Our constitution

Date effective: 26 February 2024

Better Streets for Birmingham (“BSfB”, “BS4B”, or “the organisation”) is a community organisation which campaigns to promote active travel and public transport in Birmingham.

The organisation’s year runs from April to March. An Annual General Meeting is held on the last Monday of March. The organisation shall have no party political affiliation.

Organisational structure

Better Streets for Birmingham has a membership and committee structure. Membership and Committeeship is free of charge.

Membership

Membership is open to any resident of Birmingham via an online application form. To become a member, people need to agree to the organisation’s aims, goals and objectives. Members must agree to the organisation’s expectations.

Membership allows people to:

Committee

The committee has 11 positions, including three formal roles: Chair, Vice Chair and Secretary. All roles are open to job sharing. The Chair manages all other roles and can appoint or dismiss Committee Members throughout their term as required. There is no term limit for being a committee member.

The committee can co-opt people with specific interests and expertise onto the committee when required, for example, schools and neighbourhood associations.

Being a member of the committee allows people to:

There are ten committee meetings every year. They usually take place on the last Monday of every month, except for in December and March. Committee members are expected to attend committee meetings or send their apologies to the Secretary in advance.

Showing interest in becoming a Committee Member

Members should register their interest with the Chair and Secretary.

Chair

The Chair is selected by committee members at the last meeting prior to the AGM in March (which takes place on the last Monday in February). Their term begins on 1 April and ends on 31 March. The Chair can be selected twice in any four-year period.

Being Chair of the organisation allows people to:

The Chair must also become a Director of the BSFB Active Travel Limited (Company number 14491996). Outgoing Chairs must resign as Director of the company and ensure this is processed with Companies House, unless they have been selected as Secretary.

The Chair must ensure that the committee reflects Birmingham’s diversity.

Selecting a Chair

Any member or pair of members from the committee can put themselves forward as Chair. If more than one option for chair exists the committee will vote by simple majority on who should become the next chair at the February meeting prior to the AGM.

Removing a Chair

Any Member or Committee Members can declare no confidence in the Chair by writing to the Secretary. A declaration of no confidence can be withdrawn at any time.

If over 25% of Members, the number of which is taken from the organisation’s membership registration tool, or over 50% of Committee Members, this will trigger a process not longer than two weeks:

  1. Two Committee Members will be appointed to oversee this process
  2. The Chair will be suspended from the organisation’s meetings, WhatsApp Community and digital tools
  3. The Chair will not be able to make any appointments or changes to the Committee
  4. The Vice Chair will stand in during meetings
  5. An email will be sent to all Members containing a ballot (Do you have confidence in [name] as Chair of Better Streets for Birmingham? Answers: Yes or No) with a deadline not shorter than one week
  6. The overseeing Committee Members will communicate the results by email to all Members and the WhatsApp Community
  7. Results:
  8. If the Chair retains confidence by achieving a majority Yes vote, the Chair can continue in their role
  9. If the Chair has lost the confidence from a majority No vote, the Chair is removed from post and an election for a new Chair is arranged, unless the AGM election process has already begun
  10. If the Chair decides to step down regardless of the result, a new Chair is selected by Committee Members

The selected Chair will remain in post until 31 March.

A removed Chair can continue to be a Member and it does not exclude them from being a Committee Member or standing to be Chair or Secretary in future.

Secretary

The Secretary is selected by committee members at the February meeting. Their term begins on 1 April and ends on 31 March. The Secretary can be selected twice in any four-year period.

Being Secretary of the organisation means someone has the responsibility to:

The Secretary must also become a Secretary of the BSFB Active Travel Limited (Company number 14491996). Outgoing Secretaries must resign as Secretary of the company and ensure this is processed with Companies House, unless they have been selected as Chair.

Selecting a Secretary

Any member or pair of members from the committee can put themselves forward as Secretary. If more than one option for Secretary exists the committee will vote by simple majority on who should become the next Secretary at the February meeting prior to the AGM.

Removing a Secretary

Any Member or Committee Members can declare no confidence in the Secretary by writing to the Vice Chair. A declaration of no confidence can be withdrawn at any time.

If over 25% of Members, the number of which is taken from the organisation’s membership registration tool or over 50% of Committee Members, this will trigger a process not longer than two weeks:

  1. Two Committee Members will be appointed to oversee this process
  2. The Secretary will be suspended from the organisation’s meetings, WhatsApp Community and digital tools
  3. The Committee will appoint a replacement to take on the Secretary’s duties as Acting Secretary
  4. An email will be sent to all Members containing a ballot (Do you have confidence in [name] as Secretary of Better Streets for Birmingham? Answers: Yes or No) with a deadline not shorter than one week
  5. The overseeing Committee Members will communicate the results by email to all Members and the WhatsApp Community
  6. Results:
    1. If the Secretary retains confidence by achieving a majority Yes vote, the Secretary can continue in their role
    2. If the Secretary has lost the confidence from a majority No vote, the Secretary is removed from post and an election for a new Secretary is arranged, unless the AGM election process has already begun
    3. If the Secretary decides to step down regardless of the result, a new Secretary is selected by Committee Members, unless the AGM selection process has already begun
  7. The selected Secretary will remain in post until 31 March.

