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Writing the committee out of the Constitution.

Writing the committee out of the Constitution.

Postby Hairyloon » Sat Jun 28, 2014 8:28 am

I'm not sure this is the right place, but it is easily moved.

I am trying to help set up a charitable association.
The first issue that most potential members have brought up is the concern that the governing committee will start pushing people around: this has been seen to occur in many similar associations.

So I wondered if it was possible to run an association without a committee, and write it out of the constitution.

I've taken a model constitution and started it, but I have other things to do now, so I thought I'd put it to you while I get back to it later.

My thinking was to start with the objects and make a plan. Many committee functions can be eliminated by referring instead to the plan.

The various tasks will need somebody appointed who is responsile for the execution of that task, and such appointments need to be democratically accountable. That is not difficult.

There needs to be a mechanism to decide how funds are spent. Can this not be decided directly by the members? At least insofar as how much goes in each pot.

What else does a committee do?
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Re: Writing the committee out of the Constitution.

Postby Slartibartfast » Sat Jun 28, 2014 9:12 am

Unless your proposed membership is so proximate and small (<50) that it can function as a large committee, I do not think this will be feasible. Any collective activity requires tasks and decisions to be delegated, it is unavoidable. Day-to-day housekeeping and organisational activity can be done by an officer of the association or by a committee, but there is no significant difference. If you seek charitable status then named persons must represent the accountable body and be liable for legal duties (and penalties).

From a practical point of view it also seems like a big challenge. Even if you set out with a 'vote on everything' ethos, someone still has to decide what options are offered in the ballot. Someone has to call the result, someone has to carry out the decision.
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Re: Writing the committee out of the Constitution.

Postby atticus » Sat Jun 28, 2014 10:20 am

Appoint a dictator. At least he will not need a committee to rubber stamp her decisions.
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Re: Writing the committee out of the Constitution.

Postby theycantdothat » Sat Jun 28, 2014 10:30 am

Humans are programmed so that decision making is generally best, or at least most easily, achieved by groups the members of which do not exceed something like fifteen. It is not for nothing that many team sports have around eleven players and that juries have twelve members. Assuming the association will have more than a handful of members I think you need a committee, even if its powers are circumscribed.

Be wary about tinkering with a model constitution if you do not have any experience of legal drafting.
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Re: Writing the committee out of the Constitution.

Postby Hairyloon » Sat Jun 28, 2014 11:08 am

Slartibartfast wrote:Unless your proposed membership is so proximate and small (<50) that it can function as a large committee, I do not think this will be feasible. Any collective activity requires tasks and decisions to be delegated, it is unavoidable.

Yes. The task is delegated to the team leader responsible for that task.
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Re: Writing the committee out of the Constitution.

Postby Millbrook2 » Sat Jun 28, 2014 4:07 pm

Hairyloon wrote:
Slartibartfast wrote:Unless your proposed membership is so proximate and small (<50) that it can function as a large committee, I do not think this will be feasible. Any collective activity requires tasks and decisions to be delegated, it is unavoidable.

Yes. The task is delegated to the team leader responsible for that task.


If there is no committee who decides the task to be done and who will be team leader.
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Re: Writing the committee out of the Constitution.

Postby Hairyloon » Sat Jun 28, 2014 7:29 pm

Millbrook2 wrote:
Hairyloon wrote:
Slartibartfast wrote:Unless your proposed membership is so proximate and small (<50) that it can function as a large committee, I do not think this will be feasible. Any collective activity requires tasks and decisions to be delegated, it is unavoidable.

Yes. The task is delegated to the team leader responsible for that task.


If there is no committee who decides the task to be done and who will be team leader.

Any member can suggest that a task needs doing, and in doing so volunteers to be team leader.
Other members can register an interest in the task and then express their support, lodge reservations and/or resist the suggestion.
If a task has achieved the required level of support then it is authorised then the team leader can proceed with the task.
An appropriate log of the task should be maintained.
The team leader can pass responsibility to a willing recipient, but retains a duty to monitor the task.
If a member is unsatisfied with the performance of the team leader they can submit an alternate plan whereupon the interested parties can decide who should take the task.
If that occurs, then the meeting of interested parties would in effect be a committee, but it is only there for one specific purpose.

What level of support is required would depend upon the task.
If it is controversial then a more time should be given to allow more members to express their views.
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Re: Writing the committee out of the Constitution.

Postby atticus » Sat Jun 28, 2014 10:10 pm

I suggest that you ask this group to delegate everything to you. That will keep you happy.
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Re: Writing the committee out of the Constitution.

Postby Hairyloon » Sat Jun 28, 2014 10:31 pm

atticus wrote:I suggest that you ask this group to delegate everything to you.

They already did.
Task number 1: recruit more members.
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Re: Writing the committee out of the Constitution.

Postby Slartibartfast » Sun Jun 29, 2014 12:21 am

Hairyloon wrote:Any member can suggest that a task needs doing, and in doing so volunteers to be team leader.
Other members can register an interest in the task and then express their support, lodge reservations and/or resist the suggestion.
If a task has achieved the required level of support then it is authorised then the team leader can proceed with the task.

Who decides what "the required level of support" is? Are these decisions to be made by a simple majority of all who choose to vote, or of all members? If A loses a strongly disputed ballot by just one vote, is he likely to abide by that decision?

Hairyloon wrote:If a member is unsatisfied with the performance of the team leader they can submit an alternate plan whereupon the interested parties can decide who should take the task.

So if A loses the first vote, they can immediately instigate a second or third or tenth vote to overturn it. Unless by "the interested parties" you refer to some inner decision-making group?
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