DNA Constitution: an Identity for Deptford
Deptford Neighbourhood Action referred to elsewhere in this Constitution as “DNA”, is the name of our neighbourhood forum as defined in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, as amended by the Localism Act 2011.
2. NEIGHBOURHOOD AREA
The DNA neighbourhood area is shown on the attached map, referred to elsewhere in this constitution as the neighbourhood area.
The DNA neighbourhood area falls within the boundaries of two London Boroughs, Lewisham & Greenwich.
3. PURPOSE and OBJECTIVES
The purpose of DNA is to promote and improve the social, economic and environmental well-being of its residents and businesses. Our overarching objectives of DNA are:
To encourage, empower and enable the involvement of all communities living and working in the defined neighbourhood area in the preparation, production and implementation of the Neighbourhood Development Plan which will aim to:
PROTECT and MAXIMISE the amount and quality of Green, Open and Public Spaces in the promotion of a healthier environment.
ENCOURAGE community cohesion and active citizenship.
SUPPORT local businesses, organisations, industries and market traders.
PROMOTE and DEVELOP places for all creative communities to flourish.
PROMOTE the safety for pedestrians and cyclists.
IMPROVE the health of the local community.
INCREASE the provision of quality social and affordable housing for local people on low and middle incomes.
PROMOTE and PROTECT all forms of Deptford Heritage and Identities
In furtherance of these overarching objectives the Forum Committee of DNA may exercise the power to:
• Invite and receive contributions and raise funds where appropriate, to finance its work and to open a bank account to manage such funds.
• Set up working groups with terms of reference to undertake tasks in furtherance of its objectives. All such working groups must include at least one management committee member.
• Publicise and promote the work of DNA and organise meetings, training courses, events or seminars relevant to its work.
• Work with groups of complementary nature and exchange information, advice and knowledge with them: including cooperation with other voluntary bodies; charities; statutory, and non-statutory organisations, who want to affiliated with DNA; and elected members
• Employ staff (who shall not be members of the Management Committee) as necessary to conduct activities that meet the objectives of DNA.
• Take any lawful form of action which is necessary to achieve the overarching objectives of DNA, including taking out any contracts agreed by the Management Committee; for instance the acquisition of premises either short or long term.
The Forum shall not be affiliated to any political party.
Membership is open to all people aged 16 years and over who meet any one of the following criteria, in that they:
1. live in the neighbourhood area;
2. work in the local area either on a paid or voluntary basis;
3. are an elected Lewisham or Greenwich London Borough Council member representing a ward in the neighbourhood area;
The Forum Committee members shall be drawn from different places in the neighbourhood area and different sections of the community. DNA shall have a minimum of 21 (twenty one) members, and the Forum Secretary shall maintain a register of members at all times and make it available to any DNA member or the public who requests it. Members will apply for membership and the Forum Committee shall have the power to accept members. Members of the Forum must be 16 (sixteen) years of age and over.
Any DNA member may resign from membership by providing the Forum Committee Secretary with written notice.
The Forum Committee may refuse membership, or may terminate or suspend the
membership of any member by resolution passed at a Forum Committee meeting where it is considered membership would be detrimental to DNA’s objectives and activities.
7. FORUM COMMITTEE
The DNA Forum Committee shall be elected at the DNA. Annual General Meeting and shall consist of a minimum of 5 (five) members up to a maximum of 15 (fifteen). The quorum for the Committee will be 5 members.
DNA will elect the following officers of the Forum from its membership: Chair, Deputy Chair, Secretary,Treasurer and Media Officer and any other role that is deemed
necessary. The general term of Office is 1 year.
The Chair of the Forum Committee shall be responsible for:
• Calling and chairing meetings of the D.N.A. Forum Committee, General Meetings and Annual General meetings of the D.N.A. membership (unless specifically delegated to another Forum Committee member in writing).
• Exercising a casting vote on elections and resolutions at meetings of the Forum and its Committee.
• Taking decisions on day-to-day matters between meetings of the Forum Committee after electronic consulting with other committee member.
The Deputy Chair shall be responsible for:
• Standing in for the Chair during any period of absence of the Chair due to holidays, illness or time away for personal reasons.
The Treasurer shall be responsible for:
• Establishing a DNA bank account and acting as a joint signatory on the account with one or more other member of the Forum Committee. Maintaining the DNA financial records.
• Setting out a draft budget in the first year, and ensuring that DNA stays within it’s budget
• Preparing and presenting an annual budget, at the DNA Annual General Meeting
• Submitting a detailed summary of all the DNA received and spent at every Committee meeting.
The Secretary shall be responsible for:
• Organising all DNA meeting dates, times and venues.
• Taking and circulating the minutes of all DNA meetings – making them available to all members.
