Belgravia Forum Constitution 
Preserve and enhance Belgravia for the whole community

Name Area and definitions

1. The name of the forum is ‘Belgravia Neighbourhood Forum’ the “Forum”.

2. The “Area”, as outlined on the attached Forum map, is known as ‘Belgravia’. The area takes in the whole of the Belgravia Conservation Area and part of the Grosvenor Gardens Conservation Area as designated by Westminster City Council under the terms of the Civic Amenities Act 1967.

3. “Forum Quorum” shall be eight members of the Forum.

4. “Steering Group Quorum” shall be 5 members of the Steering Group plus at least one of its officers elected under paragraph 30 below.

5. “Postal Address” any individual postal address in the Area.

6. “Occupy” for purposes of paragraph 24 shall mean either a resident at the Postal Address or the place of business of an individual member, the place of work of an individual member or the place of business of a limited company.

7. “Council” shall mean Westminster City Council.

8. The Forum is a neighbourhood forum established for the public benefit for the following purposes:

a.   To promote the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of Belgravia, its residents and businesses.

b.   To encourage development to respect the distinctive and historic character of Belgravia.

c.   To promote high standards of town planning and architecture in Belgravia.

d.   To develop a Neighbourhood Plan in general conformity with Westminster City Council’s “Westminster City Plan: Strategic Policies”, their traffic and other policies and the Mayor of London’s “London Plan” so far as they are relevant to Belgravia.

9. The Area is not governed by a Parish Council.

Objectives

10.  The Forum reserves the right to undertake any activities permitted by the relevant neighbourhood planning provisions of the Localism Act 2011.

11.  The Forum is a non-political organisation to benefit both residents and businesses by promoting co-operation with all statutory bodies and all other appropriate organisations/bodies on issues of local concern, including improvements to the Area and its environment, appearance and/or amenities.

12.  The Forum will consult with adjoining Forums and other key business stakeholders, such as Business Improvement Districts, on decisions concerning shared issues, including improvements to the Area and its environment, appearance and/or amenities.

13.  The Forum is a key platform for consultation within the area of the Council and will work with residents, other community groups and bodies within the Area to enable open discussion on issues of concern to the local neighbourhood.

14.  The Forum is independently led by local volunteers to provide good community intelligence, which can be used by the Council and its partners to shape, refine and improve services to residents, business and visitors in the Area.

15.  The Forum will help to support wider consultation activity and be informed of Council decision-making through regular contact with city councillors.

16.  The Forum may adopt a broad range of activities and approaches to ensure accessibility and relevance. It will work to ensure that timely responses are received on identified issues and priorities.

Membership

17.  Membership is open to businesses of all sizes, residents and workers who support the purpose of the ‘Belgravia Neighbourhood Forum’ and complete a membership form.

18.  The Forum membership will be representative of the whole community, with an appropriate balance between residents and businesses.

19.  The Forum shall be constituted of 21 or more residents, business representatives and community institutions, who live and/or work in the Area. Membership is open to individuals who are elected members of the Council.

Neighbourhood Forum Structure

20.  The Forum encourages observers from interested stakeholder groups, including all statutory bodies and other appropriate organisations/bodies, none of whom will be entitled to vote unless they fulfil the requirements of paragraph 17 above and become members of the Forum.

21.  The Forum shall meet at least twice a year.

22.  At least 21 day’s notification must be given to members for a meeting of the Forum to be held.

23. All members shall be entitled to attend the meetings to propose and, subject to Clause 24 below, to vote for motions.

24.
          a.        Where a vote is taken on any matter, whether in meetings of the Forum, the Steering Group, or other meeting, only one vote may be cast for   each Postal Address and for the avoidance of doubt, multiple members at one Postal Address shall have one vote between them,

          b.        Where in a block or building there are a number of separate Postal Addresses, each Postal Address shall entitle the occupiers or occupiers to one vote between them AND no one shall be able to vote more than once even if they occupy or own more than one Postal Address.

25. All Forum correspondence shall be by email and the secretary shall be entitled to assume that the email address given when the member joined the    Forum remains the correct address and in the absence of any notice of change from the member will assumed to have been delivered. Accordingly it shall be the responsibility of a member to inform the secretary of the Forum of any change of email address.

Composition of the Steering Group

26. The Forum will have a Steering Group which will manage the Forum.

27. The Steering Group shall comprise twelve members of the Forum, all of whom shall be volunteers. The Steering Group will be composed of the Area’s residential and business community. Four members shall be residents or represent residents associations, four members shall work in the area or represent retail/trade associations or landowners and the remaining four members may be from either group or community institutions and such community institutions or workers shall be encouraged to take up places.

28. All members of the Neighbourhood forum shall be eligible for election to the Steering Group and in the case of a limited company a duly authorised representative of the member limited company shall be entitled to stand for election on behalf of the member limited company. The authorisation shall be in writing from the Company and shall be delivered to the Secretary prior to the election.

29. Members of the Steering Group will be elected on the first anniversary of the creation of the Forum meeting for a period of two years and elections will take place at every annual general meeting where a vacancy shall have arisen or where the current members of the Steering Group wish to retire or at the end of their two-year term. Retiring members of the Steering Group shall be eligible for re-election AND any member who fails to attend meetings for 6 months shall be deemed to have resigned unless the Steering Committee shall resolve otherwise.

