Rules governing Party meetings B: Branch and Constituency Association Rules Status and Authority B.1.1 The basic units of the Party are the Constituency Associations and Branches, established under Article 3.6 of the Constitution of the UK Independence Party. They shall uphold the principles of the Constitution and are responsible to the National Executive Committee via the Party Chairman or his delegate who will normally be the Regional Organiser.
B.1.2 A Constituency Organisation or Branch may exist only if authorised by the National Executive Committee. No Constituency Association or Branch may be established without the written consent of the Party Chairman, on behalf of the NEC.
B.1.3 A Constituency Association consists of one entire parliamentary constituency and it shall bear that name.
B.1.4 A Branch consists of more than one parliamentary constituency and shall include the parliamentary constituencies concerned in their entirety. It shall have an appropriate geographical name. The NEC may at its discretion permit the formation of branches from geographical areas other than Parliamentary constituencies.
B.1.5 The primary functions of Constituency Associations and Branches are to select and support candidates for local, Parliamentary and other kinds of elections in accordance with these Rules of Procedure, recruit new members, raise funds and generally to promote the Party and its policies.
B.1.6.1 In accordance with the party’s aim to have Constituency Associations in all parliamentary constituencies, branches covering more than one constituency are encouraged to split when branch membership becomes sufficiently large.
B.1.6.2 A branch wishing to split must have the approval of the Branch Committee and the Regional Organiser, and must also have the written consent of the Party Chairman, on behalf of the NEC. Where a County Committee exists, it must be kept informed of the change.
B.1.7 Branches shall co-operate with any Regional Committee and County Committee covering their area.
B.1.8 Constituency Associations and Branches shall both be managed under these rules and both are hereinafter referred to as Branches.
B.1.9 Branch Meetings shall be held in accordance with the ‘Standing Orders for the conduct of Internal Party Meetings’.
B.1.10 Officers of all branches and constituency associations shall complete the Party’s Data Protection forms and other documentation as required by Head Office to ensure smooth functioning of the Party’s internal procedures.
Membership B.2.1 All Party members are members of the branch in which they live and shall be entitled to participate in its activities. Where a member is living in the UK and registered to vote in one location, for the purposes of this Rule their residence shall be taken as the address at which they are on the electoral register.
B.2.2 The affairs of members who live in a parliamentary constituency with no established branch shall be administered by the Party Chairman or his delegate.
B.2.3.1 Party members may, on request, become a member of another branch, subject to the agreement of the receiving branch committee. On moving branches, the member shall have full voting rights in the new branch and cease to be a member of their previous branch.
B.2.3.2 Should the receiving branch committee withdraw their consent, the member shall be entitled to revert to membership of their branch of residency.
B.2.4 A Party member may serve on only one branch committee at a time.
B.2.5 Where a Branch collects a membership fee from a new member, it shall be entitled to retain the first year’s subscriptions only from those residing within the geographical area covered by the branch. Where the money is collected nationally, and where membership is renewed , the money shall be kept by the national Party.
Branch Committees B.3.1 Branches are responsible for their own actions and financial affairs.
B.3.2.1 The Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer shall be members of the branch committee. The number of Committee members to be elected shall be determined by the AGM, subject to a maximum of eight members in total.
B.3.2.2 No former member of a Party or organisation on the proscribed list shall be permitted to hold office on a branch committee, or to hold any other formal office within the Party.
B.3.2.3 No current member of any other Party shall be permitted to hold office on a branch committee, or to hold any other formal office within the Party. The Party Chairman may permit an exception to B.3.2.3 where he believes it to be in the Party’s strategic interests to do so.
B.3.3 The three principal branch officers, Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary shall all be committee members. Further officers may be elected to fulfil other posts. If only two members are elected to the committee, they shall be Chairman and Treasurer and one of these shall also be named as Secretary.
B.3.4 The branch officers and other committee members shall be elected at the branch’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) by ballot of members attending. Their term of office shall run from the AGM when elected until the next AGM. The principal officers shall be required to complete and return a Party Officer’s Declaration form.
Section Q of these Rules of Procedure shall not apply to the election of officers. B.3.5 All members in good standing are eligible to stand for election to the branch Committee of their branch. 'In good standing' is defined under I.8 below. For these purposes members are branch members either through B.2.1 or B.2.3 above.
