CONSTITUTION OF THE BIC (British Italian Conservatives)
1.1 The name of the Group shall be “ The British Italian Conservatives (BIC) ” hereinafter referred to as “The Group”.
1.2 The Group shall be affiliated to the Conservative Party in accordance with its rules and shall carry out any reasonable instructions of the Party Board.
2.1 The role and the function of the Group shall be:
- To promote the Conservative Party values within the British Italian community, and act as activists to support local and national candidates. This will be achieved by campaigning with local candidates and organising events to raise funds for the Conservative Party.
- The main purpose of BIC is to raise funds for the party, and for the local community to work closely with their local constituency.
- To set up study groups and to give expression to ideas and views on Conservative policy.
- To work closely with the Conservative Party organisation and Conservative Campaign Headquarters.
- To support the Conservative Party and to assist with its campaigns.MEMBERSHIP
3.1 Any person who declares support for the objects of the Group shall be eligible to become a member by signing an enrolment form and paying the current subscription to the Group.
3.2 The subscription shall be renewed annually within March of each year but membership shall cease if the subscription is not paid within two months of that date. The subscription rate shall be set by the Group annually. No person whose annual subscription has not been paid shall be eligible to vote at an Annual or Extraordinary General Meeting.
4.1 Patrons of the group may be appointed, subject to the approval of the Annual General Meeting.
5.1 The Officers of the Group shall be:
(a) The President
(b) Vice Presidents (not exceeding 3)
(d) Deputy Chairman
(e) Three Vice Chairmen
(f) Honorary Treasurer
(g) Honorary Secretary
5.2 No officer shall serve for more than three consecutive years in the same office and shall be ineligible for a period of one year to seek re-election to that officer.
5.3 At the termination of three consecutive years of office, the Chairman or Deputy Chairman shall be ineligible for a period of one year to seek election as a Vice Chairman.
5.4 If the Chairman or Deputy Chairman is not a Member of either House of Parliament, a Vice Chairman shall normally be elected from among the Members of one or other House.
5.5 If an officer elected at the AGM ceases to hold office, either by death or by resignation, the General Council shall elect a successor to serve until the next AGM of the Group.
5.6 The Chairman shall be an ex-officio member of all committees and sub-committees of the Group.
5.7 The Chairman shall be the “responsible officer” for the purposes of complying with the reporting requirements of the Political Parties Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (as amended) [PPERA] and the Political Parties and Elections Act 2009 [PPEA].
- GENERAL COUNCIL
6.1 There shall be a General Council which shall be the governing body of the Group and shall consist of:
(a) The officers of the Group
(b) From ten to Twenty-five other members to be elected (according to the Board decision)
(c) Regional and county Chairmen of the Group appointed by the General Council upon a recommendation by the Executive.
(d) Up to 4 ordinary members of the Group (excluding MPs and MEPs) who may be co-opted annually by the General Council
(e) Up to 4 members of the House of Lords who are in receipt of the Conservative Whip
(f) Up to 4 Conservative Members of the House of Commons
(g) Up to 4 Members of the Conservatives in the European Parliament etc
6.2 The General Council will hold a meeting immediately following the Annual General Meeting to co-opt additional members as provided for under Article 6.1(d) and to appoint parliamentary members as provided for in Article 6.1(f), (g) and (h). Parliamentary members will be appointed by the General Council on a recommendation by the Executive Committee following consultations with members of the Group in the House of Lords and the House of Commons as appropriate.
6.3 The General Council shall meet at least twice a year, additional meetings may be held at the discretion of the Chairman who shall convene such a meeting if so requested in writing, by no less than 15 members of the general Council.
6.4 Business not specified in the notice convening the meeting may be brought forward by leave of the Chairman, and dealt with provided that two-thirds of those present agree to treat such business as urgent.
6.5 In an emergency, the Chairman may authorise the summoning of a meeting at shorter notice than fourteen days, but the business shall be confined to that stated in the notice convening the meeting.
6.6 The quorum of the General Council shall be fifteen of its members, at least ten of whom shall be members or ex-officio members other than the Officers.
6.7 The General Council shall have the power to fill casual vacancies by co-option.
- EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
7.1 The General Council shall, by a vote following the Annual General Meeting elect by simple majority in accordance with the provisions of Article 12, six of its members to serve with the Officers as the Executive Committee.
7.2 This Executive Committee will manage the affairs of the Group between meetings of the General Council and shall meet at least 4 times a year.
