NEWINGTON NEIGHBOURHOOD FORUM
The name of the Forum shall be the Newington Neighbourhood Forum, referred to in the rest of this constitution as the Forum.
- AREA OF BENEFIT
The area of benefit is the area designated by the Forum as shown on the map attached at Annexe 1 of this constitution for the purpose of the preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan under the Neighbourhood Planning (general regulations) 2012.
The purpose of the Forum is to develop and oversee a process that will result in the preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan for the Newington Neighbourhood in order to promote the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the local community within the Newington Neighbourhood and achieve a better quality of life for the local community.
The process will be:
- Inclusive – offering the opportunity to participate for everyone who lives or works in the area.
- Comprehensive – identifying all the important aspects of life in the area for which we need to plan for the future.
- Positive – bringing forward proposals which will improve the local quality of life.
- To promote the benefit of the inhabitants of the Newington Neighbourhood without distinction of sex, sexual orientation, nationality, age, disability, race or of political, religious or other opinions.
- To provide an opportunity for local people to influence local decision making.
- To encourage openness and transparency amongst statutory agencies and provide an opportunity for local people to influence the priorities and services of these agencies.
- To promote sustainable development, environmental improvement and conservation by educating, encouraging and assisting the local population in environmental practice, working in partnership with similar groups and organisations.
- To improve democratic participation by local people.
- To improve community leadership for the benefit of the area.
In furtherance of the objects, but not otherwise, the Forum may exercise the power to:
- Invite and receive contributions and raise funds where appropriate to finance the work of the Forum, and to open a bank account to manage such funds.
- Publicise and promote the work of the Forum and organise meetings, training courses, events or seminars etc.
- Work with groups of a similar nature and exchange information, advice and knowledge with them, including cooperation with other voluntary bodies, charities, statutory and non-statutory organisations
- Employ staff and volunteers as are necessary to conduct activities to meet the objectives
- Take any form of action that is lawful, which is necessary to achieve the objectives of the Forum, including taking out any contracts which it may see fit.
- NEIGHBOURHOOD PLANNING
The Forum will be governed by an agreement to:
- Ensure that there is transparency throughout the planning process.
- Ensure that the Forum shall act in accordance with best practice in preparation of neighbourhood plans and in accordance with Government guidance for such preparation and shall seek to work collaboratively with the local planning authority to achieve this.
- Ensure that the community as a whole will be fully involved through community consultation events and be informed of the Forum’s work through publication of the minutes and papers of meetings on the Forum’s website.
- Any decision to undertake, consult on or submit to the local planning authority for approval the Neighbourhood Plan shall be subject to a vote of the Forum.
- FORUM ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES
- To commit to the development of the plan and attend Forum meetings as appropriate. In the event that attendance is not possible, representations or comments will be accepted via email.
- To assess existing evidence about the needs and aspirations of the neighbourhood including the Newington and St Andrew’s Area Action Plan (AAP)
- To agree a community engagement strategy and facilitate the community consultation process.
- Analyse the views, ideas and proposals received from community engagement and public consultation activities and use them to prepare the draft plan.
- Ensure consultation and co-operation with key stakeholders to ensure the deliverability of plan proposals.
- Facilitate the formation of working groups delegated with the task of preparing elements of the Neighbourhood Plan.
- Guide and agree the content of the Plan and all associated evidence.
- Work with the local planning authority and any independent experts and advisors on the neighbourhood plan as the Forum sees fit.
- Approve all consultation documents prior to publication.
- Membership shall be drawn from different places and different sections of the community in the area of benefit.
- Membership shall be open, irrespective of sex, sexual orientation, nationality, age, disability and race or of political, religious or other opinions to:
- Individuals aged eighteen years or over who live or work within the area of benefit of the Forum.
- Elected Council members who represent wards in the area of benefit of the Forum.
- Business operators in the area of benefit of the Forum.
- Individuals who own property in the area of benefit of the Forum.
- Constituted voluntary and community groups which operate in the area of benefit of the Forum.
- New members may join by applying either verbally or in writing (including by email and on the website) to the Forum.
- A register of members shall be kept at all times and published on the Forum’s website.
- RESIGNATION AND TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP
- Any member of the Forum may resign his/her membership by providing written notice.
- The Forum may refuse membership, or may terminate or suspend the membership of any member by resolution passed at a Forum meeting where it is considered membership would be detrimental to the objectives and activities of the Forum.
10.1 General Meetings
- The Forum will normally meet monthly, or at such frequency necessary to ensure preparation of the plan is progressed in accordance with the Project Plan.
- All members of the Forum will have equal voting rights.
- Decision making will be by a simple majority after a vote; in the event of a tied vote the Chair will have the casting vote.
- For general meeting business to be conducted, a quorum of seven members or one third of members must be present whichever is the less.
