How We Work (Constitution and Policies)

THE COTTAGE GARDEN SOCIETY: COTSWOLD GROUP: CONSTITUTION

NAME OF THE SOCIETY

The name of the Group is the Cottage Garden Society Cotswold Group

AIMS

The aims of the Group are to celebrate cottage gardens by:

  1. providing a local friendly group for CGS members to share and develop their interests
  2. promoting interest in cottage gardens, both past and present;
  3. furthering the use of those plants associated with cottage gardens;
  4. assisting those wishing to create or maintain such gardens;
  5. organising visits to places of horticultural interest;
  6. co-operating with groups having similar or sympathetic aims

MEMBERSHIP

  1. Membership shall be open to those members of the national society who wish to join in the pursuit of these aims locally.
  2. Each member shall be entitled to one vote at any General Meeting.
  3. Each member shall receive a copy of the Group Constitution.
  4. The membership will appoint a committee to manage its day-to-day activities.

OFFICERS AND MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

  1. The following honorary officers of the Group shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting: Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer.
  2. The Committee may appoint officers, if necessary, between General Meetings, with their appointment confirmed at an AGM.
  3. No individual shall hold, at the same time more than one of the following posts: Chairperson, Secretary or Treasurer.
  4. Officers shall serve for one year, but shall be eligible for re-election.
  5. Nominations for Officers and members of the Committee should be received by the Secretary together with confirmation of the Nominees’ consent, not less than 7 days before the appointed date for the Annual General Meeting. They may be received in writing by post or email to the Secretary.
  6.  In the event of a shortfall of prior nominations, nominations for Officers and members of the Committee may be made at the meeting itself, always providing that there is a proposer and seconder for a nomination, and the consent of the nominee.
  7. The Committee shall have the power to co-opt new members to serve until the following AGM when they may stand for election.

RECORDS

  1. The Group shall keep records, minutes of committee meetings and AGMs, and financial accounts and, if called upon, shall provide a copy of these to the Executive Committee of the national society.
  2. The national society under its constitution shall provide, via its Administrator, a list of paid-up members in its area on a once-yearly basis, but at a time not coinciding with the annual subscription renewal period. The Group shall acknowledge receipt of this information with the undertaking that it will be used in compliance with the Data Protection Act and for the sole use of the Group.

FINANCE

  1. Simple financial records shall be kept of all transactions.
  2. Cheques up to the value of £50 may be signed by either of the Officers authorised by that Committee.
  3. Cheques of a greater value shall be signed by two of the Officers authorised by the Committee.

COMMITTEE MEETINGS

  1. There shall be a minimum of 4 Committee Meetings held in person or remotely during the course of the year
  2. The quorum for Committee Meetings shall be a minimum of 3 members of which two must be officers of the Group.
  3. The committee will try to sample opinion, when necessary outside the AGM, to inform its decision making.  The committee itself will aim for consensus, but any decision which needs to be determined by a vote will be decided by a simple majority.
  4. In the event of a tied vote, the chairperson or his/her appointed deputy may have a casting vote, but he/she may wish to defer such a matter for further consideration in the interests of consensus.
  • GENERAL MEETINGS
  • ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
  1. The Annual General Meeting of the Group shall be held within 3 months of the end of the financial year and all members shall be eligible to attend and vote.
  2. At least 28 days’ notice of any General Meeting shall be given to all   members by email or post.
  3. At General Meetings, decisions shall be by simple majority with the Chairperson having a casting vote.  
  4. A quorum at General Meetings shall be 20% or 10, whichever is the higher, of current group members.
  5. An Annual General Meeting shall transact the following business:
  6. Receive and adopt the Minutes of the last AGM.
  7. Receive the annual reports from Officers of the Group.
  8. Receive and adopt the Annual Accounts of the preceding financial year.
  9. Transact any other business of which at least 14 days’ notice has been given.
  10. Deal with any special matter which the Committee may wish to bring before the members and to receive suggestions from the members for consideration by the Committee.
  11. Elect the Officers and other Committee members.
  12. Elect an auditor/examiner.
  13. Any resolution for consideration at the Annual General Meeting must be received in writing by post or email by the Secretary not less than 21 days before the date of the AGM.

EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL MEETING

  1. The Committee shall have the power to convene an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Group (EGM) at any time and must do so within 28 days of receiving a written request to the Secretary signed by at least 20% or 10 (whichever is the higher) of current group members.
  2. This request should state the purpose of the meeting and set out any resolution to be proposed at the meeting.
  3. Notice in writing must be sent to all members of the Group not less than 21 days before such a meeting informing them of the date, time, venue and purpose of the meeting.
  4. No business other than that detailed in the notice shall be transacted at an EGM. No amendments or other resolutions will be allowed.
  5. The non-receipt of notice by a member(s) shall not invalidate the proceedings of any General Meeting.