7.3 The Executive may invite further non-voting members to its meetings at its discretion.
- ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
8.1 The Annual General Meeting of the Group shall be held before the end of May each year for the following purposes:
(a) To receive and adopt the audited accounts of the Group for the financial year ending the preceding 31 December.
(b) To receive and adopt the report of the Chairman for the work of the Group for the year ending the preceding 31 December.
(c) To appoint Patrons of the Group as and when appropriate.
(d) To transact any other business of which notice has been given at least seven days in advance of the meeting, or at the meeting with the approval of two-thirds of those present.
8.2 All members of the Group as defined in Article 3 shall be entitled to attend and vote at any General Meeting of the Group including an Annual General Meeting.
8.3 Notice of the Annual General Meeting shall be given at least 35 days before the date of the meeting.
- SPECIAL GENERAL MEETING
9.1 A Special General Meeting of the Group may be summoned at any time by the Chairman of the Group, or by at least fifty members or 10% of the membership, whichever is lower, of the Group who shall send a written request to the Chairman to convene such a meeting. The Chairman of the Group shall authorise the holding of such a Special General Meeting which shall take place within twenty eight days of receipt of the request.
9.2 The business of the meeting shall be stated in the notice convening it, and no other business shall be discussed. At least twenty one days’ notice shall be given of a Special General Meeting.
9.3 Where, however, in the judgement of the Chairman of the Group an emergency has arisen demanding an immediate meeting, the notice shall be such as he, in the circumstances, deems to be sufficient.
- NOTICE OF GENERAL MEETINGS
10.1 Notice of the AGM and any other General Meeting of the Group shall be given by written notification, which may be by email, to every individual member. The fact that any member of the Group has not, for any reason, been notified of a General Meeting shall not invalidate such a meeting or any resolution passed, or any election or appointment made at such a meeting.
10.2 For all General Meetings of the Group, the quorum shall not be less than forty persons or 20% of the membership whichever is lower.
- GENERAL PROVISIONS
11.1 Votes at meetings of the General Council and Executive Committee and at General Meetings may be taken in the first instance by a show of hands, but the Chairman at his discretion may direct a ballot to be taken, and shall so direct if requested to do so by one third of the members present. The Chairman shall have a second or casting vote in all cases where the voting is declared to be equal except in secret ballots.
11.2 The General Council may strike off the membership roll any member whose declared opinions or conduct shall, in his judgement, be inconsistent with the objects of the Group. Before such power may be exercised, however, fourteen days’ notice shall be given to the person concerned, and an opportunity afforded him of showing a cause before the General Council why he should not be so dealt with.
11.4 The General Council shall have power to interpret these Articles if there should be any ambiguity or difference of opinion concerning the purpose of any intention of any Article. The General Council shall also have power to deal with any matter not provided for in these Articles.
- A general meeting of the Group shall have the power to amend, add to or rescind Articles not in bold by a majority of not less than two-thirds of those present and voting. Notice of any proposed alteration must be sent to the Chairman in writing in time for notice of the proposed alteration to be given to members of the group with the notice of the meeting.
- Any changes to these rules have to be approved by the Party Board before they can have effect.
12.1 Election of the Officers as provided for in Article 5, all members of the General Council as provided in Article 6.1(b) and all elected members of the Executive as provided in Article 7.1 shall take place by way of a postal ballot.
12.2 Each member shall be entitled to nominate one candidate for each position available. Where several positions are available within a single category, each member may nominate several candidates up the total number of positions available within that category.
(a) Nomination papers must be distributed to members at least 28 days before the distribution of ballot papers.
(b) Nominations must be received at least 14 days before the distribution of ballot papers. Nominees must be notified at least 12 days before the distribution of ballot papers. The Scrutineers must be informed of the withdrawal of any nominations at least 7 days before the distribution of a ballot papers.
(c) Ballot papers will be sent out at least 21 days before the close of poll.
(d) The close of poll will be 7 days before the AGM.
12.4 Nomination Process
(a) The Secretary shall send a nomination paper to each member together with a notice designating the full timetable for the nominations and elections process as set out in Article 12.3 giving specific dates.
(b) The Secretary shall send with the nomination paper the list of members who served as an Officer or upon the General Council or upon the Executive Committee for the past year.
(c) To be valid a nomination requires at least two proposers and the written consent of the nominee.
(d) The validity of all nominations shall be determined by the scrutineers appointed in accordance with Article 12.8.
Before the ballot papers are issued the complete list of nominations, together with a brief description and a statement of each nominee in relation to his work for the Group and the Conservative Party shall be submitted to each person nominated, so that any desiring to withdraw may have the opportunity of doing so.