- All members shall be given at least fourteen days’ notice of when a meeting is due to take place, unless it is deemed an emergency meeting.
- It shall be the responsibility of the Chairperson to chair all meetings or a designated deputy in his/her absence.
- All meetings must be minuted and minutes made accessible to interested parties as well as being published on the Forum’s website.
10.2 Working Group Meetings
- The Working Groups set up by the Forum exist to co-ordinate, implement and monitor the work of the Forum including developing a Neighbourhood Plan.
- Working Groups may be authorised by the Forum to take executive action on specific matters previously specified by a meeting of the Forum. Any such action shall be reported to the next meeting of the Forum.
- People with specialist skills, knowledge or information may be co-opted onto Working Groups for specific projects or tasks. Such co-opted persons may not vote at meetings of the Forum.
- The membership of each Working Group shall be decided by a full meeting of the Forum and the group may co-opt members as it sees fit.
10.3 Annual General Meeting
- One of the general meetings of the Forum shall be its annual general meeting (AGM) where the Chairman will be elected and a report of activities in relation to each of the Forums objectives presented by the Chairperson and a statement of income and expenditure will be presented by the Treasurer.
- For AGM business to be conducted, a quorum of at least 50% of the membership must be present at the meeting.
- All members are entitled to vote at the AGM. Voting shall be made by a show of hands on a majority basis. In the case of a tied vote, the Chairperson or an appointed deputy shall make the final decision.
10.4 Special Meetings
- Special Meetings may be called from time to time by the Forum solely to consider amendments to the constitution or dissolution of the Forum. These shall be subject to the same rules of conduct as at Annual General Meetings.
- Honorary Officers
- Only members of the Forum may stand for Honorary Officer Posts.
- The Honorary Officers shall be elected at an initial meeting of the Forum and will be re-elected at subsequent Annual General Meetings of the Forum.
- An Honorary Officer shall cease to hold office if he/she notifies the Forum in writing of his/her resignation.
- If a vacancy occurs among the Honorary Officers of the Forum, the Forum shall have the power to fill it from among its members.
- All Honorary Officers shall hold office until the conclusion of the next Annual General Meeting of the Forum and shall be eligible for re-election.
The forum will elect officers consisting of:
- The Chair- It shall be the responsibility of the Chairperson to co-ordinate the arrangements for meetings of the Forum and ensure that the meetings are conducted efficiently, fairly and harmoniously; To chair all meetings or a designated deputy in his/her absence; Ensure that meetings are held in accordance with the provisions of the Forum constitution; Represent the Forum at meetings and events as and when necessary.
- The Treasurer – It shall be the responsibility of the Treasurer to ensure that the finance provisions of the constitution are carried out; to report to each meeting of the Forum the finance held by, or on behalf of, the Forum and funds uncommitted and available for use by the Forum.
- The Secretary – It shall be the responsibility of the Secretary to keep a register of members, prepare and issue agendas, notes, minutes and reports for the Forum meetings; ensure that minutes are taken of all Forum meetings, and that the minutes are accessible to all members via the Forum’s website.
- THE FINANCES OF THE FORUM
- Any money acquired by the Forum, including donations, contributions and bequests, shall be paid into an account operated by the Forum.
- All funds must be applied to the objectives of the Forum and for no other purpose.
- Bank accounts shall be opened in the name of the Forum. Any deeds, cheques etc. relating to the Forum’s bank account shall be signed by at least two of the following committee members: Chairperson; Treasurer; Secretary.
- Any income/expenditure shall be the responsibility of the Treasurer who will be accountable to ensure funds are utilised effectively and that the Forum stays within budget.
- Official accounts shall be maintained, and will be examined annually by an independent accountant who is not a member of the Forum.
- An annual financial report shall be presented at the AGM.
- The Forum’s accounting year shall run from 01 April to 31 March.
- ALTERATION OF THE CONSTITUTION
- Any changes to this constitution must be agreed by a majority vote at a special general meeting, called specifically for the purpose under the same conditions that apply to Annual General Meetings specified above.
- Proposed amendments to this Constitution or dissolution of the Forum must be conveyed formally in writing. The elected officers of the Forum shall then decide whether to put the proposed amendments to a special general meeting of the Forum for discussion.
- The Forum shall exist for 5 years from its establishment and at the end of year 4 at the AGM will give consideration to a continuing or successor organisation to maintain and monitor the Newington Neighbourhood Plan.
- The decision to dissolve the Forum at the end of 5 years from its establishment or at a later date to be decided by the Forum shall be taken by a two/thirds majority of those voting at the AGM of the Forum.
- The Forum may be dissolved if deemed necessary by the members in a majority vote at a special meeting. Any assets or remaining funds after debts have been paid shall be returned to their providers or transferred to local charities or similar groups in the area of benefit at the discretion of the Forum.