VOTING

Any matter voted upon at the Annual General Meeting or at an Extraordinary General Meeting shall be decided by a simple majority of those members present and voting. In the event of a tied vote, the Chair shall have the casting vote.

EXCEPTIONS TO THE ABOVE:

The above arrangements may be waived in extraordinary circumstances such as in times of Coronavirus, where in-person meetings may be replaced by communications by post or email and/or meetings by such as Zoom.

ALTERATIONS to the GROUP CONSTITUTION

  1. The Constitution shall be altered only at a General Meeting of the Group of which due notice has been given and which specifies the proposed alterations.
  2. A motion to amend the Constitution shall require a majority of two-thirds of the votes cast.
  3. DISSOLUTION
  1. A motion to dissolve the Group shall require a General Meeting of which not less than 21 days’ notice shall have been given to all members.  
  2. A motion to dissolve the Group shall require a majority of two-thirds of the vote cast.
  3. In the event of the Group’s dissolution, it shall hand over its books and papers to the Executive Committee of the national Cottage Garden Society.
  4. In the absence of a successor group locally, the Group shall provide the national society with the recommendation of a local charity or charities pursuing similar horticultural aims, as chosen by members attending the Extraordinary General Meeting, for the receipt of any surplus funds after meeting all the group’s liabilities.

COTTAGE GARDEN SOCIETY: COTSWOLD GROUP: POLICIES:

DATA PROTECTION:
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a Europe-wide law that replaced the Data Protection Act 1998 in the UK.

It puts a range of requirements on us to treat your personal information securely, namely:

  1. We need to be clear what personal data is and only collect, store or use personal data if we need to do so for a clear, specific purpose.
  2. We recognise that we must only collect, store and use the minimum amount of data we need for a specific purpose.
  3. We will not keep extra data if we do not know why we need it, and will not keep data that is no longer needed for a clear purpose.
  4. We are required to make sure people know how to contact us if they want us to remove their data from our records.  We will say what detail we have if an individual asks us and remove it if requested.
  5. Generally, we will only keep contact details and information members have given us. We will keep emails or letters sent to us until an issue has been resolved.
  6. We will not include any personal information in our published minutes.
  7. We will store data securely and make sure that Committee members are clear whether data belongs to the Cotswold Group or to a committee member personally. (Just because we have access to contact details held by the group, does not mean they are our personal contacts.)
  8. Photographs are also personal information and we may use photographs taken at CGS events or visits in a newsletter or on our website.  However, we will not use photographs which may identify individuals without their specific consent.
  9. Cookies on our website: A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that is downloaded on to your computer when you visit a website. Cookies are used by many websites and can do a number of things, such as counting the number of people looking at a website. We do not collect any personal information via cookies, but the cookies we use help us collect anonymous information about how people use our website to benefit future visitors.

We use Google Analytics for this purpose. Google Analytics generates statistical and other information about website usage by means of cookies, which are stored on users’ computers. The information collected by Google Analytics about usage of our website is not personally identifiable and is stored for 12 months. The data is collected anonymously, stored by Google and used by us to understand website usage.

CONFLICT AND COMPLAINT RESOLUTION

  1. Accountability is important. Our decisions will be based on the wish of the majority of members and what is best for the Group from evidence and views shared within the Committee and at Group meetings. Our discussions and decisions will all be shared with members, while preserving individual confidentiality.
  2. The purpose of the Group is to provide entertaining and educational activities for people with similar interests. Committee proceedings and Group meetings are expected to be courteous and collegiate. Nevertheless, there are times when enthusiasms can lead to spirited differences of opinion.
  3. In the unlikely event that there is any unresolved conflict, the chair of the meeting, whether of Group or Committee, is charged with ensuring that it is defused. If it is felt that the Chair him- or herself is responsible, other members of the Committee will need to undertake that peacekeeping role.
  4. Any formal complaint should be made in writing to the Committee which will discuss the issue at its next meeting and take the issue forward with the complainant in a mediation process.

EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY

  1. The Group is committed to offering a warm welcome to members and guests of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.  The Group will be conscious of the need to engage fully with all its members and enable them to participate in all the activities of especial interest to them.
  2. To this end, the Group will:
  3. Consult with members on the programme it offers;
  4. Provide a cost-effective programme which reflects members’ interests and may also widen them;
  5. Endeavour to ensure meeting places are accessible to those with limited mobility;
  6. Be conscious of the needs of those with hearing or sight impairment.