Archive – Ouseburn Futures Constitution – proposed

This is an archive document. The decision was taken not to take this forward.

Ouseburn Futures Constitution – proposed

1) Name and Area

a)  The name of the Organisation shall be ‘Ouseburn Futures’.

b)  The Name of the Organisation for the purposes of Neighbourhood Planning shall be ‘Ouseburn Futures Neighbourhood Forum’. The area covered by the ‘Ouseburn Futures Neighbourhood Forum’ is the ‘Ouseburn Valley Neighbourhood Area’ as defined on the attached map.

2) Purpose, Aims, Objectives and Powers

a)  To promote and improve the social, economic and environmental well-being of the Ouseburn Valley.

b)  To oversee the implementation of the existing Ouseburn Regeneration Plan and any potential review or replacement.

c)  To establish a Neighbourhood Forum to undertake the preparation of a Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) for the Ouseburn Valley Neighbourhood Area, together with Neighbourhood Development Orders for the area if appropriate.

d)  To involve the whole community; to gather, analyse and present their views; and to ensure these powers are carried out in as comprehensive and inclusive form as possible;

e)  To make sure the focus on investment, regeneration, and development of the diverse and dynamic urban village for the Ouseburn Valley is continued in order to maintain and enhance the physical character of the area, and take account of its Conservation Area status and other heritage assets.

f)  To develop a community spirit between residents, businesses, organisations, visitors and neighbouring areas; and to carry out any other purposes of community and public benefit.

3) Membership

a)  Membership of Ouseburn Futures will consist of:

i)    ‘Forum Members’ who satisfy at least one of the requirements of 3(b).

ii)  ‘Ordinary Members’ under 3(f).

b) Membership of ‘Ouseburn Futures Neighbourhood Forum’ is open to:

i)   people who live within the Ouseburn Valley Neighbourhood Area;

ii)  people who work in the Ouseburn Valley Neighbourhood Area (whether for business carried out there or otherwise);

iii)  elected members from the wards covered by the Ouseburn Valley Neighbourhood Area (Ouseburn, Byker, South Heaton and South Jesmond);

c)  Businesses and organisations in the Ouseburn Valley Neighbourhood Area can be members of the Neighbourhood Forum under category 3(b)(ii) and when applying for membership must designate an individual empowered to represent them.

d)  A minimum membership of 21 Forum Members shall be required, each of whom satisfies at least one of the requirements in 3(b).

e)  ‘Forum Members’ as identified in 3(b) will have voting rights in relation to all decisions taken by Ouseburn Futures where applicable.

f)  ‘Ordinary Membership’ of Ouseburn Futures is open to individuals and organisations who are not within one of the categories in 3(b) but have an interest in assisting Ouseburn Futures to achieve its aims and objectives. ‘Ordinary Members’ will not have any voting rights in relation to decisions on Neighbourhood Planning matters at General Meetings.

g)   Applications for membership shall be made in writing to the Secretary of Ouseburn Futures usually through the completion and signing of an application form. Applicants shall:

i)    State where they live or work (as applicable);

ii)   State which of the groups set out in 3(b) they belong to (if applicable)

h)  Each Member of Ouseburn Futures will be identified as a ‘Forum Member’ or an ‘Ordinary Member’ as applicable.

i)   Members must be over 16 years of age.

j)   Any member may resign his or her membership by notifying the Secretary in writing.

k)  Once the initial membership has been established additional members may be admitted to Ouseburn Futures at any time with the agreement of the Secretary and Chair. Any dispute in relation to membership will be resolved by the Co-ordinating Group.

l)   Membership shall initially be for 2 years and thereafter members will be asked every 2 years if they wish to continue membership.

m) There shall be no fee for membership.

4) Meetings and Groups

a)  General Meetings

i)     Ouseburn Futures will have General Meetings of all members as and when necessary and in any case at least twice per year, one of which will be an Annual General Meeting.

ii)    A Quorum for a General Meeting of Ouseburn Futures will consist of at least 10 Members.

iii)  In relation to decisions on Neighbourhood Planning matters as specified in 5(a), a Quorum of a General Meeting will consist of at least 10 ‘Forum Members’. Only Forum Members will be able to vote on Neighbourhood Planning matters.

iv)  All Ouseburn Futures members must be notified at least 21 days in advance of a General Meeting.

b) Coordinating Group

i)  The Co-ordinating Group will be formed at the first meeting of Ouseburn Futures in each year.

ii)  The Co-ordinating Group shall comprise:

  1. 4 ‘Forum Members’ elected at the General Meeting;
  2. 2 members of Ouseburn Trust Board and the Chief Officer of the Ouseburn Trust.
  3. An elected member from each of the following wards should they wish to attend: Byker, Ouseburn, South Heaton, and South Jesmond.
  4. A representative of each of the Theme Groups as set out below: Arts and Creative Industries Group, Business and Economy Group, Developers’ Forum, Environment Group, Planning and Development Group, River Users’ Group, and Valley Events Group.

iii)  The Coordinating Group will elect Officers consisting of a Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. The Chair or Vice-Chair shall chair ‘General Meetings’ and both shall be selected from the list of ‘Forum Members’. There will also be a Minutes Secretary, Communications Lead, and Membership Secretary.

