STRUCTURE, ROLES & RULES
To précis the mission it is to work to create a Britain where everyone has the freedom to enjoy the outdoors on foot and benefits from the experience. We will protect, improve and enhance the places that people enjoy to walk and open up new places for them to explore; will help people explore their local area and the beauty of the rest of Britain by making sure paths and green spaces are well maintained and the rights and freedoms of walkers upheld; will create a country where society understands the benefits of walking outdoors and communities have easy access to high-quality places to walk, from attractive urban areas to open spaces in the countryside and will support people of all ages and backgrounds so they can experience the great outdoors on foot, resulting in improvements in health, wellbeing and happiness.
Longer term ambitions to streamline the organisation include:
More independence – groups can decide just what they wish to do
Simplified accounting and reporting
One member one vote
For the present the Area operates by having an Area Executive Committee meeting four times a year comprising of Area Officers and Group Representatives. In addition up two independent members and two representatives of our affiliated bodies can also be elected to this committee at the Area AGMs. We have a formal constitution and set of standing orders.
All the Area Honorary Officers shall retire at the AGM following their election, but shall be eligible for re-election with the exception that holders of the positions of Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer shall not be entitled to hold the same office for more than three consecutive years; neither shall they be eligible for election to a different one of these offices until the expiry of one year from the date when they last held one of these offices. The Area Executive Committee may create additional supporting roles.
This role is to identify and promote opportunities for the Area to contribute and make a difference to the local walking environment. To ensure that the committee has a clear sense of direction and purpose and that these coincide with the Ramblers aims and strategy; to provide leadership, helping the committee to set aims and monitor them; to identify where more volunteers are needed and whether the existing committee needs more resources or training. They are also to speak with the Groups in the Area, helping them to work together; liaise with members of the Board of Trustees and encourage others to volunteer to be on the committee. They are seen as networking, developing agendas for meetings in conjunction with the Area Secretary, planning the AGM, putting forward ideas for campaigns and projects to the committee, promoting the aims of the Area to Groups and encouraging them to get involved, acting as a spokesperson and facilitating meetings. They are also to seek potential officers for the future to ensure smooth progression.
SECRETARY AND TREASURER
These roles areas their names suggest and the detailed responsibilities are given in the national website guidelines.
WALKING ENVIRONMENT OFFICER
The role will involve keeping a watching brief on planning and other environmental issues which affect the walking environment in our Area; working closely with the Area Footpath Officer to ensure that the countryside and urban public space are accessible to the public and that the special qualities of these places are preserved and enhanced by influencing local decision-makers and landowners.
This officer will build and maintain relationships with other user groups, agencies and local and regional government and will respond to consultations on a wide range of issues that affect the enjoyment of the countryside and urban public space; identify campaigns and area consultations in which the Ramblers should be involved, and represent the Ramblers in these areas of work. He/she will work to promote and protect open access to the countryside as a way of enabling all people to experience a greater love and appreciation of the natural world and outdoor recreation, coordinating all those who work locally on access issues and relevant campaigns.
This person will contribute to the development of opportunities and facilities for walking in their Area by working to protect and enhance the local rights of way network. Whilst doing this being a part of a team coordinating other Ramblers volunteers who work locally on rights of way issues, in particular the Area Walking Environment Officer and Group Footpath Secretaries. He/she will be one of the Ramblers key contacts with the local highway authority, obtaining new information about local footpath conditions as well as representing the organisation at meetings and public-facing events. By monitoring local footpath conditions, liaising directly with local authority officers, supporting practical path work and coordinating other local Ramblers volunteers, this officer will help to maintain and improve local footpaths. He/she will co-ordinate the rights of way work across the Area, through contact with local Ramblers Groups, or the establishment of an Area Footpath Committee and will report footpath problems to the highway authority and monitor progress and any action taken. He/she will also look for opportunities to extend the footpath network; assess and respond to proposals to change the path network; comment on local authority plans or strategies where they refer to rights of way (e.g. Rights of Way Improvement Plans); collect evidence for the addition of paths to the definitive map and defend the status of existing recorded paths and organise footpath surveys.
This person should ensure that the charitable work of the Ramblers is given a high profile in the Area. By producing an attractive display to publicise the Ramblers and arranging for it to be used in locations such as local libraries, local events, popular walking spots etc and by contacting local media through press-releases, articles or letters to highlight the issues facing walkers and the contribution being made by the Ramblers. Further they should work at getting promotional Ramblers literature distributed to prime locations around the Area and talking to local walking groups, affiliated walking clubs or other groups about the important work of the Ramblers. They will liaise with the Groups to provide them with display material as required.
