption of the Constitution by Members
Any individual wishing to become a member of the TM organisation must register at the TM website (www.transitionmarlborough.org) and as part of that process indicate their acceptance of this Consitution in the on-line form used to capture the membership details.
Transition Marlborough - Our Principles
These are the principles that guide the way TM works:
- We work in a collaborative way because we know that together we are greater than the sum of our parts.
- There is no hierarchy. Individuals in TM take responsibility for their own decisions, actions and results. Responsibility and leadership for TM are also shared by everyone.
- We trust that those who step forward have good intentions and will make good decisions. We give autonomy and support to those who wish to be part of TM.
- We support the UN Declaration of Human Rights (General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948). We are transparent in everything we do. It is everyone's responsibility to ensure the free flow of information and knowledge around the Membership. We don’t have a blueprint. We believe in multiple paths, ideas and possibilities. We think questions are as important as answers.
- We are open to working with everyone. We welcome diversity and see it as strength not a problem.
- We acknowledge other initiatives and seek to find ways to collaborate and further the aims and objectives of TM.
- We all consider the effects of our actions on our public reputation.
There are also some specific principles that deal with the organisational structure:
- TM Activity Groups are formed as needed to do what needs to be done: make decisions, take action; they dissolve when the need is gone.
- Activity Groups exist to deliver the Aims of TM in a positive and concrete way.
There are also some specific principles on projects and spending:
- Members of TM can earn money from doing TM work, if there is funding available. Transparency and openness is very important.
- If there are funds available to recompense an individual Member of TM on a subcontract basis for a specific task/activity, then this opportunity must be open to all Members and beyond TM if appropriate. This means advertising the task opportunity to all active Members of TM, with a clear task description and specification for the outcome required. A 'procurement' panel for an individual project will consider all 'tenders' and select from outside of TM if appropriate.
- Projects for which funding is sought need to be agreed with the relevant TM Activity Group/s.
- The project must support the aims of TM and be in line with the other principles and be designed to deliver on key objectives of the Activity Group/s.
- The TM Activity Group who developed the project are responsible for monitoring the project, its progress and outcomes.
- If anyone in TM does not agree that a project is in line with TM aims and principles then that person can take the project to the Hub/Development Group for discussion.
And finally, a principle on how we evolve the principles:
- We make changes to these Principles where necessary, but only with a high level of consensus.