Tilbury Community Forum

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Minutes, Meetings, News and Members

Constitution for Tilbury Community Forum
adopted at Special General meeting
Date: (21/04/2022)

1. Title
The association shall be known as “Tilbury Community Forum” or “TCF”.

2. Aims and Objectives
Tilbury Community Forum is a non-political, non-religious, non-sectarian community group.
TCF exists to represent all those with a vested interest in Tilbury. TCF will work in partnership with all relevant interested voluntary/community groups, government departments, statutory authorities and individuals.

The TCF seeks to provide for improvements and amenities within the local environs for an involved and valued community.

TCF will:
• Recognise the special character of Tilbury and will actively promote this character by the conservation of, and sympathetic improvement of, land and buildings of beauty or historic interest and land of ecological or other scientific interest. To achieve this it may promote, assist or oppose proposals for the use of or development of land and buildings in the town and surrounding areas.
• Provide an additional route for those in Tilbury to raise concerns and issues on local matters and communicate these to Thurrock Council and partners.
• Strengthen local community networks and develop constructive and effective partnerships between local people and organisations and the Council.
• Aim to provide information to residents, businesses, groups and interested parties within the local area, work towards developing a community spirit, and hold local events that will bring the community together.
• Achieve funding for local initiatives from Thurrock Council and from other relevant bodies/organisations as appropriate.
• Improve the general environment and amenities of Tilbury and represent Tilbury in other matters of concern.
• Promote the welfare, leisure and recreation of the local community.
• Liaise with Thurrock Council, Police and other bodies to achieve these aims.

3. Membership
Full Membership of the TCF shall be open to people living or working in Tilbury only, and membership will be open to representatives from all community groups, voluntary organisations, partnership agencies and businesses that are based in, or have an interest in, the Tilbury area. Such individuals or representatives may join the TCF at any time.

Each non-statutory member organisation may appoint one representative entitled to attend and vote on its behalf at meetings of the TCF. A deputy may be appointed where necessary.
Prospective members shall complete an application form provided by the TCF which will include a statement that they agree, both in letter and in spirit, to the aims and objectives as set out in Section 2 above. All applications shall be presented to the TCF for approval.

Attendance by young people will be encouraged to enable them to participate in discussions and express their views and opinions.

Honorary members may be appointed at the discretion of the TCF and may include such bodies as Police, Authorities, Primary Care Trust and Local Ward Councillors. Honorary members shall not be entitled to vote.

Ward Councillors and Officers of Thurrock Council are not eligible to become full members of the TCF.
Members shall always conduct themselves in a manner acceptable to the TCF when attending meetings or any function in connection with the Forum. In particular; all members shall abide by the aims and objectives as set out in Section 2 above. Failure to meet the required standards will result in exclusion of membership of the Forum. (See appendix for Code of Conduct)

All members should express a declaration of interest on financial matters or any other vested interest. This should be declared at the start of any relevant meeting, and all such members shall abstain from voting.

4. TCF Officers
A Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary and Treasurer shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting of the TCF and hold office to the conclusion of the following AGM. Upon which they shall be eligible for re-election.

Should an officer position become available due to ill health, non-attendance of 3 consecutive meetings or other cause deemed inappropriate or a breach of the terms of the TCF Constitution, the remaining officers reserve the right to co-opt another officer to serve in the vacant position.

In the event of more than one nomination for an officer post, an election by a simple majority vote will determine the post holder. In the case of an equality of votes the Chair of the meeting shall have a second casting vote.

The Chair and Treasurer shall present written reports to the AGM on the activities of the previous year and a copy of the annual accounts will be made available by the Treasurer.
Only full members shall be eligible to serve as officers.
Officers should only use the @Thurrockforums.org email account for official forum business.

5. General Committee
The affairs of TCF shall be directed by a General Committee, which shall comprise the four Officers, plus a maximum of eight other elected full members.

TCF welcomes youth members onto the committee in a non-voting capacity.

The members of the committee shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting of TCF and shall hold office until elections at the following AGM, and shall be eligible for re-election.

The TCF may also co-opt committee members at a committee meeting in the event of a vacancy on the committee. As for elected committee members, co-opted members shall hold office to the conclusion of the following AGM, and shall be eligible for re-election.

Honorary Members may be invited by the committee to attend meetings but shall maintain a ‘non-voting’ status.

6. Meetings of the TCF
An Annual General Meeting shall be held at a time and place determined by the TCF giving members and the public at least twenty-one days’ notice of such by posting the notice on TCF’s social media platforms, noticeboards, Thurrock Community Forums website and/or in the local press. No more than fifteen months shall have elapsed since the preceding AGM.

In exceptional circumstances, the Chair of the Forum may call a Special General Meeting if agreed by the committee, or if so requested in writing, signed by a minimum of ten full members of the TCF (or two-thirds of the membership, whichever is the least) and giving the reasons for the request.
TCF shall meet not less than five times a year. The actual frequency and timing to be determined by the TCF officers.

All TCF general meetings shall be open to members and shall include an “Open Session” for questions and issues to be raised by the public.