To produce and organise the distribution of such newsletters as the Area Executive Committee feels appropriate and monitor and update the content of the Area Website. To communicate and promote the work of the Ramblers in the Area, the aim being to inform people of the concerns facing walkers locally and the valuable work to address them being undertaken by the Area. The aim is to produce an attractive and accessible Area newsletter and ensure that it is distributed amongst all the members of the Area. This will involve working with the other Area Officers to gather relevant local campaign issues; selecting relevant material from Central Office communications and other sources which highlight issues and campaigns for walkers and liaising with Group Secretaries to gather information about their activities. The website is also a means of encouraging members and the public to see the relevance of the Ramblers, to join the Ramblers and to encourage more active involvement in pursuit of the Ramblers aims. The role is to gather information from office holders, local groups or central office to make interesting or relevant reading for members and non-members. The website is also a means of providing access to the Area newsletter electronically.
SOCIAL MEDIA OFFICER
Responsible for the updating and maintenance of the Facebook Page and any other platform of social media.
The role involves ensuring that new or perspective members are given a warm welcome to the Area and are made aware of the opportunities to get involved. To also encourage the Area and Groups to carry out activities and events that may promote membership. However, actually carrying out promotional activities does not need to be part of the role (although it can be) and this officer should work closely with the Chairman and Publicity Officer. It involves sending an information pack to people who enquire about the Ramblers including general information about the Ramblers and how to join. To also, when informed by central office, ensure that lapsed members are contacted either by Area or their group with an encouragement to renew membership. The role includes receiving the monthly Area Membership statistics from central office and monitoring the growth rate looking for trends or patterns and forwarding these statistics to the Group Membership Secretary promptly.
These guidelines may be changed from time to time by the decision of the Area Executive Committee but shall form the basis on which we operate within the Area in support of the Constitution.
- The Area shall maintain a website detailing Area activities, Area contacts, ongoing campaigning issues and items of interest. It will give links to the various groups making up the Area and will have a members’ area where administrative information can be found including dairy dates, standing orders and the constitution.
- The Area will produce two paper newsletters to be produced in May and November. The deadline for material is the last day of the preceding months.
- The Area will maintain a Facebook page and use any other social media outlet available to promote the organisation and its activities
- Annual General Meetings – AGMs shall be held in accordance with the prevailing constitution. They will be hosted by each Group in turn on an eight yearly cycle. The host Group shall budget for all costs which they anticipate incurring with the exception of room hire and the actual cost of refreshments both of which will be reimbursed by Area within a budget to be agreed each year. Hosts Groups are invited to put a walk into their walks programme to follow the AGM, subject to their normal arrangements, but if they elect not to do so then Area Officers may elect to lead a walk on that occasion. All other Groups are asked not to arrange any other activity on that day.
- Area Quiz – The Annual Quiz will be hosted by each Group in turn on an eight yearly cycle. The host Group shall make a charge to cover room hire, refreshments and any other costs as Ramblers rules require that social functions be self funding. No travel expenses will be covered. These are normally arranged late October or early November.
- Area Walk – Once each year, on an eight year cycle, a Group will host a walk within their programme and subject to their normal arrangements. It is envisaged that they will be joined on the walk by members from other Groups and all Groups are asked to leave this date otherwise free in their walks calendar. These are normally arranged during August.
- Area Executive Committee Meetings – The AEC will meet in accordance with the constitution, normally 4 or 5 times each year, normally on the third Thursday of the month. Area officers shall endeavour to attend and each group is requested to send a representative. Where requested, normal expenses arrangements apply, and will be met from Area funds. Where a group cannot, for any reason, send a representative they are requested to send in a written report of their activities. Groups may change their representatives during the year.
- Area Officers meetings – In each month that there is no meeting of the AEC the Area officers will meet to discuss ongoing issues. These meetings will normally also be on the third Thursday of the month. A number of these meetings will concentrate on campaigning and research work and active volunteers may be invited to join the Area officers. Such ‘volunteer’ meetings will be arranged as required but at least once each year.
- Area Footpath Meetings – These are arranged as required but normally liaison is by electronic means. Amongst other matters they review all Definitive Map Modification Orders (DMMOs) and planning applications having a potential impact on the rights of way network throughout Leicestershire & Rutland. Each Group is asked to nominate a Footpaths Secretary who should, whenever possible, attend or represent their Group at such Area footpath meetings or consultations. Any requested reimbursement of expenses by representatives should be budgeted for by their Group.
In furtherance of the above the following diary is envisaged
AGM (Jan) Quiz (Oct/Nov) Area Walk (late summer)
2018 LRWG Hinckley Leicester
2019 Leicester Melton Coalville
2020 Coalville Rutland Loughborough
2021 Loughborough Lutterworth Hinckley
2022 Hinckley LRWG Melton
2023 Melton Leicester Rutland
2024 Rutland Coalville Lutterworth
2025 Lutterworth Loughborough LRWG
CONSTITUTION – THE RAMBLERS’ ASSOCIATION, LEICESTERSHIRE AND RUTLAND AREA
1 NAME AND DEFINITION – The organisation is part of the Ramblers’ Association (a registered charity number 1093577 and a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales (number 44584920) being an Area as defined in clause 5.1 of the Association’s Articles of Association. The name of the organisation shall be ‘The Ramblers’ Association, Leicestershire and Rutland Area’ (the above bodies are hereafter referred to as ‘the Association’ and ‘the Area’).