12.6 Issue of Ballot Documents
The Secretary shall send with the ballot paper, a “Declaration of Identity” form for completion by each voter together with two envelopes, one of which shall be marked “Ballot Paper” and the other addressed to the Secretary. These shall be accompanied by voting instructions which shall state the ballot paper only shall be inserted and sealed in the envelope marked “Ballot Paper”. The “Ballot Paper” envelope, together with the completed “Declaration of Identity” form shall be inserted in the envelope addressed to the Secretary and returned to him/her.
12.7 Ballot Paper
The Ballot Paper shall contain the names of the nominated candidates together with a brief description and a statement concerning the Party service of each nominee and the record of the nominees’ attendance for the past year at meetings relevant to the post to which they seek election.
(a) There shall be two Scrutineers.
(b) The principal Scrutineer shall be the Secretary for the time being of the National Convention or his/her nominee plus one other who shall be nominated by the Executive Committee from either:
(i) the President
(ii) the Vice Presidents
(iii) the Chairman
(c) In the event of the Secretary of the National Convention or his/her Deputy being unable to act, then the Scrutineers shall be any two of the aforementioned persons namely :
(i) the President
(ii) the Vice Presidents
(iii) the Chairman
12.9 Conduct of the ballot and the count
(a) The Scrutineers shall open the outer envelopes separately, and being satisfied that a completed and valid “Declaration of Identity” is contained therein, they shall place the sealed envelope containing the ballot paper in a ballot box. A valid “Declaration of Identity” is one that records the details of the Group member as specified in Article 3 duly signed by that member.
(b) Ballot paper envelopes not accompanied by a completed and valid “Declaration of Identity” in the outer envelope shall be discarded as invalid votes.
(c) The process of checking declarations of identity having been completed, the Scrutineers shall proceed with the count by opening the sealed Ballot Paper envelopes contained in the Ballot Box.
(d) In the event an equal number of votes being cast for two or more nominees in a ballot involving more than two nominees, a second ballot shall be held unless the Officers with the consent of the nominees otherwise decide. The ballot paper when issued shall contain the names of the two or more nominees for whom an equal number of votes have been cast. This procedure shall apply only when an equality of votes cast for two or more nominees in the first ballot makes it impossible to determine the complete result.
(e) In the event of an equal number of votes being cast in a ballot involving only two nominees, the President shall have the right to exercise the casting vote except that in the event of such an occurrence relating to the election of a Chairman of the officers, the procedure to be adopted for a further ballot shall be determined by the Committee.
(f) Each Candidate shall be entitled to be present at the ballot and count or to appoint a representative to attend in his/her place.
12.10 Result of Ballot
The result of the postal ballot giving the number of votes recorded for each candidate shall be published either on the Group’s website or by email or letter sent to each Officer and each member of the General Council and the Executive Committee.
13.1 The General Council shall be responsible for the funds and investments of the Group and shall maintain such bank accounts as the Council may from time to time resolve provided that no such fund shall be operated except on the signatures of not less than two of the Officers as defined in Article 5.1 but specifically such of them as shall be nominated for the purpose by the General Council when necessary.
13.2 All receipts for and on behalf of the Group and all payments to be made on behalf of the Group shall be made only through the use of the accounts referred to in Article 13.1 above.
13.3 The Group may resolve from time to time to invest any surplus funds in such manner as may be approved for the use of trustees by the Trustee Investments Act or any statutory re-enactment thereof.
13.4 The Group may not borrow funds or obtain credit.
13.5 The Group must comply with the requirements of the PPERA and PPEA. Guidance and assistance in checking the permissibility of donors is available on request to the Party’s Compliance Department, firstname.lastname@example.org.
13.6 The accounts and funds of the Group shall be verified by an independent person annually by a person who is not an officer or involved in the administration of the Group, and is appointed by the Annual General Meeting for that purpose each year. Such a person shall continue to serve until resignation or until a replacement nomination thereof has been approved by the Annual General Meeting. Any such motion to replace the person shall be subject to 28 days’ notice to members of the Annual General Meeting before the same is considered. The person’s report shall be presented at the first meeting of the General Council after the Officers have received such report and subsequently at the Annual General Meeting.
- STATEMENTS AND PUBLICATIONS
- Any statements made, or publications intended to be printed, by any means including electronic by the Group shall expressly state that the views are those of the authors and are not necessarily representative of Conservative Party policy, but a contribution to debate.
- All such statements or publications should be submitted to the Chairmen’s Office at Conservative Campaign Headquarters in good time before publication.