The Fabian Women’s Network Constitution
*updated post-AGM 2016
- The Fabian Women’s Network (FWN) shall be an integral part of the Fabian Society.
- It shall have no other collective policy beyond that contained in Rule 2 of the Fabian Society. No resolution of a political character expressing an opinion or calling for action shall be put forward in the name of the FWN.
- The activities of the FWN shall include the publication of pamphlets and magazines, the holding of events, conferences and meetings, the promotion of research and other activities consistent with Rule 2 of the Fabian Society.The FWN may enlist the support of members for activities of other organisations within the Labour movement, including the Fabian Society, consistent with Rule 2 of the Fabian Society.
- Membership of the FWN shall be open to all women members of the Fabian Society and all fully paid-up women members of the local Fabian societies. Full membership of the Group shall be limited to those who are willing to accept the rules and bye-laws of the Fabian Society and who are eligible for individual membership of the Labour Party. Those who are members of political parties which oppose, or intend to oppose, the Labour Party at local, regional, national and European elections cannot remain or be accepted as full members. Associate members of the Fabian Society may become Associate members of the Group, but may not vote in the election of the Executive Committee, and may not serve on the Executive Committee or vote on any resolution to revise the Constitution.
- Before every second annual meeting (in odd-numbered years), the FWN shall elect an Executive Committee of 12 members to hold office for two years. All women members who are full members of the Fabian Society are eligible to stand for election to the Executive Committee. All women members of local societies whose names have been received at the central office shall be entitled to vote in the ballot for the election of the executive committee.The 12 candidates with the greatest number of votes shall be elected to the Executive Committee. In the event of a tie the Chair of the FWN shall have a casting vote. The newly elected Executive Committee shall take office immediately subsequent to the Annual General Meeting after elections have taken place.The Executive Committee shall make such other rules for the conduct of elections of the Executive Committee as are compatible with the provisions of the Constitution.
- The Executive Committee shall conduct the general business of the FWN, appoint sub-committees and groups, sanction publications, meetings, conferences and research and raise such funds as may be necessary to supplement provision made by the Executive Committee of the Fabian Society.The Executive Committee shall have the right to co-opt up to six additional non-voting members at any stage. The Executive Committee may allocate defined roles to co-opted members. Casual vacancies caused by the resignation of elected members of the Executive Committee shall be filled by the runners up in the election of the current Executive Committee in order of the number of votes they received. Six voting members shall be a quorum. The Executive Committee shall make such Standing Orders for the conduct of its meetings as are compatible with the provisions of the Constitution. All meetings of the Executive Committee, and of its subcommittees and groups, shall be open to the membership of the FWN.
- Membership of the Executive Committee will be terminated before the expiry of a member’s two-year term in the following circumstances:
a) the member’s written resignation to the Secretary, or
b) the non-attendance by the member at two consecutive meetings of the Executive Committee without apology for absence being given to the Secretary in advance, or
c) the non-attendance at three such consecutive meetings even if apologies are given, unless this is an authorised absence agreed by prior arrangement with the Chair and Vice Chair in exceptional circumstances. These shall include but not be limited to maternity or adoption leave, sabbaticals, caring responsibilities, public duty and ill health, or
d) the passing of a motion by a simple majority of Committee members present to remove the member. Such motion shall be submitted to the Secretary in writing and shall be notified to all Executive Committee members 14 days in advance of the Committee meeting at which it will be tabled.
8. At the Annual General Meeting, the incoming Executive Committee shall agree the roles and responsibilities of its elected members for a period of one year. The Executive Committee shall elect a Chair and Vice Chair, who could refer to their roles as Director and Deputy Director if the Committee so chooses, a Treasurer and a Secretary.
At the Annual General Meeting after elections have taken place, the incoming Executive Committee shall agree the roles and responsibilities of its elected members. Following presentation to the Annual General Meeting of a document detailing these roles, this document shall be considered part of this constitution until the following Annual General Meeting.
The role descriptions (Appendix 1) for the officer roles and for all members of the Executive Committee are to be agreed to by post-holders upon taking up that post and subsequently adhered to.
- The FWN shall elect a President who is permitted a non-voting position on the FWN Executive Committee and who would serve as Chair of Patrons. The President will be proposed by the Executive Committee and approved by the Annual General Meeting. The President would hold the position for a period of 4 years, which could be renewed.Patrons of the FWN would be nominated by the FWN Committee every two years, and would hold the position for four years. Patrons would be senior supporters who may or may not have been previous FWN Committee Members. Their role is to sponsor and support the FWN increasing its profile and resources. Patrons could be nominated for a second term.
- The Annual General Meeting of the FWN shall be held within a month of the Annual General Meeting of the Fabian Society. The venue and time of the Annual General Meeting shall be announced by the Executive Committee at least one month in advance.Nine members of the Executive Committee or three per cent of the full members of FWN shall have the power to call an extraordinary General Meeting of FWN provided at least four weeks’ notice is given to the members of FWN. An Extraordinary General Meeting shall have the power to amend the Constitution and pass resolutions.
- Notice under this constitution shall be valid if it is placed on the FWN website, is emailed to members using the most up to date members’ contact list and is advertised in writing.
- The Director or other member of the Executive Committee chosen by the Executive Committee shall serve on the Executive Committee of the Fabian Society and the Executive Committee shall have the right to nominate a member of each of the main Committees of the Fabian Society.The General Secretary of the Fabian Society, or his or her nominee, shall be free to attend meetings of the Executive Committee in an advisory capacity.
- No book, pamphlet or tract submitted to the FWN shall be published unless approved as of suitable standard and subject matter according to the rules made by the Executive Committee of the Fabian Society. All publications sponsored by the FWN shall bear a clear indication that they do not represent the views of the FWN, but only those responsible for preparing them.The production of any newsletter, magazine or other journal in the name of the FWN shall be undertaken solely by the Executive Committee or by a sub-committee appointed by the Executive Committee for that purpose, which shall be responsible to the Executive Committee, or by the Fabian Society on behalf of the FWN.
- Any questions as to the interpretation of this Constitution shall be settled by the Executive Committee. The Constitution may be revised at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) or Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) provided that amendments shall be properly proposed and seconded and circulated to the membership by the Executive Committee at least 14 days in advance. Resolutions concerning the work of the FWN shall be similarly circulated to members in advance of the AGM or EGM. Alterations shall be agreed by a simple majority of those present and voting, subject only to the agreement of the Executive Committee of the Fabian Society. Rule 2 of the Fabian Society: The Fabian Society consists of socialists. It therefore aims for a classless society, where a just distribution of wealth and power assures true equality of opportunity. It holds that society, through its democratic institutions, should determine the overall direction and distribution of economic activity, and seeks to promote where appropriate the social and co-operative ownership of economic resources. It argues for strong and accountable public institutions reflecting the values of public service to meet need. It believes in an active democracy, characterised by liberty, tolerance and respect for diversity. It aims at the implementation of the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and seeks the creation of effective international institutions to uphold and promote world peace and sustainable development. It seeks to secure these ends by the methods of political democracy. The Society, believing in equal citizenship in the fullest sense, is open to persons, irrespective of race, gender, sexual orientation, age or creed, who commit themselves to its aims and purposes and undertake to promote its work. Its activities shall be the furtherance of socialism and the education of the public on socialist lines by the holding of meetings, lectures, discussion groups and conferences, the promotion of research into political, economic and social problems, national and international, the publication of books, pamphlets and periodicals, and by any other appropriate methods. The Society shall be affiliated to the Labour Party.