The objects of the Area shall be to carry out, within the territory specified in the succeeding Clause 3, the objects of the Association, taking account of any changes decided by the General Council (GC) or the Board of Trustees (BofT) of the Association.
The territory in which the Area shall function shall be the Counties of Leicestershire (including the City of Leicester) and Rutland, or such other territory as may from time to time be determined by the BofT in consultation with the Area and the neighbouring areas of the Ramblers’ Association.
(i) Membership of the Area shall consist of:
- All such individual members of the Association as are allocated to the Area by the BofT in accordance with the Association’s Memorandum and Articles of Association and standing orders.
- Local organisations being affiliated clubs and kindred societies or bodies carrying out their activities partly or wholly in the territory, such organisations to be allocated to the Area by the BofT in accordance with the Association’s Memorandum and Articles of Association and standing orders.
(ii) If the Area Executive Committee (AEC) considers any membership should be terminated, it shall so recommend to the BofT who will give a ruling in accordance with its powers.
5 LOCAL GROUPS
The Area may establish a Local Group in any part of its territory, for the purpose of furthering the objectives of the Association in such ways as the Area may from time to time decide. A Local Group shall adopt a constitution which is substantially in accordance with the model constitution for local groups prepared by the Association and for this purpose shall submit a copy of its proposed constitution for the approval of the AEC.
(i) Subject to the directions of any annual or special general meeting as to the exercise of its powers, the management and control of the Area shall be vested in an AEC elected at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) each year. All AEC members shall serve for one year, and may then offer themselves for re-election. All individual members shall be eligible to stand for office except that the Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer shall be over 18 years of age.
(ii) The AEC shall consist of:
- At least four Area Honorary Officers.
- Group Representatives, who shall be nominated by their respective Local Groups on the basis of one nominee for each Local Group. A Local Group may appoint a replacement representative to the AEC at any time.
- Up to two elected representatives from affiliated groups or organisations. These are to be elected from the floor at a general meeting to represent the interests of the affiliated groups or organisations.
- Up to two elected members from the floor.
- The President: The members at an annual general meeting are authorised to elect an Honorary President as an appreciation of service rendered. If so elected the person in question is an ex-officio member of the AEC, with full voting rights. The members may also elect up to four vice-presidents, again as an appreciation of services rendered, but if so elected they shall not be members of the AEC except only if they are elected to that body by virtue of another position.
- Any surviving past president as an ex officio member of the AEC with full voting rights.
The total number of representatives of local groups shall be greater than the total number of representatives of individual members and representatives of affiliated local organisations combined.
(iii) The AEC shall have the power to co-opt members.
(iv) The AEC shall decide where it shall meet with meetings to be held at least once every three months, subject to not less than 14 days notice of time and place. An agenda for all such meetings shall be provided at least 7 days in advance. Half the voting members shall form a quorum provided that at least three are honorary officers of the area. In the absence of both Chairman and Vice-Chairman, the meeting shall appoint its own chairman. Agenda items shall be received by the Secretary 10 days prior to the meeting.
(v) A Special Meeting of the AEC shall be called to be held within 21 days of receipt of a request by either the Chairman or by five other AEC members. Such a meeting must confine its discussions to the special business for which the meeting was called. In an emergency, appropriate action will be taken by the Area Chairman or Vice-Chairman in consultation with as many AEC Honorary Officers as reasonably possible.
(vi) The AEC shall have the power to appoint such Sub Committees as it may from time to time decide and shall determine their powers and terms of reference. The AEC shall have the power to co-opt additional members to a Sub Committee. Co-opted members of a Sub Committee may or may not be members of the AEC. It shall receive minutes and regular reports from any such subcommittee.
(vii) The AEC shall receive regular reports of the activities of each Local Group established under clause 6. If any Local Group cannot arrange to be represented at an AEC meeting then that Local Group should submit a written report.
(viii) Resignation, disqualification or retirement. Any member of the AEC shall vacate his/her office or role on any Sub-Committee if:
(a) He/she gives notice of an intention to resign, at the date they stipulate they wish to relinquish their office.
(b) He/she fails to attend three consecutive meetings of the AEC unless the failure to attend was due to a reason approved by the AEC. This rule shall not apply to any co-opted member of a sub-committee not being a member of the AEC, or representatives of groups or affiliated organisations.
(c) Being a member of a Sub-Committee, other than a co-opted member, he/she ceases to be a member of the AEC.
