Our constitution

Constitution and rules of the Association (the ‘Rules’)

1.    Name

The name of the Association is the Court Lane Residents’ Association.

The Association may refer to itself as ‘COLAR’

Resident means a person aged 18 or over who ordinarily lives at an address in Court Lane or Court Lane Gardens in Dulwich.

A Member must be a resident.

2.    Area

The Association covers the following geographical area:

The length of Court Lane SE21 from the Lordship Lane end down to the intersection with Calton Avenue together with all of Court Lane Gardens.

3.    Aims of the Association

i)    The aims of the Association are:

a)    To promote the interests and rights of residents within the defined geographical area;

b)    To ensure that all members are consulted and informed regularly;

c)    To promote membership to all residents within the defined area and to encourage them to be actively involved;

d)    To work towards improving the quality of life for local people and their community;

e)    To assist and promote social activities for recreation and enjoyment and to encourage a community spirit and sense of responsibility;

f)    To be non party-political;

g)    To take into account the views of children and young people who are not old enough to be voting members of the Association; and

h)    To work in partnership and co-operate with other local residents’ associations and keep members informed of such work.

ii)    The Association does not take a collective position on contentious matters such as neighbour disputes or planning applications but it may address individual issues if a majority of members at a specially convened meeting (“special general meeting”) request it to.

iii)    If it appears to the Association that the Local Council or the Dulwich Estate do not carry out due process, the Association may challenge them.

iv)    The Association may act as a contact point for Local Authorities or other organisations as appropriate to offer input after consultations, or on occasions prior to consultations, regarding issues such as, but not limited to, timeframe, distribution methods and communication channels.

v)    Where the Association offers input prior to consultations, the requesting organisation shall be asked to direct their communication to the elected officers of the Association who will ensure that members are kept informed of developments.

4.    Equalities and Diversity

a)    The Association will seek to promote equal opportunities within the community and within its membership.

b)    The Association will seek to represent the needs of all groups and will not discriminate on the grounds of nationality, political opinion, age, race, religious opinion, gender, sexuality or disability or at all.

5.    Membership

a)    Membership of the Association is open to all residents in the defined geographical area of the Association who must apply to join.

b)    An invitation to join the Association will be delivered to all new residents.  Residents who wish to join should contact the Association via e-mail or post to the Chairperson, with their name, house number and e-mail address if they have one.

c)    Every member shall receive by email (or by post upon request) a copy of the Rules, contact details for committee members and details of all planned meetings.

d)    The Association will provide new members with appropriate information and make them feel welcome at all times.

e)    Any membership fee will be decided and reviewed at the Annual General Meeting (“AGM”).  Any money raised by, or on behalf of, the Association will, after expenses have been defrayed, be used to further the Association’s aims.

f)    Voting membership will end when a member i) ceases to be a resident in the defined geographical area represented; ii) resigns; or iii) dies.  The Committee may decide to continue sending electronic or hard copies of Association newsletters to former members or to residents or stakeholders outside the defined geographic area who wish to receive information from the Association.

6.    Code of Conduct

a)    All members must comply with the Association’s Constitution and code of conduct at all times.  This section (6) is the code of conduct.

b)    Members shall conduct themselves in a manner that will not cause offence to others. Discriminatory or abusive behaviour or remarks will not be tolerated. The Chairperson and the committee members have the right to warn members about their behaviour. If they persist they may be suspended from the Association.

c)    Any serious or material breach of the code of conduct will result in the member being obliged to resign following a majority vote by committee members.

d)    Committee members must not divulge any Association business that is confidential to other persons or organisations.

e)    Personal membership data, email and postal distribution lists held by the Association must be kept strictly confidential in line with the Data Protection Act and any related laws and regulations.  All electronic communications to members should be sent by “blind carbon copy” (BCC).  Personal data of members including email addresses must not be released unless prior permission has been given in writing by the member.

f)    Statements to the media or other organisations on behalf of the Association shall only be made by the Chairperson or committee members with the prior approval of the Committee.

g)    Official correspondence sent on behalf of the Association to outside bodies shall be signed by either the Secretary or Chairperson after being agreed by the Committee.

h)    Any resident who feels that he or she has not been treated fairly and equally by the Association can raise this with the Committee which shall respond within twenty eight (28) calendar days.

i)    Any outgoing member who has in his or her possession any documents or records or assets of the Association shall return them forthwith to the then existing Secretary.

