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 IVFDF 2006 - Cambridge

IVFDF Constitutional Revision

 


PROPOSED NEW CONSTITUTION AND STANDING ORDERS OF THE INTER VARSITY FOLK DANCE FESTIVAL

Version 3.0.                     [.doc] version for download                    &                                 [Old Version (2.0)]

This document is intended to start people thinking how a new constitution might look. If we are to get a new constitution voted in at the reps meeting in Exeter we need to have a pretty good idea of how it will look at the end of the Sheffield meeting, and we won't have time to write one from scratch in Sheffield.

My policy has been to try to incorporate every possible change I have heard proposed on the grounds that it is easier to reject a change than to write a new one, while at the same time leaving mechanisms alone as much as possible where they are generally agreed to work. This has led to a pretty big document, which I'll admit scares me a little since the more complex the setup, the less accessible it is to new people. That being said, it documents a lot of stuff in the standing orders which is currently informal, which I hope should help new people to get up to speed.

If none of this is used in the end I won't be in the least bit offended. Hopefully it will at the very least provide ideas as to how a new constitution could work, or scare people into finding another way to do it!

The biggest changes are:

  1. Making it clear that this is a constitution to govern IVFDF as an ongoing entity rather than any individual festival. The current constitution is thoroughly confused in this respect, which is one of the main reasons we have come to need to rewrite it.

  2. Splitting it into a constitution and standing orders. I don't see the point in going through all the hurdles to modify the constitution in order to allow a Festival Committee to leave its attendance figures out of its windup report. Better to split the stuff that really matters and is hopefully fairly uncontroversial (how we govern ourselves and prevent ourselves from being taken over) from matters of policy, which can be changed without notice at any reps meeting. This also allows a lot of the stuff we've informally agreed to be written down in the standing orders -- we'd probably end up having to write accompanying notes to the constitution anyway if we didn't this.

  3. Incorporation of all the recommendations in the Sheffield document, several of which date back to Braceborough, including:

    • Splitting Information Point into two roles (Treasurer and Archivist) which are elected as normal posts, and adding provision for further posts in the standing orders, starting with a Development Officer.
    • Adding aims and objectives.
    • Formalising the membership procedure.

    • Adding explicit support for underwriting and return of profits.
    • Adding requirements for festivals to write up their experience for future festivals.
    • Adding provision for external advisers.
    • Adding provision for electronic voting.
  4. Folding in the formal functions of Friends of IVFDF. This should not be taken as any criticism of the great work people have done to set FoIVFDF up; however it's a very heavyweight solution with a large administrative overhead, and I believe the balance of opinion is now that its functions would be better served within IVFDF. The original reason for a separate body was to keep the underwriting fund safe from the loss of any one festival; I believe that by carefully positioning IVFDF as a body which supports individual festivals in their operation, rather than running festivals itself, this can be achieved within the same fund. Note that this doesn't necessarily mean the death of Friends of IVFDF -- it could continue in a fundraising capacity if it so wishes regardless of this proposal, although again I would ask whether such efforts can be more efficiently served within IVFDF itself.
  5. A requirement that societies need to send students to IVFDF to count as a member society, for reasons discussed in the notes.
  6. More formal responsibilities regarding internet services, including taking backups and making sure other people can administer them if necessary.

There are also lots of little things that seemed a good idea, like requiring festivals to have compatible aims to IVFDF and prohibiting IVFDF from entering into debt. It's also full of forward references that are rather hard to avoid, comments welcome.

Version 2 to Version 3 changes marked in bold [Descriptions of changes in turquoise]


CONSTITUTION

NOTES ON THE CONSTITUTION

1. NAME

 

1.1 The name of the association shall be "The Inter Varsity Folk Dance Festival", commonly known as IVFDF.

1. Should the governing body be called something more distinct, such as the Inter Varsity Folk Dance Association, or even IVFDF-central?

2. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

 

2.1. IVFDF exists to promote knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of the traditions of the folk dance and music of the British Isles and beyond, especially to students and young people.

2.1. Aims taken from Sheffield's proposal.

2.2. This shall be achieved by supporting Festivals running events such as dances, workshops and displays, targeted at but not limited to university students.

2.2. Method of achieving aims modified from Sheffield's proposal, to make it clear that IVFDF is supporting festivals rather than running them, crucial to maintain independence of liability.


2.3. A discrimination statement is also sometimes required for funding.

2.3. Remove statement on equality, since it is the law of the land anyway.

3. MEMBER SOCIETIES

3.1. A society shall become Member Society of the association if:
3.1.1. It is a folk dance group which is recognised and supported by a British University.
3.1.2. At least two student members of the society are in attendance of a Festival. Each student can only count for one Member Society for this purpose.
3.1.3. It registers its intention to join with the Festival, giving contact details, university affiliation and the two students specified in section 3.1.2.

3.2. Each Member Society shall have the option to renew its membership at each Annual Representatives Meeting (ARM) with the secretary of the ARM, providing that the conditions in section 3.1 still hold.

3.3. Member Societies must notify the Archivist as soon as practically possible of any change in contact details.

3.4. Membership shall be withdrawn from a Member Society if:
3.4.1. It fails to renew its membership for two consecutive ARMs.
3.4.2. It notifies the Archivist that it wishes to revoke its membership. 3.4.3. It ceases to meet the criteria in section 3.1.1.

3. Based on Sheffield's proposal to formalise membership. Other details, such as number of members, are not crucial to the process and are left to the standing orders.

Note that if you don't have two student members at the festival for two years running, you are no longer considered a Member Society. I've long been convinced that, if you want to take over IVFDF, the way to do it is to find a friendly university with little society regulation and create a large number of empty societies. This way it is a little bit harder, since you need a lot of students to help you. It also allays the concern I have heard expressed regarding people at reps meetings claiming to represent a society with no proof that it (still) exists. While I think it unfair to criticise such people (they are merely representing the interests of the society according to the constitution) I think it would be more appropriate for such people to attend the meeting (so they can say why no one from their society is turning up) but not vote.

3.1.3. Member Societies register at a Festival, rather than specifically with the secretary of the ARM at a Festival.

3.3. Changed reporting requirements from "immediately" to "as soon as practically possible".

3.4. Allowed membership to be withdrawn if the society requests it or if it is no longer a university recognised folk society.

4. AUTHORITY

4.1. Decisions for the association shall be made by the Representatives of the Member Societies, by a Representatives Meeting (RM) as specified in section 5, or an Electronic Vote (EV) as specified in section 8. Such decisions shall hereafter be referred to as acts of the Representatives.

 

4.2. Where specified, a quorum shall require:
4.2.1. If the association has 9 or more Member Societies, representatives from one third of all Member Societies, rounding up; otherwise if the association has 3 or more Member Societies, representatives from 3 Member Societies; otherwise representatives from all Member Societies.
4.2.2. Representatives from Member Societies from three different universities where such Member Societies exist; otherwise representatives from a Member Society from each university with a Member Society.

4.3. The Representatives may make or modify Standing Orders of the association where they are not in conflict with this constitution.

4.2. After several suggestions, I've proposed a quorum formula which is slightly complicated but always ensures that a quorum is possible. This way we are covered for all eventualities, although if we get down to 2 Member Societies then there are probably more pressing things to worry about than whether a meeting is quorate! The formula also adds a "three universities" clause to make it harder for example for Cambridge and Exeter to stitch the whole thing that between them (speaking as one from Cambridge :-).

