Constitution

Falsely Accused Carers and Teachers Approved Constitution – October 2003

1.        Revocation:

1.1.     This constitution revokes all previous constitutions which F.A.C.T. have adopted in the past

2.         NAME:

2.1.     The name of the organisation is Falsely Accused Carers and Teachers which may be shortened to F.A.C.T. hereafter also referred to as the ‘organisation’

3.         ADMINISTRATION:

3.1.     Subject to the matters set out below, the organisation shall be administered and managed as a voluntary organisation in accordance with this constitution by the members of a committee as constituted by Clauses 9, 10 and 11 of this constitution.

4.         OBJECTS:

4.1.  The objectives of  F.A.C.T. are to:-

a.   campaign on behalf of carers and teachers who are victims of false allegations of abuse

b.   provide support to victims of false allegations of abuse, their families and friends

c.   increase public awareness of the extent to which carers are teacher are falsely accused and             wrongly convicted of abuse

d.   lobby for change in relevant legislation and investigative practice

e.    support the work of academics, lawyers and politicians and others who are fighting for justice for those wrongly accused of child abuse

f.    develop and maintain a membership based organisation

4.2.  In furtherance of these objectives F.A.C.T. will from time to time:

a.   hold meetings with individuals and groups who share our views

b.   produce a newsletter and disseminate information to members and interested parties

c.   arrange conferences on subjects which will benefit the objects of the organisation.

5.         POWERS:

5.1.     F.A.C.T. as an organisation will be administered and managed through a committee known as the F.A.C.T. Committee who will have the right to exercise the following powers:

a.   power to levy (or waive) a membership fee

b.   power to raise funds and incur expenditure, provided that in doing so it shall not undertake any substantial permanent trading activities other than through fund raising, and shall not enter into debt

c.   power to co-operate with similar minded organisations in furtherance of the objects of the organisation

d.   power to delegate tasks and appoint advisory sub-committees as the committee may think fit

e.   power to do all such other lawful things as are necessary for the achievement of the objects

f.    power to appoint a President for a fixed term. The President will be an ex-officio non voting member of the F.A.C.T. Committee.

6.         MEMBERSHIP:

6.1.     Membership of F.A.C.T. shall be open to:-

a.   any person who is, or has been, falsely accused or wrongly convicted of abuse as a result of having responsibility for individuals in a non parental role  or

b.   is interested in furthering the objects the organisation.

6.2.     Membership will be confined to those who have paid the annual membership fee laid down from time to time by the F.A.C.T. Committee, or who has been exempted in full or in part from doing so.

6.3.     Application for membership must be in writing and approved by the F.A.C.T Committee. All members will be required to complete a written undertaking that they abhor child abuse and that they will support the objects of the organisation.

6.4.     No person under 18 shall be permitted to be a member unless they themselves become a victim of false allegations of abuse.

6.5.     All paid up members will be issued with an annual membership card and will be entitled to vote.

6.6.     The F.A.C.T Committee shall have the power to offer honorary membership for as long as they determine, to any person it considers to be worthy of such.

6.7.     The F.A.C.T Committee may suspend an individual member on the grounds of action prejudicial to the interests of the organisation. The notification of possible suspension must be given in writing, together with details of the member’s right to be heard by the F.A.C.T. Committee prior to any final decision being taken.

6.8.     The F.A.C.T Committee may, by majority vote and for good reason, permanently terminate the membership of any individual provided that the individual concerned has been given an opportunity to make representations why membership should not be withdrawn, prior to the decision be taken.

6.9.     Any member whose membership has been terminated will have the right to a final appeal to a panel consisting of 3 persons who have been chosen for their independence. The decision of the independent panel whether or not to re-instate membership, and on what terms (if any) will be binding on all parties.

6.10.  The F.A.C.T Committee may, by majority vote and for good reason, temporarily withdraw its support (including finance) to any locality group associated with F.A.C.T. if it considers that the groups actions are prejudicial to the interests of the organisation. The notification of an intention to withdraw the group from association must be made in writing, together with details of the groups right to make representations to the F.A.C.T. Committee prior to any final decision being taken.

