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This topic contains 21 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  David Pearl 2 years, 1 month ago.

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    Site Admin

    Hey all.
    I’ve uploaded the recently created Draft Constitution which “borrows” heavily from the Women for Indy constitution.
    Just a draft/starting point.



    Site Admin

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    Jan Goulding

    You haven’t said when you want to have the meeting. Paul and I will be away over Christmas and although we haven’t finalised travel plans it’s unlikely we’ll be around after the 20th Dec and we already have something planned for the 18th.

    We’ve got limited time in the week before that (11th – 17th Dec) as we have both SNP branch and CA meetings that week. There is also the ESFY Edinburgh Branch Meeting on the 12th (Tuesday) which puts a lot of the east coast activists together so I suppose we could accommodate the AGM before that if the west coast peeps can get across to the Edinburgh Hub. We have a bit of availability before that but I suppose that would be at too short notice for organising anything.

    Let me know what you decide.


    Site Admin

    I’d be fine with the 12th, if you’re OK with having the AGM before your meeting…


    Jan Goulding

    It would seem sensible. Saves having to organise meetings on two separate days.


    Paul Cooper

    I have looked at the Constitution and I have a few points/questions:

    1) Do we need a National Council and a National Committee? Why not a National Committee and that takes both roles and set of meetings.
    2) Section D1: Should the membership be so limited? What about Scots or others who have a strong connection with the English. E.g. Scottish family members of an English member of the Association.
    3) Section D4: How about concessions for low waged? e.g. working and on benefits?
    4) Should the term “Objects” be “Objectives”?
    5) Grammar:
    a) Replace “she” with “they”?
    b) Section I1: There appears to be a full stop missing in “…National Council This sub clause…”

    As the for the date of the AGM I am fine with that.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by  Paul Cooper.

    Timothy Puntis

    I’ve read the Constitution too. It’s a really good idea to use the WFI constitution as a model. Most of our version is fine though I agree with Paul about constitutionally disallowing membership to Scots who are allies, but not English Scots themselves.. After all ‘It’s not about where you were born’.

    I would caution against most of Part C, section 5. From the second sentence on, it does not fit into a constitution. That’s because it’s “What our policy on a particular issue is”, rather than a “Who we are” or a “How we organise ourselves”. Policy matters should be entirely left to democratically elected bodies within English Scot for Yes, and like all policy, under democratic control.

    Finally, it would be a good idea to add a statement about each meeting having a ‘Chair’, a ‘Minute writer’. These could be formally elected or chosen at the start of the meeting. However the role of Treasurer at this National level needs to always be properly formalised. That should be expected of any affiliated Regional Branches.


    Timothy Puntis

    On the issue of an AGM before the English Scots for Yes meeting, I think it would be better if that was deferred till the New Year. The last Edin.ESFY meeting the main issues on the agenda were postponed until Dec 12th, so we will have loads to do. Fundraising, which we seem to be in critical need of, will be our main topic I believe.

    Also there is less than a month for notice to be given. I say that not because it may become a constitutional requirement, but because there isn’t realistically time to try to reach irregular attenders or even new folk who would be more interested in an AGM than a business meeting. However the more who come on the 12th, the merrier.

    I think we should set an achievable, practical date as soon as we can manage organisationally.


    Jan Goulding

    I should point out that most of the agenda at the last meeting wasn’t completed because someone was insistent that we:

    a) report on Catalonia,

    b) spend time having to justify why National organisation asked if we had cash to pay expenses for Catalonia trip as the crowdfunding monies hadn’t at that time been received, which was to be offset from the £300 the Edinburgh owe National for the campaign pack, and

    c) discussion why National was taking so long getting a constitution together.

    I think given the impatience to have a constitution finalised it is incumbent to have the AGM asap to that we can start on the SCIO process.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by  Jan Goulding.

    Site Admin

    Hey all;
    Thanks for the amendments/suggestions etc.
    I’ll get them added in/amended asap.
    I think we’ve given everyone a fair amount of time to amend the constitution draft; it was up since late October, and mentioned several times in the Facebook group as well as twitter…

    Obviously if others come up, we can easily go to amend after adoption…

    Tim: on the specific of the Edinburgh branch’s meeting; the AGM would be held before-hand, and would be a very short, structured and perfunctory affair; quite simply a legal necessity to enable the group to move on with getting bank accounts at a national level and kickstarting the SCIO process, both of which require a voted, legitimate constitution. Obviously we would like as many people as possible from the group to attend, but in reality, on a legal level, it requires a barest minimum of people. I’d hope it can be done in 20-30 minutes ideally; so this shouldn’t interrupt the Edinburgh branch meeting at all; we’d never at a national level seek to interfere in the affairs of a local branch (which is, should the constitution be approved, an entirely autonomous group); but I do really feel it needs held ASAP – if we wait until the New Year, with people going back to work and financial constraints due to christmas/first pay check of the year etc. I know from experience it can be like pulling teeth to get people to attend a meeting in January, which realistically places us at February/late-Jan at the earliest..add on a few weeks of banks being banks and it could well be March or even April before we can start pushing on with things, and there are mutterings of a snap referendum in early 2019…


    Timothy Puntis

    I think I’m the ‘someone’ Jan is referring to on her message above. That a report on the delegation to Catalonia, and the financial implications should be discussed was very important and I’d asked for both to be put on the agenda on Nov.13, well beforehand. The items were not put on the agenda. Some at the meeting thought that was OK, but others, including me, felt that it was important enough for a discussion then. It was a longer discussion than necessary, but informative.