5. REPRESENTATIVES MEETINGS

5.1. An RM is defined as either an Annual Representatives Meeting (ARM) or an Extraordinary Representatives Meeting (ERM), run in accordance with the Standing Orders.

5.2. Each Member Society may choose up to two of its members present at the RM to have voting rights at the RM, hereafter referred to as Voting Members. The chair may not be a Voting Member.

5.3. Decisions may only be taken if the Voting Members form a quorum as defined in section 4.2.

 

5.4. Voting Members, the chair, the secretary, Officers, up to two members of each active Festival Committee and others specified in the Standing Orders shall have right of attendance. Others may be permitted to attend the RM at the discretion of the chair.

5.5. Votes shall be cast by simple majority of an open show of hands of the Voting Members. In the event of a tie, the chair shall have a casting vote.

5.6. The secretary shall record minutes of the meeting and compile a list of Member Societies present, and make them available to all members of the electronic mail list specified in section 10.2.6 within one month of the meeting. The Archivist shall store these records on behalf of IVFDF.

5.4. It seems only fair that active festival committees have right of attendance. I've put two members only so the chair can keep a reasonable control over numbers -- member societies aren't permitted to send their whole committee by right either.

6. ANNUAL REPRESENTATIVES MEETING

6.1. An Annual Representatives Meeting (ARM) shall be held at each Festival.

6.2. The current Festival Committee shall take all reasonable steps to make all Member Societies present at the Festival, and all societies eligible to be Member Societies, aware of the ARM and their right of attendance.

6.2. Based on Sheffield's proposal to make explicit the duty of the current festival committee to properly advertise the ARM.

6.3. The current Festival Committee shall appoint a chair and secretary for the meeting, who shall not otherwise have right of attendance as defined in section 5.4.

6.3. Removed the requirement that the chairman of the current festival also chairs the ARM. This is mainly because I've removed all specification of officers required for a festival committee so it's hard to refer to a chairman, but also because I don't see it as a necessary requirement. For example, the chairman might have strong views on things to be discussed in the meeting, and might want to appoint someone more neutral to chair it instead.

The right of attendance thing is to stop people with vested interests chairing or secretaring an RM. For example, Voting Members are therefore banned.

6.3. Changed secretary and chair from "need not otherwise have right of attendance" to "shall not otherwise have right of attendance". This is very different, and means that people who are explicitly allowed to be there anyway, such as Voting Members, are barred from being chair or secretary.

6.4. The ARM shall as a minimum:

6.4.1. Provisionally nominate, from one or more bids from potential Festival Committees, a Festival Committee to run a Festival in two years time. If no bids are received then the ARM shall take all necessary steps to ensure a Festival Committee is nominated as soon as possible, and in any case before the next ARM.

6.4.1. Note that this is no more specific than nominating a "Festival Committee". it does not say it must be a member society, or based at a university. It is not the intention that the ARM nominates every person on that committee, merely that a committee comes forward and is nominated.

6.4.2. Confirm, subject to section 9.3, the previously nominated Festival Committee to run the next Festival. If instead support for the previously nominated Festival Committee is withdrawn and a new Festival Committee chosen, confirmation shall be given immediately or as soon as is possible, the current Festival Committee calling an ERM if required to achieve this.
6.4.3. Elect the Officers as required in section 9.

6.4.2. Made more explicit a "confirmation" stage beyond which support for a festival cannot be withdrawn.

7. EXTRAORDINARY REPRESENTATIVES MEETING

7.1. Any Member Society may call an Extraordinary Representatives Meeting (ERM) with the support (themselves included) of either:
7.1.1. Five Member Societies from at least three different universities.
7.1.2. Sufficient Member Societies to form a quorum as defined in section 4.2.

7.1. I've complicated the rules here slightly to make sure that it is always possible to call an ERM, even if we are down to very few member societies.

7.2. The ERM shall be hosted by the Festival Committee which organised the most recent Festival, unless that Festival Committee does not wish to host the ERM, in which case it shall be hosted by the Member Society which called the ERM.

7.3. At least one month's notice must be given by the host of the ERM to the electronic mailing list specified in section 10.2.6 of the time, venue, and provisional agenda of the ERM, as decided by the host of the ERM.

7.4. The host of the ERM shall appoint a chair and secretary for the meeting, who shall not otherwise have right of attendance as defined in section 5.4.

7.2. The current constitution requires the outgoing festival committee to host an ERM -- we need a fallback position if they don't want to. I've suggested the society that proposed the ERM in the first place.

The right of attendance thing is to stop people with vested interests chairing or secretaring an RM. For example, Voting Members are therefore banned.

7.4. Changed secretary and chair from "need not otherwise have right of attendance" to "shall not otherwise have right of attendance". This is very different, and means that people who are explicitly allowed to be there anyway, such as Voting Members, are barred from being chair or secretary.

8. ELECTRONIC VOTING

8.1. Any Member Society may call an EV with the support required for calling an ERM as specified in section 7.1.

8.2. Each Member Society may choose up to two of its members to have voting rights in an EV, hereafter referred to as Voting Members.

8.3. The EV shall be conducted in accordance with the Standing Orders by a Returning Officer defined by the Standing Orders.
8.3.1. The Returning Officer may not vote unless there is a tie, in which case he/she shall have a casting vote.
8.3.2. The Returning Officer shall give notice of the proposal(s) the electronic mailing list specified in section 10.2.6, appending the entirety of section 8 of this constitution and any Standing Orders governing the conduct of EVs.
8.3.3. At least one week shall be allowed following notification of the proposal(s) to allow discussion of the proposal(s) to take place.
8.3.4. Once the discussion period is over the Return Officer shall then send an e-mail to the list indicating the opening of voting and the duration of the vote, which shall be not less than two weeks.
8.3.5. Each Voting Member may vote by sending an e-mail with their vote to the Returning Officer.
8.3.6. The vote shall be invalid unless those from whom valid votes are received form a quorum as defined in section 4.2.
8.3.7. Once voting is closed, the Returning Officer shall send an e-mail to the list indicating the result of the vote, and listing the people who voted, the way they voted and their affiliation. The e-mail shall also indicate the duration of a period to allow the validity of the votes cast to be disputed, which shall be not less than one week.
8.3.8. If the Returning Officer cannot resolve to the satisfaction of all disputing parties all disputes raised within the dispute period, or he/she is not satisfied that the procedures have been properly followed, he/she shall declare the vote void.
8.3.9. Otherwise, once the dispute period is over, the Returning Officer shall send a final e-mail to the list confirming the result.

8.4. The Member Society which called the EV may withdraw the proposal by informing the Returning Officer at any time until he/she confirms the final result.

8.5. The Archivist shall record the proposal(s), summary of votes and result.

8. Sheffield suggested we should have a mechanism for electronic voting, but didn't propose one in the constitutional amendments. Going with my principle of including everything, I've invented a mechanism. This permits any business other than constitutional change (which explicitly requires an RM) to be carried out electronically. I was originally going to limit it to certain predefined classes of decision, but this complicates things somewhat, and is another diversion for us to spend lots of time discussing instead of "important business". I also now believe that electronic voting is at least as fair as an ERM, since at least all societies get to see everything that is voted upon this way -- not everyone can make an ERM.

Note that, in the absence of an obvious arbitration mechanism, if there are any disputes as to the validity of an electronic vote it is declared void, presumably forcing an ERM instead.

