AMASE Constitution

adopted on 2018-07-17

modified version ratified on 2021-01-30

CONTENTS
GENERALname, objectives, powers, general structureclauses 1-4
MEMBERSqualifications, application, subscription, register, withdrawal, expulsionclauses 5-13
GENERAL MEETINGS (meetings of members)general, notice, procedureclauses 14-27
MANAGEMENT COMMITTEEmaximum number,  eligibility, election/ retiral/re-election, termination of office, register, office bearers, powers, personal interestsclauses 28-45
MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE MEETINGSprocedureclauses 46-54
ADMINISTRATIONsub-committees, operation of bank accounts etc., minutes, accounting records and annual accounts, noticesclauses 55-63
MISCELLANEOUSdissolution, alterations to the constitution, interpretationclauses 64-69

Name

1. The name of the association is “Autistic Mutual Aid Society Edinburgh” – AMASE

Objectives

2. The association’s objectives are threefold: Supporting the Autistic Community, Advocacy, and Education

Supporting the Autistic Community

(a) Autistic community-building through promotion and organisation of autistic-led activities, peer support, and self-advocacy.

(b) The advancement and support of community developments that may benefit autistic people who live in Edinburgh and the surrounding area. 

(c)  Building positive alliances and links with other Autistic People’s Organisations (APOs) and Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs).

Advocacy

(d) The promotion of equality and diversity in matters which affect autistic people, and awareness-raising about autism from an autistic perspective.

(e) Ensuring that the autistic voice is given prominence in decisions affecting autistic people.

(f) The promotion of equal access to all aspects of society for autistic people. 

Education

(g) The advancement of the wellbeing of autistic people who live in Edinburgh and the surrounding area, through education and training of persons and agencies who work with autistic people. 

(h) The promotion of understanding and acceptance of autistic people.

Powers

3. In pursuance of the objectives set out in clause 2 (but not otherwise), the association shall have the following powers:-

(a) To engage in awareness-raising and training, and to represent the views of the membership of AMASE to persons and agencies that support people who are, or who are likely to be, autistic.  

(b) To advance the rights of people who are, or who are likely to be, autistic, with the assistance of elected political representatives, on a non-partisan basis.

(c) To organise events and produce resources in furtherance of the association’s objectives.

(d) To carry on any other activities which further any of the above objectives.

(e) To purchase, take on lease, hire, or otherwise acquire, any property or rights which are suitable for the association’s activities.

(f) To improve, manage, develop, or otherwise deal with, all or any part of the property and rights of the association.

(g) To sell, let, hire out, license, or otherwise dispose of, all or any part of the property and rights of the association.

(h) To engage such consultants and advisers as are considered appropriate from time to time.

(i) To effect insurance of all kinds (which may include officers’ liability insurance).

(j) To invest any funds which are not immediately required for the association’s activities in such investments as may be considered appropriate (and to dispose of, and vary, such investments).

(k) To liaise with other voluntary sector bodies, local authorities, UK, Scottish, or international government departments and agencies, and other bodies, all with a view to furthering the association’s objectives.

(l) To establish and/or support any other association, and to make donations for any purpose falling within the association’s objectives.

(m) To form any company with similar objectives to those of the association, and, if considered appropriate, to transfer to any such company (without any payment being required from the company) the whole or any part of the association’s assets and undertaking.

(n) To take such steps as may be deemed appropriate for the purpose of raising funds for the association’s activities.

(o) To accept grants, donations and legacies of all kinds (and to accept any reasonable conditions attaching to them).

(p) To do anything which may be incidental or conducive to the furtherance of any of the association’s objectives.

General structure

4. The structure of the association shall consist of:-

(a) the FULL MEMBERS – who have the right to attend the annual general meeting (and any special general meeting) and have important powers under the constitution; in particular, the members elect people to serve on the management committee and take decisions in relation to changes to the constitution itself 

(b) the MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE – who hold regular meetings during the period between annual general meetings, and generally control and supervise the activities of the association; in particular, the management committee is responsible for monitoring the financial position of the association. The management committee will have powers to appoint working groups as necessary and appoint advisers to the management committee as necessary to fulfil its business.

(c) the ASSOCIATE MEMBERS – who may attend the annual general meeting (and any special general meeting) by invitation of the management committee. Associate members may not stand for or elect people to serve on the management committee. Associate members may not vote at meetings.