6.11.  The F.A.C.T Committee may, by majority vote and for good reason, determine that a locality group not be allowed to use the name, offices and resources of F.A.C.T, if it considers the groups actions are prejudicial to the interests of the organisation, provided that the group concerned shall have a right to be heard prior to the decision be taken. The notification of this action must be given in writing, together with details of the member’s right to be heard by the F.A.C.T Committee prior to any final decision.

6.12.  Any locality group whose association with F.A.C.T. has been terminated will have the right to appeal to a panel consisting of 3 persons who have been chosen for their independence. The decision of the independent panel whether or not to recommend re-instatement shall then be re-considered by the F.A.C.T. Committee.

7.         AFFILIATION

7.1.     F.A.C.T. will permit groups who share its objects and support its work to become affiliate members on payment of a fee as agreed from time to time by the F.A.C.T Committee. The initial fee structure will be set at £10 for non profit making groups of less than 15 members £20 for non profit groups of over 15 members. Groups in affiliation with F.A.C.T. will not accrue voting rights

7.2.     Membership by affiliation will be on terms determined by the F.A.C.T. Committee and entirely at their discretion and subject an ‘affiliation agreement’ which will set out the terms of this relationship.

8.          ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING:

8.1.     The F.A.C.T Committee will be responsible for calling, and for the proper conduct of the Annual General Meeting. This meeting is to be held annually during the month of September.

8.2.     The Secretary shall give at least 21 days’ notice of the annual general meeting to all members.

8.3.     Only paid up members of F.A.C.T. will be entitled to attend the AGM, and take part in the proceedings. The AGM may however precede (or follow) any other meeting or conference organised by the F.A.C.T Committee to which non non-members of F.A.C.T. have been invited.

8.4.     All paid up members of F.A.C.T. will be entitled to vote on the proceedings. Voting will be on the basis of one vote per member on a show of membership cards. If the vote appears to evenly matched, and the Chairperson determines, individual votes cast will be counted.

8.5.     The elected Chair of the F.A.C.T. Committee shall be the Chair of the Annual General Meeting, but if (s)he is not present the persons present (i.e. the membership) shall appoint a Chair for the meeting by a vote taken before any business is transacted.

8.6.     The business of the AGM shall include:-

a.         Minutes of previous AGM

b.         Matters arising from the minutes

c.         Report from the Chairman

d.         Adoption of  Chairman’s Report

e.         Report from the Secretary

f.          Adoption of Secretary’s Report

g.         Report from the Membership Secretary (if appointed, if not a report on membership)

h.         Adoption of Membership Secretary’s Report

i.          Report from the Treasurer (to include an audited Statement of Accounts)

j.          Approval and Adoption of Treasurers Report

k.         Appointment of an auditor

l.          Consideration of any resolutions submitted by members

m.       Adoption/rejection of resolutions submitted by members

n.         Election of office bearers  (bi-annually) – see Section 9 and 10 below

o.         Election of other members to serve on the committee – biannually – see Section 9 and 11 below

8.7.     Nominations for election to the F.A.C.T. Committee must be made by members of the organisation in writing and must be in the hands of the Secretary of the F.A.C.T. Committee at least 10 days before the Annual General Meeting. Should nominations exceed vacancies, an election shall take place by ballot.

8.8.     If no nominations are received prior to the meeting the Chairman may accept a nomination from the floor prior to the vote being taken providing it is proposed and seconded by a member. If there are more nominations than vacancies the meeting will decide by ballot. In any event the membership will be called upon to approve the appointment.

9.         THE  F.A.C.T. COMMITTEE

9.1.     There shall be a maximum of 6 members on the F.A.C.T. Committee excluding co-opted members and locality reps. These will include Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, and 3 other committee members.

9.2.     In addition each approved region providing they are active will be permitted send a representative (or deputy) to the F.A.C.T. Committee. These representatives will be entitled to vote.

9.3.     The following regional areas have been approved. North East, North West, Yorkshire, North Wales, South Wales, Central England, Southern England. Central England and Southern England will be entitled to send a representative (or deputy) to meetings once the Committee determine they are active.

9.4.     All voting members of  F.A.C.T. Committee, other than regional reps, will be elected by the membership

9.5.     A maximum of 3 other 6 other non-voting persons may be co-opted to the F.A.C.T. Committee to serve in any purpose the committee may determine.[change made at 2010 AGM]

9.6.     The F.A.C.T Committee will be deemed not to have a quorum unless the meeting is attended by 5 voting members two of whom must be office holders.

