Socialist Health Association Constitution

This document is as amended by the AGM on 17th March 2018. 

1. Name

The Socialist Health Association hereinafter named the Association.

2. Objects

a) To work for a fully free and comprehensive national health and care service, both preventative and curative, of the highest standard, for the community which secures for the people the highest standard of health.

b) To provide means by which those concerned about health may assist in formulating Socialist health programmes and policies for the Labour Party

c) To provide information and policy on health issues as requested by the public and make available to the Labour Party and public bodies within resource constraints and as agreed by Central Council

d) To demonstrate the relationship between environmental conditions poverty and ill health inequalities, and non-medical determinants of health and to work for improvements in housing, nutritional, industrial and environmental conditions.

e) To disseminate the principles of Socialism

f) To assist in the election of Socialists to public bodies

g) To establish relations with Socialist members of health services in other countries.

h) To carry out work approved by the AGM and /or the Central Council in furtherance of the aims and objects of the Association.

i) To work for the extension of democracy into the health and care service.

3 Membership

Membership shall be open to any person or organisation who accepts the Objects of the Association

4 Affiliated Organisations

The Association accepts as Affiliated Organisations national, regional, and local Socialist, trade union, co-operative and community organisations. Affiliated organisations may submit resolutions and a representative from each organisation present at the Annual General Meeting will be entitled to one vote. Each national affiliated organisation is also entitled to one vote at Central Council. Each Affiliated Organisation shall have one vote in any postal ballot or by agreed electronic voting.

5 Termination of Membership

a) Any member wishing to resign from the Association shall give notice in writing to the secretary.

b) Any member or affiliated organisation whose subscription is seven months in arrears following reminders at three months and six months shall be deemed to have lapsed.

c) Any member who fails to conform to the Constitution of the Association shall cease to be a member of the Association.

d) The Council of the Association may terminate the membership or affiliation of any person or body who by their conduct brings the Association into disrepute. Any such decision shall require agreement of two thirds of the members of the Council present at the meeting when it is decided.

6. Subscriptions

a) Membership of the Association shall commence upon acceptance by the Treasurer of the appropriate subscription and completed application form.

b) Membership shall entitle the member to receive the Association’s journal and other benefits as the Central Council shall determine.

c) The minimum annual individual and joint subscription rates shall be determined by the Annual Meeting. The Annual meeting may approve reduced subscriptions for people with low income.

d) Affiliated organisations shall be liable to pay a subscription as decided by the Annual Meeting.

e) Membership/association normally runs from the month of joining and is renewable annually in that month.

f) A proportion of the subscription to be determined by the Central Council may be paid to local branches in such a way and such extent as shall be determined by the Central Council.

g) Central Council may grant Honorary Membership or Life Membership to persons who have contributed substantially to the work of the Association.

7 Finance

The Honorary Treasurer shall collect all money due to the Association and shall be the custodian thereof. All cheques on the Association’s banking account shall be signed by two authorised officers. The funds of the Association shall be paid into the Co-operative Bank. The Association’s financial year shall be from 1 January to 31 December. No member or Branch shall incur expense on behalf of the Association except with the written authority of the Treasurer.

8 Auditors

The accounts of the Association shall be audited each year. The named Treasurer shall produce for inspection by the Auditors all books and papers necessary for the complete examination of the accounts. The Auditors (two) shall be elected at the AGM. The Auditors appointed by election at the AGM shall make a report to the AGM and give their opinion as to the accounts which are to be audited independently of any officers or staff.

9 Governance

a) The Association shall be governed by an Annual Meeting of the members, which shall determine the policy of the Association.

b) The execution of the decisions made at Annual and Special Meetings of the members, and the administration of the affairs and property of the Association shall be vested in the Central Council.

c) The Central Council shall conduct the general business of the Association, appoint such paid officers and staff as it deems necessary, set up such sub-committees and special interest groups as are considered desirable from time to time, receive regular reports from those sub-committees and special interest groups, sanction publications and appoint all delegates to represent the Association nationally.

d) The Central Council shall submit an Annual Report to the Annual Meeting for ratification. At all times it shall act in accord with the objects of the Constitution and with policy as laid down by Annual and Special meetings, but in between such meetings it should decide the Association’s policy on new and other matters coming before it. Such decisions of policy will be subject to ratification at the Annual Meeting through the Annual Report.

10 Central Council

a) The Central Council shall consist of the principal Honorary Officers (Chair, Honorary Treasurer and Honorary Secretary), twenty directly elected members, branch delegates (see below), and a representative from each nationally affiliated organisation. The Council may elect up to 4 Vice Chairs from amongst its members to support special areas of work.

b) For each 30 members or part thereof each branch shall be entitled to elect one of its own members to the Central Council.

c) SHA Scotland and SHA Wales shall each appoint representatives on the same arithmetical basis.

d) The Central Council shall elect functional officers at the first meeting after the AGM. The Central Council may co-opt a maximum of 5 members in addition to elected members to fill functional positions.

e) The Central Council shall normally meet quarterly.

f) Between Central Council meetings, the elected Honorary Officers will be responsible for the running of the Association.

g) The Central Council shall at its discretion make provision for expenses of members attending Central Council meetings.

h) The quorum for the Central Council shall be eight, which shall include two honorary officers.

i) Any member of the Association may attend meetings of the Central Council. Such member may join in the discussion at the discretion of the Chair, but has no vote.

j) All decisions of the Central Council shall be taken by majority vote of those present.

k) Any member of the Council who without good reason or apology fails to attend two successive meetings shall be deemed to have resigned.

