Staffordshire & Moorlands

FOSTER CARE ASSOCIATION

CONSTITUTION


1. Name of the Association
The Association is known as Staffordshire & Moorlands Foster Care Association
(“The association”).

2. Aims of the Association
The aims of the Association are to:
• provide support and guidance for local foster families
• ensure that foster families’ views influence local, regional and national policy making concerned with looked after children and fostering
• Promote the development and well-being of looked after children and young people who are the responsibility of Staffordshire (local authority)

3. Membership
3.1 Membership of the Association is automatically open to all foster families and kinship carers approved by Staffordshire (local authority). The local authority will provide the Association with details of new foster families as from Date will be added at AGM Any member who does not wish to be a member needs to actively opt out of the association by confirming this in writing to the secretary of the committee admin@mystaffsfca.com

3.2 All members will have full membership with voting rights at General Meetings. There is no subscription fee payable.

3.3 We positively welcome all members regardless of race, culture, age, sex, sexual orientation, religion, disability or marital status. We encourage all members to be active and participate in the Association.

3.4 Members agree that contact data held on them by the Association can be made available to officers of the Association, and will only be used for association business and never shared with anyone outside the officers of the Association. Contact data is defined as landline and mobile numbers, Postal Code and email addresses. Any member who does not wish to have their information shared in this way needs to actively opt out of data sharing by confirming this in writing to the secretary of the committee. admin@mystaffsfca.com or contacting Staffordshire Fostering “Training and Recruitment department

3.5 Membership of any individual may be terminated for good reason as defined by the committee: Membership will be terminated in writing giving the reasons for the decision. Members will have the right to appeal to the committee against the decision. Following any appeal, the committee’s decision is final.

4. Elected officers and committee members of the association
4.1 The committee shall consist of the officers of the association and members of the association.

4.2 The officers of the association shall be:

Chair Vice Chair Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer
Funding Manager – IT Specialist

4.3 The committee can also invite representatives from the local authority to be members. These representatives do not have voting rights.

4.4a The Committee can invite members of the association to join the committee with voting rights subject to committee aproval 

4.4 The committee reserves the right to co-opt individuals onto the committee, subject to formal agreement by the committee. These co-opted members do not have voting rights.

4.5 Committee Membership will be open to all Staffordshire Foster carers and Friends and Family Carers, Only one Vote per household will be permitted

4.6 Committee members shall be elected annually at the AGM by general members. Officers shall be elected by the committee members

4.7 No officer can hold office for more than three consecutive years and then cannot hold office for one further year. They can, subject to a vote at the AGM, remain as a non-officer committee member.

4.8 In the event of an officer leaving within their term of office, the remaining committee members will elect a substitute from one of their number who will take office until the next AGM.

4.9 No business shall be transacted at any committee meeting unless the meeting is quorate. A quorum shall consist of four which must include:
• the chair or vice chair (or both)
• At least one committee member who does not hold an officer post.

5. Duties of Officers of the Association
5.1 The chair shall preside at all meetings of the Association. In the case of their absence the vice chair will have responsibility. If neither the chair nor the vice chair are in attendance the meeting will not be quorate. The chair or vice chair may also attend, ex-officio meetings of any subcommittees.

5.2 The vice-chair shall assume the role of the chair in the absence of the latter.

5.3 The Secretary or Assistant Secratary shall convene and attend all meetings of the committee and Annual and Special General Meetings of the Association. They shall be responsible for compiling agendas for meetings and for taking and issuing minutes of meetings to all members.

5.4 Confidential discussions by the committee should be minuted accordingly but only issued to members of the committee.

5.5 The treasurer shall keep detailed accounts of the Association’s funds in accordance with the Association’s policy on financial management (see 7. below).

6. Powers and Duties of the Committee
6.1 The power, duties and functions of the committee shall be:
• To promote and take action to ensure the aims of the Association are delivered.
• To exercise financial control over the affairs of the Association.
• To deal appropriately with all matters vested in them by the constitution.
• To consult with the Association’s members and take account of their views in decision making.
• To receive reports from the secretary and treasurer and act accordingly on any recommendations made.
• To implement all resolutions passed at Annual, Additional or Special General Meetings.
• To consider and make recommendations to the AGM on any matter relating to the activities of the Association.
• To meet at appropriate intervals but not less than four times per year.