    It is clear that sending five people to Catalonia has involved large sums of money. It is vital that we agree on a constitution, and that we have a constitutional way of ensuring that the National organisation, and the Edinburgh Regional Group involve members in a democratic way when and where money is involved. And of course democratic control over all matters.

    There is therefore some urgency for a decision about a constitution and of standing orders, to support democracy at all levels of ESY. Thats why all organisations like ours have to have them. But as far as money is concerned, the most important thing just now is to record all moneys spent, and to Keep clear records, and of course that is being done.

    Having an AGM now would give us just 10 days, I think that is too short a time to properly call an AGM, when people are usually given a months notice. It is really important that members who rarely come, and other contacts are given time to make diary arrangements, especially in mid December.

    Lets call an AGM in Jan/Feb so we can get inform folk properly.


    Steve West

    Hi All

    I don’t think we should rush this draft through on the assumption that we can easily change the constitution later. It won’t be quick or easy to amend later. Also, we don’t want lots of our time at our future AGMs taken up discussing the minutiae of the constitution – we will have more pressing business.

    It would also be breaching our constitution in spirit before we even agree it, if we were to call our first AGM at such sort notice:

    Section E – AGM
    “3. Notification of the venue and time for the AGM will be sent out
    electronically to all members at least four full weeks before the AGM takes place.”

    cheers, Steve


    Steve West

    Some thoughts on the draft constitution:

    Section C – Objects (I agree with Paul, “Objectives” is better)

    I think we should have an explicit objective of standing up to anti-English racism in Scotland, whatever its source.

    Should we also have an objective of countering false claims of anti-Englishness? (eg when unionists accuse the independence movement or SNP of being anti-English)

    I think clause 5 is way too detailed for a constitution – it’s getting into detailed policy. We could have something much more general about being internationalists and agreeing that all self-defined national groups have the right to self determination.

    Section J – Meetings and Proceedings of the AGM, National Council and National Committee

    “3. For all English Scots for YES meetings, the quorum will be at least one-fifth of the members entitled to be present. Decisions made by an inquorate meeting must be ratified by a subsequent quorate meeting to be valid.”

    I think a 20% quorum is way too high for a general meeting and we might be unable to hold a quorate AGM. For general meetings of ordinary members, I’d suggest 5% is more realistic. Lots of members sign up to organisations and political parties then never go to any meetings – a typical party conference is attended by 2-5% of party members.

    For Committee/Council meetings, I’d suggest a much higher quorum, say 40%. People standing for election to positions on Council/Committee should be giving a commitment attend meetings.


    Steve West

    I think Paul’s point about whether or not we can merge the roles of the Council and the Committee is worth discussing. I can think of some pros and cons. What do other folks think?

    Whenever we do hold our inaugrual general meeting to ratify the constitution, can we agree some rules for that meeting? Here are some suggestions:
    1. Quorum & eligibility: Who is entitled to attend and do we set a quorum?
    2. Majority required: Do we ratify the constitution by a simple majority or something bigger like two thirds?
    3. Election of officers: Presumably we need to choose our first office-holders at the meeting.
    4. Agenda & other business: Do we need to have some other reports at the meeting, eg finance and membership reports?
    5. Date of AGM: Our inaugrual meeting doesn’t have to be our AGM, and doesn’t need to create a precedent for future AGM dates. The inaugrual meeting is effectively an EGM. We can decide when to hold our first AGM at a more suitable time of year (any time within the first 18 months, I think). I’d suggest setting our AGM date to a warmer time of year as we don’t want bad weather to prevent our far-flung members from travelling to it.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by  Steve West.

    Timothy Puntis

    (partly to add to the discussion, and partly to reply to Math – above)

    Being in such a hurry for an AGM is just not necessary at the moment if it requires there to be a democratic deficit. Anything we do, should avoid being done on the basis that it can be hurried through because “on a legal level, it requires a barest minimum of people”.

    An earlier AGM does have an advantage, though. In line with the constitution we may adopt, and in common practice, a full financial statement would be required. Here there is more urgency than getting charitable status. We are moving forward and raising money, from ourselves and other people. All members must be fully aware and open about all funds in all parts of EYS.

    Setting ourselves up as a charity is more than writing a constitution. The SCVO website is worth a visit for those who haven’t. There are major decisions involved, and the appointment of Trustees. All of that needs the scrutiny of properly called meetings.

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