Constitutions: Clubs, Societies & Projects

Constitution 

A body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is acknowledged to be governed.

Oxford Dictionaries

A constitution is used to simultaneously create, empower, and limit the institutions that govern society. In the context of CSPs, a constitution allows your membership to hold the committee accountable and works towards structuring a democratic, fair and transparent CSP.

Your constitution will be referred to throughout the year during processes such as Annual Budgeting and committee elections therefore it is important to review it annually and keep it up-to-date

Staff and volunteers such as your Management Group Chair will also use it when any issues or queries arise in relation to how your CSP is run.

 

Club, Society & Project constitutions 

 

What is included in a CSP constitution?

Each Clubs, Society and Project (CSP) must have a constitution as defined in the Clubs, Societies & Projects policy:

81. Each Club, Society and Project shall be governed in accordance with a constitution approved by the membership and the Management Group. It should be obeyed and regularly reviewed by them. It should set out the management structure and procedures enacted in the Clubs, Societies and Projects Policy.

This is a key document for your CSP and dictates how you are governed. Typically a CSP constitution will include the following points which can be changed by the CSP:

  • Name of the CSP*
  • Aims & objectives
  • Committee positions*
  • Committee job descriptions
  • Additional activities

*The following elements cannot be edited and submitted via eActivities; however, they can still be changed

There are certain elements that cannot be changed by the CSP, for example, points relating to the CSP's finances and how they must be managed in accordance with the Imperial College Union Financial Regulations.

 

Constitution changes

In some instances, a committee may wish to make changes to elements of their CSP constitution (defined above). 

eActivities allows the Chair/President and Treasurer to input various elements and build a model constitution for their CSP which is consistent with all the rules of the Union.

Changes to the constitution must be agreed by a general meeting of the CSP. These changes must then be approved by your Management Group (MG) or Constituent Union (CU) Executive Committee. Once voted in by all relevant parties, a copy will be recorded on eActivities.

 

Write a Draft 

You can write a draft version using the eActivities constitution builder.

Step 1: Fill in the fields provided
To do this go to eActivities > Administration > Clubs, Societies & Projects > Documentation > Constitution > Editable Version

Figure 1: Aims & Objectives sub-tab in the 'Constitution' section of eActivities.

You may already have an existing constitution which can be viewed as a pdf in the Current Version tab, or elements which have been partially completed e.g. your aims & objectives.

To complete your draft, fill out the fields provided in the following tabs:

  • Aims & Objectives: for example, 'to deliver fun and accessible to social tennis sessions to get more people of all levels playing the sport'.
  • Job Descriptions*: for example. 'The Vice President of Vegetarian and Vegan Cooking shall be responsible for obtaining discounts at restaurants and other establishments for the society and it's members. They should fulfil their role as a culinary artist and encourage alternative cooking (including vegan and vegetarian cooking). Importantly they are to teach cooking skills to members and encourage them to teach each other. They should also encourage the furthering of cooking skills through qualifications and competitions, also organising these for the members'. For new job descriptions (for potential new roles), this must be marked manually on the draft constitution (pdf), generated by the system once you have submitted any other changes or completed all the other tabs.
  • Current Committee: this is your committee list and is pre-set based on your existing constitution and committee structure. If you wish to add, remove, amend the title of, or number of positions available for a role, this must be marked manually on the draft constitution (pdf), generated by the system once you have submitted any other changes or completed all the other tabs.
  • Additional Activities: here you may include details of any annual flagship events run by the CSP so that a record can be kept of your planned activities, specifically those which are essential to your CSP.

*Please note that the position and the world 'shall' are pre-entered into the field so you should start your line with 'be responsible for' or an equivalent statement.

Step 2: Generate a draft version
Once you have completed all the appropriate fields in the tabs (listed above) or made the necessary amendments, click on the Draft Version tab.Click on the pdf icon to download a copy.

Figure 2: Draft Version sub-tab in the 'Constitution' section of eActivities.This is what you will use to present the changes to your membership.

Remember to mark any changes to your committee structure manually on the pdf

 

Present changes to your membership

Any changes to your constitution must first be voted in by your members at a general meeting of the CSP. This is typically done at an Annual General Meeting (AGM) however this isn't always feasible, particularily for those taking part in the online Leadership Elections.

Step 1: Call a general meeting of your membership

When planning a general meeting, ensure that it is advertised to all members of your CSP via your mailing list to ensure the greatest attendance. Some CSPs will add constitutional matters onto the end or beginning of an existing meeting, or plan a social afterwards to maximise attendance. 

Step 2: Have a vote

Vote on the changes proposed using the standardised method of voting, outlined in the How to run an AGM: during article.

Step 3: Record the results of the vote

Your Management Group (MG) or Constituent Union (CU) may ask for evidence of the vote in the form of a voting record and/or meeting minutes. Be prepared to have this to hand to evidence the results of your vote.

To learn what you might include in a voting record visit the Resignations, EGMs & Online By-elections article.

 

Send to your MG/CU Executive Committee

If the proposed changes are passed at a general meeting of the CSP, send the following to your MG/CU Executive Committee:

  • Copy of the draft constitution
  • Notes highlighting the proposed changes
  • Voting record and/or meeting minutes

 

Send evidence to Student Activities

Finally, if the proposed changes are passed by your MG/CU Executive Committee, and include changes to your committee list (positions) and/or the name of your CSP, you will simply need to send the following to the Student Activities team:

  • Copy of the draft constitution
  • Notes highlighting the proposed changes
  • Evidence of approval from your MG/CU: simply send us a copy of an email chain clearly showing that the changes have been approved by your MG/CU Executive Committee

or

  • Your MG/CU can email us to confirm the changes

Our administration team will then update your position list and/or name on the system and notify you when this has been completed. 

If the proposed changes relate to anything other than your committee list (positions) and/or the name of your CSP, you can skip this step

 

Edit draft

Once positions have been added to the system and/or your name changed, you will need to go back into eActivities and click Copy Current Committee Positions.

Figure 3: Job Description sub-tab in the 'Constitution' section of eActivities. This is where you enter all the positions you want listed in your constitution. 

By clicking Copy Current Committee Positions, the system will refresh to include any new or amended positions.

  • Click an empty 'position' field to add in a position
  • Click the dustbin icon next to a position to remove it

You can now enter in the relevant job description(s) for the new/amended role(s).

Once complete, click the Submit Changes button at the top of the page. The new/amended positions and job descriptions will now appear in the pdf generated in the Draft Version tab. This should be your final draft version, ready to be converted to your final, completed constitution, and recorded in eActivities under the Current Version tab.

Final version uploaded to eActivities

Once everything is in order, contact your MG/CU Executive Committee. A member of the Exec will click approve constitution on eActivities. 

Figure 4: Management Group Administration 'Constitution' tab. This is what your MG/CU views in eActivities.

Once this has been completed, your final version will appear in the Current Version tab. This is now your Constitution

Figure 5: Current Version sub-tab in the 'Constitution' section of eActivities. 

The Previous Versions tab provides copies of all previous constitutions registered in eActivities. 

Figure 6: Previous Version sub-tab in the 'Constitution' section of eActivities. 
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