Transition Town Marlborough - Constitution
Version 0.1: dated 11th January 2012
This document is a Working Constitution, agreed by the Hub/Development Group, that is to be used until it, along with any subsequent amendments, is ratified by all Members at the first formal Annual General Meeting (AGM).
The name of the organisation shall be Transition Town Marlborough (referred to in this document as TTM).
The core purpose of TTM 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.
TTM 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 TTM 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 TTM to achieve its aims, and
- willing to abide by the principles of TTM 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 TTM 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.
TTM is an enabling organisation with designated officers (Chairperson, Treasurer, Secretary and Website Administrator) and supported by the Hub/Development Group. The role of the Hub/Development Group will be reviewed annually at the AGM.
TTM is a federation of Activity Groups interested in issues that relate to our overall aims (such as food, energy, transport, recycling etc.), all working to support and deliver the core purpose of TTM.
The active TTM 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 TTM is governed by a set of principles which are agreed by the Hub/Development Group and by the representatives of the Activity Groups (see Appendix). The way TTM members operate is determined by these principles. If any TTM member acts in a way that is at odds with these principles, his/her actions can be challenged by other TTM members. The principles can only be changed at a meeting of the TTM Hub/Development Group which is open to all TTM members.
Relationships with other organisations
TTM 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 TTM partner organisations should agree with TTM's aims and objectives. TTM 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 TTM website, however TTM 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 TTM Hub/Development Group Meetings
Members of the Hub/Development Group meet regularly. Any member of TTM 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 the first AGM is held an initial Chairperson is agreed by the Hub/Development Group members. The first AGM will be called in September 2012.
Chairperson duties: to compile the agenda for Hub meetings, advertise the date of the next meeting, chair hub meetings, ensure that meeting minutes are taken and uploaded onto the TTM website, help motivate Activity Groups, promote TTM locally and nationally. To be one of the signatories for TTM 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 TTM 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 TTM's activities; aggregate individual Activity Group budgets into an overall TTM 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 TTM can call a Hub/Development meeting to discuss an urgent matter or an amendment to the TTM 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, 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 TTM shall be applied to further the aims of TTM and for no other purpose.
b) Funds for TTM are held in a designated bank account which is agreed by the Hub/Development Group.
c) Any payments made by TTM 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 TTM 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 TTM.
7) Alterations to the Constitution
The Aims of TTM cannot be changed. Changes to other parts of the constitution and the principles must be agreed by a two-thirds (2/3) majority of TTM members present at either an AGM or a Special General Meeting.
TTM may be wound up at any time if agreed by a two-thirds (2/3) majority of TTM 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 TTM organisation must register at the TTM 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 Town Marlborough - Our Principles
These are the principles that guide the way TTM 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 TTM take responsibility for their own decisions, actions and results. Responsibility and leadership for TTM 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 TTM.
- 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 TTM.
- We all consider the effects of our actions on our public reputation.
There are also some specific principles that deal with the organisational structure:
- TTM 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 TTM in a positive and concrete way.
There are also some specific principles on projects and spending:
- Members of TTM can earn money from doing TTM work, if there is funding available. Transparency and openness is very important.
- If there are funds available to recompense an individual member of TTM on a subcontract basis for a specific task/activity, then this opportunity must be open to all members and beyond TTM if appropriate. This means advertising the task opportunity to all active members of TTM, 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 TTM if appropriate.
- Projects for which funding is sought need to be agreed with the relevant TTM Activity Group/s.
- The project must support the aims of TTM and be in line with the other principles and be designed to deliver on key objectives of the Activity Group/s.
- The TTM Activity Group who developed the project are responsible for monitoring the project, its progress and outcomes.
- If anyone in TTM does not agree that a project is in line with TTM 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.