LABOUR WOMEN’S NETWORK
CONSTITUTION & RULES
The name of the organisation shall be “Labour Women’s Network” (LWN)
a) Labour Women’s Network’s aims are to:
i) encourage, assist and support Labour Women who wish to stand for party and public office;
ii) provide training, practical support, advice and information to its members;
iii) work for women’s power, agency, voice and representation in the Labour Party and in public office.
b) Labour Women’s Network is mainly an enabling rather than a policy making organisation. The organisation shall not take positions on specific matters of Labour Party policy other than to initiate and support measures in furtherance of its aims as set out in 2.a).
c) Labour Women’s Network shall remain neutral in all internal Labour Party elections, except where the Management Committee takes a positive decision to participate in those in which LWN is entitled to nominate or vote by virtue of its status as an affiliated organisation of the Labour Party. LWN shall always remain neutral in all forms of candidate selection processes.
d) The Management Committee is empowered to take any and all steps it thinks necessary to further these aims, and shall report on progress to each Annual General Meeting of the organisation.
a) Individuals who self-define as women who are full members of the Labour Party may become members and support the activities of Labour Women's Network by payment of an annual subscription.
b) Only women who are full members of the Labour Party may become members of LWN.
c) The Management Committee shall establish criteria for subscriptions and shall publicise such criteria from time to time to members.
d) The Annual Subscription shall be such sums as the Management Committee may from time to time decide.
e) The Annual Subscription shall be payable at intervals of twelve months from the day on which the member first joined Labour Women's Network.
f) Members not paying by standing order, direct debit, or other continuous payment method shall be reminded in writing or by email of the date on which their subscriptions fall due.
g) If any member falls six months in arrears from her renewal date, she shall no longer enjoy the benefits of being a Labour Women's Network member.
4. REGISTERED SUPPORTERS
a) There are three categories of Registered Supporter:
i) Men and others who do not self-define as women and who are full members of the Labour Party may become registered supporters on payment of an annual subscription, such subscription to be at a lower rate than that paid by LWN members as from time to time determined by the Management Committee. Women who are full members of the Labour Party are not eligible to become registered supporters of LWN.
ii) Trade Unions and Socialist Societies who are affiliated to the Labour Party, may become registered supporters on payment of an annual subscription, such subscription to be set at a rate as from time to time determined by the Management Committee. The annual subscription rate may vary depending on the size of the trade union or trade union branch affiliating at the discretion of the Management Committee.
iii) Both women and men who are Registered Supporters of the Labour Party may become registered supporters of LWN on payment of an annual subscription, such subscription to be at a lower rate than that paid by LWN members as from time to time determined by the Management Committee.
b) Individual registered LWN supporters may attend LWN meetings and events (other than the AGM, the Management Committee and LWN training) and receive mailings, unless decided otherwise by the Management Committee.
c) Trade union and Socialist Society registered supporters may send a representative to attend LWN meetings and events (other than the Management Committee and LWN training) and receive mailings, unless decided otherwise by the Management Committee.
d) Neither individual registered supporters nor organisations which register as supporters may vote in LWN elections, at the AGM, or in any other LWN decision-making process.
a) The day-to-day running of Labour Women's Network shall be vested in the Management Committee which shall consist of the following members:
i) the Officers (Chair, Secretary, Treasurer) who shall be elected by postal or online ballot of eligible members (see 6. ELECTIONS below);
ii) up to 3 women members of the Parliamentary Labour Party, as determined at the first Management Committee meeting after each AGM;
iii) 8 members elected by postal or online ballot of eligible members (see 6. ELECTIONS below); two of these places will be reserved for women who self-define as BAME
iv) a maximum of 3 co-opted members as may be agreed by the Management Committee.
b) Membership of the Management Committee shall be terminated upon:
i) the resignation of any member submitted to the Secretary in writing. Such resignation to take effect immediately or from a date to be stipulated in the letter of resignation; or
ii) the non-attendance by a member at two consecutive meetings of the Management Committee without apology for absence being given to the Secretary in advance of meetings; or
iii) the passing of a motion to remove a specified member. Such motion shall be submitted to the Secretary in writing and shall be notified to all members 14 days in advance of the meeting at which it will be tabled. Such a motion shall become effective when approved by a majority vote of members present and voting at the meeting of the relevant Committee.
c) Decisions of the Management Committee shall be effected by a majority vote of those present at meetings.
d) The Management Committee shall meet at least three times in every twelve months.
