CODE OF CONDUCT FOR OUR MEETINGS
We’ve enshrined the principle of reaching committee decisions by consensus, wherever possible, in our constitution. This means looking for decisions that everybody can accept, searching for compromises through brainstorming alternative approaches, but does not mean allowing obstinate vetos to block decision-making. In the last resort, we will reach decisions by majority vote. Before that stage however it is also often possible to say, “I personally disagree with that but I can accept that it is what the majority thinks is best.”.
In either case, we should accept and abide by collective decisions.
We want to engage in open and constructive discussion, and ensure that everyone feels that their opinions, perspectives and feelings are heard and respected. Personal attacks and intemperate language (at meetings, in emails) are unacceptable.
Regular attendance at committee meetings, for the whole meeting, is expected. If this proves difficult more than occasionally, let everyone know and we will try and re-arrange meeting times.
Delegation of responsibility but with no surprises –
We want committee members to take and act on their own initiative.
Individual committee members can speak and act on behalf of the Forum without having to refer every smallest action to the rest of the committee or the chair. But tell the rest of the committee if you are going to do something new or controversial in the name of the Forum, in case anyone disagrees vehemently. And then let them know what happened. But no need to consult others on the detail of what you are planning (draft of letters, emails to members etc) unless you want to.
Communications with the Press, where drafts, key speaking points etc, should be cleared with at least the Chair or Vice-Chair and Communications officer.
Website – Every committee member can and should be able to put stuff on the website.
Agreement that in principle material to be put on the website – agree with chair or vice-chair, and communications officer. Let the committee know when it’s done. But details of material to be posted on the website does not need to be pre-checked by others – it can be changed later if it is wrong or full of typos. If you are going to change something that someone else has put up on the website, it is common courtesy however to tell them first!
Draft minutes of meetings to be cleared with the Chair and the facilitator of the relevant meeting before posting on the website, but don’t need to await agreement at the next meeting (they can be amended if there is a revision).
Similarly correspondence on behalf of the Forum – tell people what you are planning to do, but no need to agree precise drafts with others unless you want to. If commenting on other people’s drafts, don’t nitpick. Everyone has their own writing style.
Chair’s role – Provide general direction and figurehead/representational functions.
Vice-chair – Stand in for and support the chair as required.
Secretary’s role – Ensure minutes, agendas etc circulated to committee members and posted on the website and generally ensure the smooth running of the committee – act as backstop if facilitator/note-taker take their eye off the ball!
Treasurer’s role – To keep the books, present a financial report at each meeting, manage the bank account, make financial proposals.
Membership/advocacy role – Keep an up to date record of members and their details, provide accurate counts by category as when required. Make proposals for increasing membership liaising with comms officer.
Communications role – Develop and lead a communication, distribution and promotion strategy including leafleting, press, social media, website. Take ownership of the website?
Facilitator’s role – Checking location, circulating draft and final agendas (in discussion with chair), checking action items, chairing meeting. Thank you to host.
Note-taker’s role – Bring hard copy of agenda and previous minutes. Taking minutes, using template, clear drafts with facilitator and Chair before circulating to other committee members and posting on website.