: Setting up a CIO  ( 1267 )

dimogga

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Re: Setting up a CIO
« #20 : February 07, 2015, 08:34:12 AM »
Our current setup is we have a committee of 9 who make the decisions day to day stuff. If there's big decisions that affect everyone (Like alterations to the apiary fence) I want everyone to have a say in that, so I suggest to the committee they thrash out details and then put proposals forward for the rest of the group.

A committee of one is always easiest. That doesn't mean that should be how it is.

Most of our committee is very sensible and happy to look at the good of the whole site. If that wasn't the case then things would be really horrid. But then I'd put to them that they can not make decisions that affect everyone on their own. The precedent has been set for big decisions to be put to everyone. If they started doing things without consulting everyone then there would need to be an EGM called and things stopped!
I trust the majority of the site would listen to reason and make the right decisions for the whole site.

Good work can easily be undone. This is something I am quite aware of given all the things going on here.

We are only a small site. Sometimes I wish we were bigger as that would dilute the annoyances, but sometimes it might just add to them!

Big Gee

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Re: Setting up a CIO
« #21 : February 08, 2015, 07:26:29 PM »
'Democracy' is probably the most mis understood and confusing thing for the general public. Many think that it's a system whereby EVERYONE needs to be consulted on all matters at all times.

Democracy in it's basic and raw form is an unbridled mobocracy. It's actually the tyranny of the mob. A constitution limits that.  It also safeguards and limits the power of executives (or a committee/ board of trustees) and the power of the mob (all the members collectively). The safeguards are the separation of powers of the executive and the haphazard powers of the collective members.

A pure unbridled democracy is a governing system in which the majority enjoys absolute power by means of democratic elections. In an unvarnished democracy, unrestrained by a constitution, the majority can vote to impose tyranny on themselves and the minority who are opposed. They can vote to elect those who will infringe upon the inalienable rights of individuals. They were described by Thomas Jefferson as elected despots.

A structured executive (whose primary duty is to see to it that the constitution is clearly adhered to and fairness prevails) prevents mob rule. You don't have to wait for the majority of people to make a decision because you have representatives who can make the decisions which are ultimately governed by a constitution.

The key is that the CONSTITUTION is properly constructed and passes the test of acceptance by the members as a whole at the very beginning. Thereafter it is the constitution that dictates and not the executives or trustees, whose job it is to run the organisation and to carry out the wishes of the members as agreed in their constitution - and that should be done to the letter. That way the 'democratic' process is not corrupted by mob rule of the majority - should that process be overtaken by a majority group within the whole that has it's own agenda, and can maneuver that agenda in the guise of majority decisions of all members.

What I am advocating is a 'constitutional democracy' the guidelines of which have been set out in the democratic process of writing the constitution.

To make sweeping statements like the 'dictatorial powers of the executives' is totally wrong. The executives are simply custodians of the constitution and not dictators whose every whim must be obeyed. As I said there is much confusion when it comes to analysing what a proper constitutional democracy actually is. What it isn't is the need to have a full meeting of all members and a show of hands and a majority decision arrived at every time an individual member needs to visit the toilet! 
 

dimogga

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Re: Setting up a CIO
« #22 : February 09, 2015, 10:17:58 AM »
The decisions that should be taken by the whole group are: changes to the rules, changes to the layout of the site, anything that affects everyone, anything that changes the ideology of the site, large financial impact decisions etc.

The day to day things like shed approval can be done by a committee but there are some things that should be put to everyone.
It would be madness to consult everyone on everything, but our current constitution says we need a committee of 9 (out of 18 plots) for the day to day running of the site.

Democracy is about enabling everyone to have a say about who gets to represent them and on the big issues.
UK parliament wise - think of the referendum in Scotland recently to make a big decision. Should that have been left to the politicians the public elected or was it right for them to have a referendum?
(Actually that's a bad choice as the whole referendum argument was boil washed with nonsense to allow them to vote no and still get some more independence)

If you can put the running of a group down to three people (And from what I understand of a CIO, those people have to stand down at various times and be replaced) then you are potentially just three of the people you disagree with to run the complete thing.

Can a CIO person stand immediately again after stepping down after their 'reign' has ended and be reelected?

That would be terrifying here when it's the wrong three.








Big Gee

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Re: Setting up a CIO
« #23 : February 09, 2015, 11:15:36 AM »
Your constitution is what dictates everything. The number of trustees in a CIO is entirely up to the ones who write and approve the constitution (governing document) of the CIO. The only stipulation made by the Charities Commission is that the minimum is two, how many more you decide on is up to you. I must say that 9 out of just 18 plots is rather unbalanced in my opinion. Having 50% of the total plot-holding members making decisions will slug the whole process. Getting a consensus amongs nine is almost as difficult as getting a consensus amongst 18. The more you have the louder the noise and disruption during committee meetings! However a good constitution document cuts that down, because you don't need great debates with many people if what is being decided on is already laid out clearly in your constitution, (including conduct at meetings). I would seriously think about having three executives (chair, secretary & treasurer with possibly one more as a committee (trustee) member, as a tied vote allows the chair to have a casting vote, that in effect is a five vote arrangement. If you have a good robust constitution you don't need big numbers to exercise it's contents.