30. The Steering Group shall elect its own officers including a Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer and Secretary from those elected to the Steering Group.

31. The Chairman will be entitled to remain as chairman for a period of three years from election (notwithstanding clause 29 above) and shall be entitled to seek re-election to the Steering Group and the Steering Group may elect him/her for at least one more period of three years to be chairman and thereafter he/she shall stand down as chairman but nothing shall preclude him/her remaining as a member of the Steering Group subject to the provisions for election.

32. The Forum members shall at a meeting of the Forum:

a. Receive and comment on the reports from the Steering Group.

b. Decide whether to accept the Reports and recommendations from the Steering Group or reject or amend the same.

c.  Approve the annual report and accounts, where relevant.

            d.  Adopt constitutional amendments.

Meetings of the Steering Group

33. The Steering Group shall meet as often as is necessary, but no less than quarterly, to develop the Neighbourhood Plan and for any other proper purposes as the Forum shall determine.

34. If vacancies occur the Steering Group can co-opt new members subject to the endorsement of the Forum at the next meeting. Any member co-opted shall have the same rights to vote and other rights as are held by other members of the Steering Group pending such endorsement.

35. The Steering Group may delegate powers on specific matters to such persons as might be deemed appropriate, including administrative support from a third party.

36. All Steering Group decisions must be agreed by the Steering Group’s members who are present or in communication via conference call or proxy. A quorum will be five members, plus at least one of the officers referred to in paragraph 30 above.

37. Members of the Steering Group must declare any conflict of interest before participating in a discussion or vote and may be asked not to participate by majority vote of the Steering Group.

38. In the event of doubts as to the meaning of the Constitution then the Steering Group will determine the meaning by majority vote.

39. The Chair of the Steering Group shall:

a. Call and chair meetings of the Steering Group.

b. Have a casting vote on resolutions in the event of a tie. In the event of a tie in an election it will be decided on the toss of a coin if there are two candidates or if more are tied then on the drawing of a lot.

c.  Act on behalf of the Forum and represent it externally in accordance with the policy agreed by the Steering Group.

d. Act as joint signatory on the Forum bank account with the Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.

AND the Vice chair shall stand in for the Chair in his/her absence or inability to perform the above duties and shall perform them in his/her place AND act as signatory on the Forum’ bank account with the Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.

40. The Secretary shall:

a.     Be responsible for organising meetings, maintaining the minutes and Constitution of the Forum and make them available to members on reasonable request within 21 days of such a request.

b.     Act as joint signatory on the Forum bank account with the Chair, Vice Chair and Treasurer.

41. The Treasurer shall:

a.     Be responsible for maintaining the accounts of the Forum.

b.     Be responsible for presenting an annual budget for the following year to the Forum.

c.     Submit a detailed summary of the accounts at every Steering Group meeting and an annual report and full set of accounts ( prepared on the basis of usual accounting procedures) for the Annual General Meeting of the Forum for approval.

d.     Act as a joint signatory on the Forum bank account with the Chair, Vice Chair and the Secretary.

e.     Take the minutes if the Secretary is absent.

In the absence of the Chair and Vice Chair at any meeting then the members present shall elect one of their number to chair the meeting for that meeting only but not to carry out any other of the functions of the Chair or Vice-chair.

Affiliation, Operations and Independence

42. Forum shall not be affiliated to any political party or any other organisation.

43. The Steering Group shall not comment on planning applications in the name of the Forum until the Neighbourhood Plan has been agreed by the Forum. Members may not comment on planning applications in the name of the Forum, unless agreed by the Steering Group.

44. All members of the Forum shall act in meetings of the Forum, and Steering Group in the best interests of the Forum and the residents of the area and shall follow the good governance guidance, available at http://www.governancecode.org.

45. The Forum shall act in accordance with best practice in the preparation of neighbourhood plans and in accordance with Government guidance for such preparation and shall seek to work collaboratively with the Local Planning Authority to achieve this.

46. Cheques and other financial transactions of the Forum must be signed by two of the signatories who are so authorised above.

47. Constitutional amendments shall require a simple majority of Steering Group members present meeting (except where a different majority is required in order to comply with current legislation) and ratified by two thirds of the Forum at a meeting, provided that 21 days’ notice of the proposed amendment has been given to all members.

48. No meeting of the Forum or the Steering Group shall take place unless a quorum is present and any business purported to have taken place in the absence of a quorum shall be of no effect.

General Meetings:

49. A General Meeting of the Forum may be convened at any time:

a.          By resolution of the Steering Group and shall in any event be held within 28 days after the receipt by the Secretary of a requisition in writing signed by four persons being Officers or other Steering Group Members or

b.          By any 10 Members of the Forum or 25% of the members if the number of members of the Forum exceeds 50 at any time by delivering a requisition therefor signed by them to the Secretary which shall take place within 28 days from receipt of the said requisition,

c.           Any requisition for a General Meeting shall set out the motion(s) proposed to be moved at the general meeting duly proposed and seconded.

Dissolution

50. In the event of the dissolution of the Neighbourhood Forum, any assets/ monies shall go to local community based organisations, as agreed by the majority of the Forum.