B.3.5.2. A branch committee may accept nominations from members of other branches to stand for election to the branch Committee of their branch if they agree to those nominations by a majority.
B.3.6 Members of less than twelve months’ stand ing must be proposed and seconded by those who have been Party members for more than twelve months. The Party Chairman shall have the power to veto the election of any member of less than twelve months’ standing, within 21 calendar days of the AGM.
B.3.7 The elected committee shall have the power to co-opt other branch members for specific purposes whose term shall end at the next AGM and whose voting rights shall be determined by the elected committee.
Duties of Branch Officers B.3.8.1 The Chairman has principal responsibility for the direction of the branch and shall normally chair all meetings including the AGM and shall enjoy full voting rights. The Chairman shall normally call meetings of the committee (and meetings of the whole branch as defined in B.4.4) but a simple majority of committee members may call a committee meeting in the event that the Chairman is unable or unwilling to do so.
B.3.8.2 A duly constituted branch may hold a bank account. The Treasurer shall be responsible for managing the branch finances and bank account. All branches are Accounting Units for the purposes of the Political Parties Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA2000) and the Treasurer is responsible for compliance, in particular the reporting of donations to Head Office and the preparation and submission of Branch Accounts, according to guidance from the Party Treasurer.
B.3.8.3 Bank accounts should have at least three signatories, with any two signatories being required to draw upon branch funds. Signatories to the bank account should normally be Committee members. Accounts with just two signatories shall be permitted only in extremis, or when there are just two members on a Committee. Branches may permit electronic banking to be undertaken by a sole named individual but shall ensure that appropriate financial reports are received at each meeting.
B.3.8.4 The Secretary shall normally be responsible for the general administrati on of the Committee, including taking minutes of meetings, maintaining a record of the branch’s party members and advising Head Office of changes. The secretary shall also advise Head Office of any changes to the officers and the branch registration details and is responsible for compliance with E.14 of these Rules of Procedure.
B.3.9 Only members who are branch officers, or who have the express permission of the Committee, shall be authorised to represent the local party or make use of party logos. Unauthorised use of the party name or logo may be considered to be bringing the party into public disrepute and therefore grounds for disciplinary action.
B.3.10 In the event that a branch officer resigns or is otherwise unable to continue in the role, a permanent replacement may only be selected by a general meeting of the branch with 21 days’ notice. An acting replacement may be chosen by the branch committee to continue with the role until the following AGM.
B.3.11 Upon disbandment of any Branch, the financial reserves and other assets shall be transferred to the national party via the national Party Treasurer.
B.3.12 Where a branch official is seriously failing in their duties under B.1.5 and B.3.8.1 to B.3.8.3, and efforts to deal with the situation have not resulted in improved performance, the National Executive Committee may as a last resort remove from office a branch committee member.
B.3.13 Branches must contact their Regional Organiser if they wish to select as a branch committee member anyone with serious criminal convictions (to be defined as having been convicted of an offence for which the maximum sentence is a prison sentence of 12 months or greater or for which any custodial sentence was imposed). The Regional Organiser may accept the appointment, reject the appointment or refer the matter to the NEC. If the Regional Organiser rejects the appointment there shall be a right of appeal to the NEC.
B.3.14 Where a branch committee member is convicted of a criminal offence whilst a serving official, the member must notify the Party Secretary and the General Secretary. Where the Party’s reputation could be affected, the matter shall be referred to the Party Chairman who may suspend the committee member from office pending an NEC decision concerning removal from office.
B.3.15 Failure to disclose information under B.3.13 or B.3.14 may be grounds for disciplinary action.
B.3.16 Where a vote at a general Branch meeting or on a Branch Committee is tied, the following principles shall be used to resolve the tie: a) The branch committee should continue to discuss the matter, seek a consensus or compromise where possible, and then re-vote. b) If such a compromise cannot be reached, wherever possible, the Branch Chairman must use their second or casting vote to maintain the status quo. c) If the matter to be voted on does not permit the status quo to continue and is a choice between three or more options, or between three or more candidates for a position, then the vote shall be repeated with only the top two choices available. d)If the vote remains tied, and any co-opted members have voting rights on the Branch Committee, then the vote shall be repeated with only those members elected by a General Meeting of the branch entitled to vote. e) If the tie still cannot be broken, the matter should if possible be deferred to the next meeting. f) If the matter cannot be so deferred, or if the deadlock persists into a second meeting, then a coin toss or other random method may be used to determine how the Chairman’s second or casting vote should be used.