7.    The Committee

a)    The Committee shall be elected annually by the members of the Association in a general meeting.

b)    The Committee shall monitor the work, finances and membership of the Association but save for small, routine organisational expenses, the Committee (whether acting collectively or individually) has no authority, nor shall it hold itself out as having authority, to incur any liability on the part of the Association or its members.

c)    The Committee shall produce and update a simple action plan throughout the year to be used to prepare an Annual Report to members at the Annual General Meeting.

d)    The Committee shall have the following officers: a Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer.  No person may be elected for more than four years in total, whether in consecutive years or otherwise.

e)    Committee members shall be elected at each AGM but retiring members of the Committee shall be eligible for re-election.

f)    The Committee, including the officers, shall have a minimum of five and a maximum of fifteen members at any one time.

g)    Any vacancies on the Committee may be filled by co-opting members with full voting rights until the next general meeting or AGM or their earlier retirement from the Committee.

h)    Committee members shall declare any potential conflict of interest in relation to any matter and withdraw from discussion and voting in relation to that matter.

i)    The quorum for Committee Meetings shall be five. This quorum should also be applied when making decisions other than at meetings.

j)    The committee has the power to make decisions using electronic media outside of committee meetings that allow members to vote. Any vote held by electronic or other means must be logged and recorded and formally approved at the next meeting (general or committee).  Such emails should be retained until at least 12 months after the next following AGM.

k)    Committee meetings may be called by the Chairperson and Secretary, or at the request of one third of committee members.  At least fourteen (14) calendar days’ notice must be given.

l)    A minimum of two (2) committee meetings will be held in each calendar year.

m)    The Committee may appoint Sub-committees to carry out the activities of the Association from time-to-time. Sub-committees shall be directly accountable to the Committee.  The Committee shall agree in advance the terms of reference for any Sub-committees which will act within those terms. At least one Committee member shall sit on each Sub-committee of the Association. In appropriate circumstances, a person who is not a member may be appointed to the Sub-committee. A quorum for any Sub-committee will be at least three (3) and must include the Committee member.

n)    All Sub-committees shall keep proper accounts and records of all meetings to be made available as required to the Committee or general meeting.  The Committee or general meeting may dissolve any Sub-committees. Any accounts, records or assets of the Sub-committee shall pass to the Committee.

8.    Duties of the officers

a)    All the officers of the Association have a duty to further all the aims of the Association.

b)    The Chair shall conduct the meetings of the Association; if the Chair is absent, the Secretary, Treasurer or other committee member shall take conduct of the meeting. The Secretary shall maintain a register of committee members and members of the Association (see 7e for Data Protection).

c)    The Secretary is responsible for convening all meetings and giving the relevant notice by email or post to members.  The Secretary shall ensure that a proper record is kept of all meetings of the Association, its committees and sub-committees in the form of minutes. The Secretary shall keep a record of all correspondence, consultation and activities carried out on behalf of the Association, and provide them as required by the Committee or general meetings.  The Secretary shall arrange for any website for the Association to be constructed at the appropriate time and subsequently to be properly maintained..

d)    The Treasurer shall i) have the authority to open bank accounts in the name of the Association and to manage any assets of the Association held in the Association’s name; ii) oversee all banking and financial arrangements outlined below in part 13. Finance; iii) be responsible for keeping proper accounts of income and expenditure; and iv) report on the Association’s financial matters to the Committee and AGM.  All cheques and payments must be signed or approved by the Treasurer and one other committee member.

e)    Any officer delegated to represent the Association in consultation with any other body shall act on the instructions of Association and shall report back to the Committee or AGM.