8. Electronic Voting: removed the unanimous option, extended the voting period to 2 weeks, made any disputes cause the votes to be automatically void, effectively forcing an ERM on the issue.

9. FESTIVAL

9.1. Each Festival Committee must undertake obligations in accordance with the Standing Orders.

9.2. A Festival Committee may change its officers or membership without the approval of the Representatives.

9. The current constitution requires a festival to invite all member societies. This seems superfluous, and festivals must have an ultimate right to deny entry to anyone should they dee it necessary (subject to the discrimination statement). I've therefore removed this requirement.

9.3. Nomination of a Festival Committee to run a Festival is provisional until confirmed by the Representatives, on or after the ARM of the preceding Festival. In the event that the Representatives do not have confidence in the ability of the Festival Committee to run a successful Festival, or the Festival Committee indicates it is unable to host a Festival, the Representatives may withdraw support for that Festival Committee and provisionally nominate a new Festival Committee to run the Festival instead.

9.2. Explicit permission for a festival committee to change its officers and membership is given since IVFDF nominates the committee to run a festival, not a university. It might be possible to avoid the need for this by rewording things elsewhere, but I can't see how to do this easily.

9.4. A Festival Committee shall be deemed to be active from being first nominated to run a Festival, and cease to be active at the end of the ARM following the Festival that Festival Committee organises, or immediately if support is withdrawn under section 9.3.

9.3. More explicit text surrounding withdrawal of support for a festival. Does this wording still give festival committees the jitters? Should we be more restrictive?

10. OFFICERS

10.1. The Treasurer:
10.1.1. Shall be elected annually at the ARM.
10.1.2. Shall not be a member of any active Festival Committee while he/she holds the post.
10.1.3. May not be a Voting Member in an RM or EV.
10.1.4. Shall maintain a bank account to hold central IVFDF funds distinct from any Festival Committee.
10.1.5. Shall make and receive payments to/from Festival Committees and other organisations as directed by the Representatives.
10.1.6. Shall prepare and present a financial report at each ARM.

10. The role of Information Point is explicitly split into Treasurer and Archivist, as recommended in Sheffield's proposal (although they didn't go as far as putting it in the proposed constitutional amendments). I've also taken the alternative route of making them normal annually elected posts. The original reason for making Information Point a long-term post was so that people could contact him to find the next festival -- since no one has done this for years and there is also now an effective means to find out from www.ivfdf.org, I believe this argument no longer holds.

I deliberately haven't made the officers into any form of committee capable of making decisions by itself -- authority is delegated to individual officers only. If we expect IVFDF central to be an active organisation working with lots of universities, an executive committee may be useful. This has a largish impact on the constitution, and we should ask what decisions such a committee needs to be able to make before forming it. My personal view is that, to keep bureaucracy to a minimum, we should continue without one initially until we find we need one. The electronic voting mechanism should reduce the need for a bit anyway.

10. Changed term of office for Treasurer and Archivist from 1 year to 3 years, with a maximum of 9 years.

10.1.7. Shall represent IVFDF when required.

10.1.7. Do we need to nominate an officer (the Treasurer) to "represent IVFDF when required"? I'm not sure when this would be used, but otherwise we have a group without a nominal leader.

10.2. The Archivist:
10.2.1. Shall be elected annually at the ARM.
10.2.2. Shall maintain the constitution.
10.2.3. Shall maintain the list of Member Societies as collected by the secretary of each ARM.
10.2.4. Shall store records on behalf of IVFDF as required.
10.2.5. Shall make records held on behalf of IVFDF available to Member Societies and active Festival Committees on request.
10.2.6. Shall maintain an electronic mailing list for distributing information, to include contacts for each Member Society, active Festival Committee, and Officers. Other interested parties may be added at the discretion of the Archivist.

10.2. Note that the Archivist is not barred from voting or sitting on a festival committee. I don't see how they could be any conflict of interest here, and I want to avoid leaving us with the situation that a good and competent Archivist is forced to stand down so they can run a festival -- there aren't that many people to go round!

10.3. The Standing Orders of the association may specify additional Officers and additional responsibilities for the Officers named in this section.

10.4. Officers may delegate duties at their discretion unless otherwise directed by the Representatives, but maintain responsibility for ensuring that they are adequately performed.

10.5. In the event that an Officer's post becomes casually vacant, the Representatives may elect a replacement to serve until the next ARM.

10.6. The Representatives may remove any Officer from office by a vote of no confidence and elect a replacement.

10.3. Additional officers are specified in the standing orders, such as the development officer.

11. FINANCES

11.1. The association shall not make such obligations that could cause it to come into debt, for example by offering a greater sum in underwriting than its total assets.

11.1. I think it is a good constitutional safeguard to prohibit IVFDF going into debt. It's easy to remove if people disagree.

11.2. Withdrawals from central funds shall require the signatures of two of: the Treasurer, and two persons nominated by the Representatives for this purpose. One of the signatures shall normally be that of the Treasurer.

11.2. This has to be worded such that the Treasurer doesn't need to send cheques halfway across the country for signing each time he needs to make a payment. It is essentially the same as the wording in the current constitution, although I don't know who these people are at present.

12. DISSOLUTION

12.1. If a Festival does not take place in any period of twenty-five consecutive calendar months, then IVFDF shall be said to be dissolved, when the following shall be enacted:
12.1.1. All property and assets of IVFDF, including debts owed by Festival Committees, shall be converted into money and collected together.
12.1.2. All debts and liabilities of IVFDF shall be settled immediately with this money.
12.1.3. The remaining sum, being credit or debit, shall be shared equally between all Member Societies at the end of the last Festival.

12. The section on dissolution is essentially unchanged, although I've made it harder for societies to jump ship if there are any debts to be shared. Not that there should be any debts due to section 11.1, but it is theoretically possible for the Treasurer to screw up or some similar mishap to cause an unintentional debt.

12.1.3. Dissolution language tightened up to stop Member Societies from jumping ship in the case of a debt (although section 11.1 should make this pretty unlikely).

13. CONSTITUTION

13.1. This constitution may be altered in whole or in part by the assenting vote of at least two-thirds of the Voting Members present at a properly constituted RM.

13.2. Proposals for alterations to this constitution must be raised for discussion to the electronic mailing list specified in 10.2.6, giving at least three months notice. Final changes must be made available in the same way at least one month before the RM.

13.3. Proposals may be made by any single Member Society.

13.4. Proposals which have been properly notified shall form part of the agenda of the next properly constituted RM that takes place. If the constitution is successfully modified, a copy of the updated constitution shall be presented to the Archivist by the secretary of the RM within one month of the RM.

13.5. Proposals may be altered in whole or part as a result of discussion at an RM, but only matters raised with due notice may be discussed. The RM shall also have the power to make any other changes to this constitution which may be required as a knock-on effect of proposals for alterations.

13. Final constitutional amendments need only be given with 1 month's notice, as recommended in Sheffield's proposal. A quorum is required to propose changes.

13.3. Constitutional amendment proposals require a quorum to propose rather than just a single Member Society.


STANDING ORDERS

NOTES ON THE STANDING ORDERS

1. ANNUAL REPRESENTATIVES MEETING

The standing orders can be changed at any RM or by EV, and can therefore be viewed as statements of policy in most cases. I've tried to capture the essence of "how IVFDF really works".

