Terms of Reference

Terms of Reference for Basingstoke Humanists Group

  1. Basingstoke Humanists Group
    • Basingstoke Humanists is in partnership with the British Humanist Association (BHA) with the objectives of:
      1. Advancing the development of Humanist ideas and values within the wider local community.
      2. Raising public awareness of Humanism, and addressing wider moral and political issues from a Humanist standpoint.
      3. To support the wider campaigns of the British Humanist Association.
      4. Providing a means for like-minded individuals to discuss Humanist values, principles and socialise.
      5. Advancing the provision of local humanist services in respect of ceremonial and pastoral needs of all local people.
      6. To act as a pressure group in defence of Humanism and general issues from a Humanist moral standpoint.
  2. Membership
    • Any person who agrees with the aims of the group may become a member on paying the annual subscription.
    • The annual subscription is payable by the second Wednesday in April and shall cover membership from the 1st of April to the following 31st March.
    • The annual subscription shall be fixed at the AGM and payable at the AGM after ratification by the membership. New membership applications received after the 1st of October are payable at 50%, renewable for the full year’s membership at the next AGM.
    • There will be an attendance fee for non-members which will be set by the committee (see section 4) for each event.
    • The definition of ‘concessions’ for the above purposes is under 18 years old, over 65 years, student, or unemployed, and the Committee reserves the right to request evidence where appropriate.
    • The executive committee may terminate the membership of, or refuse to admit as a member any person whose conduct they consider to be inconsistent with the aims of the group.
  3. Officers
    • The Officers shall consist of Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. These shall be elected annually at the Annual General Meeting of the group.
    • Whilst the group is partnered with the British Humanist Association, all Officers shall be required to be BHA members. Non-membership of the BHA will automatically disqualify any person from the position of Officer.
    • The Chairperson shall not serve for more than three consecutive years …
  4. The Executive Committee
    • The Executive Committee (‘the Committee’) shall consist of the Officers and up to a maximum of seven members to be elected at the AGM. Ideally, the seven members should include an IT specialist, a Media specialist, and a Membership Specialist. Any remaining outstanding vacancies may be filled on an ad-hoc basis by the Committee.
    • The general business of the group shall be controlled and carried out by the Committee whose meetings will be presided over by the Chair, or Vice-Chair, and shall meet at least once every two months. At least 10 day’s notice shall be given to committee members. A quorum shall be four members.
    • Only the Chairperson, and the Secretary or some other person specifically designated by the Committee may make public statements on behalf of the Group.
  5. Annual General Meeting
    • The Annual General meeting will be held on the 2nd Wednesday in April, and shall:
      1. Receive financial accounts.
      2. Receive an introduction and overall review of the past year from the chair.
      3. Receive the reports of the Committee for the previous year.
      4. Elect the Committee
    • At least 21 days’ notice of the forthcoming AGM shall be given to all members.
    • Nominations, duly seconded, and notices of resolutions can be received by the Secretary at least seven days before the AGM, or at the AGM itself.
    • Any member whose nomination for office does not lead to election shall be considered as a nominee for ordinary membership of the Committee.
  6. Special General Meetings
    • Special General Meetings (SGMs) can be called as required by the chair or an officer standing in for the chair who will be required to give at least 2 weeks notice to all members or …
    • An SGM may be convened by the Committee or shall, on receipt of a request signed by at least twenty percent of the membership, be convened by the Secretary within 28 days of the receipt of such a request. or …
    • The Chair and Secretary together can give notice of an SGM in response to a request from fewer than fifteen percent – even from one member – if they deem it necessary for some exceptional reason.
    • All SGMs require that at least 21 days’ notice shall be given to all members.
    • Only business stated on the notice convening the SGM shall be considered.
    • An SGM quorum shall consist of a quorum of four committee members, plus 20% of Group members who do not hold a committee position.
  7. Finance
      The income and property of the group shall be devoted to the promotion of the aims of the group.

      1. A bank account will be opened and the account called ‘Basingstoke Humanist Group’. That account will form the basis of the financial system that operates. No cash will be held routinely. If a cash float is needed for a particular event, the event organiser should inform the Treasurer in good time, preferably several days before the date of the event.
      2. All financial items will be reported at Committee meetings and recorded in the minutes. Examples of such items are:
        • Receipts: collections taken at meetings towards the cost of meetings rooms; annual subscriptions; payments for ad hoc social events; receipts from ticket sales.
        • Authorisation for purchases: These are expected to relate mainly to room hire but may also relate to speakers’ expenses, social events, and reasonable ongoing expenses (eg. personal stationery costs) incurred as a result of their committee duties.
        • Verification: that items for which payments are made have been received.
        • Payments: Cheques issued and other payments made since the last meeting.
        • Cash in bank.
      3. Payments will usually be made by cheque, although there will be provision for electronic transfers. For cheques, only one signatory is needed to sign cheques up to the value of £150, and two signatories are required for sums exceeding that amount. Both signatories, plus the Committee Chair, will be able to scrutinise all accounts online.
      4. Committee Members may not normally receive payment for their service to the group. However, an honorarium may exceptionally be awarded by the AGM  if proposed, seconded, and voted for by simple majority of the AGM.
      5. Where Committee members are seeking reimbursement for costs incurred, such claims should normally be accompanied by receipts.
      6. The account that is presented at the AGM will be a simple receipts and payments statement with the balancing figure described as ‘cash in bank’. There will no balance sheet although any assets that are purchased may be described in the accompanying narrative.
      7. An auditor will be appointed by the AGM  and asked to report as follows:
        • I have examined the above statement of receipts and payments and verify that all transactions are supported by vouchers and/or recorded in Committee minutes. I have reconciled the ‘cash in bank’ recorded in the above statement with the bank statement.
      8. In the event of the group having to be wound up, all funds shall go to the British Humanist Association after payment of liabilities.
  8. Amendments to Terms of Reference
    • Amendments to the Terms of Reference may only be considered at AGM or SGMs, and all members shall be informed at least 21 days in advance of the proposed amendments. To be carried, such amendments shall require a two-thirds majority of the votes cast.

June 2015

A Rational Way to a Better Life