Birmingham University Labour Students (BULS) Constitution
1.0 Designation and context
1.1 The name of the group shall be The University of Birmingham Guild of Students Labour Students, which maybe abbreviated/shortened to: Labour Students or Birmingham Labour Students. For the rest of this document, called the “group”.
1.2 It is recognised that this group is a constituent part of the University Of Birmingham Guild Of Students and must therefore fulfil all stipulations and regulations contained within the Memorandum, Articles of Association, bye-laws and policies thereof.
1.3 Guild Council, or the Student Groups Committee [SGC], acting on its behalf, may require the Group to amend this constitution to safeguard the interests of the Guild.
1.4 Amendments to a group Constitution, as approved by Annual General Meeting or Extraordinary General Meeting, shall not take effect until approved by the SGC.
1.5 Queries regarding interpretation should be referred to the Vice-President (Student Activities and Development) [VPSAD] after consideration by the group committee.
1.6 This constitution, and any additional policies enforced by the group, will be available to all members at any time.
2.0 Objectives of the student group
2.1 The objectives of the group shall be:
2.1.1 To secure support for the Labour party at the University of Birmingham.
2.1.2 To liaise with Constituency Labour Parties, Young Labour and National Labour Students.
2.1.3 To propagate democratic socialist views and the cause of the Labour Party.
2.1.4 To work with the National Organisation of Labour Students to advise the Labour Party NEC on Labour Student Organisation, on educational matters and student opinion on other matters of concern to the Labour Party.
2.2 All activities of this group must be related to the objectives.
2.3 Unless specifically required by the above objectives, membership and admittance to the student group activities shall be open to all University of Birmingham students. Membership of a student group should not be refused for any of the following reasons: race, religion or creed, sex, sexual orientation, colour, ethnic or national origin, political opinion, gender (including gender reassignment), age, marital status, pregnancy or disability. The Committee members shall ensure that activities of the group are pursued in the best interests of student members and independently of any political or religious group external to the Guild of Students.
3.1 The society shall affiliate to the following bodies/organisations:
3.1.1 The National Organisation of Labour Students
3.1.2 The Appropriate Constituency Labour Party (CLP)
3.2 Any additions to the above list of affiliations must be approved by the SGC
4.1 The address for all correspondence shall be:
Birmingham University Labour Students, Student Development, Guild of Students
Edgbaston Park Road, Birmingham, B15 2TU.
5.1 The subscription for memberships shall be paid for by each member on an annual basis at the appropriate rate below (minimum £3 for societies; volunteering projects and associations are exempt from membership charges).
5.1.1 The membership fee for this group shall be: £ 3
5.2 All societies must be open for all members of the Guild to join. Volunteering Projects may use a selection procedure if the nature of the activity requires it. Such discretion will be granted by the SGC and can be reviewed or revoked at any time. Associations are restricted to those who self-define as being a member.
5.3 Membership of this group shall be open to all Full and External Members of the Guild, subject to the Guild’s byelaws and relevant legislation. Acting as a committee member shall only be restricted in some situations with prior approval of the SGC to those who confirm in writing their support of the objects of the group, if the purpose of the group is the practice and advancement of a religion or belief.
5.4 Membership of the group shall itself not be deemed to confirm membership of the Guild or any of the privileges pertaining thereto.
5.5 External Members may participate in the activities of the group but not hold office.
5.6 A student group must submit membership data for all its members to Student Development.
6.0 Responsibilities of committee members
6.1.1 To be responsible for the running and proper management of the group.
6.1.2 To be responsible for the financial affairs of the group in line with the Guild’s Financial Procedures Manual.
6.2 To uphold the clauses contained in this constitution.
6.3 To uphold the clauses contained in the bye-laws, Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Guild of Students.
6.4 To represent the group at any meetings required by Student Development.
22.214.171.124 To ensure their correct contact details are held by Student Development.
126.96.36.199 To ensure the group accounts do not become overdrawn without the agreement of the SGC.
188.8.131.52 To be personally liable to the Guild for any debts owed by the group to the Guild (applicable to authorised signatories only).
184.108.40.206 To ensure no other bank account exists for the group outside of the Guild. All financial transactions relating to the group must be dealt with through Student Development.
6.6 The group does not have the authority to enter into contracts with any external bodies, all such contracts or agreements require the authorisation of the VPSAD
6.7.1 The committee (excluding the VPSAD) should meet whenever required, but at least two times per term.
6.7.2 The chair shall call a committee meeting at the request of any two members of the Committee.
6.7.3 Every committee member shall be given at least two days’ notice of an ordinary meeting.
6.7.4 In case of emergency, an emergency meeting may be held within less than 48 hours, provided that reasonable notice has been given to every member of the committee.
6.8 Any member of the committee can recommend that a committee member be removed from office. This will then be referred to the VPSAD for investigation, with the final decision resting with the SGC, as outlined in the appropriate discipline procedure.
6.9 If any vacancies occur in the membership of the committee during its term of office, the committee will inform the VPSAD and Student Development, the vacancy shall be democratically filled at an Extraordinary General Meeting as soon as is practical.
6.10 The VPSAD is an ex-officio member of the committee.
6.11 Financial liability shall be devolved to the Guild only where it can be shown that the relevant procedures have been complied with; all other liability rests with the committee members.
