People who are inspired to make a difference, to address unmet needs or to make a change in the way things work can achieve great things.
It’s almost impossible to make significant progress without involving others and organising the work that needs to be done. Sooner or later it becomes necessary to set up an organisation to progress your ideas and take significant action. The vision is only one step on the journey. Creating an organisation that will capture this vision and turn it into a reality requires a number of practical steps that have to be taken.
After finding the right people, outlining our aims and activities, deciding on a structure and getting organised, we’d like to share with you all what we have decided upon and documented in our Constitution.
The group OutWest,
Fully acknowledging that each and every human individual deserves full equality, without discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, disability, marital status, citizenship, national origin, family origin, or any other characteristic protected by law, do hereby adopt, enact, and give to ourselves this Constitution.
The name of the group shall be OutWest.
To provide a focal point in the community where all members of the LGBT+ community, can make contact with each other, and become involved in a range of joint activities including educational pursuits.
2.2. Provision of Information
i. To provide people with information and support and general help concerning LGBT+ related issues.
ii. To give support of an informal nature to assist people in dealing with the many social and emotional problems associated with being part of the LGBT+ community.
2.3. Education The group endeavours to provide information to the LGBT+ community in relation to health and other related issues and, when requested, to other agencies and the wider community.
2.4. Representation The group endeavours to represent a positive image of LGBT+ life in Ireland by increasing the profile of LGBT+ community in the wider community, and commenting on social policy and other public issues that pertain to LGBT+ concerns and policy, as agreed by the Management Committee.
3. STRUCTURE OF OUTWEST
3.1. A Management Committee The Management Committee will have ultimate responsibility for directing the activity of OutWest, ensuring it is well run and delivers the supports and services for which it has been set up. Members will be responsible for monitoring the activities of the organisation to ensure they are in keeping with the founding principles, objectives and values.
3.2. Regional Sub-Committees There will be five regional Sub-committees: one for each the counties of Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo, Leitrim, and Galway. Each committee will be led by a Regional Coordinator who will be a member of the Management Committee.
4. MEMBERSHIP OF THE MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE
4.1. The Management Committee will consist of a Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer, which will be elected at the AGM along with 12 committee members. From the 12 committee members elected at the AGM, the group will seek to fill these positions; Communications Officer, Social Media Coordinator, Education Officer, Inclusion Officer, Vice Chairperson and 5 Regional Co-ordinators at the first meeting of the new committee (see appendix 1 for a full description of duties for each position).
4.2. The period of office of the Management Committee members will be one year, when each member must stand for re-election at the AGM.
4.3. An Office holder on OutWest’s Management Committee may serve a maximum of five consecutive years in any one post. Should it not be possible to fill a position after the five years, the member may continue on in an interim capacity for a further period not exceeding one year. The member may hold/be elected for any other post, both officer and non-officer roles.
4.4. A representative of the OutWest LGBT Helpline, appointed by the Helpline membership, will be entitled to attend any and all management committee meetings and will have full voting rights on all issues raised at the meetings.
4.5. All members of the Management Committee and Sub-Committees will be required to sign the OutWest Code of Conduct
5. TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP OF MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE
A member of the Management Committee shall cease to be a member of the Management Committee:
5.1. If the member is absent from three consecutive meetings or fails to attend 70% of the scheduled Management Committee meetings without due reason being given, or
5.2. Upon receipt by the Secretary of the Management Committee of the member’s written resignation, or
5.3. Should the member be found guilty of breaking the group’s Anti-Racism/Discrimination ethos (as outlined in the Preamble of the Constitution), or is in breach of the Code of Conduct, or
5.4. The Management Committee may withdraw Committee membership from a member on a vote with the majority of two-thirds or more of the members present.
6. POLICIES OF MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE MEETINGS
6.1. Frequency of Meetings The Management Committee shall hold no less than ten meetings in each calendar year, of which one should be the Annual General Meeting, to be held not more than fourteen months after the last Annual General Meeting.
6.2. Notice of Meeting
i. At least seven days’ notice of any meeting of the Management Committee shall be given to all members.
ii. At least 21 days’ notice will be given of an annual general meeting.
iii. At least seven days’ notice will be given of a special meeting or emergency general meeting.
iv. With the consent of all members of the Management Committee, a meeting of the Management Committee may be convened upon shorter notice.
v. The notice shall specify the place, the day, and the time of the meeting, and the nature of the business to be discussed.
6.3. Quorum At any meeting of the Management Committee, half of the total membership, plus one, shall constitute a quorum. The Chairperson of the meeting shall only be entitled to a vote in the event of a tie.
6.4. Minutes The Management Committee shall keep proper minutes of all their meetings, and of meetings of any Sub-Committee.
6.5. Accounts The Management Committee shall ensure that proper books of accounts are kept with respect to:
i. All sums of money received and expended by the group and the matters in respect of which such receipts and expenditure take place, and the assets and liabilities of the group.
ii. The books of accounts shall be kept by the treasurer and will be made available for inspection by any member of the group at every meeting. The treasurer will present a report to the group at quarterly intervals.
iii. At every Annual General Meeting (except the first Annual General Meeting) the Management Committee shall present an Income and Expenditure Account in respect of the preceding financial year and a Balance Sheet as at the end of that year.