e) The quorum for Management Committee meetings shall be 6 elected members.
f) In case of an equality of votes, the Chair shall have a second and casting vote.
g) The Management Committee shall ensure that LWN carries out activities in support of its aims as laid out in Section 2 above.
h) Between Management Committee meetings, decisions may be taken by email, phone or video conference with a simple majority of members of the Committee consenting. The Secretary shall keep a record of any such decisions and shall report them to the next available meeting of the Committee for inclusion in the Minutes.
i) The Treasurer shall arrange for proper accounting records to be kept and present periodic reports to the Management Committee. She shall arrange for the preparation of an annual balance sheet and income and expenditure statement for approval at the AGM.
j) The Treasurer shall arrange for a bank account into which all LWN monies shall be paid. The account shall have four signatories (unless determined otherwise in exceptional circumstances by the Management Committee) who shall be the Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and Training Coordinator. Payments made on behalf of LWN from the account shall require the authorisation of any two of the four named signatories. An employee of LWN may, at the discretion of the Management Committee, have administrative access to the bank account.
k) The Secretary shall take minutes of meetings and shall be responsible for keeping members informed of Labour Women's Network activities. Working Parties shall be responsible for keeping their own minutes and records and for reporting to the Management Committee.
l) The Management Committee shall appoint one of its number to act as Training Coordinator, who shall be responsible for the organisation and delivery of such training for LWN members as the Committee shall from time to time decide, and shall report to each committee and to the Annual General Meeting. For purposes of day-to-day management of the organisation the Training Coordinator shall be deemed to be an Officer of the organisation.
m) The Training Coordinator shall establish and maintain a Training Working Party to oversee and ensure delivery of LWN’s training and development programme.
n) One member of the Training Working Party, who shall not be a directly elected member of the Management Committee, shall be co-opted to the Management Committee and shall assist the Training Coordinator and stand in for her as necessary and/or required. Such co-option shall be reviewed annually.
o) The Management Committee may create and fill from amongst its numbers other such functional posts as it thinks necessary. In exceptional circumstances, to address a skills gap, or to address the underrepresentation of a minority group, it may co-opt an LWN member to fulfil a specific function for a specified term of not more than one year.
p) The Management Committee shall appoint 2 members of LWN to act as auditors, and may appoint external auditors if appropriate or required.
q) The Management Committee may designate Committees or Working Parties with responsibility for any matter which in its absolute discretion it considers necessary or beneficial to Labour Women's Network and may depute or refer to the Committee or Working Party such powers and duties it may determine.
r) The Management Committee may from time to time lay down, amend or abrogate such rules for the composition and conduct of the affairs of any or all such Committees as it shall think fit.
s) The Management Committee shall have the power to invite and appoint up to three Patrons who shall be ex-officio members of the Management Committee.
t) The Management Committee is empowered to establish national, regional or local structures as it deems necessary, and to oversee their operation.
u) The Management Committee shall have power to borrow, raise or invest monies for the furtherance of the purposes of the Labour Women's Network.
v) The Management Committee shall have power to appoint, pay and dismiss any employees or advisers as they may deem necessary, including an administrator to manage the administrative affairs of Labour Women's Network. No paid employee shall be a voting member of the Management Committee or hold any office of the Labour Women's Network.
w) Members of the Management Committee may claim expenses from LWN for attendance at meetings, as well as the refunding of other agreed expenditure incurred on behalf of the organisation.
x) The Management Committee shall have the power to establish and manage a system of grants to its to LWN members, such grants to be made in such amounts, for such purposes, by such criteria and by such procedures as the Management Committee shall from time to time determine.
a) All members of the Management Committee shall serve for a term of 2 years, unless they either resign or have their membership terminated as in 5b above.
b) Elections for officers and members of the Management Committee shall be held each year before the AGM.
c) The Management Committee shall appoint one of its number who is not standing for election in the relevant year to act as Returning Officer.
d) Half of the Management Committee will be elected each year, with the Chair, Secretary and 4 members being elected in Year 1 (2011) and the Treasurer and 4 members being elected in Year 2 (2012) and in both cases at 2 yearly intervals thereafter.
e) Of the 4 members elected at 2-yearly intervals, one place in each set of 4 will be reserved for women who self-define as BAME. Candidates will be asked to declare if they self-define as BAME. The BAME candidate receiving the highest number of votes will be automatically elected. Thereafter, the other places will be filled by the 3 candidates receiving the highest number of votes.