Qualifications for membership

5. Membership qualifications shall be as follows:

(a) Full Membership shall be open to adults aged 16 and over, who identify as autistic and are located within Edinburgh and surrounding areas. ‘Surrounding areas’ shall be taken to include Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife, with Full Members in other areas accepted at the committee’s discretion.

(b) Associate Membership shall be open to adults aged 16 and over, who do not meet the criteria for full membership, who support the objectives of the association.

Application for membership

7. Any person who wishes to become a full or associate member must sign, and lodge with the association, a written application for membership.

8. The management committee shall appoint a membership secretary to consider each application for membership. The membership secretary shall, within a reasonable time after the application, notify the applicant of their decision on the application.

9. The management committee may, at its discretion, refuse to admit any person to membership.

Membership subscription

10. No membership subscription for full members shall be payable.  Associate members must pay a one-time fee at a rate to be decided by the committee.

Register of members

11. The membership secretary appointed by the management committee shall maintain a register of members, setting out the full name, address, and email address of each member, the date on which they were admitted to membership, and the date on which any person ceased to be a member.

Withdrawal from membership

12. Any person who wishes to withdraw from membership shall sign, and lodge with the membership secretary of the association, a written notice to that effect; on receipt of the notice by the association, they shall cease to be a member.

Expulsion from membership

13. Any person may be expelled from membership by way of a resolution passed by majority vote at a general meeting (meeting of full members), providing the following procedures have been observed:-

(a) at least 21 days’ notice of the intention to propose the resolution must be given to the member concerned, specifying the grounds for the proposed expulsion

(b) the member concerned shall be entitled to be heard on the resolution at the general meeting at which the resolution is proposed.

General meetings (meetings of full members)

14. The management committee shall convene an annual general meeting in each year (but excluding the year in which the association is formed); not more than 15 months shall elapse between one annual general meeting and the next.

15. The business of each annual general meeting shall include:-

(a) a report by the chair on the activities of the association

(b) consideration of the annual accounts of the association

(c) the election/re-election of members of the management committee, as referred to in clause 30.

16. The management committee may convene a special general meeting at any time.

Notice of general meetings

17. At least 14 clear days’ notice must be given (in accordance with clause 63) of any annual general meeting or special general meeting; the notice must indicate the general nature of any business to be dealt with at the meeting and, in the case of a resolution to alter the constitution, must set out the terms of the proposed alteration.

18. The reference to “clear days” in clause 17 shall be taken to mean that, in calculating the period of notice, the day after the notice is posted, and also the day of the meeting, should be excluded.

19. Notice of every general meeting shall be given (in accordance with clause 63) to all the members of the association, and to all the members of the management committee.

Procedure at general meetings

20. No business shall be dealt with at any general meeting unless a quorum is present; the quorum for a general meeting shall be one larger than the number of committee members, present in person or remotely.

21. If a quorum is not present within 15 minutes after the time at which a general meeting was due to commence – or if, during a meeting, a quorum ceases to be present – the meeting shall stand adjourned to such time and place as may be fixed by the chairperson of the meeting.

22. The chair of the association shall (if present and willing to act as chairperson) preside as chairperson of each general meeting; if the chair is not present and willing to act as chairperson within 15 minutes after the time at which the meeting was due to commence, the members of the management committee present at the meeting shall elect from among themselves the person who will act as chairperson of that meeting.

23. The chairperson of a general meeting may, with the consent of the meeting, adjourn the meeting to such time and place as the chairperson may determine.

24. Every full member shall have one vote, which (whether on a show of hands or on a secret ballot) must be given personally or via online vote.

25. If there is an equal number of votes for and against any resolution, the chairperson of the meeting shall be entitled to a casting vote.

26. Reasonable efforts shall be made to reach a consensus before a resolution is put to the vote where appropriate. A resolution put to the vote at a general meeting shall be decided on a show of hands unless a secret ballot is demanded by the chairperson (or by at least two full members present in person at the meeting); a secret ballot may be demanded either before the show of hands takes place, or immediately after the result of the show of hands is declared.

27. If a secret ballot is demanded, it shall be taken at the meeting and shall be conducted in such a manner as the chairperson may direct; the result of the ballot shall be declared at the meeting at which the ballot was demanded.

Maximum number of management committee members

28. The maximum number of members of the management committee shall be 12.

Eligibility

29. A person shall not be eligible for election/appointment to the management committee unless they are a full member of the association.

Election, retiral, re-election

30. At each annual general meeting, the full members may (subject to clause 28) elect any full member to be a member of the management committee.