9.    Meetings

a)    The Association shall hold an AGM once each calendar year and not more than fifteen months shall pass between one AGM and the next.

b)     The AGM shall:

•    Agree the minutes of the last AGM

•    Receive an Annual Report from the Committee

•    Present a statement of accounts to members

•    Elect committee members

•    Agree rates for membership fees (if any)

•    Vote on amendments to the Rules

•    Consider any resolution put forward by members

c)    Any member over the age of eighteen (18) shall be entitled to stand for election to the Committee.

d)    Nominations for the Committee must be received by the Secretary in writing at least fourteen (14) days before the AGM, unless the Committee makes a decision to accept nominations at the AGM.

e)    Nominees for consideration should be present at the AGM unless they are unable to attend due to illness or holiday at the discretion of the Committee.  The Secretary must be informed before the AGM.

f)    All members must receive in writing, not less than seven (7) days notice of the AGM (normally by email).

g)    The quorum for a general meeting shall be a minimum of ten (10) people, including committee members.

10.    Special General Meetings

A special general meeting may be called by the Committee or if requested by at least ten (10) members.

11.    Voting

a)    Decisions at meetings (except those dealing with alterations to the Rules) shall be taken by a simple majority of those voting, including any proxy votes.

b)    The named proxy must be a general committee member.  The Secretary must be informed of the proxy not later than fourteen (14) days before the meeting.  Each member has one vote.

c)    In the event of a tie of the vote the Chairperson of the meeting shall have a second or casting vote.

d)    A counted vote is needed and the numbers shall be counted and recorded in the minutes.

e)    Conflict of interest in relation to any matter must be declared. A member who declares a conflict of interest should then withdraw from the discussion and voting in relation to that matter.

12.    Minutes

All general, special general and committee meetings must be minuted and the minutes formally approved by the next meeting (committee or general)

13.    Finance

a)     An accurate record of income and expenditure must be produced each year at the AGM to be made available to all members on request.

b)     Accounts should be open to inspection by members on request

c)    All monies raised by or on behalf of the Association shall be applied, after defraying  the expenses of the Association, to further the aims of the Association.

d)     The Association will carry out any appropriate external scrutiny and/or audit of the accounts as required by current law and practice.

e)    Account(s) (if any) must be opened in the name of the Association.  Cheques, transfers and other banking instruments or instructions shall be signed by the Treasurer and at least one (1) other signatory who must also be members of the Committee.

f)    Signatories must not be related to or live in the same household

g)    Proper records of all transactions including petty cash transactions must be kept.

h)    Finances raised for or on behalf of any sub-committee must be applied only within the terms agreed by the Association Committee.

14.    Modifying the Rules

a)    These Rules may be altered or added to by a resolution of an AGM of the Association carried by a majority of at least two-thirds of the Members present at such a meeting, notice of which shall have contained particulars of the proposed alteration or addition. Full details of the changes must be circulated to the membership after approval and placed on the Association web site.

b)    The defined geographical area covered by the Association may be expanded locally if the Association receives a request to do so, subject to evaluation and consent by the existing members at an AGM or special general meeting.

15    Notices

All formal notices or requests to the Association from members shall be sent to the address of the then existing Secretary.

16    Matters not provided for

Any matters arising that are not provided for in these Rules shall be dealt with i) by the Committee at either their own discretion or ii) where in the opinion of the Committee the matter is of such importance as to require reference to members, by members in a general meeting.

17    Dissolution

The Committee, or if a committee no longer exists, a majority of remaining members of the Association, may propose that the Association should be dissolved.  At least fourteen (14) days’ notice must be given to all eligible members that a meeting is taking place proposing to dissolve the Association.  For the sole purpose of dissolution a quorum need not apply, and the Association may be dissolved by a two-thirds majority of those present.  Any assets remaining after settling any liabilities and the costs of dissolution shall be applied for the benefit of the community in accordance with the aims of the Association.

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