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Birmingham Humanists: Constitution

(Adopted May 2004 with amendments included up to & including June 2012)

(This can also be downloaded as a Word document).

1. Title and Aim

1.1 The Organisation shall be called Birmingham Humanists (hereinafter referred to as 'The Group')The aim of the group shall be to promote Humanism.

2 Definition

2.1 Humanists are defined as people who believe that conduct and behaviour should be based on reason, evidence, understanding and tolerance; that feelings and emotions can be used to further their own humanity and their quality of life, as well as the humanity and quality of life of others with whom they may come into contact.

2.2 Humanists believe that there is no supernatural force - people must therefore face their problems with their own moral, emotional and intellectual resources, and, where possible, with the moral, emotional and intellectual resources of family, friend and/or any other person willing to offer such help, using the accumulated knowledge and experience of mankind.

2.3 Humanists believe that there is no life after death, and that therefore their concern is with this life, which they strive to make worthwhile. They claim no special knowledge of final answers, since they regard the search for understanding as a continuing process. Morality is defined by human nature and natural evaluations.

3. Objects

The objects of The Group shall be:To advocate a responsible, self-governing way of life that is of service to the community.To promote knowledge of the social and psychological foundations of morality as an essential factor in the advancement of civilisation.

3.3 a. To spread Humanist ideals and ideas. b. To cultivate the understanding and application of those ideas and ideals.c. To defend them and their adherents from misrepresentation and discrimination.d. To form a fellowship for mutual support and common action.e. To help members in the art of living, and to help them raise the quality and value of their own lives and those of other people.f. To help members have fun and enjoyment in their lives.

4. Membership

4.1 Any person who agrees with the aims and objects of the group may become a member upon payment of the membership fee, and shall continue to be a member on payment of the annual membership fee.

4.2 The committee may refuse to admit as a member, or terminate the membership of, any person whose attitude and/or behaviour they consider to be inconsistent with the aims and objects of the group.

4.3 Any person whose Membership is refused or terminated by the Committee has the Right of Appeal to a Special General Meeting, which would be called by the Committee under section 9.

5. Officers

5.1 The officers shall be: Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer.

5.2 Officers shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting of the Group.

6. Committee

6.1 The Committee shall consist of the officers and up to six members, to be elected at the Annual General Meeting.

6.2 The Committee may, by co-option, fill any vacancies for the remainder of the year.

6.3 The general business of the group shall be controlled and carried out by the Committee.

6.4 Committee meetings shall be presided over by the Chairman or Vice-Chairman, or in their absence, by anyone elected by the Committee Members present.

6.5 The Committee shall meet at least six times per year.

6.6 A quorum shall be half its members or three members, whichever is the greater, of whom at least two shall be officers.

6.7 At least ten days' notice of Committee meetings shall be given to its members.

6.8 The Secretary, or other person designated by the Committee, shall keep minutes of Committee decisions.

7. General Meetings

7.1 A minimum of 21 clear days' notice shall be given when calling General Meetings.

7.2 The Notice shall specify the time and place of the meeting, and the business to be transacted; and in the case of the Annual General Meeting, shall specify the meeting as such, and shall include Unaudited Accounts for the previous year.

7.3 No business shall be transacted at any General Meeting unless a quorum is present: 10% of the membership, or 10 members, whichever is the larger.

7.4 If such a quorum is not present within half an hour of the time appointed for the meeting, or if during the meeting the quorum ceases to be present, the meeting shall stand adjourned until such time and place as the Committee may determine.

7.5 In any dispute concerning the affairs of the Group, a General Meeting shall be the final authority.

7.6 All full members shall be eligible to take part in the decision making process of a general meeting at which they are present.

7.7 The Chairman shall preside as Chairman of the meeting. In his/her absence, the Committee may appoint one of their number. If no Committee member is present, the Group Members shall choose one of their number as Chairman.

8. Annual General Meetings

8.1 An Annual General Meeting shall be held in May or June each year.

8.2 The Annual General Meeting shall receive audited accounts and the report of the committee for the year up to March 31st preceding.

8.3 The Annual General Meeting shall elect the officers and other Committee members, and appoint an auditor for the Accounts for the following year.

8.4 Nominations for officers and committee members may be made at the meeting.

8.5 Motions in writing must be received by the Secretary (or Officer acting as Secretary) at least 14 days before the meeting. All Motions must have a Proposer and Seconder.

9 Extraordinary General Meetings

9.1 An Extraordinary General Meeting may be called by the committee. Such a meeting shall also be called within two weeks of receipt by the Secretary of a request signed by not less than 15% of the membership.

9.2 Any Notice calling an Extraordinary General Meeting shall specify both motions to be discussed, and the persons who requested the meeting.

9.3 Such Meetings may discuss only the motions specified.

9.4 No motion which has failed at an Extraordinary General Meeting may be re-submitted within 12 calendar months.

10. Finance

10.1 The income and property of the group shall be devoted to the Aims of The Group or any of its Objects.

10.2 Officers and committee members may not receive payment for their services to the group, though their expenses relating to committee work may be reimbursed.

10.3 The financial year of The Group shall end on the 31st March of each year.

10.4 In the event of the group having to be wound up, all funds will go to the British Humanist Association, after the payment of liabilities.

10.5 The membership fee shall be set at the Annual General Meeting and shall be effective from the 1st April of the year following.

10.6 The Committee may make donations which in their opinion support Humanist ideas and ideals. These donations should normally not exceed £100.00 to any single organisation in any one calendar year, but larger amounts can be given for special projects related to Humanism at the discretion of the committee.

11. Constitution

11.1 Amendments to the Constitution may only be considered at the Annual General Meeting.

11.2 Notice of amendments to the Constitution must be received by the Secretary at least 14 days before the meeting.

11.3 To be carried, such amendments shall require a two-thirds majority of the votes cast.

12. Affiliations

12.1 The group shall be a partner organisation of the British Humanist Association (BHA), but if for any reason this relationship ceases, it will maintain its affiliation to the BHA.

12.2 Other affiliations may be made by resolution at the Annual General Meeting.
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