Decisions regarding issues outside the remit of the constitution or decisions which have to be opened up to the whole membership due to the seriousness or impact of a major decision, is no problem, again these are things that can be included in your constitution so that there are guidelines in place and no room for argument.

How often and how long members stay in office is obviously up to you, there are no hard and fast rules - these are the things you hammer out at the constitution's drafting stage, and it's the time when the whole membership have a say in what they want for the future. Beware though of bad decisions being made regarding the constitution at that stage when drafting your document, due to misguided ideas about fairness and democracy.  Many do not understand what a constitutional democracy actually means (thinking it is just a list of rules, it's far more than that) - many others will be totally disinterested and may be manipulated to have their show of hands reflect what others want.

The important thing is that it's the constitution that forms the bedrock of all decisions and it's the 'bible' when it comes to any disputes or arguments regarding the fair and 'democratic'running of your allotment group.
 

dimogga

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Re: Setting up a CIO
« #24 : February 09, 2015, 12:57:56 PM »
Your constitution is what dictates everything. The number of trustees in a CIO is entirely up to the ones who write and approve the constitution (governing document) of the CIO. The only stipulation made by the Charities Commission is that the minimum is two, how many more you decide on is up to you. I must say that 9 out of just 18 plots is rather unbalanced in my opinion.

 many others will be totally disinterested and may be manipulated to have their show of hands reflect what others want.

The important thing is that it's the constitution that forms the bedrock of all decisions and it's the 'bible' when it comes to any disputes or arguments regarding the fair and 'democratic'running of your allotment group.


9/18 is better than 9/7 which one site in Oldham has!

The problems we've had have all stemmed from one cpair - when it's been more than them it's been people they have pushed into agreeing with them. One of them is no longer with us. Which has led to all sorts of shennigans over the last couple of weeks. The other one still is and is a major problem. Until he's off he will always be a problem and because of where he lives he will still be a problem then.

The vast majority though are sane normal people who want to grow vegetables and have a nice allotment site.

I would want the rules we have completely re-writing to cover some new stuff we've had come up recently. But even then I'm not sure rules can account for everything.
We do have a
"42.   Enquiries about rules
If a member has a query about rules then they should ask a committee member who will refer the issue to a committee meeting for clarification. Any decisions made by the committee should be in the best interests of all plot holders and the future of the site. If a situation requires new guidelines or rules then these must be consulted at an AGM and approved by the council.
"
and
58.   MATTER NOT PROVIDED FOR
These rules are not finite and may be added too but not deleted. Any additional rules are subject to the written agreement of the Cartmel Crescent Allotment Association and Oldham Council.

Any member who may be aggrieved or disagree may appeal to the Committee in the first instance and to Oldham Council if the matter cannot be resolved amicably.






Big Gee

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Re: Setting up a CIO
« #25 : February 09, 2015, 05:02:18 PM »
That really highlights the problems with a weak and non comprehensive constitution. I know it's a bane to write constitutions, but if properly done it should resolve 99% of any events that may arise. Time spent writing a robust constitution can save months of hassle down the line. It also keeps the peace and saves time on arguments that have to be resolved on the hoof, and those resolutions often cause even more animosity.

The trick is to have the constitution drafted by really experienced plot holders who have years of experience, not greenhorns that have not experienced a wide spectrum of problems that have arisen in the past. Also it highlights why a constitutional democracy is superior to a 'mobocracy' where you have every little hiccup resolved by a committee or a general meeting where you run the risk of personalities, friendships and cliques getting in the way of fairness and the non biased resolution to problems because a majority vote is relied on for every issue that arises. You don't need an army of members to interperate what a constitution says, you just need a small group of sensible people who know their constitution - that way there is no argument.
 

dimogga

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Re: Setting up a CIO
« #26 : February 09, 2015, 07:18:35 PM »
our constitution Was what the federation recommended.
.

Big Gee

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Re: Setting up a CIO
« #27 : February 09, 2015, 09:13:23 PM »
In that case, my guess is, it's probably an off the shelf job that just covers the basics. Get yourselves registered as a CIO and you'll have a chance to get a new one drafted with everything you need included.
 

dimogga

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Re: Setting up a CIO
« #28 : March 31, 2015, 10:57:21 AM »
My beekeeping group is now a CIO and I have got the pdf of their constitution now! Bit long!

Big Gee

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Re: Setting up a CIO
« #29 : March 31, 2015, 01:49:36 PM »
Good news! I'm glad to hear it Di.

My application got turned down the first time because they reckoned the Aims & Objects of our proposed CIO were not clear enough. That'll teach me not to stick to the K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid) principle in future! I've now got to re-jig it so that it's simple enough for simple people to read & understand! Still, no harm done - at least I'll know what to expect next time round - a bit of an eye opener really. People don't want substance these days - they just want simplicity.
 

dimogga

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Re: Setting up a CIO
« #30 : April 01, 2015, 09:56:56 AM »
"     To advance and encourage the understanding of bees and beekeeping and practice of good beekeeping for the public benefit."

Thats their aims.

At least two of their regular volunteers last year were of the 'let them swarm' school of thought, which IMO isn't for good beekeeping for the public benefit.


scary crow

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Re: Setting up a CIO
« #31 : April 01, 2015, 03:41:58 PM »
Great news Di .   clap:-)