The name of the organisation shall be “Labour Women’s Network” (LWN)
a) Labour Women’s Network’s aims are:
i) to encourage, assist and support Labour Women who wish to stand for party and public office;
ii) to provide training, practical support, advice and information to LWN members;
iii) to campaign for women’s power, agency, safety, voice, presence and representation in the Labour Party and in public office.
iv) to bring diverse Labour women together to make our collective voice heard.
a) The running of Labour Women's Network shall be vested in the Executive Committee, which shall, subject to any decisions of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) ensure that the activities of LWN in pursuance of its aims are delivered.
b) LWNet Ltd., a company limited by guarantee and registered in England & Wales shall be established for purposes of administering the affairs and any assets of LWN.
4. MEMBERS, ALLIES & AFFILIATES
a) Individuals who self-define as women, who support LWN’s Aims and who are full members of the Labour Party may become members of Labour Women's Network by payment of a membership subscription.
b) The membership subscription shall be such sums as the Executive Committee may from time to time decide.
c) The membership subscription shall be payable monthly or annually via a continuous payment method.
d) Members shall be responsible for ensuring that their membership subscriptions, contact details and data permissions are up-to-date.
e) Any member who is suspended from membership of the Labour Party will also be suspended from membership of LWN, and any member who is expelled or auto-excluded from the Labour Party shall be removed from LWN membership.
f) Men who support LWN’s Aims and who are full members of the Labour Party may become supporters on regular payment of a subscription to be set at a rate and frequency to be determined by the Executive Committee.
g) Trade Unions and Socialist Societies who are affiliated to the Labour Party and who support LWN’s Aims may become affiliates on payment of an annual subscription, such subscription to be set at a rate as from time to time determined by the Executive Committee. The annual subscription rate may vary depending on the size of the organisation affiliating at the discretion of the Executive Committee.
h) Supporters and affiliates may attend LWN events but not vote in LWN elections, at the AGM, or participate in any other LWN decision-making process.
i) Any supporter who is suspended from membership of the Labour Party will also be suspended as a supporter of LWN, and any supporter who is expelled or auto-excluded from the Labour Party shall be removed as a supporter of LWN.
5. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
a) The Executive Committee shall consist of the following:
i) the Officers (Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, and Training Lead), the first three of whom shall be elected by postal or online ballot of eligible members. The Training Lead shall be elected by the Executive annually at the first available meeting after the AGM;
ii) 8 members elected by postal or online ballot of eligible members. Two (2) of these places will be reserved for women who self-define as Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic
iv) a maximum of 3 co-opted members as may be agreed by the Executive Committee
v) Patrons in an ex-officio and non-voting capacity
vi) the LWN Director (or Chief Executive), in an ex-officio and non-voting capacity.
b) All elected members of the Executive Committee shall serve for a term of 2 years, unless they either resign or have their membership terminated as in 5.g below.
c) Half of the Officers and Executive Committee will be elected each year in rotation, with the Chair, Secretary and 4 members being elected in Year 1 (2021) and the Treasurer and 4 members being elected in Year 2 (2022) and in both cases at 2 yearly intervals thereafter.
d) 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 Black, Asian, and/or Ethnic Minority. The Black, Asian, and/or Ethnic Minority 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.
e) Members elected shall take up office on the last day of Labour Party Annual Conference, and shall hold office for 2 years thereafter. In any year in which Labour Party Annual Conference is not held, members elected shall take up office on the last day of September.
f) The Executive shall have the power to agree procedural rules for elections, which shall be appended to this Constitution.
g) Casual vacancies during the year will be filled by the Executive 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.
h) Membership of the Executive Committee shall be terminated upon:
i) the resignation of any member submitted via email to the Director and/or Secretary. 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 Executive Committee without apology for absence being given to the Director and/or Secretary in advance of meetings; or
iii) the passing of a resolution to remove a specified member. Such resolution shall be submitted via email to the Director and/or Secretary and voted upon by Executive Committee members as appropriate.
i) The Executive Committee shall ensure that LWN carries out activities in support of its aims as laid out in Section 2 above.
j) Decisions of the Executive Committee shall be effected by a majority vote of those present at meetings. In case of an equality of votes, the Chair shall have a second and casting vote.
k) The Executive Committee shall meet at least four times in every twelve months. Meetings may be held either in-person, virtually or in a hybrid format, as the Executive shall decide.
l) The quorum for Executive Committee meetings shall be 6 elected members.
m) Between Executive Committee meetings, the Officers as listed in 5.a) I above shall hold a general power of delegation from the Executive between meetings. Delegated decisions shall be reported to the next available meeting of the Executive Committee for inclusion in the Minutes.
n) The Executive may at its discretion delegate powers and authority to the LWN Director (or Chief Executive).
o) The Chair may be an ex officio member of the Board of Directors of LWNet Ltd. She shall normally chair meetings of the LWN Executive, exercise a second and casting vote when necessary and when she is present, and undertake other roles as from time to time agreed by the Executive. Together with other Officers she shall hold a general power of delegation from the Executive.