6.2 No decisions shall be made at any meeting of the committee unless it is quorate. A quorum shall consist of four members of the committee and must include either the chair or vice chair and one other officer of the Association.

6.3 Decisions will be made by a simple majority vote. The chair, or if not available the vice chair, shall in the event of any equality of voting have the casting vote.

6.4 Minutes of each meeting shall be kept by the secretary and will be made available to all members of the Association. Confidential discussions by the committee will be minuted accordingly, but only issued to committee members.

7. Financial and Administrative Years
7.1 The financial year shall commence on the 6th April in each year and terminate on the 5th April in the following year.

7.2 The administrative year shall commence on the day after the AGM each year and terminate on the date of the following AGM.

8. Meetings
8.1 The AGM shall be held in October / November of each year, for the following purposes:
• to elect the Association’s committee for the following year
• to receive and pass the minutes of the previous AGM
• to receive and pass the agreed / audited accounts of the Association
• to review achievement in relation to the Association’s work plan
• to transact other such business as may be notified in the circulated agenda.

8.2 Twenty one days’ notice of the AGM of the Association, and of the business to be transacted there, shall be given to all members.

8.3 Additional General Meetings may be called as considered necessary by the Association. Twenty one days’ notice of the meeting and of the business to be transacted there shall be given to all members.

8.4 Extraordinary General Meetings of the Association may be called at any time at the request of three members of the committee or at the request of five or more members. To do this members are required to sign a written request specifying the business to be transacted and submit this to the secretary. The secretary must ensure, within fourteen days of receiving such a request that a meeting is arranged, giving all members at least fourteen days’ notice of such a meeting. This notice shall specify all business to be transacted at the meeting.

8.5 No business shall be transacted at any General Meeting unless the meeting is quorate. A quorum shall consist of 10 of the voting members of the Association.

8.6 The minutes of all meetings shall be kept by the secretary and shall be available for inspection by any member of the Association.

8.7 All members of the Association have full voting rights at any Annual, General or Extraordinary Meeting.

8.8 Any decisions made at any Annual, General, Special or Extraordinary General Meeting will be agreed by a simple majority vote. In the event of any equality of voting the chair, and in their absence the vice chair, will have the casting vote.

9. Amendments to the Constitution
The Constitution can only be amended by an Annual or Special General Meeting. Notice of any motion to alter or amend the Constitution must be advertised to all members at least twenty one days before an Annual or Special General Meeting. In the case of a Special General Meeting, the committee must facilitate access to all members for any member who is proposing changes to the constitution. Changes will be agreed by a simple majority vote. In the event of any equality of voting the chair, and in their absence the vice chair, will have the casting vote.

10. Finance
10.1 The treasurer is responsible, on behalf of the committee, for managing the Association’s finances and for preparing an annual financial statement for presentation to the Annual General Meeting.

10.2 If the Association is not a charity or a charitable company, the treasurer is responsible for ensuring that the financial records are audited, if the Association has had an annual income in excess of £10,000, or independently examined if the Association has an income of less than £10,000.

10.3 The treasurer is responsible for ensuring that any insurances required by the Association including public liability insurance are in place.

10.4 If the Association is not a charitable company, the treasurer is responsible for ensuring that committee members are aware of the need for and have taken out appropriate insurances to cover any liabilities.

10.5 All monies received by or on behalf of the Association shall be used to further the aims of the Association and for no other purpose.

10.6 The opening of any bank accounts for the Association shall be agreed by the committee and shall be in the name of the Association. Any bank account so opened shall require two signatories from committee members for authorising any cheque or payment.

10.7 The Association may pay member’s reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred in furthering the Association’s aims, including, travel, childcare and meal costs. Finances permitting

11. Association policies
All members are expected to adhere to the Association’s policies, and any other policies that are ratified by the committee. Any member of the Association who has breached the Association’s policies may have their membership terminated. Policies include but not exclusively
• Confidentiality and data protection.
• Health and safety.
• Equal opportunities.
• Finance.
• Safeguarding.

12. Complaints
12.1 Complaints about a general member of the association should be initially directed to the chair.

Complaints about a committee member should be initially directed to the chair

Complaints about the chair should be the vice chair; or to the secretary if the association does not have a vice chair

12.2 When a complaint is received about a general or committee member the receiving association officer should review the complaint and any evidence presented. If no evidence is presented with the initial complaint the receiving officer should contact the complainant and ask for evidence

12.3 When evidence of the complaint is received the receiving officer should review the evidence and present their view to the committee. If the complaint is about a committee member they should not attend this meeting.

