Approved at the SPCA AGM on 5th December 2022
1. Name and Title
- The Association is the “Staffordshire Parish Councils’ Association, hereinafter referred to as the SPCA
- The SPCA will consist of the following: Parish, Town and City Councils and invited partner organisations
The aims and objectives of the SPCA are to take all such steps, consistent with the objects of the NALC (listed below) as may be necessary or desirable to promote and protect the interest of the members:-
- To represent the interests of the First Tier of Statutory Local Government, comprising of Town and Parish Councils and Parish Meetings in England. Hereafter called collectively ‘Local Councils’.
- To provide support and co-ordination to all aspects of the work of Local Councils, as embodied in the following principles of good local government.
- To promote the health, safety and well-being, both material and cultural of the people in its various communities.
- To attract and hold the interest of its citizens.
- To develop inherent strength to deal with, and work with, all other tiers of local, regional and national government in a valid partnership.
- To adapt itself to change in the way in which the people of the local community, live, work, shop and enjoy themselves.
- To protect, consolidate and develop the existing rights, privileges, and functions of Local Councils.
- To encourage and support the universal establishment of elected First Tier Local Government throughout England.
SPCA therefore aim:
- To assist member councils and councillors in the performance of their duties and provide them with relevant up to date information.
- To promote good local government.
- To provide training for councillors and clerks.
- To liaise with Staffordshire County Council, District Councils and other Statutory and Non-statutory Bodies.
- To interact with non-member councils as appropriate.
- To achieve financial sustainability through a variety of activities, including trading.
- Every Parish, Town and City Council in the county of Staffordshire shall be eligible for membership of the SPCA and, thus, the National Association of Local Councils (NALC).
- Membership is open to Parish Meetings
- New Members will be sent a copy of this constitution on confirmation of application, all members can access the constitution via the SPCA website.
a. Membership fees are due on 1st April in any year and cover a twelve-month period ending on 31st March the following year. Fees not paid by this date may incur a rejoining fee. Fees are based upon a scale for the Parish, Town or City, the scale for the SPCA element to be determined each year by the Executive Committee.
b. A Council, which becomes a member of the Association during any financial year, shall be liable for the fees on a pro rata scale
- The Association shall collect and pass on the member councils’ annual subscription to the National Association of Local Councils. NALC rates are determined nationally (usually in July each year)
- Any member council wishing to terminate its membership of the Association may do so by sending its resignation in writing to the Chief Executive and Responsible Financial Officer by no later than 31 December of the preceding financial year
- SPCA Member Councils appoint voting representatives to govern the work of SPCA through the AGM and Executive Committee Meetings which in turn elect the Committees. The SPCA Executive and Committees set the strategic objectives of the Association and determine its services and its resource needs.
- Day to day running of the Association is managed by the Chief Executive, a paid employee of SPCA. The terms of his/her employment are subject to a separate contract.
6. NALC Representatives
- The SPCA is entitled under the NALC’s Constitution to elect not more than three representatives to NALC, one of whom shall be appointed to serve on the Council of NALC.
- Not less than two of the three representatives shall, at the time of the election, be Councillors
a) Annual Meetings
- The President shall chair the AGM.
- All subscribing members of the Association are eligible to send delegates. Councils may send up to three delegates to the AGM, although only one delegate can vote on behalf of their Council.
- The Chief Executive shall give to each member council, appointed or co-opted member of the Association not less than twelve weeks’ notice of the date, time and place of the meeting and shall send with such notice any necessary nomination forms. In addition, not less than two weeks’ notice of the Agenda and a copy of the Annual Report with the Agenda will be send as above.
- The first item on the Agenda shall be any constitutional revisions.
- Elections/co-options for all honorary posts, membership of the Executive, Officers of the Executive committees, external organisations shall be decided at the AGM
- Voting at the AGM shall be by written ballot.
- The President, Vice-President(s) shall be entitled to vote, in any ballot, held at the AGM but the Auditor and Chief Executive may not vote.
- In the event of a tied vote at the AGM, the President shall have the casting vote.
- In the event of a tied vote for President, then the Chairman of the Association shall have the casting vote.
- If a ballot is held for district representation, voting shall be restricted to delegates from that district
b) Ordinary Meetings
- The Executive Committee will meet in full a minimum of 4 times per year.
- The quorum of the Executive Committee shall be one third of its members i.e. nine.
- If no quorum is present half an hour after the appointed time, the meeting shall stand adjourned, to the same place, day and time no later than three weeks hence.
- The person presiding at any meeting shall have second or casting vote in the case of an equality of votes.