p) The Secretary shall normally be ex officio Secretary of the Board of Directors of LWNet Ltd. She shall undertake other roles as from time to time agreed by the Executive and together with other Officers she shall hold a general power of delegation from the Executive.
q) The Treasurer shall normally be ex officio Treasurer of the Board of Directors of LWNet Ltd and present annual consolidated accounts to the AGM. She shall arrange for proper accounting records to be kept and shall present periodic reports to the Executive Committee. She shall be responsible for the financial governance of LWN, ensure that LWN is compliant with relevant legal requirements, and work with the Director and Executive to ensure that appropriate financial procedures are followed. Together with other Officers she shall hold a general power of delegation from the Executive.
r) The Executive Committee shall appoint one of its number to act as Training Lead, who shall be responsible for the organisation and delivery of LWN’s training programmes and shall report to each Executive Committee and to the Annual General Meeting. The Training Lead shall be deemed to be an Officer of LWN and may also be an ex officio member of the Board of Directors of LWNet Ltd. Together with other Officers she shall hold a general power of delegation from the Executive.
s) The Executive Committee may create and fill from amongst its numbers other such functional posts as it thinks necessary. In exceptional circumstances, eg 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.
t) The Executive Committee shall appoint two (2) members of LWN to act as auditors, and may appoint external auditors if appropriate or required.
u) The Executive Committee shall have the power to invite and appoint Patrons who shall be ex-officio members of the Executive Committee without voting powers.
v) Members of the Executive 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.
w) No member of the Executive shall, except for professional services rendered at the request of the Executive Committee, receive any profit, salary or emoluments from the funds or transactions of Labour Women's Network.
6. FINANCIAL GOVERNANCE
a) Labour Women’s Network will work with LWNet Ltd. to maintain an appropriate financial structure that shall comply with all relevant financial and electoral regulations.
b) The Secretary, Treasurer, and one other Officer of LWN will retain ex officio a controlling interest in any Management Board of LWNet Ltd. or any other corporate body established by the Executive to administer LWN and/or exercise its fiduciary duties.
c) The Treasurer will present annually at the AGM a report on the consolidated accounts of LWN.
7. ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
a) The Annual General Meeting shall be held in September each year on a date to be determined by the Executive Committee.
b) The AGM may by held in-person, virtually or in a hybrid format as the Executive shall determine.
c) The business of the AGM shall include, but not be limited to:
i) receiving an Annual Report on the activities of LWN during the preceding year
ii) receiving the consolidated accounts of Labour Women’s Network and LWNet Ltd.
iii) receiving the results of the relevant elections
iv) voting on any proposed amendments to the Constitution submitted with the required notice period for such amendments
d) 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.
e) 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 Executive.
f) The quorum for the AGM shall be fifteen (15) members.
g) If the AGM is held online members must pre-register to attend by the deadline issued in the notice. In the event of fewer than fifteen (15) members pre-registering by the deadline, the AGM will be deemed inquorate and notice of a new date shall be issued as agreed by the Executive Committee.
h) Regardless of the format in which the AGM is held, late comers may be refused entry or voting rights.
8. AFFILIATION TO THE LABOUR PARTY
a) LWN may affiliate to the Labour Party, as the Executive Committee shall decide.
b) When affiliated, the Executive Committee may select one member (who should usually, but not necessarily, be a member of the Executive Committee) to act as its delegate to Labour Party Conferences and Committees. The method by which the delegate is agreed shall be determined by the Executive Committee.
c) Any LWN Conference delegate shall consult LWN’s officers before speaking or voting at Conferences 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 Executive 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.
e) LWN shall not affiliate to individual Constituency Labour Party or Units.
9. AMENDMENTS TO THIS CONSTITUTION
a) Amendments to this Constitution shall only be considered at the Annual General Meeting. The Director and/or Secretary must receive notice of such amendment via email 21 days before the meeting and shall circulate it to Members with the Agenda for the Annual General Meeting.
b) Such amendment(s) shall be effective when approved by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting at the meeting.
a) Labour Women's Network may be dissolved by a resolution passed by the Executive 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 Executive 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 Labour Women’s Network AGM on Thursday, 28th September 2023
PROCEDURAL RULES FOR EXECUTIVE ELECTIONS
a) The Director (or, in her absence, her nominee) shall act as Returning Officer.
b) 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.
c) An eligible member shall be any member who is paid up by the date on which nominations open. This date shall be the freeze date.
d) Notwithstanding c) above, the Executive Committee shall have the power, in exceptional circumstances, to set a freeze date for elections which is earlier than the opening of nominations. The Executive 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.
e) Any member may nominate herself for any office up for election using whatever nomination process the Executive 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.
f) The Executive Committee will employ an external and independent agency to run the ballot.
g) 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.
h) The results of the ballot shall be announced at the AGM and notified to candidates by email.
i) 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 current postal and email addresses.
As agreed at Labour Women’s Network AGM on Thursday, 28th September 2023
If you wish to read this document in a PDF format, please click here.