12.4 If the committee believe from the evidence that the complaint is justified they can call in the individual and ask them to account for their actions to a quorate committee meeting.

If the committee believe that the complaint is upheld they must then decide what action to take. The details of this should be put in writing to the individual within seven days of the meeting.

The member will have twenty one days to respond to the committee and is entitled to meet with a quorate committee to appeal. Confidential minutes will be taken. The committee’s decision at this appeal meeting will be final.

12.5 When a complaint is received about the chair, the vice chair or secretary should review the complaint and any evidence presented. If no evidence is presented with the initial complaint the vice chair or secretary should contact the complainant and ask for evidence

When evidence of the complaint is received the vice chair or secretary should review the evidence and present their view to the committee. The chair should not attend this meeting.

12.6 If the committee believe from the evidence that the complaint is justified they can call in the individual and ask them to account for their actions to a quorate committee meeting.

If the committee believe that the complaint is upheld they must then decide what action to take. The details of this should be put in writing to the individual within seven days of the meeting.

The chair will have twenty one days to respond to the committee and is entitled to meet with a quorate committee to appeal. Confidential minutes will be taken. The committee’s decision at this appeal meeting will be final.

12.7 If the decision is made to terminate an individual’s membership then action should be taken as described in Section 13.

13. Termination of membership
13.1 Any member of the association, including committee members, may have their membership terminated if their verbal or physical actions are deemed, by a majority of the committee, to have brought the association into disrepute. Reasons for, and notice of, this termination will be sent to the individual member on behalf of the committee.

The member will have twenty one days to respond to the committee for the notice to be withdrawn and is entitled to meet with a quorate committee to appeal. Confidential minutes will be taken. The committee’s decision at this appeal meeting will be final.

13.2 Any member of the Association who has breached any of the Association’s policies may have their membership terminated. Reasons for, and notice of, this termination will be sent to the individual member on behalf of the committee.

The member will have twenty one days to respond to the committee for the notice to be withdrawn and is entitled to meet with a quorate committee to appeal. Confidential minutes will be taken. The committee’s decision at this appeal meeting will be final.


13.3 If any committee member is deemed to have breached any of the Association’s policies, or discussed issues that relate to the Association or individual members without authorisation, their position on the committee may be terminated.

13.4 Notice of this potential termination will be sent to the individual on behalf of the committee, with twenty one days’ notice of the meeting where this will be discussed.

13.5 The committee meeting must be quorate and will discuss the issue and agree what action is to be taken. Confidential minutes will be taken. The committee’s decision at this appeal meeting will be final.

13.6 In the event of the committee’s decision to withdraw a position from one of the Association’s officers, then the remaining committee members will elect a substitute from one of their number who will take office until the next AGM.

13.7 In the event of the committee’s decision to withdraw a position from one of the non officer committee members, then the committee will remain as is until the next AGM when a full committee will be elected.

13.8 Should the committee decide that membership of the association should also be withdrawn from the individual then the process as detailed in 12.1 will be followed.

14 Dissolution
14.1 If at any General Meeting a resolution for the dissolution of the Association shall be passed by a majority of the voting members present, an Extraordinary General Meeting shall be held not less than six weeks thereafter, but with at least twenty one days’ notice.

14.2 The Extraordinary General Meeting shall vote upon a resolution for the dissolution of the Association. A two-thirds majority of attendees shall be required for the resolution to be confirmed. Members unable to attend, but wishing to vote on the resolution, may do so by completing a signed form of proxy that shall be sent to all members no less than fourteen days before the meeting. To be valid the form of proxy must be received by the Secretary by one day before the date of the Extraordinary General Meeting.

14.3 If such a resolution shall be passed following the procedure outlined above, the committee shall discharge all debts and liabilities of the Association insofar as the Association has funds with which to do so. Any assets / funds that remain after settling the Association’s debts and liabilities must be given to, or transferred to, one or more other charitable organisations with aims similar to the Association. It must not be given to members. These decisions shall be made, by simple majority vote, at the Extraordinary General Meeting referred to in clause 13.2.

15. This Constitution was formally adopted by the Staffordshire & Moorlands Foster Care Association and is signed on behalf of the Association by the chair.


Signature………………………………………………………………..……. (Chair)

Name…… …………………………………………………………………….

Date……………………………