1.1. The agenda for the ARM shall include:
1.1.1. Outgoing report by the Festival Committee which ran the last Festival.
1.1.2. Report by the current Festival Committee.
1.1.3. Treasurer's Report.
1.1.4. Archivist's Report.
1.1.5. Development Officer's Report.
1.1.6. Next Festival:
1.1.6.1. Report by the Festival Committee nominated to run the next Festival, including budget, status of venues, publicity and schedule.
1.1.6.2. Report by the External Adviser for the next Festival.
1.1.6.3. Confirmation or otherwise of the next Festival as specified in section 6.4.2 of the constitution.
1.1.6.4. Confirmation of grants, loans and underwriting to the next Festival based on the above.
1.1.7. The Festival in two years time:
1.1.7.1. Provisional nomination of a Festival Committee to run a Festival in two years time as specified in section 5.3.1 of the constitution.
1.1.7.2. Appointment of one or more External Advisers to oversee the nominated Festival Committee.
1.1.7.3. Provisional offers of grants, loans and underwriting for the nominated Festival Committee as deemed necessary by the ARM subject to confirmation at the following ARM.
1.1.8. Setting of budgets required for Officers to carry out their duties.
1.1.9. Election of Officers as specified in section 5 of these Standing Orders and in section 6.4.3 of the constitution.

1.1. The ARM agenda is roughly how they currently work, with the addition of provision for external advisers (see below).

1.2. All documents for the ARM must be available on request from the start of the festival (not the meeting) and where possible at least one month before the festival.

1.2. A requirement for ARM documents to be available in advance, as recommended in Sheffield's proposal.

1.3. When registering membership with the secretary, Member Societies shall, where possible, indicate:
1.3.1. Changes to contact details.
1.3.2. Approximate number of members, student and non-student, attending the Festival and in total.
1.3.3. Principal activities undertaken by the society.

1.3. Additional information to be gathered from each member society, as recommended in Sheffield's proposal.

1.4. The ARM shall be held so as to give time for it to be reconvened later in the Festival should no bids be received for the Festival in two years time.

1.4. We've spent a long time discussing whether it is best to hold the ARM on the Saturday or the Sunday so we can cajole people into running a festival and reconvene if necessary -- following feedback I've proposed that provision must be made for this without prescribing one day or the other.

2. EXTRAORDINARY REPRESENTATIVES MEETING

2.1. The costs of an ERM shall be borne by the Member Societies attending.

 

2.1. I've left alone the requirement for an ERM to be paid for by the member societies attending, but put it in the standing orders so that for example an RM can decide to subsidise travel to an ERM.

3. ELECTRONIC VOTING

3.1. The Returning Officer shall be one of the following, in order of preference, based on availability: the Development Officer, the Archivist, the Treasurer. Anyone serving on an active Festival Committee shall be deemed unavailable for this purpose.

 

3.1. The order of precedence for EV returning officers has been chosen to minimise conflict of interest. It's quite hard to avoid all possible conflict of interest here while guaranteeing that a returning officer will always be available, and I still don't think I've found an ideal solution, but I'm still fairly convinced that it is not productive to bar all officers from serving on a festival committee.

4. FESTIVAL COMMITTEE OBLIGATIONS

4.1. The Festival shall be run at some time during February and the first two weeks of March of the year in which the Festival Committee has been nominated to run a Festival.

4. The obligations on a given festival from the current constitution are carried over here to make them easier to change.

4.2. The constitution of the Festival Committee shall state that IVFDF is not liabile for any debt or other obligations arising from the Festival except where agreed by the association.

4.3. All property and assets of each Festival shall be vested in the Festival Committee, in whose names all transactions of the Festival shall be carried out. They shall hold themselves liable, on behalf of the Festival, for all proceedings undertaken for or against the Festival in any Court of Law, and shall indemnify themselves against the assets of the Festival for any liabilities incurred therein.

4.2. A statement in the festival constitution separating its liability from IVFDF should help keep the central funds separate.

4.4. The Festival Committee shall take out appropriate public liability insurance to cover the Festival.

4.4. It is almost inconceivable that a festival would be run without public liability insurance, but worth making explicit, again to limit liability for IVFDF. Actually, at present this is covered as a requirement for EFDSS membership. I assume there is no need for IVFDF itself to be covered.

Should there be a requirement for festivals to be an associated club of EFDSS, or should IVFDF itself be? The current constitution requires the former, but since public liability insurance is now explicitly required, on request I've removed the EFDSS affiliation. EFDSS membership doesn't automatically give public liability insurance for events over 50 people any more anyway. I don't believe we should mandate more than is absolutely necessary on each festival, but we might decide to make IVFDF itself support EFDSS, and it is not inconceivable that EFDSS might one day support IVFDF! Left as a topic for further discussion.

4.4. Specified minimum public liability insurance of £1 million. Any respectable policy should be more than this.


4.5. A requirement for compatible aims should help with funding.

4.5. Removed equality statement in line with 2.3 of the constitution above.

4.5. The Festival Committee shall compile a report following the Festival, and present this report to the Archivist as soon as possible after the Festival. The report shall include:
4.5.1. A list of Member Societies with at least two student members who attended the Festival.
4.5.2. Final accounts audited by the External Adviser.
4.5.3. Attendance figures.
4.5.4. Details of applications for funding or sponsorship, and the outcomes of those applications.
4.5.5. Constitution of the Festival Committee.
4.5.6. Advice and lessons learned that may be useful for future Festival Committees.

4.6. A requirement to write up notes from running the festival in addition to the accounts, as recommended in Sheffield's proposal. Should there be a deadline for the return of this report? The current constitution just says "as soon as possible" and it sometimes takes a while to wrap everything up, but some things, such as the list of member societies attending, may benefit from a stricter time limit.

Renumber to 4.5 as result of changes above.

4.6. If underwriting support from central funds is accepted by the Festival Committee, the Festival Committee shall return at least half of any profits they make to central funds.

4.7. A requirement to return half of all profits in return for underwriting as recommended in Sheffield's proposal.

Renumber to 4.6 as result of changes above.

5. EXTERNAL ADVISERS

5.1. An External Adviser shall be appointed to oversee each Festival Committee, as described in section 1.1.4.2. The External Adviser is appointed for his/her experience in running a Festival and must have sat on a Festival Committee within the last 10 years on appointment.

5.2. External advisors shall have right of attendance at RMs.

5.3. Each Festival Committee shall report to the appointed External Adviser once in every 4 month period, indicating progress on budget, venues, publicity, action plans and anything else that may be requested by the External Adviser.

5. Ever since Braceborough we have been trying to work out how to assign external advisers to festivals. At present the constitution of FoIVFDF allows it to do this, although there are few people in Friends with recent experience of running a festival; Sheffield's proposal recommended a team appointed by the RM and this is closer to that proposal. I'm recommending putting a single person in charge although others may be assigned to help, to limit the "hassle factor" applied to any festival committee. It must be someone with recent experience of a festival committee and that person is deliberately not excluded from sitting on another festival committee, since this should be viewed as a positive thing.

5.4. The External Adviser shall give such advice and assistance as is necessary, welcome and practical to ensure the successful running of the Festival, and alert the Member Societies if he/she believes that the Festival is at risk of failure.

5.5. The External Adviser shall report to the ARM, and ERMs as requested, on the progress of the Festival Committee and highlight any concerns that he/she may have. The RM shall use this information to decide whether to confirm the Festival Committee and to confirm underwriting support.