- Voting at a meeting of the Committee, or any sub-committee will be by a show of hands, unless at least one-third of the persons present demand a ballot.
c) Special Meetings
- Special general meetings, of which not less than fourteen clear days’ notice shall be given to each member council and to every ex officio and co-opted member of the general meeting stating the objects of the meeting, may be called at any time by the Committee or the Chief Executive.
d) Place and Notice of Meetings
- The Chief Executive shall give to every person entitled to receive the same, not less than seven clear days’ notice in writing of the time and place of meetings of the Committee or of any sub-committees, specifying in such notice the business to be transacted
- The accidental omission or failure to give notice of any meeting to any member council or person entitled to receive the same shall not invalidate the proceedings at any such meeting, provided that the meeting is quorate.
- Meetings will normally be held in person in Stafford but may be held remotely (e.g. via Zoom), if appropriate. Members attending meetings remotely will not be entitled to vote.
8. Executive Structure
- The Executive shall consist of 28 members comprising as follows:
- Parish/Town Councillors, Parish/Town Clerks (maximum 2 at any time) and Honorary Auditor (No voting rights)
- The Executive, may at its discretion in exceptional circumstances, co-opt Members who may be non-Councillors
- If any member of the Executive committee fails to attend meeting for a period of 9 months their seat will fall vacant
- Any Member whose seat falls vacant is disbarred from re-election to the Executive committee for a period of 2 years.
- Casual vacancies, however they have arisen, may be filled by:
- A representative from the same district as the previous holder
- A representative from surrounding districts (if no suitable direct substitute can be found)
9. Functions of the Executive and its committees
- The Executive Committee shall determine the terms of reference for, membership and remit of any Standing Committees
- The Vice-Chairman shall perform the duties of the Chairman in their absence.
- If at any meeting the Chairman and Vice-Chairman are absent, the Committee must elect a Chairman for that meeting from among their number.
- By virtue of their offices, The President, Chairman and any person appointed to represent the SPCA at NALC shall be entitled to be an ex officio member of any Committee.
- The Executive Committee shall have the power:
- To appoint sub-committees
- To make rules for the remit of such sub committees
- To delegate any of its functions to such sub-committees.
- The Policy and Resources Committee shall have delegated responsibility for the following:-
- Financial monitoring
- Banking and investment
- Policy setting
- Staffing Matters including recruitment
10. Tenure of Office & Honorary Officers
- Every member Council shall be entitled to submit the names of persons to be nominated for election to serve on the Executive within the scale of representation laid down for each District but no Parish Council may have a second serving member, unless there is a shortfall in nominations for that area.
- Every member Council shall be entitled to submit the names of persons to be nominated for elections for a President, up to 5 Vice-Presidents and an Auditor or Auditors.
- Nominations for President, Vice Presidents, Auditor and Members of the Executive shall be received by the Chief Executive
- The Executive Committee may put forward its own nominations at this time.
- The term for holders of these offices shall be as follows.
President 2 years
Vice Presidents 2 years
Auditor 2 years
- Members 2 years (not all elected in same year)
- All terms cease at the commencement of the AGM election process
- All are eligible for re-election and all those elected take office immediately
- Casual vacancies for the President, Vice Presidents and Auditor may be filled by the Committee and the term of office will be that which would have applied to the originally elected member.
11. General Provisions
a) Signature of Documents
- Conveyance, leases and other documents relating to interests in land shall be executed on behalf of the SPCA by not less than two persons authorised by the Committee. Other contracts may be signed by the Chief Executive/Responsible Financial Officer, or in his/her absence, by another person as the Council may by general or special resolution authorise to do so.
b) Expenses of Representatives and Members
- The personal expenses of representatives of the SPCA, whilst engaged upon the SPCA’s business may, at the discretion of the Committee as to what is an approved duty, be met wholly or partly from the funds of the SPCA. No costs will be reimbursed without prior agreement of SPCA.
- Travel expenses for member’s attending at County Association Committee/Executive meetings will not be claimed.
c) Visitors and Observers
- With the exception of the AGM, visitors/observers wishing to attend a meeting of the Executive should be invited by the Chairman, agreed by the Chief Executive, if necessary, in consultation with other Members.
12. Alteration of Constitution
- Any alteration to, or amendment of, or addition to this constitution may from time to time be made at any general meeting if approved by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the persons present and voting
- No alteration, amendment or addition which is inconsistent with the current constitution of the National Association shall be made
- Notice of any motion/resolution of the Executive for alteration, amendment or addition to this constitution must be given in writing to the Chief Executive not less than six weeks before the AGM and he/she must advise members no later than two weeks before the AGM