Following agreement by the Committee in times of a Crisis, for example, a Natural Disaster/Pandemic where Government regulations make it impossible to hold a physical meeting, the AGM can be postponed but should be held as soon as possible. If this is not possible before 27 months has elapsed from the preceding AGM, or to enable the AGM to be held sooner, emergency measures such as remote online attendance, proxy voting or voting by email shall be adopted for conducting the AGM.
Notice of TCF general meetings shall be posted on TCF social media platforms, or on TCF noticeboards or Thurrock Community Forums website at least seven days prior to each meeting.

For a valid general meeting to be held there must be at least two of the officers plus three other members in attendance. The quorum for a committee meeting is 3 elected members. In the case of an AGM there must be at least three officers and a minimum of ten members. This can be represented by in person or online in a hybrid fashion.

At all times, except for amendments to the Constitution, matters shall be decided by simple majority voting of those present and eligible to vote. In the case of an equality of votes, the Chair of the meeting shall have a second or casting vote. See Section 8 for rules regarding amendments to the Constitution.

Eligibility to Vote
General Committee meetings: all adult members of the association and not just Committee members are eligible to vote providing they have attended at least three of the previous six meetings. In the case of a member organisation with an appointed representative and deputy, attendance by either the representative or the deputy will be counted as an attendance for this purpose. Honorary members shall not be entitled to vote.

Annual or Special General Meetings: all adult members, except for honorary members, are eligible to vote on all matters except on amendments to the Constitution. To be eligible to vote on amendments to the Constitution, see Section 8

7. Finance
A bank account in the name of TCF shall be opened with a bank approved by the Committee. All cheques must be signed by not less than two authorised signatories. The authorised signatures will be determined by the committee and shall not be related by marriage, family etc.

The Treasurer shall maintain accounting records and produce an annual summary to be made available at the AGM. An independent witness who has examined the accounts with the Treasurer and is confident that they are an accurate record should sign the summary.

A current financial report will be made available at each meeting. Subject to the request of 8 or more members, the accounts must be made available at ten days’ notice.
All moneys received by on behalf or on behalf of the TFC shall be devoted to the purpose and objectives of TFC

No Member of TFC shall receive payment directly or indirectly for services to TFC provided this does not prevent the payment of expenses approved by the Committee.

The Treasurer shall be responsible for receiving, issuing receipts for and keeping moneys received and paid on behalf of TFC.

8. Constitution and Amendments
Once adopted, the Constitution may only be amended at a Special or Annual General Meeting.
A majority of two thirds of those present and eligible to vote are required for ratification. For eligibility to vote on amendments to the Constitution, members must have attended at least three of the previous six meetings. (Or majority of meetings held in current annual period.)
In the case of a member organisation with an appointed representative and deputy, attendance by either the representative or the deputy will be counted as an attendance for this purpose. Honorary members shall not be entitled to vote.

The Constitution, once agreed, shall be signed by the Chair and Secretary.

9. Communication
Notices will be posted in the TCF social media platforms and or the TCF Notice Boards or, if they no longer exist, be displayed in another prominent position in the Town. Such a posting will be deemed sufficient to notify the public where required by this constitution. Communication is not limited to this minimum requirement and additional methods may be used at the discretion of the Officers of the Forum.

10. Dissolution
If the Committee decide by a simple majority that the Forum business is wound up, then a Special General Meeting shall be called to ratify that decision. A majority of two-thirds of those present and eligible to vote will be required to endorse the committee decision. Any excess funds held at that time and available for distribution shall be donated to an agreed charity or community group.

11. Review of Constitution
The committee will review the Constitution annually and submit any proposed changes to an Annual or Special General Meeting. In addition, any 10 full members can request a Special General Meeting to make changes, subject to the criteria mentioned in Section 6.

Code of Conduct at Public Forum Meetings

  • All members shall be open and honest in their dealings and show respect for other members
  • All speakers will address themselves through the Chairperson
  • Only one person shall speak at a time
  • All speakers shall be polite and not raise their voices
  • All speakers shall respect all others in attendance and shall not use offensive language.
  • All forums observe equal opportunities and respect diversity of all community members.  Racist, sexist, ageist, homophobic and discriminatory language aimed at disabled people will not be acceptable or tolerated so please do not air personal views that are likely to offend.
  • All speakers will keep to the subject under discussion
  • Unless there are exceptional circumstances, each person may speak only once on an issue until every other member has had the opportunity to speak thereby accounting for all opinions
  • All members shall abide by the decisions taken at meetings
  • If any member does not abide by the Code of Conduct, there will be a warning that if they break the Code of Conduct they may be asked to leave the meeting
  • The offending member will be told that three warnings will be given and this is the first warning
  • The offending member will be told that there may be two further warnings and at the third case shall ask the meeting to vote on whether the member should be asked to leave the meeting
  • In the event of there being a conflict of interest (or potential conflict of interest) this must be disclosed to the meeting and if necessary, the member who has disclosed the conflict, (or potential conflict), whether financial or non-financial, shall absent themselves from the meeting whilst the subject is under discussion.  Political references shall be avoided.

Thank you for taking the time to read this document