9.7.     The proceedings of the F.A.C.T. Committee shall not be invalidated by any vacancy among their number or by any failure to appoint, or by any defect in the appointment or qualification of a member.

9.8.     A member of the F.A.C.T. Committee shall be deemed to have retired from their position if (s)he is absent for 4 continuous ordinary meetings and the F.A.C.T. Committee resolves that his or her office be vacated.

9.9.     The F.A.C.T. Committee shall hold at least four ordinary meetings each year. A special committee meeting may be called at any time by the Chair or by any three members of the F.A.C.T. Committee upon not less than 4 days notice being given to other members of the F.A.C.T. Committee of the matters to be discussed.

9.10.  The Chair shall act as chairperson at all meetings of the F.A.C.T. Committee. If the Chairperson is absent from any meeting, the members of the F.A.C.T. Committee present shall choose one of their number to be Chair of the meeting before any other business is transacted.

9.11.  The F.A.C.T. Committee will determine amongst themselves what, if any, secondary positions they wish to see represented on the Committee e.g. Media Officer, Magazine Editor, Data Protection Officer, Membership Secretary, National Officer, Minute Secretary, etc.

9.12.  The F.A.C.T. Committee shall keep minutes, in books kept for the purpose, of its proceedings and of any subcommittee meeting which they arrange. Minutes taken must be agreed at subsequent meetings as a true and accurate record.

9.13.  The F.A.C.T. Committee may from time to time make and alter rules for the summoning and conduct of their meetings, the management of their business and the custody of documents. No rule may be made which is inconsistent with this Constitution.

9.14.  The F.A.C.T. Committee may appoint one or more subcommittees consisting of three or more members of the F.A.C.T Committee for the purpose of making any inquiry or performing any function or duty which in the opinion of the F.A.C.T. Committee will be more conveniently undertaken or carried out by a subcommittee, provided that all acts and proceedings of any such subcommittee shall be fully and promptly reported to the F.A.C.T. Committee.

10.      OFFICE BEARERS

10.1.  The membership will determine who they wish to hold the principal positions of Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. No one person can hold two or more of these positions simultaneously.

10.2.  The Principal Officers (Chair, Secretary, Treasurer) shall hold office from the conclusion of their election to the next AGM, and a further year afterwards. Elections will therefore be every two years.

10.3.  Office holders who wish to retire should give three months notice of their intention to do so.

11.      OTHER COMMITTEE MEMBERS

11.1.  All other committee members shall hold office initially for one year (that is to the next AGM) when new elections are to be held. Thereafter such committee members will be appointed for a two year period with elections being held bi-annually

11.2.  Co-opted members will however remain on the F.A.C.T. Committee for as long the Committee determines but will retire each AGM.  They may however be reappointed at subsequent meetings by resolution of the Committee, or alternatively seek election.

11.3.  In the event of a F.A.C.T Committee member resigning mid term the Committee may, if it chooses, select a replacement from amongst itself. Alternatively it may call an Extraordinary General Meeting for the membership to decide on a replacement. Such a person will continue to serve the committee until the next AGM takes place when an election will be called for a replacement.

11.4.  Committee members without office who wish to retire should give at least 2 months notice of their intention to do so.

12.      SPECIAL GENERAL MEETINGS

12.1.  The F.A.C.T Committee may call a special or extra-ordinary general meeting of the organisation at any time by its own authority.

12.2.  The F.A.C.T Committee must call a special or extra-ordinary meeting if at least 30 of the membership at that time request in writing, or by a vote taken at an AGM, the need for such a meeting, and state the business to be considered.

12.3.  Whenever a special or extra-ordinary is required the Secretary shall call such a meeting. At least 21 days’ notice must be given. The notice must state the business to be discussed.

13.      OTHER MEETINGS

13.1.  The F.A.C.T Committee may, on a resolution passed by the members of that committee, call any other meeting of the organisation in furtherance of its objects.

14.      PROCEDURES AT ALL MEETINGS

14.1.  The Secretary or other person specially appointed by the F.A.C.T Committee shall keep a full record of proceedings, and decisions taken.