• Maintaining a register of DNA and keeping a copy of the DNA Constitution for inspection by members of the public and DNA members.
The Media Officer shall be responsible for:
• Maintaining and updating the DNA website
• Preparing and presenting draft materials for the promotion of DNA through it’s organised events and activities, and for promotion in the neighbourhood area e.g. posters and leaflets.
• Actively encouraging promoting and advertising DNA via social media e.g. Twitter and Facebook.
All decisions at DNA meetings shall be made on a show of hands of members who are entitled to vote at the meeting.
a) General meetings
General Meetings of DNA members shall take place at least twice a year.
Notice and an agenda for a DNA General Meeting to DNA members shall be 14 (fourteen) days.
The quorum required for a General Meeting to conduct business shall be 5 (five) DNA members.
The Secretary will make minutes of the General and Committee meetings available to members of the Forum within two weeks of the meeting unless impracticable. Organisations which are affiliated to DNA will be encouraged to communicate such information to their membership.
b) Annual General Meetings/Special Meetings
An Annual General Meeting of DNA members shall take place once in every calendar year. Notice and an agenda for an Annual General Meeting to DNA members shall be 21 (twenty-one) days. The quorum required for an Annual General Meeting to conduct business shall be 12 (twelve) DNA Members.
The Annual General meeting shall:
• Elect the DNA Forum Committee.
• Receive a report from the Forum Committee of the DNA activities that have
• taken place in that year.
• Receive a Financial report and statement from the Treasurer
Elections to the Forum Committee shall take place as follows:
a) DNA members shall notify the DNA Secretary of their intention to stand for a place on the Forum Committee in writing and at least 7 (seven) days before the Annual General Meeting takes place.
b) At the Annual General Meeting elections shall be held on the basis of a show of hands for each candidate.
Special Meetings may be called from time to time by the Forum Committee to consider amendments to the constitution or dissolution of the Forum. These shall be subject to the same notice and quorum as Annual General Meetings.
The Committee may co-opt up to three additional members to the Committee in any year, and may also co-opt an appropriate replacement for any Committee
Member who stands down for any reason during the year. Co-opted members will have the same voting rights as other Committee members. A co-opted member may be elected as an officer. The Committee may remove from the Committee any member who fails to attend two consecutive meetings of the Committee without good reason.
8. DNA FINANCES
Any money acquired by DNA including donations, contributions and bequests, shall be paid into an account operated by the Forum Committee in the name of DNA Neighbourhood Forum.
All funds must be applied to the DNA objectives and for no other purpose.
Any deeds, cheques etc relating to DNA’s bank account shall be signed by at least 2 (two) Management Committee members, 1 (one) of whom must be the Treasurer.
Any income/expenditure shall be the responsibility of the Treasurer who will be accountable to ensure funds are utilised effectively and that the Forum stays within its budget.
Official accounts shall be maintained, and will be examined annually by an independent accountant who is not a member of the DNA. Forum.
An annual financial report shall be presented by the Treasurer at the DNA Annual General Meeting.
9. DECLARATION OF INTERESTS
The Secretary will keep a Register of Committee members’ Interests detailing financial interests in the neighbourhood area or any other interest which could be deemed to have an influence on decisions likely to come before the Forum Committee. Members will abstain from voting on any matter in which they have a financial interest.
Any participant in any meeting of the Forum, including committees, sub-committees and working parties, will disclose to the meeting any financial interest s/he has in any topic under discussion, and will not discuss or vote on such topic except with the express approval of the meeting.
10. AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION
Any changes to this constitution must be agreed by a majority vote at a special general meeting, called specifically for the purpose under the same conditions that apply to Annual General Meetings specified above, with the exception that such a vote will only be carried if supported by 75% or more of those voting.
Proposed amendments to this Constitution of DNA must be conveyed to the Secretary formally in writing. The DNA Secretary and other DNA officers shall then decide whether to put the proposed amendments to a DNA special general meeting for discussion and decision.
DNA may be dissolved if deemed necessary by the members in a majority vote at a special meeting, with the exception that such a vote will only be carried if supported by 75% or more of those voting.
Any assets or remaining funds after debts have been paid shall subject to the agreement of the Members at a General Meeting, be allocated to one or more nominated organisations set up to continue the work of DNA or in the absence of any such organisation and subject to any statutory regulations, be distributed equally to the constituent local organisations who are its members (but not to individual members).
In accordance with the Localism Act, a formal review of the functions and achievements of DNA will be carried out five years after its formation. Following such review, and consultation with its members, DNA will decide to continue, amend or dissolve itself as considered appropriate.
This constitution was adopted at the Inaugural Meeting of the Deptford Neighbourhood Action held at Deptford Lounge on 18th July 2015.