CONSTITUTION

1. NAME AND OBJECTIVES

Humanism is a democratic and ethical life stance, which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives.  It stands for the building of a more humane society through an ethic based on human and other natural values in the spirit of reason and free inquiry through human capabilities. It is not theistic, and it does not accept supernatural views of reality.

The Group shall be called “Plymouth Humanists” and shall have the following objectives:

To promote Humanism and support Humanists in Plymouth and the surrounding area.

Providing the means for like-minded individuals to meet and discuss Humanist values, principles and relevant subjects.

Promoting charitable purposes and voluntary work.

To co-operate with other Humanist organisations in promoting humanism both at a national and international level.

The Group shall not be affiliated to, nor accept any affiliations from, any political party.

2. MEMBERSHIP

Any person who agrees with the objectives of the Group may become a member on payment of the annual subscription.

The Executive Committee may refuse to admit as a member, or terminate membership of any person whose conduct is, in its opinion, inconsistent with the objectives of the Group. In general subscriptions will not be refundable but exceptions can be made, in full or in proportion of time elapsed in the accounts year, solely at the discretion of the Committee.
 

3. OFFICERS

The Officers shall be Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.  They shall be elected annually at the Annual General Meeting of the Group.  In normal circumstances the Chair should serve for no more than 3 years.

The views of the Group, for example when dealing with the public, will be communicated through the Chair, in consultation with the Committee and will take into account the views of the membership.

Officers shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting.  Only members of the Group shall be eligible for nomination.

4. ELECTION OF OFFICERS AND COMMITTEE

Candidates for Office shall be nominated by 2 members of the Group.

Candidates for the Committee from the membership shall be nominated by 2 members of the Group.

If the number of nominations for an Office or to the Committee, duly proposed and seconded, shall exceed the number of vacancies, the election shall be by secret ballot.  Tellers shall be appointed by open ballot of the meeting.

5. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

The Executive Committee shall consist of the Officers of the Group and three other members who shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting.

In addition a PUSH (Plymouth University Secular Humanists) representative, being a current student at Plymouth University, plus another representative, being currently enrolled at the College of St Mark and St John, will be co-opted onto the Committee. These representatives shall be selected by their particular constituencies.

Any vacancy may be filled by the Committee subject to confirmation at a General Meeting.

The Chair of the Group shall be the Chair of the Executive Committee.  The general business of the Group shall be administered by the Committee.  It shall meet at least once in every 3 months, and at least 14 days notice of meetings shall be given to Committee members, preferably by email.  A quorum shall be 3 members of the Committee of whom at least 1 shall be an Officer, and at least 2 shall be elected members of the Committee.

The Executive Committee may appoint sub Committees with powers to co-opt when appropriate.

Where reasonably possible the Committee will endeavour to consult membership on important issues of policy, and to provide an agenda of their meeting 7 days beforehand.

All Committee meetings shall be open for members of the Group to observe.

6. ANNUAL GENERAL MEETINGS

An Annual General Meeting shall be held in June each year.  It shall receive financial accounts and reports from the Executive Committee for the preceding year.  It shall elect the Officers of the Group and other members of the Executive Committee.

At least 21 days notice of the meeting shall be given to all members of the Group.  Nominations duly seconded and notices of motions must be received by the Secretary at least 7 days before the meeting.

7. SPECIAL GENERAL MEETINGS

A Special General Meeting of the Group may be convened by the Executive Committee upon giving a minimum of 7 days notice to all members of the Group, for any specific business the nature of which shall be stated in the convening notice.

Also, upon receipt of a request signed by at least 20% of the members of the Group, a Special General Meeting shall be convened by the Secretary within 6 weeks of the receipt of request for such a meeting, again specifying the nature of the business to be discussed.  At least 21 days notice of the meeting shall be given to all members of the Group.

Only business stated on the notice convening the meeting shall be considered at such Special General Meetings.

The quorum at both the above types of meetings shall be 10 members of the Group.  In any dispute concerning the affairs of the Group, a General Meeting shall be the final authority.

8. VOTING AT MEETINGS

Apart from constitutional amendments all other matters put to the vote shall be deemed carried when supported by a simple majority of those present and voting, be that members of that Committee in Committee meetings, or members of the Group at General Meetings.

The Chair shall have the casting vote if necessary in all meetings.  In his or her absence this duty will pass to the attending Officers as determined by the order of the Officers in Rule 3.

9. CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS

Notice of any changes to the Rules intended to be proposed by any member of the Group at the Annual General Meeting shall be given to the Secretary in writing before the last day of the preceding financial year. Changes to the Rules shall only be effective when supported by two thirds of members of the Group present at a General Meeting.

10. FINANCE AND ASSETS

The income and property of the Group shall be devoted to the promotion of the objectives of the Group.  Officers and other members of the Executive Committee may not receive payment for their services to the Group, but may claim essential expenses, which in principle should be approved by the Committee, and before they are incurred.

The financial year of the Group shall end on 30 April.

The Treasurer shall present an audited statement of accounts for the preceding year to the Annual General Meeting.

At each Annual General Meeting a person, who may or may not be a member of the Group, but who shall not be a member of the Executive Committee, shall be elected by the members of the Group as auditor, whose duty it shall be to audit the Group accounts for the following year.

An account in the name of the Group shall be opened with a Bank or Building Society, as agreed by the Executive Committee.  The Group shall authorise the Bank or Building Society to pay all cheques drawn upon any account or accounts for the time being kept with them, when signed by any two of the duly nominated members of the Committee, one of whom must be the Chair, Secretary or Treasurer.

11. SUBSCRIPTIONS

The annual subscription of the Group shall be set by the Annual General Meeting. The new rate will come into force at the beginning of July.

There will be a concessionary subscription at half the normal rate for the unwaged, students and OAPs, with its final application being at the discretion of the Executive Committee.

Subscriptions shall be renewable at the beginning of each accounts year, and usually will be collected from all members of the Group who wish to renew in May of each year. New subscribers joining with three months of the year still to go or less will get that period free and their subscription payment will cover the following year as if they had paid in May.

12. AFFILIATIONS

The Group shall maintain its affiliation to the British Humanist Association and National Secular Society unless decided otherwise by a General Meeting.  Affiliation to other bodies may be sought by resolution of a General Meeting.

13. WINDING UP

In the event of the Group having to be wound up, all assets or funds after payment of liabilities shall go to the British Humanist Association.