14.2.  The Secretary shall make these available upon request to any member of the organisation.

14.3.  The Chairman will have a casting vote in the event of any matter on which a vote is taken and the result is a tie. S(he) will exercise this by casting for or against the motion.

15.      FINANCE

15.1.  The F.A.C.T Committee will responsible for controlling the central funds of the organisation, including all awards, grants, contributions and bequests.

15.2.  Individual branches or locality groups will be allowed full control over any funds they raise, or any gifts or donations which are specifically given for their own use.

15.3.  The F.A.C.T Committee will also be responsible for controlling the income arising from membership. All membership fees paid directly to FACT will be dispersed on the basis that one third will go to the relevant local group for them to use as they wish in furtherance of the objects of the organisation, and that and that the remaining two thirds will be used by the F.A.C.T Committee to cover the cost of its own administration, national campaigns, conferences and newsletters.

15.4.  The F.A.C.T Committee will have power to make financial awards to individual branches on whatever terms the Committee decide providing the money is used to further the objects the organisation.

15.5.  All such funds as may be received by, or in the control of, the F.A.C.T Committee shall be paid into a bank account approved the F.A.C.T Committee, in the name of F.A.C.T Committee – General Account.

15.6.  All cheques drawn on the account must be signed by at least two voting members of the F.A.C.T. Committee, excluding co-opted members and locality reps.

15.7.  The F.A.C.T. Committee will agree the terms under which locality groups may hold or raise funds for their own use.

15.8.  The F.A.C.T Committee will be responsible for ensuring that the accounts are audited in accordance with decision of the AGM. If the appointed auditor is not able to complete this task the Committee shall appoint a suitable experienced substitute.

16.      ACCOUNTS

16.1.  The financial year of the organisation shall be from the date of its formation to August 31st and thereafter from September 1st to August 31st. [changed to 1st August to 31st July]

16.2.  The F.A.C.T Committee will be responsible for ensuring that proper accounts and receipts are kept of its income and expenditure, and that all monies donated to the organisation can be properly accounted for.

16.3.  The Treasurer shall, on behalf of the F.A.C.T Committee,

a. ensure that the F.A.C.T. Committee complies with their financial obligations

b. ensure a record is kept of all income received in a form approved by the F.A.C.T. Committee

c. ensure a record is kept and receipts obtained for all expenditure

d. prepare an audited annual statement of account  one month prior to the AGM taking place

17.      RULES OF PROCEDURE

17.1.  The F.A.C.T Committee may from time to time make such rules as they deem necessary or expedient or convenient for the proper conduct and management of the organisation. These rules will be binding on all members.

17.2.  No rule shall be inconsistent with, or shall affect or repeal anything contained in this constitution.

18.      ALTERATIONS TO THE CONSTITUTION

18.1.  Subject to the following provisions of this clause the Constitution may be altered by a resolution passed by not less than two thirds of the members present voting at an Annual General Meeting, or Extraordinary General Meeting called for that purpose. The notice of the meeting must include notice of the resolution, setting out the terms of, and the reasons for, the alteration proposed.

18.2.  No amendment may be made which would have the effect of making the organisation act in an unlawful way.

19.      DISSOLUTION

19.1.  If the F.A.C.T. Committee decides that it is necessary or advisable to dissolve the organisation it shall call a meeting of all members, proposing a resolution for dissolution.

19.2.  The F.A.C.T. Committee must give 21 days notice of such a meeting and details of the purpose of the meeting.

19.3.       If the proposal is confirmed by a two-thirds majority of those present and eligible to vote the F.A.C.T. Committee shall have power to realise any assets on behalf of the organisation.

19.4.       Any assets remaining after the satisfaction of any proper debts and liabilities shall be transferred or given to such other like minded organisation as the members of the organisation may determine, or failing that shall be gifted to some other organisation concerned with the cause of false allegations or legal injustice.