iv) The Coordinating Group will meet as and when necessary but at least once every two months.

v)  The quorum for a Coordinating Group meeting will be at least 7 members which must include at least one of the Officers.

vi)  The Co-ordinating Group must approve a Neighbourhood Plan for submission to a General Meeting, but work on the development of a Neighbourhood Plan or Neighbourhood Development Orders shall be led by the Planning and Development Group.

vii)  Any Member of Ouseburn Futures may attend the Coordinating Group meetings to observe and may inspect any papers or minutes of Coordinating Group meetings.

viii)  The Ouseburn Futures Coordinating Group will decide on attendance at meetings with the City Council and other external bodies.

c)   Themed Working Groups

i)     Decisions about what each theme group does will be the province of the theme groups, as will agreeing their representatives for the Coordinating Group. The Coordinating Group will act as the clearing house to ensure coordination and avoidance of duplication.

ii)    The theme groups are generally open to anyone (at the discretion of each group) who wants to contribute to the aims and objectives of the Group, as a starting point for developing other positive activities under each theme.

iii)  The disbanding, amalgamation or formation of new theme groups or other re-organisation shall be agreed at the Coordinating Group after:

(a)  the group(s) in question have agreed it, or

(b)  at least 10 Ouseburn Futures members put a proposal forward in writing (subject to the theme group being consulted on the proposal).

d)   Decision Making

Decisions will be made by a simple majority of those present at all meetings. At General Meetings this will apply to those present who have the relevant voting rights. Voting will be by show of hands and in the event of a tied vote the person chairing the meeting will have a second, casting vote.

e)   Non Members

Non-members (defined as those who are neither Forum nor Ordinary Members) may be invited to meetings of Ouseburn Futures and the Co-ordinating Group and, with the permission of the Chair, may speak and take part in discussions. Non-members will not be eligible to vote on any decisions made at meetings they attend

5) Neighbourhood Planning

a)  The Co-ordinating Group or the Planning and Development Group may carry out work on developing a Neighbourhood Plan or Development Order. Any decision to undertake, consult on, or submit a draft Neighbourhood Plan, or Development Order to the local authority for validation, examination, referendum or adoption must be taken by a vote at a General Meeting of Ouseburn Futures.

b)  Only Forum Members will be able to vote on Neighbourhood Planning matters at General Meetings i.e. those individuals who meet the criteria in 3(b).

6) Code of Conduct and Complaints

a)    All members of Ouseburn Futures must abide by the Code of Conduct. Failure to do so may result in membership being withdrawn.

b)    Any complaint about the behaviour of a member of Ouseburn Futures shall be made in writing to the Chair. The Chair and Secretary will investigate the complaint and decide on action as appropriate. If the complaint concerns the Chair or Secretary then other members of Ouseburn Futures will be appointed to investigate in their place by vote.

c)    If a member acts in a way that the Co-ordinating Group considers to be prejudicial to the best interests of Ouseburn Futures or the residents/businesses of the area then the Co-ordinating Group may revoke their membership on the basis of a vote.

7) Alteration of the Constitution

a)    Alterations of parts of the Constitution pertaining to neighbourhood planning and the composition/operation of the Neighbourhood Forum shall be by resolution of the majority of ‘Forum members’ present and voting at a General Meeting of Ouseburn Futures.

b)    Alterations of parts of the Constitution outside the scope of 7(a) shall be by resolution of the majority of all members present and voting at a General Meeting of Ouseburn Futures.

8) Finances

a)   The Coordinating Group will make arrangements to open a bank account in the name of Ouseburn Futures in order to deposit and draw on any funds that might be made available for the use of Ouseburn Futures. In the Interests of transparency the accounts will identify funds allocated and/or spent in relation to Neighbourhood Planning.

b)   Any payments must be authorised by at least two signatories who are Officers of the Coordinating Group and who are not related and who do not reside at the same address.

c)   Any decisions to spend money belonging to Ouseburn Futures must be made by formal agreement of the Coordinating Group and minuted.

d)   Accounts will be reported to a General Meeting of Ouseburn Futures each year. These annual accounts will be subject to an independent audit prior to being reported to the General Meeting.

9) Designation as a Neighbourhood Forum

a)   The designation as a Neighbourhood Forum will exist for 5 years from the date of designation by the City Council, unless two-thirds of those Forum Members present and voting at a quorate General Meeting agree to dissolve the Forum.

b)   At its Annual General Meeting at the start of the 5th year Ouseburn Futures shall consider whether to allow the designation as a Forum to lapse, to apply to remove the designation, or to apply to continue the designation. If it decides to continue, it will consider what its objectives and role will be in the future.

c)   Any decision about designation as a Neighbourhood Forum will have no other impact on the status of Ouseburn Futures.

10) Closing down Ouseburn Futures

a)   The decision to close down Ouseburn Futures must be taken at a General Meeting with at least two-thirds majority of the Members present and voting agreeing to the closure.

b)   Any funds remaining would be transferred to a charity or voluntary organisation with the same or similar aims as Ouseburn Futures has.

11) Equality

a)    Ouseburn Futures will comply with all relevant equality and anti‐discrimination legislation and shall not discriminate against any persons on grounds of race, nationality, gender, sexuality, religion, or age.

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