Our constitution guides our decision-making process.
THE HITCHIN SOCIETY
The name of the Society shall be The Hitchin Society.
The Society is established for the public benefit for the following purposes in the area of the town of Hitchin as comprised by the wards of Bearton, Highbury, Oughton, Priory and Walsworth together with the adjoining civil parishes of Ickleford and St Ippolyts which area shall hereinafter be referred to as "the area of benefit".
(i) To promote high standards of planning, architecture and civic amenity in or affecting the area of benefit.
(ii) To educate the public in the geography, history, natural history and architecture of the area of benefit.
(iii) To secure the preservation, protection, development and improvement of features of historic or public interest in the area of benefit.
(iv) To promote high and sustainable standards of urban regeneration and transportation planning in or affecting the area of benefit.
In furtherance of the said purposes but not otherwise the Society through its Executive Committee shall have the following powers:-
(1) To promote civic pride in the area of benefit.
(2) To promote research into subjects directly connected with the objects of the Society and to publish the results of any such research.
(3) To act as a co-ordinating body and to co-operate with the local authorities, planning committees, and all other statutory authorities, voluntary organisations, charities and persons having aims similar to those of the Society.
(4) To promote or assist in promoting activities of a charitable nature throughout the area of benefit.
(5) To publish papers, reports and other literature.
(6) To make surveys and prepare maps and plans and collect information in relation to any place, erection or building of beauty or historic interest within the area of benefit.
(7) To hold meetings, lectures and exhibitions.
(8) To educate public opinion and to give advice and information.
(9) To raise funds and to invite and receive contributions from any person or persons whatsoever by way of subscription, donation and otherwise; provided that the Society shall not undertake any permanent trading activities in raising funds for its primary purpose.
(10) To acquire, by purchase, gift or otherwise, property whether subject to any special trust or not.
(11) Subject to such consents as may be required by law, to sell, let, mortgage, dispose of, or turn to account, all or any of the property or funds of the Society as shall be necessary.
(12) Subject to such consents as may be required by law, to borrow or raise money for the purposes of the Society on such terms and on such security as the Executive Committee shall think fit, but so that the liability of individual members of the Society shall in no case extend beyond the amount of their respective annual subscriptions.
(13) To do all such other lawful things as are necessary for the attainment of the said purposes.
Membership shall be open to all who are interested in actively furthering the purposes of the Society. No member shall have power to vote at any meeting of Society if his or her subscription is in arrears at the time. Junior members shall be those aged less than 18 years at the time their subscription is due; and they shall not be entitled to vote at any meeting of the Society. Corporate members shall be such societies, associations, educational institutions or businesses as are interested in actively furthering the purposes of the Society. A corporate member shall appoint a representative to vote on its behalf at all meetings but before such representative exercises his or her right to vote the corporate member shall give particulars in writing to the Honorary Secretary of such representative. The subscription of a member joining the Society in the three months preceding January in any year shall be regarded as covering membership for the Society's year commencing on the first of January following the date of joining the Society.
The subscription shall be:-
Life members (under 60) £140.00
Life members (60 or over) £95.00
Two life members in the same household (both under 60) £160.00
Two life members in the same household (at least one 60 or over) £110.00
Full members per annum £6.00
Two or more full members in the same household, each per annum £5.00
Junior members per annum £2.00
Societies or charities per annum £10.00
Business membership per annum £25.00
or such other reasonable sum as the Executive Committee shall determine from time to time, and it shall be payable on or before the 31st of January each year. Membership shall lapse if the subscription is unpaid three months after it is due.
An Annual General Meeting shall be held in or about March of each year to receive the Executive Committee's report and accounts and to elect Officers and Members of the Committee. The Committee shall decide when ordinary meetings of the Society shall be held.
Special General Meetings of the Society shall be held at the written request of fifteen or more members whose subscriptions are fully paid-up. Fifteen members personally present shall constitute a quorum for a Meeting of the Society.
The Committee shall give at least 7 days' notice to members of all Meetings of the Society.
Nominations for the election of Officers shall be made in writing to the Honorary Secretary at least 14 days before the Annual General Meeting. Such nominations shall be supported by a seconder and the consent of the proposed nominee must first have been obtained. The elections of Officers shall be completed prior to the election of further Committee members. Nominees for election as Officers or Committee members shall declare at the Annual General Meeting at which their election is to be considered any financial or professional interest known or likely to be of concern to the Society. The Officers of the Society shall consist of
all of whom shall relinquish their office every year and shall be eligible for re-election at the Annual General Meeting. A President and Vice-Presidents may also be elected at a General Meeting of the Society, for periods to be decided at such a meeting. The Executive Committee shall have the power to fill casual vacancies occurring among the Officers of the Society.
