A Member's proposal for a new Constitution
A Member's Proposal for new DSA Ireland Constitution
1. NAME AND FORMATION
DSA Ireland is a region-based study group of the Development Studies Association of the United Kingdom and Ireland that is constituted under the Laws of England and Wales.
As a DSA group, the DSAI pursues the main objective of the DSA which is to “advance knowledge of the alternative processes and methods of socio-economic change, which studies are commonly referred to as development studies”. We aim to do so by the growth of an active and productive cross-sectoral forum that promotes innovation in discussion and debate on research for development among the development community in Ireland.
3.1 Membership of the DSAI organisation shall comprise Ordinary Members and Honorary Members of the DSA who have registered with the DSAI. Membership of the DSAI network comprises all registered and non-spam users that have been moderated by the administrator.
3.1(a) Ordinary Members – Individuals who have paid the required fee to the DSA, who meet the DSA criteria for Ordinary Membership and who have signed up to be a member of the DSAI or requested membership.
3.1(a) Honorary Members – Individuals who have paid the required fee to the DSA, who meet the DSA criteria for Honorary Membership and who have signed up to be a member of the DSAI or requested membership. The DSAI organisation does not offer additional Honorary Membership.
3.1(c) Network Members – Individuals who have registered with the network, have been moderated by the administrator and are not spam users are considered Network Members. Such members may or may not also be Ordinary Members.
3.2 Privileges of Membership
3.2.1 Ordinary and Honorary Members of the Association shall, provided that they have paid the Membership dues for the appropriate period and provided that their Membership has not been terminated as provided below, have the following privileges:
3.2.1(a) The right to attend, subject to their paying any charge which may be made in respect of the meeting, and vote at meetings organised by the Association.
3.2.1(b) Each Member shall have one vote.
3.2.1(c) The right to organise meetings and events in pursuit of the DSAI objectives
3.2.1(d) The right to form member ‘clusters’ that focus on delivery a key service or value to the DSAI organisation. This service or value can be one identified by the Chairing Group/membership or be a new offering.
3.2.1 The right to share in the benefits of DSA membership.
3.2.2 Network members shall, provided they have engaged in acceptable use of the network (no spam; respectful discussion; not reported more than three times for unacceptable behaviour; not posting offence material; not engaging in plagiarism) have the following privileges:
3.2.1(a) The right to attend meetings organised by the Association.
3.2.2 (b) The right to self-organise meetings and groups of members in pursuit of the DSAI objectives.
3.2.1(c) The right to form member ‘clusters’ that focus on delivery a key service or value to the DSAI organisation. This service or value can be one identified by the management group/membership or be a new offering.
3.3 Junior members who are under 18 years of age may be members of DSAI but
may not hold office in the DSAI.
3.5 Obligations of Membership
3.5(a) Ordinary Members undertakes to abide by the Constitution and any Standing Orders of the DSAI.
3.5(b) Network members undertake to engage in acceptable use of the network as commonly understood with respect to avoiding spam; plagiarism; and abusive, threatening or offensive behaviour. Network members undertake to accept any conditions of use set down by the DSAI for the network or adhere to community norms for acceptable behaviour that become established.
3.6 Termination of Membership
Membership of the Association shall be in accordance with the procedures of the DSA namely:
3.6.1 Ordinary Members
3.6.1 (a) Where an Ordinary Member has submitted his or her resignation in writing to the Council.
3.6.2 (b) Where the Member's subscription dues are more than one year in arrears.
3.6.3 (c) Where the Council has given notice to the Member that it proposes to terminate membership and has in fact so terminated it; but the Council shall, before exercising this power, give the Member in question an opportunity to make representations to the Council.
3.6.2 Network Members
3.6.1 Networked members may have their membership of the online DSAI Net revoked where they engage in unacceptable use of the network or where their behaviour is offensive or threatening to other users. In this case, the user will be issued with three warnings in cases of minor offenses. In the case of a serious breach of acceptable use the user will be immediately suspended from the network. They then have the opportunity to make a case to the DSAI management and membership. The final decision on whether to revoke or reinstate network membership will rest with the Chair of the DSAI.
3.6.2 Network members may de-register from DSAI Net by contacting the site administrator. The network member is then no longer a member of the DSAI Net however, that member, if also an Ordinary member of the DSAI or DSA (or Honorary member of the DSA) retains their formal membership.
4. THE COUNCIL AND OFFICERS OF THE ASSOCIATION
4.1 DSAI Chairing Group
The management of the affairs of the association is vested both in the DSAI Chairing Group and established ‘Clusters’ of Members. The Chairing Group consists of the following three Officers:
4.1.1 Officers of the Chairing Group
The Officers, that is to say, the Chair, Secretary and Treasurer must be Members of the Association. These Officers shall be elected by the Association at its Annual General Meeting. The Chair shall hold office for a term of two years. The Treasurer and Secretary hold office for one year. Only the Chair is not immediately eligible for re-election to the same or any other office. The Treasurer and Secretary can hold office for two consecutive years. The Chairing Group may co-opt a maximum of four members to support their duties or in the case where clusters disband.