5.6. The External Adviser for a Festival Committee can be changed in the same way as any Officer.

5.4. A requirement for the external adviser to give all "necessary, welcome and practical" assistance to ensure success. This is carefully worded to indicate that the external adviser is expected to be proactive if necessary, but that assistance can be refused if requested. Ultimately the external adviser's final sanction is to alert the member societies of his or her concerns. The autonomy of festival committees is therefore hopefully protected.

5.7. Assistants may be appointed to assist an External Adviser and provide additional support to a Festival Committee as required.

5.7. I haven't gone into much detail regarding how assistants might be appointed -- they don't have a formal role, so it's best to keep this flexible.

6. OFFICERS

6.1. The Archivist shall in addition to his duties specified in section 10.2 of the constitution:
6.1.1. Shall maintain a web site at www.ivfdf.org, which shall as a minimum:
6.1.1.1. Link to the web pages of forthcoming Festivals were available.
6.1.1.2. Advertise IVFDF in general.
6.1.1.3. Make records held on behalf of IVFDF available for download as far as is practical. Section 10.2.4 of the constitution shall be deemed to be satisfied for such records.
6.1.2. Shall make adequate provision for the recovery of copies of key records in the event of theft, computer failure, fire, flood or other similar event, such records to include the contents of www.ivfdf.org, the membership of ivfdf-news@ivfdf.org, the current constitution, and the list of Member Societies and their contact details.
6.1.3. Shall maintain an e-mail list called ivfdf-news@ivfdf.org, for the purposes specified in section 10.2.6 of the constitution.
6.1.4. Shall administer and maintain registration of the internet domains ivfdf.org and ivfdf.org.uk on behalf of IVFDF. Approval is granted to use IVFDF funds to pay registration fees required for this purpose.
6.1.5. Shall prepare and present a report at each ARM.
6.1.6. Shall ensure other nominated people have the rights and knowledge to maintain the web site, e-mail list, domain registration and any other electronic services provided on behalf of IVFDF, in case such maintenance is required and the Archivist is unavailable.

6.1. The Archivist is made explicitly responsible for Internet services and data backup. The Archivist would therefore normally be the web site administrator. He/she must also ensure others can administer the services. A separate document exists defining the management structure at present and proposing how access should be given to others and to whom. It's probably easier to leave that level of decision to the Archivist.

6.2. The Development Officer:
6.2.1. Shall be elected annually at the ARM.
6.2.2. Shall coordinate the long-term advertising policy between festivals.
6.2.3. Shall promote student folk activities, maintaining a list of known groups and individuals.
6.2.4. Shall encourage said groups and individuals who do not normally attended IVFDF to attend, or attend in greater numbers.
6.2.5. Shall prepare and present a report at each ARM.

6.2. Provision is made for a development officer as recommended in Sheffield's proposal. The responsibilities are still pretty vague and will almost certainly need changing if we decide to create this post.

CONSTITUTION NOTES ON THE CONSTITUTION
1.1 The name of the association shall be "The Inter Varsity Folk Dance Festival", commonly known as IVFDF. 1. Should the governing body be called something more distinct, such as the Inter Varsity Folk Dance Association, or even IVFDF-central?

2. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

 

2.1. IVFDF exists to promote knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of the traditions of the folk dance and music of the British Isles and beyond, especially to students and young people.

2.1. Aims taken from Sheffield's proposal.
2.2. This shall be achieved by supporting Festivals running events such as dances, workshops and displays, targeted at but not limited to university students. 2.2. Method of achieving aims modified from Sheffield's proposal, to make it clear that IVFDF is supporting festivals rather than running them, crucial to maintain independence of liability.

2.3. The association shall not discriminate on the grounds of race, sex, sexual orientation, religion or political views.

2.3. A discrimination statement is also sometimes required for funding.

3. MEMBER SOCIETIES

3.1. A society shall become Member Society of the association if:
3.1.1. It is a folk dance group which is recognised and supported by a British University.
3.1.2. At least two student members of the society are in attendance of a Festival. Each student can only count for one Member Society for this purpose.
3.1.3. It registers its intention to join with the secretary of the ARM at the Festival, giving contact details, university affiliation and the two students specified in section 3.1.2.

3.2. Each Member Society shall have the option to renew its membership at each Annual Representatives Meeting (ARM) with the secretary of the ARM, providing that the conditions in section 3.1 still hold.

3.3. Member Societies must notify the Archivist immediately of any change in contact details.

3.4. Membership shall be withdrawn if with a Member Society fails to renew its membership for two consecutive ARMs.

3. Based on Sheffield's proposal to formalise membership. Other details, such as number of members, are not crucial to the process and are left to the standing orders.

Note that if you don't have two student members at the festival for two years running, you are no longer considered a Member Society. I've long been convinced that, if you want to take over IVFDF, the way to do it is to find a friendly university with little society regulation and create a large number of empty societies. This way it is a little bit harder, since you need a lot of students to help you. It also allays the concern I have heard expressed regarding people at reps meetings claiming to represent a society with no proof that it (still) exists. While I think it unfair to criticise such people (they are merely representing the interests of the society according to the constitution) I think it would be more appropriate for such people to attend the meeting (so they can say why no one from their society is turning up) but not vote.

4. AUTHORITY

4.1. Decisions for the association shall be made by the Representatives of the Member Societies, by a Representatives Meeting (RM) as specified in section 5, or an Electronic Vote (EV) as specified in section 8. Such decisions shall hereafter be referred to as acts of the Representatives.

 

4.2. Where specified, a quorum shall require:
4.2.1. If the association has 9 or more Member Societies, representatives from one third of all Member Societies, rounding up; otherwise if the association has 3 or more Member Societies, representatives from 3 Member Societies; otherwise representatives from all Member Societies.
4.2.2. Representatives from Member Societies from three different universities where such Member Societies exist; otherwise representatives from a Member Society from each university with a Member Society.

4.3. The Representatives may make or modify Standing Orders of the association where they are not in conflict with this constitution.

4.2. After several suggestions, I've proposed a quorum formula which is slightly complicated but always ensures that a quorum is possible. This way we are covered for all eventualities, although if we get down to 2 Member Societies then there are probably more pressing things to worry about than whether a meeting is quorate! The formula also adds a "three universities" clause to make it harder for example for Cambridge and Exeter to stitch the whole thing that between them (speaking as one from Cambridge :-).

5. REPRESENTATIVES MEETINGS

5.1. An RM is defined as either an Annual Representatives Meeting (ARM) or an Extraordinary Representatives Meeting (ERM), run in accordance with the Standing Orders.

5.2. Each Member Society may choose up to two of its members present at the RM to have voting rights at the RM, hereafter referred to as Voting Members. The chair may not be a Voting Member.

5.3. Decisions may only be taken if the Voting Members form a quorum as defined in section 4.2.

 

5.4. Voting Members, the chair, the secretary, Officers, up to two members of each active Festival Committee and others specified in the Standing Orders shall have right of attendance. Others may be permitted to attend the RM at the discretion of the chair.

5.5. Votes shall be cast by simple majority of an open show of hands of the Voting Members. In the event of a tie, the chair shall have a casting vote.

5.6. The secretary shall record minutes of the meeting and compile a list of Member Societies present, and make them available to all members of the electronic mail list specified in section 10.2.6 within one month of the meeting. The Archivist shall store these records on behalf of IVFDF.

5.4. It seems only fair that active festival committees have right of attendance. I've put two members only so the chair can keep a reasonable control over numbers -- member societies aren't permitted to send their whole committee by right either.