7.0 Responsibilities of the Chair
7.1 To chair and co-ordinate the committee
7.2 To represent the Society at General Meetings
7.3 To chair the Annual General Meeting and any Extraordinary General Meetings
7.4 To liaise with the VPSAD where appropriate
7.5 To consent to alterations in the authorised signatories
8.0 Responsibilities of the Vice-Chair
8.1 To deputise in the absence of the Chair
8.2 To assist the Chair where required
8.3 To chair the committee in the event of the Chair being called to order.
8.4 To maintain an inventory of, and to ensure that safety checks are regularly carried out on, all equipment.
9.0 Responsibilities of the Treasurer.
9.1 To provide the committee with regular reports on the group’s financial status.
9.2 To liaise directly with Student Development so as to maintain and update the group’s accounts.
9.3 To advise the committee on the financial implications of all decisions taken.
9.4 To prepare a grant application requesting financial assistance from the Guild and to submit this application by the required deadline, if the group desires to request funding. Groups may apply for a grant to support some or all of the activities listed in their constitution. This funding should supplement the fundraising and budgeting efforts of the group, and should not be relied upon to ensure the sustainability of the group.
9.5 To maintain an inventory of, and to ensure that safety checks are regularly carried out on, all equipment; and to provide related information to Student Development.
10.0 Responsibilities of the Secretary
10.1 To take minutes of the Annual General Meeting, Extraordinary General Meetings and committee meetings if required, and to submit copies of these to Student Development.
10.2 To maintain and update membership lists for the group, and ensure that Student Development has current records.
10.3 To ensure that Student Development receives minutes and full details of the group’s committee within 10 days of the Annual General Meeting or any Extraordinary General Meeting.
18.5 To deputise in the absence of the Chair and Vice-Chair
11.0 Other Officers
11.1 Other officers will include:
11.1.1 Communications Officer
11.1.2 Website Editor
11.2 And elected by caucus of people who self-define under the appropriate title shall be:
11.2.1 Women’s Officer
11.2.2 Students with Disabilities Officer
11.2.3 Black and Minority Ethnic Students Officer
11.2.4 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Queer Officer
11.3 There may also be an Honorary President
12.0 Annual General Meeting
12.1 There will be an Annual General Meeting at which the group committee members shall be elected for the forthcoming year, which must occur within 12 months of the previous elections, as far as is practically possible.
12.1.1 The election of all group officers shall be carried out in a free and fair democratic manner (in line with Guild election regulations).
12.1.2 All members (including present and potential committee members) are entitled to vote. Voting shall be first-past-the-post, carried out by secret ballot, unless there is only one candidate (in addition to the option to vote to Re-Open Nominations, which must be an option in every election) and if no-one objects, in which case, a show of hands will be permissible.
12.1.3 In the event of two or more candidates receiving the same number of votes, the winner shall be selected by chance (e.g. flipping a coin or drawing straws).
12.2 Two term-time weeks notice of the Annual General Meeting shall be given to all members of the group and the VPSAD; the group should undertake all reasonable steps to encourage members to participate and to ensure that sufficient information about the roles available is available, promoting the elections through all available means.
12.3 Quorum for an Annual General Meeting shall be half of the total membership or twenty members; whichever is the lowest.
12.4 If the group has been newly recognised, they must conduct their Annual General Meeting within eleven term-time weeks of the approval by the SGC. In the interim period, the original proposers may form the inaugural committee in order to promote the group and recruit a membership base.
12.5.1 The Annual General Meeting shall follow the following format:
12.5.2 Approval of the minutes of the last meeting.
12.5.3 Matters arising from the last minutes.
12.5.4 Review of the year from the Chair.
12.5.5 Financial report from the Treasurer, summarising the financial position and any significant issues during the course of the year.
12.5.6 Reports from other officers as required.
12.5.7 Amendments to the constitution (such as objectives, membership fee or committee roles).
12.5.8 Elections to the committee for the following year.
12.5.9 Any Other Business.
12.6 Subsequent to the Annual General Meeting, the new Officers will book a handover meeting with a member of Student Development staff within two term-time weeks. Only at that meeting, when the newly elected committee have signed the committee declaration, will officers assume responsibility for all matters relevant to their elected post and committee member status, including all business undertaken by their respective predecessors.
13. Extraordinary General Meetings
13.1 Extraordinary General Meetings may be called to discuss urgent matters that can not be postponed until the next due Annual General Meeting
13.2 Reasons for an Extraordinary General Meeting may include, but are not limited to: amendments to the constitution, election of an officer to a vacant position, responding to a threat to the reputation or sustainability of the group.
13.3 Extraordinary General Meetings may be called following a request by any two committee members, any ten members of the group or the SGC.
13.4 One full term-time week’s notice is required for any Extraordinary General Meetings, and all reasonable efforts should be made to make members aware of the meeting.
14.0 Cessation of Recognition and discipline
14.1 The SGC may derecognise the group or instigate other disciplinary action if any of the following are found to be the case:
14.1.1 The group is financially inactive for six months or more, or the group accounts are overdrawn.
14.1.2 The group has less than the minimum number of members (20 for societies, 10 for volunteering projects).
14.1.3 The group is found to have acted outside of its own constitution or the Guild’s Memorandum and Articles of Association, bye-laws, policies and procedures.
14.1.4 Any of the declarations of the authorised signatories are found to be false.
14.1.5 The group has not been taking due regard for the safety of members, this failing to meet the expected duty of care could include negligence or not submitting risk assessment forms for all activities.
14.1.6 The committee members have not attended all required training sessions or meetings.
14.1.7 The group has caused reputational, legal or financial harm to the Guild of Students.
14.2 The VPSAD shall invite any group being considered for derecognition or disciplinary action to a meeting of the SGC to provide information and appeal against the decision, but attendance by group representatives is not essential for decisions to be made.
14.3 Guild Council can derecognise a group by absolute majority at any time.
14.4 Although the SGC cannot derecognise an association, it can require an Extraordinary General Meeting to elect a new committee, or enforce other disciplinary actions.