We confirm that this constitution was adopted on resolution of the membership at an extra-ordinary general meeting held on 4th October 2003

Signed: (Signed copy available for inspection)             Full Name: Rory O’Brien

Position: Chairman                                                             Date: 4th October 03

Signed: (Signed copy available for inspection)             Full Name: Michael Barnes

Position Secretary                                                               Date: 4th October 03

Signed: (Signed copy available for inspection)             Full Name: Gordon Rozario

Position: Treasurer                                                              Date: 4th October 03

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SUBSEQUENT AGM RESOLUTIONS

The following resolutions have been discussed and/or amendments made to the Constitution since it was first adopted in 2003

2005 AGM

This AGM wishes to record its deep sense of gratitude and its appreciation of the work undertaken by Richard Webster in his book The Secret of Bryn Estyn. We are grateful for his many years of unstinting research, and for drawing the public’s attention to a moral panic which has so cruelly led to a witch hunt against carers and teachers whose only crime was to do their best for the children they were asked to care for and teach.  We salute his courage and his humanity.

Vote passed unanimously.

A statement was also read out concerning Mr P Fiddler’s membership

2006 AGM

Resolution 1: (Proposed by the National Committee)

A paper outlining the resolution, it context and consequences was circulated before the meeting.

“That the national committee look into the advantages and disadvantages of F.A.C.T. becoming a registered Charity, and produce a report on this for consideration by the membership at a special convened extra-ordinary general meeting to consider this matter

The Chairman explained that the resolution would only required the national committee at this stage to examining whether or not becoming a registered charity would be beneficial. The idea would be look at these matters and to report back to the members at a specially convened meeting immediately prior to the next Spring conference.

Vote: The resolution was unanimously passed by a show of hands. One member voted against stating that was so opposed to the idea that he did it was even appropriate to look into the matter any further.

[A report was placed before an EGM at the next Spring Conference recommending that FACT does not become a Charity. This was passed unanimously.]

Resolution 2 : (Proposed by Barry Strettle and Des Traynor)

A paper outlining the resolution, it context and consequences was circulated before the meeting.             “That the national committee:-

(a) encourage the relevant authorities to take positive action against those who make false allegations and lie in Court proceedings

(b) support, encourage and advise those who are already active in this area, and those proposing to take this type of action in the future

(c) make this a priority issue and formulate a plan of action.

(d) recognise the need for equality of justice.”

Des Traynor was invited to speak in favour of the motion. He said that there was now considerable evidence of  individual’s perjuring themselves and it was time action was taken against these people The issue was essentially a matter of the equality of justice. Des explained that initially he was opposed to FACT’s current policy of  calling for an amnesty for those who admitted making false allegations but now accepted they both had some merit as  together both provided a carrot and stick approach. George Jensen spoke in favour of a moratorium but agreed that the proposal had merit.

Vote: The resolution was unanimously passed by a show of hands.

2007 AGM

Resolution 1: (Proposed by FACT North Wales)

The following resolution was presented by FACT North Wales for consideration.

FACTUK should appoint a member to the national committee to be responsible for fund raising”. This was proposed by Bob Douthwaite and seconded by Wally Davies.
In the absence of the proposer the case for the amendment was put forward by Iris Jensen. She suggested that it would be useful if someone had the time to co-ordinate fund raising across the regions particularly during seasonal periods. A number of possibilities were suggested including establishing a network of Webb Ivory fundraisers across the UK.  Others views expressed were a little more cautious. Joy Gower suggested that such a person need not be a committee member but anticipated some possible difficulties in persuading the general public that we are a ‘good’ cause. George Jensen agreed that it need not be a committee member and said that the public’s perception of being difficult or against us was not borne out by experience in North Wales.

The Secretary said that it was necessary to carefully read and understand what was being proposed. What the proposal was suggesting was that a member, i.e. a F.AC.T. member, be appointed to the national committee who would have responsibility for fund raising. The Secretary indicated that it would not only be necessary to identify someone who had the necessary skills and interest in taking on this role but also to make sure that any fundraising we did fully complied with the law. The important thing at this stage was for someone to come forward who might be interested in such a role. He also indicated that when time permits the national committee will put an application in for small grant lottery awards.

Vote:  The matter was then put to a vote and carried by show of hands.

2008 AGM

Resolution 1: (Proposed by Rory O’Brien, seconded by Michael Barnes)

“For sometime now the national committee has been looking at ways to ease the burden on its key members.  With this in mind Iris Jensen has been acting as correspondence secretary. The present constitution allows for 3 Officers (Chairman, National Secretary and Treasurer) and 3 ordinary members. The Committee are however empowered to appoint 3 co-opted members and to make any rules they deem necessary for the proper conduct and management of the organisation. Members are asked to note the action taken and to agree in principle to the appointment of a correspondence secretary to serve on the committee until the next Spring Conference when a resolution will be tabled to formalise this arrangement and, if necessary, create additional positions.”