6. ANNUAL REPRESENTATIVES MEETING

6.1. An Annual Representatives Meeting (ARM) shall be held at each Festival.

6.2. The current Festival Committee shall take all reasonable steps to make all Member Societies present at the Festival, and all societies eligible to be Member Societies, aware of the ARM and their right of attendance. 6.2. Based on Sheffield's proposal to make explicit the duty of the current festival committee to properly advertise the ARM.
6.3. The current Festival Committee shall appoint a chair and secretary for the meeting, who need not otherwise have right of attendance. 6.3. Removed the requirement that the chairman of the current festival also chairs the ARM. This is mainly because I've removed all specification of officers required for a festival committee so it's hard to refer to a chairman, but also because I don't see it as a necessary requirement. For example, the chairman might have strong views on things to be discussed in the meeting, and might want to appoint someone more neutral to chair it instead.

6.4. The ARM shall as a minimum:

6.4.1. Provisionally nominate, from one or more bids from potential Festival Committees, a Festival Committee to run a Festival in two years time. If no bids are received then the ARM shall take all necessary steps to ensure a Festival Committee is nominated as soon as possible, and in any case before the next ARM.

6.4.1. Note that this is no more specific than nominating a "Festival Committee". it does not say it must be a member society, or based at a university. It is not the intention that the ARM nominates every person on that committee, merely that a committee comes forward and is nominated.
6.4.2. Confirm, subject to section 9.3, the previously nominated Festival Committee to run the next Festival. If instead support for the previously nominated Festival Committee is withdrawn and a new Festival Committee chosen, confirmation shall be given immediately or as soon as is possible, the current Festival Committee calling an ERM if required to achieve this.
6.4.3. Elect the Officers as required in section 9.
6.4.2. Made more explicit a "confirmation" stage beyond which support for a festival cannot be withdrawn.

7. EXTRAORDINARY REPRESENTATIVES MEETING

7.1. Any Member Society may call an Extraordinary Representatives Meeting (ERM) with the support (themselves included) of either:
7.1.1. Five Member Societies from at least three different universities.
7.1.2. Sufficient Member Societies to form a quorum as defined in section 4.2.
7.1. I've complicated the rules here slightly to make sure that it is always possible to call an ERM, even if we are down to very few member societies.

7.2. The ERM shall be hosted by the Festival Committee which organised the most recent Festival, unless that Festival Committee does not wish to host the ERM, in which case it shall be hosted by the Member Society which called the ERM.

7.3. At least one month's notice must be given by the host of the ERM to the electronic mailing list specified in section 10.2.6 of the time, venue, and provisional agenda of the ERM, as decided by the host of the ERM.

7.4. The host of the ERM shall appoint a chair and secretary for the meeting, who need not otherwise have right of attendance.

7.2. The current constitution requires the outgoing festival committee to host an ERM -- we need a fallback position if they don't want to. I've suggested the society that proposed the ERM in the first place.

8. ELECTRONIC VOTING

8.1. Any Member Society may call an EV with the support required for calling an ERM as specified in section 7.1.

8.2. Each Member Society may choose up to two of its members to have voting rights in an EV, hereafter referred to as Voting Members.

8.3. The EV shall be conducted in accordance with the Standing Orders by a Returning Officer defined by the Standing Orders.
8.3.1. The Returning Officer may not vote unless there is a tie, in which case he/she shall have a casting vote.
8.3.2. The Returning Officer shall give notice of the proposal(s) the electronic mailing list specified in section 10.2.6, appending the entirety of section 8 of this constitution and any Standing Orders governing the conduct of EVs.
8.3.3. At least one week shall be allowed following notification of the proposal(s) to allow discussion of the proposal(s) to take place and to allow a formal vote to be requested. A request for a formal vote can be sent by any Voting Member and must be sent to the same list.
8.3.4. If no requests for a vote have been received by The Returning Officer after one week then he/she shall send an e-mail to the list declaring the vote passed unanimously. Otherwise he/she shall then send an e-mail to the list indicating the opening of voting and the duration of the vote, which shall be not less than one week.
8.3.5. All Voting Members may vote by sending an e-mail with their vote to the Returning Officer.
8.3.6. The vote shall be invalid unless those from whom valid votes are received from a quorum as defined in section 4.2.
8.3.7. Once voting is closed, the Returning Officer shall send an e-mail to the list indicating the result of the vote, and listing the people who voted, the way they voted and their affiliation. The e-mail shall also indicate the duration of a period to allow the validity of the votes cast to be disputed, which shall be not less than one week.
8.3.8. Once the dispute period is over and any disputes have been resolved to the satisfaction of the Returning Officer, the Returning Officer shall send a final e-mail to the list confirming the result.

8.4. The Member Society which called the EV may withdraw the proposal by informing the Returning Officer at any time until he/she confirms the final result.

8.5. The Returning Officer may at any point declare the vote void if he/she is not satisfied that the procedures have been properly followed.

8.6. The Archivist shall record the proposal(s), summary of votes and result.

8. Sheffield suggested we should have a mechanism for electronic voting, but didn't propose one in the constitutional amendments. Going with my principle of including everything, I've invented a mechanism. This permits any business other than constitutional change (which explicitly requires an RM) to be carried out electronically. I was originally going to limit it to certain predefined classes of decision, but this complicates things somewhat, and is another diversion for us to spend lots of time discussing instead of "important business". I also now believe that electronic voting is at least as fair as an ERM, since at least all societies get to see everything that is voted upon this way -- not everyone can make an ERM.

9. FESTIVAL

9.1. Each Festival Committee must undertake obligations in accordance with the Standing Orders.

9.2. A Festival Committee may change its officers or membership without the approval of the Representatives.

9. The current constitution requires a festival to invite all member societies. This seems superfluous, and festivals must have an ultimate right to deny entry to anyone should they dee it necessary (subject to the discrimination statement). I've therefore removed this requirement.

9.3. Nomination of a Festival Committee to run a Festival is provisional until confirmed by the Representatives, on or after the ARM of the preceding Festival. In the event that the Representatives do not have confidence in the ability of the Festival Committee to run a successful Festival, or the Festival Committee indicates it is unable to host a Festival, the Representatives may withdraw support for that Festival Committee and provisionally nominate a new Festival Committee to run the Festival instead. 9.2. Explicit permission for a festival committee to change its officers and membership is given since IVFDF nominates the committee to run a festival, not a university. It might be possible to avoid the need for this by rewording things elsewhere, but I can't see how to do this easily.
9.4. A Festival Committee shall be deemed to be active from being first nominated to run a Festival, and cease to be active at the end of the ARM following the Festival that Festival Committee organises, or immediately if support is withdrawn under section 9.3. 9.3. More explicit text surrounding withdrawal of support for a festival. Does this wording still give festival committees the jitters? Should we be more restrictive?

10. OFFICERS


 

 

10. The role of Information Point is explicitly split into Treasurer and Archivist, as recommended in Sheffield's proposal (although they didn't go as far as putting it in the proposed constitutional amendments). I've also taken the alternative route of making them normal annually elected posts. The original reason for making Information Point a long-term post was so that people could contact him to find the next festival -- since no one has done this for years and there is also now an effective means to find out from www.ivfdf.org, I believe this argument no longer holds.

I deliberately haven't made the officers into any form of committee capable of making decisions by itself -- authority is delegated to individual officers only. If we expect IVFDF central to be an active organisation working with lots of universities, an executive committee may be useful. This has a largish impact on the constitution, and we should ask what decisions such a committee needs to be able to make before forming it. My personal view is that, to keep bureaucracy to a minimum, we should continue without one initially until we find we need one. The electronic voting mechanism should reduce the need for a bit anyway.