11 Elections

a) Honorary Officers and members of Central Council shall be elected by ballot prior to the AGM.

b) All individual and associated members who are fully paid up by 31 December of the year prior to the AGM shall be entitled to make nominations for Officers and members of the Central Council.

c) Nominations shall be invited with the formal notification of the AGM.

d) Ballots if required shall be sent out with the Agenda together with a brief statement by and biographical details of candidates and should be returned by the AGM, and results of the elections will be announced at the AGM.

e) Central Council shall approve the arrangements for any ballot which is necessary, which will  include scrutiny of the votes cast and verification of the results of any ballot held with reference to the following:
  1. any contested election for officer of the association by at least two members nominated by Central Council who are not standing as officers of the association in that ballot;
  2. any amendment to the constitution of the association by at least two members nominated by Central Council;
  3. any resolution put to to all members of the association by at least two members nominated by Central Council.

f) The AGM may accept nominations from the floor and conduct an election if insufficient nominations are received before the AGM.

g) The new Central Council shall come into office immediately after the AGM.

h) The Central Council shall have the power to fill any casual vacancies that may occur among the officers or members.

i) Central Council may appoint an honorary President and Vice Presidents as it sees fit.

12 Sub-Committees

The Central Council may set up sub-committees for specific purposes as and when required. Any Sub-Committee may only be dissolved by a majority vote of the Central Council, unless its term has expired and not extended.

13 Branches

a) Any group of not less than twelve members or persons eligible and intending to become members may be recognised by Central Council as a branch of the Association. The Central Council shall have the power to define the area covered by any branch.

b) Branches are expected to give 4 weeks notice of their AGM and 2 weeks notice of ordinary meetings. Following the completion of the 2017-18 electoral cycle in April 2018,all future Branch AGMs must take place between 12 and 3 weeks prior to the commencement of the national Central Council (CC) election process (ie, between 12 and 3 weeks prior to the call for national CC nominations). Those elected as CC delegates at Branch AGMs are not permitted to stand in the national CC elections during the same electoral cycle – though they can of course stand for national officer roles.

c) Branches are required to notify the Association of their AGM and of the names and addresses of their officers and to supply an annual financial statement.

d) If the business of a branch is not conducted in accordance with the constitution the Officers of the Association may take over the conduct of a branches affairs and its funds.

14 Scotland, Wales and English Regions

a) Branches may combine on an ad hoc basis to co-ordinate campaigns within their area. The association may designate any suitable geographical area as a Region if it sees fit. Where it is possible for branches within a Region to meet together for the purpose of electing a delegate and submitting a resolution to the Labour Party Regional Annual Meeting, they should be encouraged to do so. The Association may call meetings or conduct ballots of all members in a region as it sees fit.

b)Scotland and Wales are nation countries within the United Kingdom. They shall have autonomy for policy and campaigning on those matters devolved to the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly. Such policy and campaigning shall not conflict with the objectives of the SHA set out in paragraph 2. They shall be known as SHA Scotland and SHA Wales. Each shall hold an annual meeting at which members, branches and affiliates may attend and submit motions on devolved matters and elect a governing committee. SHA Scotland and SHA Wales shall affiliate to the Scottish and Welsh Labour Parties respectively.

16 Annual General Meeting

a) The Annual General Meeting shall normally take place in March every year. Notice of the date and a request for resolutions and nominations to the Central Council shall be circulated to every member and associated organisations not less than four weeks before the AGM.

b) It shall be open to any member, Branch, Group, Affiliated Organisation or Committee or Council of the Association to move a resolution or make nominations (those moved or made by members require seconding by another member), provided that these be received by the Honorary Secretary not less than two weeks before the AGM.

c) An Agenda of business to be transacted at the AGM, the Annual Report of the Central Council, ballot papers where required and an Audited Statement of the financial position of the Association shall be forwarded to each member if they indicate that they wish to receive these items not less than one week before the date of the AGM.

d) Emergency resolutions may be accepted with the agreement of the AGM.

17 Special General Meeting

A Special General Meeting shall be called for the purpose of considering any particular resolution (a) on the decision of the Central Council, or (b) at the request in writing of not less than 30 members setting forth the terms of the resolution for consideration. Not less than two weeks’ notice of any Special General meeting must be sent to all members.

18 Procedure at the Meetings of the Association

a) The Chair shall be taken by the Chair, or a Vice-Chair, or failing these, by a member elected by the meeting. The Chairperson shall on any question have a casting vote in addition to the vote to which s/he is otherwise entitled.

b) At Annual General Meetings or Special General meetings every member and one delegate from an affiliated organisation personally present at the meeting shall have a vote.

c) Voting shall be by show of hands unless a ballot of members be approved in any particular case. A Postal Vote shall only be allowed if (a) a resolution has not obtained a three-quarters majority at a meeting, and (b) at least one quarter of those present at the meeting agree to a Postal Vote.

19 Affiliations

The Association may affiliate to other bodies. All such affiliations shall be approved each year by members at the Annual General Meeting.

20 Dissolution

In the event that the Association decides to dissolve itself the assets of the Association shall be passed to any organisation whose objects are consistent with the objects listed above.

21 Alteration to Rules

These rules or any of them can only be amended by a vote of two thirds of the members at the Annual General Meeting or Special General Meeting, after at least three weeks notice has been given.

Socialist Medical Association of Great Britain Constitution 1936