The Constitution of: Independents for Dorset

Adopted on 23 Aug 2023

1 Title and Status

1a. The name of the group shall be Independents for Dorset.

1b. Independents for Dorset will operate within the Dorset County unitary area.

2 Aims

2a. Independents for Dorset is a group of individuals whose aim is to improve democracy locally, in keeping with the principles set out in the book ‘Flatpack Democracy’ by Peter MacFadyen. The aims are, we will enable local people to have a greater say in the decisions that will affect their everyday lives.

2b. Independents for Dorset will promote and honour the Values and Ways of Working, of Independents for Dorset, including the Nolan principles of public life.

2c. Independents for Dorset will enable interested persons to take part in local democracy by being members of a party, gaining group benefits without having political affiliation.

3 Objectives

3a. Independents for Dorset will contest elections, for seats at Dorset Council and at local Town and Parish Council level, within the Dorset Council Unitary area.

4 Membership

4a. Membership of Independents for Dorset is open to all who agree to follow the principles of the Independents for Dorset.

4b. Members shall live and work within the County of Dorset.

4c. If a member of Independents for Dorset conduct is found to go contrary to the group’s values and ways of working, the Steering Group may proceed with the Independents for Dorset disciplinary policy.

4d. All appropriate methods and processes will be utilized to resolve any disagreements between members, with the aim of mediation.

5 Party officers

5a. The Officers of the Party

5b. The party leadership shall have the following officers in position.

5c. All nominations shall be proposed and seconded and confirmed by a majority vote of members. Any member can request a secret ballot.

6 Steering Group

6a. Independents for Dorset are led by a Steering Group (SG), consisting of not more than 6 members and meeting not less than four three times a year.

6b. All officers of the party are automatically members of the steering group.

6c. A quorum for meetings is three.

6d. Members of Independents for Dorset are welcome to steering group meetings (they will have no voting powers).

6e. Members of the SG will be members of Independents for Dorset

6f. Members of the SG will contribute to the ongoing work of the Independents for Dorset, in addition to participating in SG meetings.

6g. Members of the SG may resign at any time by giving notice in writing to the Independents for Dorset.

6h. Members are appointed to the steering group by nomination and seconding from 2 other members of Independents for Dorset. In the event of more than 6 nominations, appointments to the SG will be done by secret ballot of the people in the room.

6i. The SG will have all lawful powers relevant to the attainment of Independents for Dorset purpose and Ways of Working.

7 Steering group meetings

7a. All members of Independents for Dorset will be invited to Steering Group meetings, of which there will be a minimum of 4 per year.

7b. Each meeting of the Steering Group will be organised by an appointed member of the SG and will make sure an agenda is issued to all members and that notes of the meeting are recorded, produced and made available to all members of Independents for Dorset

7c. Minutes of meetings will be taken and recorded.

7d. The SG can appoint subgroups and will agree the terms of reference, membership, strategy, operating plan and budget, which may change from time to time and are accountable to the SG.

7e. The SG will appoint at any one-time spokespeople, for Independents for Dorset. No person may speak on behalf of the Independents for Dorset unless approved and appointed by the SG.

8 Candidates

8a. Independents for Dorset candidates for elections will commit to the Nolan Principles of Public Life and to this constitution. They will be interviewed by a panel appointed by the SG.

8b. No-one may stand for election under the Independent for Dorset name and emblem(s) without the approval of the SG and approval of the Nominating Officer.

9 Constitution

9a. In the first 12 months from the 23rd of August 2023 any alteration to this constitution must be approved by the SG at Steering Group Meeting with a majority of two-thirds of members present and voting for the agreed changes to this constitution.

9b. After this period, changes to the constitution will be made at the Annual General Meeting.

10 Finances and accounts

10a. Independents for Dorset will have a nominated bank account. Three members of the SG will be approved as authorised signatories, to conduct transactions on the bank account on behalf of Independents for Dorset.

10b. The party treasurer will collect any money due to the party including donations. The treasurer will pay all debts of the party and notify the party leadership of any financial challenges or risks of being overdrawn, or any discrepancies within the account.

10c. All financial activities of Independents for Dorset will be conducted in accordance with the finance scheme approved by the SG and with statutory requirements.

11 Annual general meeting

11a. Independents for Dorset shall hold one meeting a year that will be designated an Annual General Meeting for the branch.

11b. Independents for Dorset Members shall be invited to attend, and notice will be given at least 21 days in advance of the meeting date.

12 The Independents for Dorset brand

12a. Independents for Dorset will follow Brand guidelines published by Independents for Dorset No one may use the Independents for Dorset name, logos or branding without authorisation from the SG.

13 Dissolution

13a. In the event of Independents for Dorset ceasing to have at least two members, or a decision is made to dissolve Independents for Dorset at a Steering Group meeting with a majority of two-thirds of members present, Independents for Dorset will be dissolved. After completion of final accounts, any residual funds will be passed to a group with similar aims and objectives of Independents for Dorset.