Model Constitution

 Set out below is the standard constitution which SCT has developed as a model for local Speakers’ Corner Committees. The Speakers’ Corner Committee Model Constitution is also available as a download.

 

Speakers’ Corner Committee Model Constitution

1) Name.

The name of the Committee shall be (place) Speakers’ Corner Committee.

2) Aim.

The aim of the Committee, which will function as an unincorporated association, shall conform to the charitable objectives of Speakers’ Corner Trust (registered charity no. 1120913), to “advance education for the benefit of the public by the provision of materials and facilities dealing with the development of civil society and freedom of expression and to promote citizenship for the benefit of the public by the provision of educational materials and facilities for children and young people”.

3) Powers.

In accordance with the objectives of Speakers’ Corner Trust and with regard to the guidance it shall issue from time to time, the Committee shall have powers to

  1. organise and/or work with others to organise public debates or discussions and other events which promote free expression and exchange
  2. participate in any local or national consultation programmes it deems appropriate
  3. develop a programme of events designed in terms of subject, location and venue so as to engage as broad a cross section of the local community as possible
  4. as the opportunity arises, provide information or materials for the use of Speakers’ Corner Trust
  5. as appropriate, work with public authorities and others to create a designated public space as a Speakers’ Corner in its area
  6. where possible, promote the use of Speakers’ Corner Trust’s educational resources in its area
  7. monitor, evaluate and report to Speakers’ Corner Trust activity and events in its area on at least an annual basis
  8. raise money
  9. open bank accounts
  10. acquire and run buildings
  11. take out insurance
  12. employ staff
  13. establish sub committees and/or working groups in pursuit of its aims
  14. organise courses and events
  15. work with similar Committees and exchange information and advice with them
  16. do anything that is lawful which will help it to fulfil its aims.

4) Membership.

  1. Membership of the Committee shall be so far as possible drawn from representative local public, private and voluntary bodies and from a cross section of the community and be not less than 10 and not more than 25 in number. The initial members shall be at least 6 in number and such initial members shall be nominated by Speakers’ Corner Trust and shall constitute a Founding Committee. The Founding Committee shall, in addition to being the initial members of the Committee, determine the criteria for membership of the Committee which may include regulations for inviting or seeking nominations for membership from identified local organisations.
  2. Membership will be open to any individual without regard to age, disability, political or religious affiliation, race, sex or sexual orientation who is:
    • interested in helping the Committee to achieve its aim
    • willing to abide by the rules of the Committee and
    • willing to pay any subscription which might be agreed by the Committee or its Management Committee.
  3. Members of the Committee shall become entitled to vote in a meeting as from the date of their appointment as members or on attaining the age of 18, whichever is the later.
  4. The membership of any member may be terminated for good reason by the Committee or its Management Committee, provided that the member concerned shall have the right to be heard by the Committee, accompanied by a friend, before a final decision is made.

5) Management.

Should the Speakers’ Corner Committee so wish, it may appoint a Management Committee to administer its business under the following conditions.

  1. The Management Committee shall comprise not less than six and not more than ten individuals elected at the Committee’s Annual General Meeting (A.G.M.).
  2. The Officers of the Management Committee shall be: the Chairperson, the Treasurer and the Secretary.
  3. The Management Committee may co-opt onto the Committee up to three individuals, in an advisory and non-voting capacity, who it feels will help to fulfil the aim of the Committee.
  4. The Management Committee shall meet at least four times a year.
  5. At least three Management Committee members must be present for a Management Committee meeting to take place.
  6. Voting at Management Committee meetings shall be by a show of hands. If there is a tied vote then the Chairperson shall have a second vote.
  7. The Management Committee shall have the power to remove any member of the Committee for good and proper reason.
  8. The Management Committee may appoint any other member of the Committee as a Management Committee member to fill a vacancy, provided that the maximum prescribed is not exceeded.

6) The Duties of the Officers.

  1. The duties of the Chairperson shall be to:
    • chair meetings of the Committee and the Management Committee
    • represent the Committee at functions/meetings that the Committee has been invited to and
    • act as the spokesperson of the Committee when necessary.
  2. The duties of the Secretary shall be to:
    • keep a membership list
    • prepare in consultation with the Chairperson the agenda for meetings of the Committee and the Management Committee
    • take and keep minutes of all meetings and
    • collect and circulate any relevant information within the Committee.
  3. The duties of the Treasurer shall be to:
    • supervise the financial affairs of the Committee and
    • keep proper accounts which show all monies received and paid out by the Committee.

7) Finance.

  1. All monies received by or on behalf of the Committee shall be applied to further the aims of the Committee and for no other purpose.
  2. Any bank accounts opened for the Committee shall be in the name of the Committee.
  3. Any cheques issued shall be signed by the Treasurer and one other nominated member of the Management Committee.
  4. The Committee shall ensure that its accounts are audited or independently examined every year.
  5. The Committee may pay reasonable out of pocket expenses including travel, childcare and meal costs to members or Management Committee members.

8) Annual General Meeting.

  1. The Committee shall hold an Annual General Meeting (A.G.M.) within 12 months of its original constitution and within every twelve months thereafter.
  2. All members shall be given at least fourteen days notice of the A.G.M. and shall be entitled to attend and vote.
  3. The business of the A.G.M. shall include:
    • receiving a report from the Chairperson on the Committee’s activities over the year
    • receiving a report from the Treasurer on the finances of the Committee
    • electing a new Management Committee and
    • considering any other matter as may be decided.
  4. At least one half of the Committee’s members must be present for the Annual General Meeting and any other General Meeting to take place.

9) General Meetings.

  1. There shall be at least three General Meetings (excluding the A.G.M) each year.
  2. Except as provide in clause 5(d), all members shall be entitled to attend and vote.

10) Special General Meeting.

A Special General Meeting may be called by the Management Committee or at least half the Committee’s members to discuss an urgent matter. The Secretary shall give all members fourteen days notice of any Special General Meeting together with notice of the business to be discussed.

11) Alterations to the Constitution.

Any changes to this Constitution must be agreed by at least two-thirds of those members present and voting at any General Meeting, except with regard to amendments to clause 2 which, if the Committee is a registered charity, must also be approved by both Speakers’ Corner Trust and the Charity Commission.

12) Dissolution.

The Committee may be wound up at any time if agreed by two-thirds of those members present and voting at any General Meeting. In the event of winding up any assets remaining after all debts have been paid shall be given to another organization or charity with a similar aim.

13) Adoption of the Constitution.

Until the first A.G.M. takes place, the persons whose names, addresses and signatures appear at the bottom of this document shall act as the Management Committee referred to in this constitution.

This Constitution was adopted on (date) by

Name…………………………………………………………………………..

Address ………………………………………………………………………..

Signed …………………………………………………………………………

Name…………………………………………………………………………..

Address ………………………………………………………………………..

Signed………………………………………………………………………….

Name…………………………………………………………………………..

Address………………………………………………………………………..

Signed………………………………………………………………………….

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