7 THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
The Executive Committee shall be responsible for the management and administration of the Society. The Executive Committee shall consist of the Officers and not less than six and not more than twelve other members. The Committee shall have power to co-opt further members (who shall attend in an advisory and non-voting capacity). The President and Vice-Presidents may attend any meeting of the Executive Committee but shall not vote at any such meeting. In the event of an equality in the votes cast, the Chairman shall have a second or casting vote. Nominations for election to the Executive Committee shall be made in writing to the Honorary Secretary at least 14 days before the Annual General Meeting. They must be supported by a seconder and the consent of the proposed nominee must first have been obtained. If the nominations exceed the number of vacancies, a ballot shall take place in such manner as shall be determined. Members of the Executive Committee shall be elected at an Annual General Meeting of the Society. One-third of the members of the Executive Committee other than the Officers shall retire each year, after having served for a period of three years, and outgoing members may be re-elected. The Executive Committee shall meet not less than six times a year at intervals of not more than two months and the Honorary Secretary shall give all members not less than seven days' notice of each meeting. The quorum shall, as near as may be, comprise one third of the members of the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall have the power to fill up to three casual vacancies occurring among the members of the Executive Committee between General Meetings.
The Executive Committee may constitute such sub-committees from time to time as shall be considered necessary for such purposes as shall be thought fit. The Chairman and Secretary of each sub-committee shall be appointed by the Executive Committee and all actions and proceedings of subcommittee shall be reported to and be confirmed by the Executive Committee as soon as possible. Members of the Executive Committee may be members of any sub-committee. Sub-Committees shall be subordinate to and may be regulated or dissolved by the Executive Committee.
9. DECLARATION OF INTEREST
It shall be the duty of every member who is in any way directly or indirectly interested financially or professionally in any item discussed at any meeting of the Society (including any meeting of any Committee or Sub-Committee) at which he or she may be present to declare such interest and he or she shall not discuss such item (except by invitation of the Chairman ) or vote thereon.
10. EXPENSES OF ADMINISTRATION AND APPLICATIONS OF FUNDS
The Executive Committee shall, out of the funds of the Society, pay all proper expenses of administration and management of the Society. After the payment of the administration and management expenses and the setting aside to reserve of such sums as may be deemed expedient, the remaining funds of the Society shall be applied by the Executive Committee in furtherance of the purposes of the Society. All cheques must be signed by at least two members of the Executive Committee.
All moneys at any time belonging to the Society and not required for immediate application for its purposes shall be invested by the Executive Committee in or upon such investment, securities or property as it may think fit, subject nevertheless, where appropriate, to such authority, approval or consent by the Charity Commissioners as may for the time being be required by law or by the special trusts affecting any property in the hands of the Executive Committee.
Any freehold and leasehold property acquired by the Society shall, and if the Executive Committee so directs any other property belonging to the Society may, be vested in trustees who shall deal with such property as the Executive Committee may from time to time direct. Any trustees shall be at least three in number or a trust corporation. The power of appointment of new trustees shall be vested in the Executive Committee. A trustee need not be a member of the Society but no person whose membership lapses by virtue of clause 4 hereof shall thereafter be qualified to act as a trustee unless and until re-appointed as such by the Executive Committee. The Honorary Secretary shall from time to time notify the trustees in writing of any amendment hereto and the trustees shall not be bound by any such amendments in their duties as trustees unless such notice has been given. The Society shall be bound to indemnify the trustees in their duties (including the proper charge of a trustee being a trust corporation) and liability under such indemnity shall be a proper administrative expense.
The Executive Committee shall comply, where appropriate, with their legal obligations under the Charities Act 1993 (or any statutory re-enactment or modification of that Act) with regard to:
(1) the keeping of accounting records for the Society
(2) the preparation of the annual statements for the Society
(3) the auditing or independent examination of the statements of account of the Society; and
(4) the transmission of the statements of account of the Society to the Charity Commission.
14. ANNUAL REPORT
The Executive Committee shall comply, where appropriate, with their legal obligations under the Charities Act 1993 (or any statutory re-enactment or modification of that Act) with regard to the preparation of an annual report and its transmission to the Charity Commission.
15. ANNUAL RETURN
The Executive Committee shall comply, where appropriate, with their legal obligations under the Charities Act 1993 (or any statutory re-enactment or modification of that Act) with regard to the preparation of an annual return and its transmission to the Charity Commission.
This Constitution may be amended by a two-thirds majority of members present at an Annual General Meeting or Special General Meeting of the Society, provided that 28 days' notice of the proposed amendment has been given to all members, and provided that nothing herein contained shall authorise any amendment the effect of which would be to cause the Society at any time to cease to be a charity in law, and provided further that no amendment shall be made to Clause 2, Clause 18 or this Clause until the approval in writing of the Charity Commission or other authority having charitable jurisdiction shall have been obtained.
Any notice required to be given by this Constitution shall be deemed to be duly given if left at or sent by prepaid post addressed to the address of that member last notified to the Secretary, or with the prior agreement of that member, sent by electronic means to the email address of that member last notified to the Secretary.
18. WINDING UP
If the Executive Committee decides that it is necessary or advisable to dissolve the Society it shall call a meeting of all members of the Society, of which not less than 21 days' notice (stating the terms of the resolution to be proposed) shall be given. If the proposal is confirmed by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting the Executive Committee shall have power to realise any assets held by or on behalf of the Society. Any assets remaining after the satisfaction of any proper debts and liabilities shall be given or transferred to such other charitable institution or institutions having objects similar to the objects of the Society as the members of the Society may determine or failing that shall be applied for some other charitable purpose. A copy of the statement of accounts, or account and statement, for the final accounting period of the Society must be sent to the Charity Commission.
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