31. The management committee may at any time appoint any full member to be a member of the management committee (subject to clause 28).

32. At each annual general meeting, all of the members of the management committee shall retire from office – but shall then be eligible for re-election. 

Termination of office

33. A member of the management committee shall automatically vacate office if:-

(a) they become debarred under any statutory provision from being a charity trustee 

(b) they become incapable for medical reasons of fulfilling the duties of their office and such incapacity is expected to continue for a period of more than six months

(c) they cease to be a member of the association

(d) they resign office by notice to the association

(e) they are absent (without permission of the management committee) from more than three consecutive meetings of the management committee, and the management committee resolve to remove them from office.

(f) They are grossly negligent in the discharge of their duties, as decided by full members through a vote at a general meeting.

Register of management committee members

34. The management committee shall maintain a register of management committee members, setting out the full name and address of each member of the management committee, the date on which each such person became a management committee member, and the date on which any person ceased to hold office as a management committee member.

Officebearers

35. The management committee shall consist of the following positions:
(a) Chair

(b) Secretary

(c) Treasurer

The management committee shall have the power to create additional office bearer positions (if any) as they consider appropriate, provided that the total number of management committee members does not exceed that outlined in clause 28.

36. All of the office bearers shall cease to hold office at the conclusion of each annual general meeting, but shall then be eligible for re-election.

37. A person elected to any office shall cease to hold that office if they cease to be a member of the management committee or if they resign from that office by written notice to that effect.

37b. The management committee shall have the power to appoint an acting office bearer, should the existing bearer feel they are temporarily unable to perform their obligations. The management committee may later vote to restore the previous office bearer to their position. 

Powers of management committee

38. Except as otherwise provided in this constitution, the association and its assets and undertaking shall be managed by the management committee, who may exercise all the powers of the association.

39. A meeting of the management committee at which a quorum is present may exercise all powers exercisable by the management committee.

Personal interests

40. A member of the management committee who has a personal interest in any transaction or other arrangement which the association is proposing to enter into, must declare that interest at a meeting of the management committee; they will be debarred (in terms of clause 52) from voting on the question of whether or not the association should enter into that arrangement, unless otherwise agreed by the management committee.

41. For the purposes of clause 40, a person shall be deemed to have a personal interest in an arrangement if any partner or other close relative of theirs or any firm of which they are a partner or any limited company of which they are a substantial shareholder or director, has a personal interest in that arrangement.

42. Provided 

(a) they have declared their interest

(b) they have not voted on the question of whether or not the association should enter into the relevant arrangement and

(c) the requirements of clause 44 are complied with,

a member of the management committee will not be debarred from entering into an arrangement with the association in which they have a personal interest (or is deemed to have a personal interest under clause 41) and may retain any personal benefit which they gain from their participation in that arrangement.

43. No member of the management committee may be given any remuneration by the association for carrying out their duties as a member of the management committee. 

44. Where a management committee member provides services to the association or might benefit from any remuneration paid to a connected party for such services, then 

(a) the maximum amount of the remuneration must be specified in a written agreement and must be reasonable

(b) the management committee members must be satisfied that it would be in the interests of the association to enter into the arrangement (taking account of that maximum amount)

(c) less than half of the management committee members must be receiving remuneration from the association (or benefit from remuneration of that nature).

45. The members of the management committee may be paid all travelling and other expenses reasonably incurred by them in connection with their attendance at meetings of the management committee, general meetings, or meetings of committees, or otherwise in connection with the carrying-out of their duties.

Procedure at management committee meetings

46. Any member of the management committee may call a meeting of the management committee or request the secretary to call a meeting of the management committee.

47. Questions arising at a meeting of the management committee shall be decided by consensus where possible. If a member feels that inability to reach consensus is a block to making progress, they may propose switching to decision-making by a majority of votes, and if a majority of the meeting agrees, this shall proceed. If an equality of votes arises, the chairperson of the meeting shall have a casting vote.

48. No business shall be dealt with at a meeting of the management committee unless a quorum is present; the quorum for meetings of the management committee shall be 3.

49. If at any time the number of management committee members in office falls below the number fixed as the quorum, the remaining management committee member(s) may act only for the purpose of filling vacancies or of calling a general meeting.

50. Unless otherwise agreed, the chair of the association shall preside as chairperson at every management committee meeting at which they are present; if the chair is unwilling to act as chairperson or is not present within 15 minutes after the time when the meeting was due to commence, the management committee members present shall elect from among themselves the person who will act as chairperson of the meeting.

