This page contains information about the process of electing Odyssians trustees, as well as what being a trustee actually involves. It may not be clear to our membership exactly what a trustee does, what their responsibilities are and how they are elected. My plan is to change that.
The key points I’m going to explain are:
- What a trustee does
- What the responsibilities of a trustee are
- How the election process works
Odyssians has been a registered Charity since January 2015 and we have a constitution which can be found on our website (https://www.odyssians.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Odyssians-2015-Constitution-v1.pdf). Sections of this page summarise the constitution, so if you want any more information on anything covered here please read the constitution for full details.
Here’s an overview of how Odyssians is structured. There are 3 groups of people who are part of Odyssians:
- People become members of Odyssians by attending camp.
- In our constitution it says “Membership is open to individuals over eighteen who attend an event by the charity for four days”
- This means that as we usually hold our AGM (Annual General Meeting) on the Thursday of camp that everyone who is eligible to become a member has become one by the time we hold the AGM.
- Members can vote on proposals and help make decisions about the charity.
- Once you become a member of Odyssians there are a number of reasons you can leave or be removed, but the most common one is that the member doesn’t attend either one of the last 2 annual camps.
- If you stop being a member then you must attend another Odyssians camp to become one, as long as you still meet all the requirements.
- Trustees are a set of members who take on the responsibility of managing the running of the charity.
- They are elected at the AGM each year by the members of the charity.
- There must be a minimum of 3 trustees who are appointed to the positions of Chair, Secretary and Treasurer by the membership.
- There can be up to 13 total trustees including these 3 named positions.
Odyssians Planning Team
- Odyssians planning team is not a formal entity within the charity.
- The planning team is a group of members who help to organise Odyssians camp.
- Trustees are not required to be part of the planning team but may find that assistance will be required to ensure the objectives of the charity are achieved.
- The planning team are the people that make sure that camp and all our activities actually happen!
What does a Trustee actually do?
- It is important to note that being a trustee does not mean that you are required to be directly involved with the organising of our annual camp.
- Instead trustees have responsibilities to ensure the proper running of the charity following the requirements set out in our constitution.
From the Government’s document on “The Essential Trustee”, available from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-essential-trustee-what-you-need-to-know-cc3 the duties of a trustee are:
- Ensure your charity is carrying out its purposes for the public benefit
- Comply with your charity’s governing document and the law
- Act in your charity’s best interests
- Manage your charity’s resources responsibly
- Act with reasonable care and skill
- Ensure your charity is accountable
- Reduce the risk of liability*
* Although rare, the Trustees of the Charity can be held personally liable to both the charity (for any financial loss incurred by the Trustee acting improperly), or even to a third party that has a legal claim against the charity that the charity can’t meet.
How the election process works
The election process will use private ballot papers for every member of the charity at the Annual General Meeting, along with postal votes for members unable to attend the AGM, and will be counted by an impartial person, this will be explained in more detail below.
The election process for Odyssians 2017 will involve the following steps:
Submission period of new trustees
- This will be a 4 week window for people to register their desire to become a trustee.
- If you want to become a trustee, or remain a trustee if you already are one, then you must be proposed by a member of the charity.
- This submission must be signed by both the proposing member and the proposed member to show they are willing to be put forward.
- The proposed member will also have to sign to say they have read and understand the duties and responsibilities of being a Trustee during this time.
- The submissions can be submitted by email and can have electronic signatures.
Recommendation for new trustees
- While the constitution allows for the appointment of up to 13 trustees this would actually be a very large number of people to manage for such a small charity.
- Therefore, the current trustees will be proposing a list of names that that will be put forward as a block vote to the membership during the AGM.
- These names will be selected from the list of proposed members and will only be collated once the submission period is over.
- The vote for the named trustees (Chair, Secretary and Treasurer) are required to be on separate ballot papers.
- The voting ballot slips for the 3 names positions will therefore look something like:
- The block vote of proposed additional trustees will be a Yes/No vote:
- For the named trustees votes a “First Past the Post” election system will be used. So the person who receives the most votes will be elected.
- If for any of the named positions “None of the Above” is the winner then a second round of voting will be required as the named positions must have appointments.
- If for the additional trustees vote the winner is “No” then an alternative voting system (AV) will be used involving all the trustee proposals submitted to the charity.
- See these details regarding the process of AV: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant-runoff_voting#Process
- The block vote will be announced 2 weeks before the AGM to allow members who are unable to attend camp to submit their vote.
- However, if the AV process is triggered then we will not be able to accept votes from members who are not present. (This is allowed in our constitution as long as a quorum of the membership is present at the AGM)
For Odyssians 2017 the election process timeline will be as follows:
- 19th June – Submission period for trustees appointment opens
- 17th July – Submission period for trustees appointment closes
- 24th July – Odyssians current trustees announce their recommended additional trustees list
- 10th August – Odyssians AGM
I hope this provides some clarity on the process being used in 2017.
Tom Harris, Chair, Odyssians