A removed Secretary can continue to be a Member and it does not exclude them from being a Committee Member or standing to be Chair or Secretary in future.

Decision-making

Decisions are made by Committee Members except during the organisation’s AGM.

Most decisions can be made by a majority vote of those present at a Committee Meeting. Decisions have a quorum of 5 Committee Members.

Changes to the Constitution can be made only at an AGM or at a Special Meeting of the committee called specifically for this purpose. The proposed changes should be given to the Secretary in writing to circulate to committee members prior to the meeting. Any amendments  need a two-thirds majority of those present in a quorate meeting to be approved.

A motion can be proposed by any Member at a Committee Meeting or AGM. If a motion gets a majority vote of those present at a Committee Meeting, it becomes a formal position of the organisation. Typically, this means it is also published on the organisation’s website.

Committee Members can vote on decisions in advance if they will be absent at a Committee Meeting by contacting the Secretary and this will count towards quoracy.

Disciplinary procedure

All members must follow our expectations, which is clearly displayed in the joining email message, website and WhatsApp Community description.

Any complaint process must not last longer than two weeks.

Complaining about another Member

Members must not under any circumstances make their report publicly on WhatsApp group chats.

If any member wishes to complain about the conduct of another member, they must email the Committee (hello@betterstreetsforbirmingham.org) stating:

The accused Member will be invited to submit a written statement with any other relevant evidence to counter the claim.

The complainant’s identity will not be revealed to the accused Member.  If the accused is a member of the committee they will be suspended from the organisation’s meetings, WhatsApp Community and digital tools whilst the outcome is decided.

The Committee will review both statements and decide on an outcome through a majority vote, held at a Committee Meeting or WhatsApp poll. The Chair has a deciding vote in the event of a tie.

Serious complaints

A serious complaint includes personal abuse, sexual harassment, threats of violence or abusive comments based on someone’s sex, gender, religion, race or sexual orientation.

Any member accused of a serious complaint will be immediately removed from the group.

Complaint outcomes

The outcomes of a complaint are:

Two formal written warnings will result in removal from the group.A Committee Member with a formal written warning will be asked to step down from the Committee and cannot become a Committee Member, Chair or Secretary in future. Where they were a Chair or Secretary, steps 3, 6b and 7 under the sections Removing a Chair or Removing a Secretary will be followed.

Annual General Meeting

An Annual General Meeting (AGM) is held on the last Monday of every March. It is open to all Members. It must be advertised to all members one month before by WhatsApp and email message.

The quorum for an AGM is at least 10% of Members or 25 Members, whichever number is lower. If an AGM is inquorate then it must be rescheduled.

During an AGM, two things must happen:

  1. The Chair must present on their progress against their annual objectives
  2. The New Chair and Secretary will be publicly announced and will give an overview of their new objectives for the coming year

Publishing content as an organisation

The organisation’s content includes output on its website, social media channels and physical documents bearing the Better Streets for Birmingham logo.

Members can publish opinion pieces as articles on the organisation’s website and they do not have to reflect the formal position of the group. These articles need to be clearly labelled as opinion pieces and attributed to that Member.

We aim for a positive and encouraging tone which recognises the progress that is currently being made towards improving access to active travel and public transport, while offering constructive criticism.

The standard process for reviewing content is to:

  1. Upload the content to the Group docs for edit – 4 days folder on the Committee’s Google Drive
  2. Post a link and four-day deadline in the Committee WhatsApp group chat
  3. Tweak the content based on feedback

Long-form content (longer than 500 words) must have a longer review time of between one and two weeks.

Where content is urgent, for example it is needed for press or media, the Chair can approve the content instead without any time restrictions.

The Chair has the power to veto content.

Funding

Funds for the organisation will be raised by applying to local and national funders. All funding received must be used in accordance with the funder’s conditions to achieve the organisation’s objectives.

Voluntary donations can be accepted from members and non-members via PayPal or bank transfer. Donors need to give their name and address when making a donation.

Winding up

Better Streets for Birmingham can be wound up at any time by a minimum of two thirds of committee members voting at an AGM or a Special Meeting called specifically for this purpose. The Secretary will give 14 days notice if a Special Meeting must be arranged to discuss dissolution.

Any assets that remain after clearing any debts must be disposed of by returning money to funders and then transferring any assets and donations to other groups with similar objectives.

Companies House must be notified.