Guide to Successful Tenant Participation

This Guide will be useful to tenants, tenant groups, Local Authority and Housing Association staff who want to know more about TP and who would like to develop their involvement and scrutiny activities further. It is designed for all staff and will be of particular use to staff with strategic responsibility for TP and scrutiny front line staff who work with tenants.

Appendix 3: Sample tenant group constitution

1. Name

The name of the Association shall be ..........................................

2. Objectives

To improve the living conditions, community facilities and services for tenants and residents living in the area covered by the attached map and marked. The Association will at all times operate on an equal opportunities basis.

3. Membership

A. Membership shall be open to all members of the community.

B. All members shall have an equal vote.

C. All members should actively seek to represent the various needs of the area and must not discriminate of the grounds of nationality, political opinion, race, religious opinion, gender, sexuality or disability.

D. Members shall at all times conduct themselves in a reasonable manner when attending meetings or any other function in connection with the group.

4. Committee

A. A Committee shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting of the Association and shall serve for 12 months.

B. The Committee shall consist of at least three members, who shall have the power to co-opt other members on to the Committee, during the course of the year. All members will have voting rights.

C. The Committee shall elect from within their number a Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer. No committee member shall fill more than one position.

D. The Committee shall make and carry out decisions in accordance with the objectives of the Association.

E. Meetings of the Committee shall be open to any member of the Association who wishes to attend.

F. There must be at least two-thirds of the Committee members present for decisions to be made at a Committee meeting.

G. Non-voting members may be co-opted onto the Committee from landlords, staff, Councillors etc.

H. Voting members may be co-opted amongst other tenants to fill casual vacancies throughout the year.

I. Committee members can be voted off if: they have not attended number of meetings or have terminated their tenancy.

Committee members must declare any interest they may have in the topic under discussion and the Committee will decide if they need to forfeit their right to vote on this occasion.

5. Conduct Of Business Or Standing Orders

A. Members may speak only through the chair.

B. Decisions will be made by a simple majority, voted in through a show of hands or a secret ballot.

C. Meetings will end at a time agreed by the Committee.

D. Any offensive behaviour, including racist, ageist, sexist or inflammatory remarks will not be permitted.

E. Any member who consistently brings the group into disrepute or refuses to comply with the constitution shall be expelled on a two-thirds majority vote of the full Committee.

F. Any such member will have the right to appeal within 28 days of the expulsion. The appeal shall be heard by the membership at a Special General Meeting called for that purpose.

G. The secretary shall deal with all correspondence.

H. Agendas will be distributed to the membership at least seven days before a meeting. Items should be forwarded to the Secretary and Chair 14 days before the meeting.

I. Minutes will be distributed to the membership at least seven days after a meeting.

6. Finances

A. The Association may raise funds by obtaining grants from other bodies or by fundraising schemes.

B. All funds shall be kept in a bank account, which shall be opened in the name of the Association.

C. The Secretary, Treasurer and the Chairperson shall be the signatories on the account and all cheques shall require two of these signatures.

D. Accounts shall be kept by the Treasurer, and brought to every Committee meeting where they may be inspected. Failure to bring the books to a meeting on three consecutive occasions will mean the Treasurer will be asked to resign.

E. All expenditure shall be agreed and controlled by the Committee.

F. All payments over Fifteen pounds shall be made by cheque, not cash. Any exception to this rule shall be discussed and agreed by the Committee.

G. No officer shall sign a blank cheque – all cheques to be filled in before signatures are added.

H. Once a year, the accounts will be audited and presented to the Annual General Meeting of the Association. The Auditors will be either: – An Officer or Councillor, Committee member, Landlord or: – The Committee of another local community organisation.

I. All correspondence of the organisation, including the bank statement, shall be addressed to the Secretary.

7. Public Meetings

A. Public meetings of the members shall be regularly held to discuss matters of importance and to keep the members fully informed of the Association’s activities.

B. Members shall be given 14 days notice of a public meeting.

C. All votes shall be decided by a simple majority of the members present. This applies to all meetings of the Association.

D. Any member, having the written support of 10 other members, may request the Committee to call a special Public Meeting of the Association. The Committee shall call the meeting within 21 days of this written request.

8. Annual General Meeting

A. An Annual General Meeting shall be held every year to discuss the activities of the Residents’ group, to receive the audited accounts and to elect the Committee.

B. The Annual General Meeting shall be held at a suitable venue to accommodate as many members as possible.

C. Quorum shall be _____% of members.

D. _____ days notice needs to be given to members of the Annual General Meeting.

9. Changes To Constitution

A. This constitution shall only be changed at a Special Public Meeting of the Association, or at an Annual General Meeting.

B. For decisions to be taken there must be a quorum of at least 10 people. The voting shall be by a simple majority of those present.

C. All members shall be given 14 days notice of the meeting and proposed changes.

10. Dissolution Of The Association

A. If the Committee or any member wishes to dissolve the Association, a special Public Meeting shall be called.

B. If two-thirds of voting members present at the Special Public Meeting agree to dissolve the Association, any remaining funds shall be donated to a relevant charity, after returning unused grants to the Landlord.



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