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Constitution

Yorkshire Devolution Movement
Constitution

1. Name
2. Background Aims & Objectives
3. Membership
4. Organisation
5. Meetings
6. Finance & Subscriptions
7. Changes to The Constitution
8. Complaints Procedure
9. Disciplinary Procedure
10. Dissolution

1. Name
1.1 The name of the group will be (the) Yorkshire Devolution Movement (hereinafter referred to as the group).
2. Background, Aims and Objectives
2.1 Yorkshire is the three ridings and the City of York. Yorkshire was an independent kingdom and is a defined region which pre-dates the creation of England. Recent boundary changes have placed some areas of Yorkshire under the administration of adjoining local authorities. The group believes that the highly centralised government in England has led to inequality between the regions which over the years has worked to the disadvantage of Yorkshire and its people.
2.2 The group aims to address these inequalities by:-
1 Securing a directly elected regional assembly for Yorkshire;
2 Securing the devolving of powers to the least centralised authority capable of addressing those matters effectively:
i) within Yorkshire,
ii) within the UK,
iii) within the European Union;
3 Optimizing the cost of Government and engaging people as citizens, not just customers, which will include:
i) a new regional settlement to better serve our people, to increase citizen involvement and increase cooperation across authorities,
ii) a more effective distribution of powers and responsibilities to simplify and clarify responsibilities between local, regional and national government.
4 Supporting all Yorkshire communities under non-Yorkshire local authority to return to Yorkshire administration.2.3 The group is committed to a peaceful campaign and to a set of core values such as equality and the rule of law.
3. Membership
3.1 Membership is open to all political ideologies and backgrounds providing they agree with the group’s aims and objectives.
3.2 Members are eligible to vote in internal elections and to stand for office.
3.3 Members must pay an annual subscription according to current rates, details of which will be notified on the YDM web-site and may be varied each year.
3.4 The Executive Committee may add or remove other types of membership and set fees for these accordingly.
3.5 The group withholds the right to reject any application for membership. The applicant will be informed of this via written communication. Any membership fees collected at this point will be returned.
3.6 Members are required to abide by YDM procedures when conducting YDM business and should conduct themselves in a manner which is consistent with our values. Failure to do this could result in disciplinary action.
4. Organisation
4.1 The group will be managed by an executive committee. The executive committee will consist of the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer. The executive committee will be elected at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). Elections will be by simple majority. A position may be filled without an election should a candidate be unopposed. The executive committee may add more positions to the committee, or remove them, should it deem it necessary.
4.2 If an executive committee post becomes vacant, an election for the post should take place as soon as possible, unless the AGM is less than three months away, in which case the need for an election will be at the discretion of the Chairman, so long as a quorum can be maintained.
4.3 No member should hold more than one executive committee post. The executive committee has the right to co-opt members onto the committee for specific tasks, should the need arise. Any committee member wishing to resign must give written notice to the committee.
4.4 The Chairman is responsible for the conduct of meetings and ultimately should ensure that established policies and procedures are properly adhered to throughout the group.
4.5 The Secretary is responsible for the groups records and should ensure that all meetings of the executive committee are properly minuted. The Secretary must ensure that records are available when required. The Secretary is responsible for the membership records, for advising members of meetings and for overseeing elections. The Secretary is also responsible for co-ordinating the production of the annual report.
4.6 The Treasurer is responsible for all financial matters, ensuring the propriety of financial transactions, the preparation of the annual financial accounts and for arranging the audit of the accounts. Appointment of the auditor is subject to executive committee approval.4.7 The Campaign Co-ordinator is responsible for ensuring the success of the campaigns, for ensuring that campaigns comply with the aims and objectives of the group and for ensuring that the group’s communications are consistent. All official YDM communications with the media should be through or approved by the Campaign Co-ordinator. This does not impact at all on the rights of members to communicate through or with the media as individuals.
5. Meetings
5.1 The executive committee should meet once a month. The meetings will be subject to an agenda which should be circulated by the Secretary 3 days before the meeting. The Secretary will ensure that all appropriate documentation is circulated to the members before the meeting and that minutes of meetings are taken and properly approved. The Chairman has the right to form sub-committees and to co-opt members on to these to carry out specific tasks laid down by the executive committee. Sub-committees must report to the executive committee as required. The quorum of the executive committee should be 3 members.
5.2 A general meeting open to all members will be held once a year to elect members of the executive committee, to receive the annual report and to approve the annual financial accounts. Arrangements should be put in place to notify members of the AGM a month in advance of the meeting. Arrangements must also be in place to ensure that those members that cannot attend the meeting retain the right to exercise their votes. The Secretary should ensure that the report of the AGM is available to all members.
6. Finance and Subscriptions
6.1 The Treasurer is responsible for all financial matters and the propriety of financial transactions. The Treasurer is responsible for budgets, financial reports, the annual accounts, for ensuring that an independent audit of the accounts is undertaken and for ensuring that the audited accounts are presented on time. The Treasurer is responsible for ensuring that any required financial returns are submitted to the appropriate authorities in a timely fashion. The Treasurer is responsible for ensuring that a proper system of financial control is in place, in particular that all financial commitments and transactions are properly entered into and authorised, that financial delegations are properly approved, where these apply, and that monies due are brought to account in a timely manner.
6.2 No financial commitments should be entered into without the approval of the Treasurer.
6.3 Membership subscriptions will be reviewed and determined on an annual basis by the executive committee.
7. Changes to the Constitution
7.1 Any proposed changes to the Constitution must be put before the AGM and should be approved by a two thirds majority.
8. Complaints Procedure
8.1 The Chairman should put in place a complaints procedure to ensure that any complaints about the group or its members can be properly investigated. Complaints should be directed to the Chairman in the first instance.
9. Disciplinary Procedures
9.1 The Chairman should ensure that disciplinary procedures are in place to deal with any breaches in conduct by members.
10. Dissolution
10.1 In the event that members feel that there is no longer a need for the group, then subject to a two thirds majority voting for dissolution at the AGM, procedures to enact the dissolution of the group should be undertaken and any assets be given to a similar organization.
(Yorkshire Devolution Movement Constitution edition 4, 02 Jan 2014)