51. The management committee may, at its discretion, allow any person who they reasonably consider appropriate, to attend and speak at any meeting of the management committee; for the avoidance of doubt, any such person who is invited to attend a management committee meeting shall not be entitled to vote.

52. A management committee member shall not vote at a management committee meeting (or at a meeting of a committee) on any resolution concerning a matter in which they have a personal interest which conflicts (or may conflict) with the interests of the association; they must withdraw from the meeting while an item of that nature is being dealt with.

53. For the purposes of clause 52, a person shall be deemed to have a personal interest in a particular matter if any partner or other close relative of theirs or any firm of which they are a partner or any limited company of which they are a substantial shareholder or director, has a personal interest in that matter.

Conduct of members of the management committee

54. Each of the members of the management committee shall, in exercising their functions as a member of the management committee of the association, act in the interests of the association; and, in particular, must 

(a) seek, in good faith, to ensure that the association acts in a manner which is in accordance with its objectives (as set out in this constitution)

(b) act with the care and diligence which it is reasonable to expect of a person who is managing the affairs of another person

(c) in circumstances giving rise to the possibility of a conflict of interest of interest between the association and any other party

(i) put the interests of the association before that of the other party, in taking decisions as a member of the management committee

(ii) where any other duty prevents them from doing so, disclose the conflicting interest to the association and refrain from participating in any discussions or decisions involving the other members of the management committee with regard to the matter in question

Delegation to sub-committees

55. The management committee may delegate any of their powers to any sub-committee consisting of one or more management committee members and such other persons (if any) as the management committee may determine; they may also delegate to the chair of the association (or the holder of any other post) such of their powers as they may consider appropriate.

56. Any delegation of powers under clause 55 may be made subject to such conditions as the management committee may impose and may be revoked or altered.

57. The rules of procedure for any sub-committee shall be as prescribed by the management committee.

Operation of accounts and holding of property

58. The signatures of two out of three signatories appointed by the management committee shall be required in relation to all operations (other than lodgement of funds) on the bank and building society accounts held by the association; at least one out of the two signatures must be the signature of a member of the management committee.

59. The title to all property (including any land or buildings, the tenant’s interest under any lease and (so far as appropriate) any investments) shall be held either in the names of the chair, treasurer and secretary of the association (and their successors in office) or in name of a nominee company holding such property in trust for the association; any person or body in whose name the association’s property is held shall act in accordance with the directions issued from time to time by the management committee.

Minutes

60. The management committee shall ensure that minutes are made of all proceedings at general meetings, management committee meetings and meetings of committees; a minute of any meeting shall include the names of those present, and (as far as possible) shall be signed by the chairperson of the meeting.

Accounting records and annual accounts

61. The management committee shall ensure that proper accounting records are maintained in accordance with all applicable statutory requirements.

62. The management committee shall prepare annual accounts, complying with all relevant statutory requirements; if an audit is required under any statutory provisions or if they otherwise think fit, they shall ensure that an audit of such accounts is carried out by a qualified auditor.

Notices

63. Any notice which requires to be given to a member under this constitution shall be in writing; such a notice may either be given personally to the member or be sent by email addressed to the member at the email address last intimated by them to the association.

Dissolution

64. If the management committee determines that it is necessary or appropriate that the association be dissolved, it shall convene a meeting of the members; not less than 21 days’ notice of the meeting (stating the terms of the proposed resolution) shall be given.

65. If a proposal by the management committee to dissolve the association is confirmed by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting at the general meeting convened under clause 64, the management committee shall have power to dispose of any assets held by or on behalf of the association – and any assets remaining after satisfaction of the debts and liabilities of the association shall be transferred to some other association having objectives similar to those of the association; the identity of the body or bodies to which such assets are transferred shall be determined by the members of the association at, or prior to, the time of dissolution.

66. For the avoidance of doubt, no part of the income or property of the association shall (otherwise than in pursuance of the association’s purposes) be paid or transferred (directly or indirectly) to the members, either in the course of the association’s existence or on dissolution.

Alterations to the constitution

67. Subject to clause 68, the constitution may be altered by a resolution passed by not less than two-thirds of those present and voting at a general meeting, providing due notice of the meeting, and of the resolution, is given in accordance with clauses 17, 18 and 19.

Interpretation

68. Any reference in this constitution to a provision of any legislation shall include any statutory modification or re-enactment of that provision in force from time to time.