Vote: passed unanimously.

Resolution 2: Proposed Bob Douthwaite, seconded by Ffreda Douthwaite.

“The North Wales Branch is rather concerned that there seems to be no progress with the Cambridge Research project. Can we please be updated?

Vote: passed unanimously. Verbal update given

2009 AGM

A resolution was put forward by FACT North Wales requesting the National Committee to examine the Jury System …..

A great deal of hard work is obviously put into our Campaign and the Officers are to be highly commended for everything that they do. However, we believe that there is another aspect of our Campaign that requires an equal amount of hard work and dedication to be put into it.

When we speak personally to people who are not connected in any way to F.A.C.T., we find that the vast majority of them are most understanding, sympathetic and indeed empathetic to our cause.  Many have never considered anything other than what they have read in the press or heard on the television or the radio.  When they hear the other side of the lurid stories that appear in the media, they are at first quite shocked but quickly understand that there have been many miscarriages of justice and wonder why our Campaign is not given more publicity.

Verdicts in the courts of law are made by members of the general public, sitting as jurors and it is to these people whom I believe we should be addressing our Campaign.  We should be explaining our beliefs and our values to the people who will be called upon to sit in judgement on other men and women who may become caught up in this witch hunt which has so far blighted the lives on many innocent people.  They are the ones who will have to listen to the lies being told by the false accusers and we should inform them as fully as possible of the lies that will be told, of the tactics that will be employed and the playacting that will be used to try to convince them, the jury, of the guilt of the people who have been falsely accused.

Until we can change the opinion and the attitude of the general public, the future juries, we do not think that we shall make a great deal of progress

Resolution: Will the Conference now consider ways in which we can bring about our beliefs, our knowledge and our expertise to the attention of every man and woman who may be called upon to serve on a jury?

Vote: passed unanimously

2010 AGM

Resolution 1. Proposed by Michael Barnes, seconded by Joy Gower.
Para 9.5 of the Constitution which currently says “A maximum of 3 other non-voting persons may be co-opted to the Committee to serve to serve in any purpose the Committee may determine” be amended to say “A maximum of 6 non-voting persons may be co-opted to the Committee to serve in any purpose the Committee may determine .
(Please note: In view of the fact that a meeting has been arranged for the 25th September for anyone interested in helping FACT in the future no persons will be co-opted until that time.

Resolution 5: Proposed by Michael Barnes, seconded by Joy Gower
Explanatory note:
Resolutions 2, 3 and 5 clearly suggest that more notice should be given of any potential change to the Constitution, and of all nominations being made for office.  In order to carry these recommendation each resolution must be passed by not than two thirds of the members on the day (see Para 18.1 of the current Constitution).

Each proposal raises important questions about the practicalities (including cost) and workload issues which members and the the national committee will need to examine carefully.

Resolution: It is therefore proposed that resolutions 2, 3, and 4 are held over to the Spring conference when an Extraordinary General Meeting can be called so that all members can be advised of them and to give the national committee time to advise members of the full implications of change.

Note: If implemented Resolution 5 will not disadvantage the membership or result in any delay in possible implementation because the resolution could only come into force at the next AGM – September 2011.

Resolution 5: Proposed by Michael Barnes, seconded by Joy Gower
Explanatory note:
Resolutions 2, 3 and 5 clearly suggest that more notice should be given of any potential change to the Constitution, and of all nominations being made for office.  In order to carry these recommendation each resolution must be passed by not than two thirds of the members on the day (see Para 18.1 of the current Constitution).

Each proposal raises important questions about the practicalities (including cost) and workload issues which members and the the national committee will need to examine carefully.

Resolution: It is therefore proposed that resolutions 2, 3, and 4 are held over to the Spring conference when an Extraordinary General Meeting can be called so that all members can be advised of them and to give the national committee time to advise members of the full implications of change.

Note: If implemented Resolution 5 will not disadvantage the membership or result in any delay in possible implementation because the resolution could only come into force at the next AGM – September 2011.

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