7. THE HELPLINE
7.1. The members of OutWest LGBT Helpline will elect a representative from among their number, who will report to the OutWest Management Committee on a monthly basis, outlining their progress to date and highlighting any problems or difficulties they might experience.
7.2. This elected representative will be entitled to attend the committee meeting of OutWest and will have full voting rights.
7.3. The Management Committee will have no influence over who may or may not be elected as Helpline representative.
7.4. The Management Committee will not be made aware of who is a volunteer on the helpline.
8. REGIONAL SUBCOMMITTEE
Each year the group hope to convene five Regional Sub-Committees, one for each of the five counties in the Province of Connacht. Each Sub-Committees will be led by a Coordinator who will also be a member of, and report back to, the Management Committee.
8.1. There will be five subcommittees one for each of the five counties in Connacht.
8.2. Each Regional Coordinator will be elected at the AGM and ideally should be resident in the county they represent.
8.3. Each Coordinator will attend the Management Committee meetings or nominate a representative.
8.4. Should a Coordinator also hold an Officer post they can only nominate a representative for their role as Regional Coordinator, not for their role as an Office holder.
8.5. The Coordinator will be responsible for the setting up of a sub-committee for the purpose of carrying out the Objectives of OutWest in the county they represent.
9. WINDING UP OF THE GROUP
9.1. The group may be dissolved by a resolution of the Management Committee, upon written notice, of not less than twenty-eight days to each Management Committee member, and agreed by the group members at an EGM, by secret ballot.
9.2. If upon the winding up or dissolution of the group there remains, after the satisfaction of all it debts and liabilities, any property whatsoever, the same shall not be paid or distributed among the members of the group but shall be given or transferred to some other charitable institution or institutions having main Objectives similar to the main Objectives of the group and which shall prohibit the distribution of its or their income and property among its or their members to an extent at least as great as is imposed on the group under or by the virtue of clause hereof, such institution or institutions to be determined by the members of the group at or before the time of dissolution, and if and so far as effect cannot be given to such provisions, then to some charitable object.
10. INCOME AND PROPERTY
10.1. The income and property of the group, whatsoever derived, shall be applied solely towards the promotion of the main Objectives of the group as set forth in Part 2 of this Constitution and no portion thereof shall be paid or transferred directly or indirectly by way of dividend, bonus or otherwise howsoever by way of profit, to members of the group.
10.2. Provided that nothing herein shall prevent the payment, in good faith, of reasonable and proper remuneration to any officer or servant of the group or to any member of the group, in return for any services actually rendered to the group, nor prevent the payment of interest at a rate not exceeding five per cent per annum on money lent or reasonable and proper rent for premises demised or let, by any member to the group; but so that no member of the group shall be appointed to any salaried office of the group or any office of the group paid by fees and that no remuneration or other benefit in money or money’s worth shall be given by the group to any member, except repayment of out-of-pocket expenses and interest at the rate aforesaid on money lent or reasonable and proper rent for premises demised or let to the group, provided that the provision last aforesaid shall not apply to any payment to any group of which a member may be a member, and in which such member shall not hold more than one-hundredth part of the capital, and such member shall not be bound to account for any share of profit they may receive in respect of such payment.
In furthermore of the aforesaid Objectives (Section 2) but not otherwise the group may:
11.1. Provide information for the LGBT+ community.
11.2. Provide social outlets.
11.3. Write, print, publish, issue, circulate and distribute or procure such articles, reports, newsletters, periodical books, pamphlets, advertisements, leaflets, posters, memorandum and other documents, and
11.4. Arrange and provide, both by itself and in conjunction with other organisations and institutions classes, meetings, lectures, exhibitions and seminars.
11.5. Apply for, invite, obtain, collect and receive money, funds, securities, and other sources of income and capital by way of contributions, subscriptions, donations, grants, legacies, sale of publications of the group and other lawful methods, and receive gifts by will and inter vivo of property of any description, whether or not subject to express trusts.
11.6. Open and operate banking accounts and other facilities of banking.
11.7. Enter into Contracts, and raise money upon such terms as may be considered expedient.
Invest the monies of the Group not immediately required for its own use.
11.8. Purchase, take on lease or licence, hire, subscribe for and by any other lawful means acquire appliances, equipment, vehicles, furniture, books, periodicals, publications, newspaper stationary supplies and any other chattels whatsoever.
11.9. Employ and retain on a full-time basis of part-time basis and such terms as shall be agreed or on a voluntary basis all or any of the following: Any persons whose particular skills, qualifications or knowledge may be of assistants in the attainment of the Objectives of the group.
11.10. Make rules for the general administration and conduct of the business of the group, including the specifying of work to be undertaken or refused by the group from time to time.
11.11. Any proposed action to be taken by the Management Committee on behalf of the group, which may diverge from the ethos or nature of the group, must be ratified by the general membership at the monthly group meeting. Any changes or editing to the Constitution to be put in writing to the chairperson and secretary before date of ratification.
11.12. Enter into any contract of insurance howsoever in respect of any matter in which the group has an insurable interest and in particular in connection with any real or personal property in which the group shall have an interest or with any acts or omissions done by persons employed by the group, including indemnity insurance in respect of any fraudulent, negligent and other unlawful acts by any such persons.
11.13. Make reasonable charges including nominal charges or no charge in respect of the work of and the services provided by the group.
11.14. Do all such things as will further the attainment of the Objectives of the group.A