Branch and Committee Meetings B.4.1.1 Branch committees shall normally meet at least six times per annum with sufficient flexibility to cope with emergencies such as the sudden calling of an election.
B.4.1.2 Half of the committee members, including two of the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer, shall constitute a quorum. The normal notice period is 7 days.
B.4.1.3 The Regional Organiser and Regional Chairman covering the branch, and any officer listed under C.3.9 below, shall have the right to attend any Branch or Committee meeting.
Annual General Meeting B.4.2.1 Branch AGMs shall be held annually between October 1st and December 31 st. A general meeting of the branch must be held during the following quarter to approve the annual accounts. This Rule shall come into force on September 2017.
B.4.2.2 21 days’ notice of the AGM shall be given and the notice shall invite nominations for the election of committee officers and motions for the meeting. Nominations shall require a proposer and seconder, and candidates may be nominated either in writing in advance of the meeting, or in person at the meeting.
B.4.2.3 Any motions for the AGM must be submitted in advance and must be consistent with the principles and Constitution of the Party.
B.4.2.4 The business of the AGM shall include: (i) Approval of the minutes of the previous AGM; (ii) Receiving reports from the chairman and secretary; (iii) Receiving the Treasurer’s Statement of Accounts for the previous year; (iv) Election of the branch committee members and officers for the following year; (v) Transacting such other business as may be brought before it.
B.4.3 An extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of the branch shall be held when called for a specific purpose by the branch committee, by the Party Chairman or by the written request to the branch chairman or secretary of 25% of branch members in good standing. An EGM must be held within 6 weeks of being validly called and 21 days’ notice to all branch members must be given.
B.4.4 Ordinary meetings of the whole branch may be convened as thought fit by the committee and may typically be combined with campaigning or other activities.
B.4.5 The Annual General Meeting should be held at an appropriate venue within the geographical area covered by the branch. This should not be a member’s private residence, but rather a venue in which a public meeting could reasonably be held.
B.4.6 The AGM shall be open only to paid-up members of the Party.
B.4.7 The agenda for an Extraordinary General Meeting shall be restricted to the business for which it was called and matters arising but votes can only be taken on matter on the agenda. Attendees shall be restricted to paid-up members from the branch for which the Extraordinary General Meeting has been called unless they are the independent and impartial person cited in B.4.9 or a Party official mentioned in B.4.1.3.
B.4.8 An Extraordinary General Meeting should be held at an appropriate venue within the geographical area covered by the branch. This should not be a member’s private residence, but rather a venue in which a public meeting could reasonably be held. B.4.9
An Extraordinary General Meeting should be chaired by an independent and impartial chairman. This will normally be either the Regional Chairman or the Regional Organiser in the region concerned, but in exceptional circumstances an Extraordinary General Meeting may be chaired by an NEC member or national Party official.
B.4.10 Where an Extraordinary General Meeting resolves to remove branch officer(s) from their positions, it shall proceed to fill the vacancy with an immediate election in accordance with the Rules of Procedure, in particular observing the requirements of B.3.5,B.3.6 and B.3.7.
Selection of candidates B.5.1 It is the responsibility of branches to seek to nominate candidates for parliamentary and local elections within the branch area, acting in accordance with the rules laid down in Sections R,S,T,U and V of the Rules of Procedure.
B.5.2 For all local government elections, it is the responsibility of the branch to invite applications from members to stand. Acting in accordance with Sections R and U of the Rules of Procedure, the branch shall have the responsibility for selecting candidates.
B.5.3 Where a branch has not selected a local authority candidate for any ward or division at least 21 days prior to the close of nominations, the Regional Organiser and Regional Chairman shall have the power to select a candidate in order to ensure that there is a candidate on the ballot paper.