10.1. The Treasurer:
10.1.1. Shall be elected annually at the ARM.
10.1.2. Shall not be a member of any active Festival Committee while he/she holds the post.
10.1.3. May not be a Voting Member in an RM or EV.
10.1.4. Shall maintain a bank account to hold central IVFDF funds distinct from any Festival Committee.
10.1.5. Shall make and receive payments to/from Festival Committees and other organisations as directed by the Representatives.
10.1.6. Shall prepare and present a financial report at each ARM.
10.1.7. Shall represent IVFDF when required. 10.1.7. Do we need to nominate an officer (the Treasurer) to "represent IVFDF when required"? I'm not sure when this would be used, but otherwise we have a group without a nominal leader.
10.2. The Archivist:
10.2.1. Shall be elected annually at the ARM.
10.2.2. Shall maintain the constitution.
10.2.3. Shall maintain the list of Member Societies as collected by the secretary of each ARM.
10.2.4. Shall store records on behalf of IVFDF as required.
10.2.5. Shall make records held on behalf of IVFDF available to Member Societies and active Festival Committees on request.
10.2.6. Shall maintain an electronic mailing list for distributing information, to include contacts for each Member Society, active Festival Committee, and Officers. Other interested parties may be added at the discretion of the Archivist.
10.2. Note that the Archivist is not barred from voting or sitting on a festival committee. I don't see how they could be any conflict of interest here, and I want to avoid leaving us with the situation that a good and competent Archivist is forced to stand down so they can run a festival -- there aren't that many people to go round!

10.3. The Standing Orders of the association may specify additional Officers and additional responsibilities for the Officers named in this section.

10.4. Officers may delegate duties at their discretion unless otherwise directed by the Representatives, but maintain responsibility for ensuring that they are adequately performed.

10.5. In the event that an Officer's post becomes casually vacant, the Representatives may elect a replacement to serve until the next ARM.

10.6. The Representatives may remove any Officer from office by a vote of no confidence and elect a replacement.

10.3. Additional officers are specified in the standing orders, such as the development officer.

11. FINANCES

11.1. The association shall not make such obligations that could cause it to come into debt, for example by offering a greater sum in underwriting than its total assets. 11.1. I think it is a good constitutional safeguard to prohibit IVFDF going into debt. It's easy to remove if people disagree.
11.2. Withdrawals from central funds shall require the signatures of two of: the Treasurer, and two persons nominated by the Representatives for this purpose. One of the signatures shall normally be that of the Treasurer. 11.2. This has to be worded such that the Treasurer doesn't need to send cheques halfway across the country for signing each time he needs to make a payment. It is essentially the same as the wording in the current constitution, although I don't know who these people are at present.

12. DISSOLUTION

12.1. If a Festival does not take place in any period of twenty-five consecutive calendar months, then IVFDF shall be said to be dissolved, when the following shall be enacted:
12.1.1. All property and assets of IVFDF, including debts owed by Festival Committees, shall be converted into money and collected together.
12.1.2. All debts and liabilities of IVFDF shall be settled immediately with this money.
12.1.3. The remaining sum, being credit or debit, shall be shared equally between all Member Societies.

12. The section on dissolution is essentially unchanged.

13. CONSTITUTION

13.1. This constitution may be altered in whole or in part by the assenting vote of at least two-thirds of the Voting Members present at a properly constituted RM.

13.2. Proposals for alterations to this constitution must be raised for discussion to the electronic mailing list specified in 10.2.6, giving at least three months notice. Final changes must be made available in the same way at least one month before the RM.

13.3. Proposals may be made by any single Member Society.

13.4. Proposals which have been properly notified shall form part of the agenda of the next properly constituted RM that takes place. If the constitution is successfully modified, a copy of the updated constitution shall be presented to the Archivist by the secretary of the RM within one month of the RM.

13.5. Proposals may be altered in whole or part as a result of discussion at an RM, but only matters raised with due notice may be discussed. The RM shall also have the power to make any other changes to this constitution which may be required as a knock-on effect of proposals for alterations.

13. Final constitutional amendments need only be given with 1 month's notice, as recommended in Sheffield's proposal. The section on constitutional amendment is otherwise essentially unchanged.


STANDING ORDERS NOTES ON THE STANDING ORDERS

1. ANNUAL REPRESENTATIVES MEETING

 

The standing orders can be changed at any RM or by EV, and can therefore be viewed as statements of policy in most cases. I've tried to capture the essence of "how IVFDF really works".

1.1. The agenda for the ARM shall include:
1.1.1. Outgoing report by the Festival Committee which ran the last Festival.
1.1.2. Report by the current Festival Committee.
1.1.3. Treasurer's Report.
1.1.4. Archivist's Report.
1.1.5. Development Officer's Report.
1.1.6. Next Festival:
1.1.6.1. Report by the Festival Committee nominated to run the next Festival, including budget, status of venues, publicity and schedule.
1.1.6.2. Report by the External Adviser for the next Festival.
1.1.6.3. Confirmation or otherwise of the next Festival as specified in section 6.4.2 of the constitution.
1.1.6.4. Confirmation of grants, loans and underwriting to the next Festival based on the above.
1.1.7. The Festival in two years time:
1.1.7.1. Provisional nomination of a Festival Committee to run a Festival in two years time as specified in section 5.3.1 of the constitution.
1.1.7.2. Appointment of one or more External Advisers to oversee the nominated Festival Committee.
1.1.7.3. Provisional offers of grants, loans and underwriting for the nominated Festival Committee as deemed necessary by the ARM subject to confirmation at the following ARM.
1.1.8. Setting of budgets required for Officers to carry out their duties.
1.1.9. Election of Officers as specified in section 5 of these Standing Orders and in section 6.4.3 of the constitution.
1.1. The ARM agenda is roughly how they currently work, with the addition of provision for external advisers (see below).
1.2. All documents for the ARM must be available on request from the start of the festival (not the meeting) and where possible at least one month before the festival. 1.2. A requirement for ARM documents to be available in advance, as recommended in Sheffield's proposal.
1.3. When registering membership with the secretary, Member Societies shall, where possible, indicate:
1.3.1. Changes to contact details.
1.3.2. Approximate number of members, student and non-student, attending the Festival and in total.
1.3.3. Principal activities undertaken by the society.
1.3. Additional information to be gathered from each member society, as recommended in Sheffield's proposal.
1.4. The ARM shall be held so as to give time for it to be reconvened later in the Festival should no bids be received for the Festival in two years time. 1.4. We've spent a long time discussing whether it is best to hold the ARM on the Saturday or the Sunday so we can cajole people into running a festival and reconvene if necessary -- following feedback I've proposed that provision must be made for this without prescribing one day or the other.

2. EXTRAORDINARY REPRESENTATIVES MEETING

2.1. The costs of an ERM shall be borne by the Member Societies attending.

 

2.1. I've left alone the requirement for an ERM to be paid for by the member societies attending, but put it in the standing orders so that for example an RM can decide to subsidise travel to an ERM.

3. ELECTRONIC VOTING

3.1. The Returning Officer shall be one of the following, in order of preference, based on availability: the Development Officer, the Archivist, the Treasurer. Anyone serving on an active Festival Committee shall be deemed unavailable for this purpose.