4.1.2 Functions and Powers of the Chairing Group
- To raise funds and receive contributions
- To dispose of any assets remaining in the event of the dissolution of the DSAI according to the Constitution, and to repay any debts due to be paid by the DSAI in the event of its dissolution.
- To make Standing Orders for regulating the affairs of the Association and of the Council and for the conduct of the meetings of the Association and of the Council. These Standing Orders should be presented to the wider membership (e.g. through email) for ratification.
- To co-ordinate and lead the DSAI association and promote active inclusion of membership towards achieving the objectives of the organisation.
4.2 DSAI “Core Clusters”
To ensure broad inclusion and effective management of the DSAI, tasks identified as important to the smooth functioning of the DSAI will be performed by clusters of members. These tasks can be identified at the Annual General Meeting. They can also be identified by the core clusters and/or Chairing Group during the year. New tasks can be proposed by new clusters of members.
4.2.1 (a) Core Cluster formation
At the Annual General Meeting the following core clusters should be presented for membership engagement: Web & Communications; Funding; Postgraduate; and Knowledge. At least three members are invited to create clusters around these core tasks from at least two different institutions. The cluster is considered formed when there are a minimum three members. The cluster is considered full at the AGM when six members have registered. Such cluster members do not need to be elected. An election only ensues if objections are raised to the membership of a cluster by another Ordinary or Network member.
Further members can be added to the Cluster during the course of the year.
New clusters can also be formed by members during the year. To form a cluster, proposing members undertake to circulate the idea and core tasks to the Chairing Group one week before a co-ordination meeting. The member attends the co-ordinating meeting to discuss the contribution and its feasibility. An outcome is decided by the group.
4.2.2 (b) Obligations of a Cluster
The Cluster undertake to carry out the main tasks associated with the Cluster as circulated to all Network and Ordinary Members at least three weeks before the Annual General Meeting. They undertake to make reports available in time for scheduled Co-ordination Meetings where a Co-ordination Meeting is defined as a regular meeting between the Officers of the Chairing Group and Clusters. Clusters can self-organise and can appoint the appropriate member to attend the Co-ordinating meeting. Any single member of a Cluster can attend the Co-ordination meeting. Further representatives can attend by informing the Secretary in advance.
4.2.2 (c) Performance of a Cluster
A Cluster can carry out their set tasks in the best way identified by its members.
- A Cluster can invite other members to join and can, if it chooses, establish its own work practices and guidelines. Template guidelines for Clusters will be available for Clusters.
- Performance of each Cluster is a priority for the DSAI and the Chair will have responsibility to communicate with each Cluster to ensure that they have the necessary information, skills and back-up to carry out their duties.
- Clusters will maintain the documentation explaining their tasks, members and activities/methods and make these publicly available on the DSAI website/network. Clusters will also minute their meetings and make these available upon request.
4.2.2 (d) Privileges of a Cluster
- A Cluster may organise, following discussion at a Co-ordination meeting activities and events relevant to its core task area. A Cluster may also join or merge with other clusters and encourage other core task clusters to emerge from the membership. For example, if a new funding opportunity arises, the Funding Cluster can either expand their group or encourage another Targeted Funding Group to establish for that purpose. In this way, members can become engaged for either short term or longer term DSAI tasks.
- A Cluster may claim reasonable expenses from the DSAI within the guidelines set down by the Chairing Group (such as type of expense allowed, maximum amount etc).
4.2.3. (e) Renewal of Clusters
Clusters are renewed each year at the AGM. Work guidelines established by the cluster of the previous are considered obsolete with the opportunity for the new Cluster to create new work guidelines.
4.2.3 (f) Disbanding of Clusters
Members of a Cluster can disband by writing an explanatory letter to the Chair which is then circulated to members. Members are then invited to create a new cluster. Where a new cluster cannot be formed among the members, and the task is considered critical, the Chair can co-opt two members to the Chairing Group in order to continue that function until the following Annual General Meeting. The Co-opted Members will become full members of the Chairing. Their function will relate to the co-ordination of the task for which they were co-opted.
4.3 The proceedings of the Annual General Meeting, Extraordinary General Meetings, and Chairing Group meetings will be minuted and made available to members of the DSAI. To this end, the minutes will be circulated by email and posted on the DSAI Net.
4.4 Votes at any meeting will be carried by simple majority of all members. The Chair will, in the case of a tied vote, have a casting vote.