f) Casual vacancies during the year will be filled by the Management Committee by co-option. Any post or place so filled will automatically fall vacant at the expiry of the term of office for which the original member was elected.
g) Notice of Election shall be given to all eligible members by the Returning Officer at least 28 days before the close of nominations. Notices either posted or emailed shall be considered as having been duly given on the day following the date of posting.
h) An eligible member shall be any member who is paid up at the point at which nominations open.
i) Notwithstanding g) above, the Management Committee shall have the power, in exceptional circumstances, to set a freeze date for elections which is earlier than the opening of nominations. The Management Committee shall determine what constitute exceptional circumstances, and the Returning Officer shall present a full report to the AGM at which the election results are announced.
j) Any member may nominate herself for any office up for election using whatever nomination process the Management Committee shall decide. Any member so doing must have been a member of LWN for a minimum of four (4) months prior to the date on which nominations open.
k) The Management Committee may employ an external and independent agency to run the ballot.
l) Once ballot papers have been issued, the ballot shall remain open for a minimum of 14 days from the day of issue. The Returning Officer shall specify a closing date and time by which ballot papers shall be returned and notify members of this in the Notice of Election.
m) If an external agency is not used for this purpose, ballot papers shall be counted by the Returning Officer and at least 2 members of the Management Committee who are not candidates for election.
n) The results of the ballot shall be announced at the AGM and notified to candidates by email.
o) Members elected shall take up office on the last day of Labour Party Annual Conference, and shall hold office for 2 years thereafter.
p) Whilst the Returning Officer shall make every reasonable effort to ensure that all members receive election mailings, it remains the responsibility of individual members to ensure that LWN is in possession of up-to-date contact details, including a current postal and email addresses.
7. ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
a) The Annual General Meeting shall be held in September each year on a date and in a location to be determined by the Management Committee, and shall vote on any constitutional amendments, receive the results of elections and the accounts and reports from the previous year, and debate main objectives and topics for the forthcoming year. Other items may be added as the Management Committee deems.
b) Members shall receive at least 28 days’ written notice of the AGM. Notices either posted or emailed shall be considered as having been duly given on the day following the date of posting.
c) All members attending and voting at the AGM shall be paid up to date with their subscriptions according to the membership list held by the Secretary.
d) The quorum for the AGM shall be fifteen (15) members.
e) The financial year of Labour Women's Network shall end on 31 March in each year as at which day the accounts of Labour Women's Network shall be balanced.
8. AFFILIATION TO THE LABOUR PARTY
a) LWN may affiliate to the Labour Party, as the Management Committee shall decide.
b) When affiliated, the Management Committee may select one member (who should usually, but not necessarily, be a member of the Management Committee) to act as its delegate to Labour Party Annual Conference. The method by which the delegate is agreed shall be determined by the Management Committee.
c) Any such LWN delegate shall consult LWN’s officers before speaking or voting at Conference, and, in particular, shall not speak or vote on any issue deemed by the Officers to be outwith the remit of LWN as defined in Section 2 above of this Constitution.
d) LWN may, at the discretion of the Management Committee, affiliate to the Labour Party’s national and regional organisations and bodies, and nominate LWN members resident in the relevant nation or region to represent it.
9. AMENDMENTS TO THIS CONSTITUTION
a) Amendments to this Constitution shall be considered at the Annual General Meeting. The Secretary must receive notice of such amendment in writing 21 days before the meeting and shall circulate it to Members with the Agenda for the Annual General Meeting. Such amendment(s) shall be effective when approved by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting at the meeting.
a) No member shall, except for professional services rendered at the request of the Management Committee, receive any profit, salary or emoluments from the funds or transactions of Labour Women's Network, except that the Secretary shall receive an Honorarium, such payment to be set and reviewed by the Management Committee on an annual basis.
b) Every member of the Management Committees shall from time to time communicate to the Secretary her postal and email addresses, and all notices posted to such address or emailed shall be considered as having been duly given on the day following the date of posting.
a) Labour Women's Network may be dissolved by a resolution passed by the Management Committee by a two thirds majority of those voting in person, or by proxy. Notice of a proposal to dissolve Labour Women's Network must be circulated to all members of the organisation 14 days before the date of the meeting.
b) Upon dissolution the Management Committee shall realise all the assets of Labour Women's Network and after the discharge of all its liabilities shall donate the residue to a suitable organisation with the aim of promoting Labour women, or to the Labour Party, as directed by the dissolving resolution.
As agreed at the AGM held in Liverpool on 22nd September 2018