 

3.1. The order of precedence for EV returning officers has been chosen to minimise conflict of interest. It's quite hard to avoid all possible conflict of interest here while guaranteeing that a returning officer will always be available, and I still don't think I've found an ideal solution, but I'm still fairly convinced that it is not productive to bar all officers from serving on a festival committee.

4. FESTIVAL COMMITTEE OBLIGATIONS

4.1. The Festival shall be run at some time during February and the first two weeks of March of the year in which the Festival Committee has been nominated to run a Festival.

4. The obligations on a given festival from the current constitution are carried over here to make them easier to change.

4.2. The constitution of the Festival Committee shall state that IVFDF is not liabile for any debt or other obligations arising from the Festival except where agreed by the association.

4.3. All property and assets of each Festival shall be vested in the Festival Committee, in whose names all transactions of the Festival shall be carried out. They shall hold themselves liable, on behalf of the Festival, for all proceedings undertaken for or against the Festival in any Court of Law, and shall indemnify themselves against the assets of the Festival for any liabilities incurred therein.

4.2. A statement in the festival constitution separating its liability from IVFDF should help keep the central funds separate.

4.4. The Festival Committee shall take out appropriate public liability insurance to cover the Festival. 4.4. It is almost inconceivable that a festival would be run without public liability insurance, but worth making explicit, again to limit liability for IVFDF. Actually, at present this is covered as a requirement for EFDSS membership. I assume there is no need for IVFDF itself to be covered.

Should there be a requirement for festivals to be an associated club of EFDSS, or should IVFDF itself be? The current constitution requires the former, but since public liability insurance is now explicitly required, on request I've removed the EFDSS affiliation. EFDSS membership doesn't automatically give public liability insurance for events over 50 people any more anyway. I don't believe we should mandate more than is absolutely necessary on each festival, but we might decide to make IVFDF itself support EFDSS, and it is not inconceivable that EFDSS might one day support IVFDF! Left as a topic for further discussion.

4.5. The constitution of the Festival Committee shall include statements on aims and discrimination compatible with section 2 of the constitution. 4.5. A requirement for compatible aims should help with funding.
4.6. The Festival Committee shall compile a report following the Festival, and present this report to the Archivist as soon as possible after the Festival. The report shall include:
4.6.1. A list of Member Societies with at least two student members who attended the Festival.
4.6.2. Final accounts audited by the External Adviser.
4.6.3. Attendance figures.
4.6.4. Details of applications for funding or sponsorship, and the outcomes of those applications.
4.6.5. Constitution of the Festival Committee.
4.6.6. Advice and lessons learned that may be useful for future Festival Committees.
4.6. A requirement to write up notes from running the festival in addition to the accounts, as recommended in Sheffield's proposal. Should there be a deadline for the return of this report? The current constitution just says "as soon as possible" and it sometimes takes a while to wrap everything up, but some things, such as the list of member societies attending, may benefit from a stricter time limit.
4.7. If underwriting support from central funds is accepted by the Festival Committee, the Festival Committee shall return at least half of any profits they make to central funds. 4.7. A requirement to return half of all profits in return for underwriting as recommended in Sheffield's proposal.

5. EXTERNAL ADVISERS

5.1. An External Adviser shall be appointed to oversee each Festival Committee, as described in section 1.1.4.2. The External Adviser is appointed for his/her experience in running a Festival and must have sat on a Festival Committee within the last 10 years on appointment.

5.2. External advisors shall have right of attendance at RMs.

5.3. Each Festival Committee shall report to the appointed External Adviser once in every 4 month period, indicating progress on budget, venues, publicity, action plans and anything else that may be requested by the External Adviser.

5. Ever since Braceborough we have been trying to work out how to assign external advisers to festivals. At present the constitution of FoIVFDF allows it to do this, although there are few people in Friends with recent experience of running a festival; Sheffield's proposal recommended a team appointed by the RM and this is closer to that proposal. I'm recommending putting a single person in charge although others may be assigned to help, to limit the "hassle factor" applied to any festival committee. It must be someone with recent experience of a festival committee and that person is deliberately not excluded from sitting on another festival committee, since this should be viewed as a positive thing.

5.4. The External Adviser shall give such advice and assistance as is necessary, welcome and practical to ensure the successful running of the Festival, and alert the Member Societies if he/she believes that the Festival is at risk of failure.

5.5. The External Adviser shall report to the ARM, and ERMs as requested, on the progress of the Festival Committee and highlight any concerns that he/she may have. The RM shall use this information to decide whether to confirm the Festival Committee and to confirm underwriting support.

5.6. The External Adviser for a Festival Committee can be changed in the same way as any Officer.

5.4. A requirement for the external adviser to give all "necessary, welcome and practical" assistance to ensure success. This is carefully worded to indicate that the external adviser is expected to be proactive if necessary, but that assistance can be refused if requested. Ultimately the external adviser's final sanction is to alert the member societies of his or her concerns. The autonomy of festival committees is therefore hopefully protected.
5.7. Assistants may be appointed to assist an External Adviser and provide additional support to a Festival Committee as required. 5.7. I haven't gone into much detail regarding how assistants might be appointed -- they don't have a formal role, so it's best to keep this flexible.

6. OFFICERS

6.1. The Archivist shall in addition to his duties specified in section 10.2 of the constitution:
6.1.1. Shall maintain a web site at www.ivfdf.org, which shall as a minimum:
6.1.1.1. Link to the web pages of forthcoming Festivals were available.
6.1.1.2. Advertise IVFDF in general.
6.1.1.3. Make records held on behalf of IVFDF available for download as far as is practical. Section 10.2.4 of the constitution shall be deemed to be satisfied for such records.
6.1.2. Shall make adequate provision for the recovery of copies of key records in the event of theft, computer failure, fire, flood or other similar event, such records to include the contents of www.ivfdf.org, the membership of ivfdf-news@ivfdf.org, the current constitution, and the list of Member Societies and their contact details.
6.1.3. Shall maintain an e-mail list called ivfdf-news@ivfdf.org, for the purposes specified in section 10.2.6 of the constitution.
6.1.4. Shall administer and maintain registration of the internet domains ivfdf.org and ivfdf.org.uk on behalf of IVFDF. Approval is granted to use IVFDF funds to pay registration fees required for this purpose.
6.1.5. Shall prepare and present a report at each ARM.
6.1.6. Shall ensure other nominated people have the rights and knowledge to maintain the web site, e-mail list, domain registration and any other electronic services provided on behalf of IVFDF, in case such maintenance is required and the Archivist is unavailable.
6.1. The Archivist is made explicitly responsible for Internet services and data backup. The Archivist would therefore normally be the web site administrator. He/she must also ensure others can administer the services. A separate document exists defining the management structure at present and proposing how access should be given to others and to whom. It's probably easier to leave that level of decision to the Archivist.

6.2. The Development Officer:
6.2.1. Shall be elected annually at the ARM.
6.2.2. Shall coordinate the long-term advertising policy between festivals.
6.2.3. Shall promote student folk activities, maintaining a list of known groups and individuals.
6.2.4. Shall encourage said groups and individuals who do not normally attended IVFDF to attend, or attend in greater numbers.
6.2.5. Shall prepare and present a report at each ARM.

6.2. Provision is made for a development officer as recommended in Sheffield's proposal. The responsibilities are still pretty vague and will almost certainly need changing if we decide to create this post.


ENDS (P) Andrew Swaine August 2003

 

 Contact: webmaster@ivfdf.org Last Modified: 19th Jan 2004