5. MEETINGS OF THE ASSOCIATION
5.1 The DSAI shall meet annually in the Republic of Ireland and at such other times and such other places as the Chairing Group may determine. Five Ordinary Members, not being officers or members of the Chairing Group shall constitute a quorum for a Co-ordinating Meeting of the DSAI. A maximum of 12 ordinary members is permitted at Co-ordinating meetings. This limit is imposed in order to facilitate effective planning and reporting.
5.2 The business of the Annual General Meeting shall follow the guidelines set out by the DSA as follows. It will comprise:-
5.2(a) The election of officers.
5.2(b) The election of members of Council.
5.2(c) The receipt of the verified accounts of the DSAI for the proceeding financial year.
5.2(d) The receipt of a general report by the Chairing Group on the activities of the Clusters.
5.2(e) Any other business relating to the Association and its affairs.
5.4 All paid-up Members of the DSA shall be entitled to vote at the AGM.
5.5 Extraordinary General Meetings may be called by Chairing Group or by a group of at least 10 members who will notify the Chairing Group of their intention to call the EGM at least 28 days in advance of any such meeting.
5.6 Votes at the AGM or any EGM will be decided by a simple majority of those present and entitled to vote. However to amend the Constitution (see paragraph 7) a two-thirds majority of members present is required.
6. FINANCIAL AND ACCOUNTING PROVISIONS OF THE DSAI
These requirements are identical to those set out by the DSA in its constitution, with some minor amendments for the size and structure of the leadership team referred to in the DSA Constitution as the Council and here as the Chairing Group.
6.1 The DSAI will set up and operate such Bank and Building Society Accounts which are from time to time deemed necessary.
6.2 The Bank and Building Society Accounts of the DSAI in which the Assets of the Association are held will be operated by the Chairing Group in the name of the DSAI. All cheques and orders for the payment of money from such accounts will be signed by two Members of the Chairing Group.
6.3 Payments to the DSAI with respect to subscriptions, conference fees or any other of the activities undertaken in pursuit of the Association’s objectives may be collected by cash, cheque, standing order, direct debit, credit and debit cards or bankers draft.
6.4 No member of Council may receive any benefit in money or in kind from the funds of the DSA (except for reasonable and verified expenses).
6.5 The DSAI will prepare Annual Accounts which will be submitted to the AGM. The DSA Council will have the Annual Accounts independently verified before they are submitted to the AGM.
7. AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION
Amendment of the constitution shall follow similar procedures to those laid down in the DSA constitution except to those that relate to the status of the DSA as a legal charity. The procedures are thus as follows:
7.1 These Statutes may be amended by a two-thirds majority of the Members of the Association present and voting at an Annual General Meeting or at an Extraordinary General Meeting called for that purpose.
7.2 Any proposal for an amendment of the Statutes shall be in writing (transmitted in hardcopy or electronically) and shall either:-
7.2(a) be submitted by the Chairing Group; or
7.2(b) be supported by the signature of at least 10 members of the Association and be submitted not less than 28 days before the date of the General Meeting at which it is sought to move the amendment.
7.3 Any such proposed amendment shall be circulated to Members (either in hardcopy or electronically) not less than 14 days before the date of the General Meeting at which it is sought to move the amendment.
Annex to the Constitution of the DSA relating to election procedures
- Those eligible to vote in elections for officers and members of the Chairing Group shall be Ordinary members of the DSAI.
- A call for nominations for election to positions of Officers of the DSA shall be made at least three months in advance of the AGM where election results become operational. This call for nominations will be given wide publicity through the DSAI newsletter, website, Membership mailing list and to the wider DSA.
- All nominees for election to positions of Officers or Council members of the DSA shall be current members of the Association. The same condition applies to the proposer and seconder of nominations.
- Nominations to the position of DSAI Chair should be made to the Secretary at least six weeks in advance of the AGM, together with a short biography and a one page statement of intent. This information will be made available without delay on the DSA website.
- Elections are undertaken by secret ballot at the AGM. All subscribed Ordinary members will receive a ballot card upon registration at the AGM. Two tellers supervise the election. Results of elections of Officers are determined by simple majority of the votes cast.
9. There are four places on the DSA Council for co-opted members which should be filled only where membership clusters do not perform the specific tasks, where specialist expertise is needed, or where a cluster is disbanded. Otherwise, all management tasks should be allocated to members. The role of the Officers is to co-ordinate and lead an active membership.
8. PROPERTY OF THE ASSOCIATION FOLLOWING DISSOLUTION
The procedures relating to dissolution are identical to those of the DSA which state:
If, upon dissolution of the DSAI there remains, after the satisfaction of all its debts and liabilities, any property whatsoever, the same shall not be paid or distributed among Members of the Association but shall be given or transferred to some other charitable institution or institutions having objectives similar in whole or in part to the objectives of the Association, to be determined by the Members of the Association at or before the time of dissolution.
Proposal submitted by Vanessa Liston
for discussion to
DSAI Membership 1 June 2012