2 Comments
  1. Ian Betts permalink

    Why on earth do we need yet another layer of government? We already have three; Local Authorities, National and the EU .The issue of regional governement was debated a few years ago and the people voted overwhelmingly against the idea.
    We will end up with endless arguments justifying the payment of out of porportion salaries to ‘attract’ only the ‘best people’ for the job, this inevitably means an increased salary and benefits package for someone already in office elsewhere, presumably such a body will justify revenue raising powers, i.e a third layer of taxation, on top of national and existing local government taxes. If the assembly doesnt have these powers, will be reliant on Westminster hand outs? if so, what sort of autonomy is that? It will be another elected body, no doubt substantially drawn from the ranks of existing councillors, whose management skills or desire to selflessly serve, do not, in the main.fill one with confidence. There will be the need to build an ‘Assembly House’ – luxuriously finished because it will need to be prestigious- a not insignificant expense, then of course there will be the need for a Head Quarters building, to house an army of civil servants- even more expense. In other words the typical local taxpayer is going to be out of pocket to pay for another gravy train to obtain unquantifiable benefits. As an aside, the world is going to be agog because we won the right to stage a cycle race? An event that is regularly hosted by small villages across Europe and that will pass by in the blur of a few seconds? Perhaps this point needs further thinking on your part?

    • Ian – the opening stages of the Tour de France coming to Yorkshire IS a big deal. This is the largest annual sporting event in the world. It has a worldwide television audience of 3.5billion people. 2 million extra visitors are expected in Yorkshire for those days generating over £100m for the local economy. It has (and will continue to) raise the profile of Yorkshire globally.
      As for the first part of your polemic, if you agree that Yorkshire is missing out on economic, social and environmental progress compared to most parts of the UK (and read the blogs going back to March last year if you don’t yet see that) then we need structures in place to achieve that. We believe the fairest, most democratic, most transparent and most accountable way to achieve that is through a directly elected assembly. If you have other ideas please throw them into the pot. We want to have a conversation with people across the piece. However, the status quo is not an option…

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