(d) A receiving order is made against him/her or he/she makes any arrangements or compositions with his/her creditors.
(e) He/she becomes of unsound mind.
- HONORARY OFFICERS
The Honorary Officers of the Area shall be the Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary and such other officers as the members shall from time to time determine; to be elected at the AGM.
All the above Honorary Officers shall retire at the AGM following their election, but shall be eligible for re-election with the exception that new holders of the positions of Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer shall not be entitled to hold the same office for more than three consecutive years; neither shall they be eligible for election to a different one of these offices until the expiry of one year from the date when they last held one of these offices.
The AEC shall have power to fill vacancies.
- PROCEDURE AT ALL MEETINGS
(i) Voting. All motions arising at any meeting, excepting those affecting alterations to the constitution, shall be decided by a majority of those present and voting at such meeting. No member shall exercise more than one vote, except that in the case of an equality of votes, the Chairman shall have a second or casting vote.
- The appropriate secretary shall keep Minutes and enter therein a record of proceedings of all general, AEC and Sub-Committee meetings. Minutes of all meetings shall be offered for approval at a subsequent meeting and when approved by those present shall be signed as a true record by the presiding Chairman. Minutes of each meeting shall be circulated to all members of the AEC and affiliated groups or organisations at least fourteen days before the subsequent meeting.
- Ordinary members of the Association and representatives of affiliated groups or organisations may attend any meetings of the AEC and may speak at the Chairman’s discretion but may not participate in any decision taking, unless they are elected or co-opted members of the AEC.
- ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE AREA
The AEC shall hold an Annual General Meeting of the Area (AGM) not later than five months after the end of the financial year. In any event the AGM shall be held before the last date for submission of ordinary motions to General Council as will be advised from time to time. Not less than fourteen days notice of the AGM shall be given to each member of the Area. Each individual member of the Area and one representative of each affiliated group or organisation in membership of the Area shall be entitled to one vote.
Motions for discussion at the AGM under Clauses (f), (g), and (h) below shall be submitted to the Secretary at least four weeks prior to the meeting. Notification of such motions shall then be sent to all Local Group Secretaries three weeks prior to the meeting.
The business of the AGM shall be to:
- a) Consider and adopt the Annual Reports of the AEC and Honorary Officers and the Area income and expenditure accounts for the preceding financial year, a balance sheet showing the assets and liabilities at the end of that year and the report of the independent financial examiner or auditor.
- b) Receive and note Annual Reports of the groups making up the area.
- c) A quorum at any General Meeting shall be 20 members or 51% of the membership (rounded up) whichever is the smaller number.
- d) Elect Area Honorary Officers.
- e) Elect representatives of individual members to serve on the AEC.
- f) Elect representatives of local organisations described in Clause4(i)(b) to serve on the AEC.
- g) Elect representatives to GC.
- h) Appoint as auditor(s) / independent financial examiner(s) person(s) qualified or having appropriate experience
- i) Discuss, consider and decide motions and propositions, notice of which shall have been given in writing to the Secretary within the prescribed timetable.
- j) Make recommendations to the AEC or any Local Group of the Area, or consider motions/propositions for submission to the next annual meeting of the General Council of the Association (if so desired).
- k) Vote on any proposals to amend this constitution in accordance with Clause 15 below.
Elections under items (d), (e), (f), and (g) will be determined by simple majority vote of those present, with each candidate supported by a proposer and a seconder. Unless otherwise agreed by the meeting, candidates shall be absent from the room when the vote is held. The proposer and seconder may speak on behalf of their nominee before the vote. Members not present at the AGM may be elected, providing that they have previously signified their willingness to serve.
- SPECIAL GENERAL MEETINGS OF THE AREA
The Chairman of the AEC or the Secretary may at any time at his / her discretion, and shall upon receiving a request to do so signed by not less than twenty members giving reasons for the request, call a Special General Meeting (SGM) to be held within twenty-one days of the receipt of the request. The Secretary shall in writing, give fourteen days notice, to all ordinary members and the representatives of affiliated clubs and organisations, of the exclusive business for such a meeting. As much detail as is available as to the nature of the exclusive business shall be provided with that notice. Voting rights at a SGM shall be as for the AGM.
(i) All monies raised by and on behalf of the Area including funding received from the Association under the provisions of the Association’s standing orders shall be applied in furtherance of the objects of the Association.
(ii) An account in the name of the Area shall be opened at such bank as the BofT shall approve. All monies received shall be paid into the bank and all payments other than petty cash payments shall be made by cheque, appropriate form of electronic transmission or other bank instruction subject to appropriate controls. All such instructions shall be signed by the Treasurer or two officers as decided by the AEC.
(iii) To enable petty cash payments to be paid, an advance may be made to the Honorary Treasurer when necessary.
(iv) A float may be provided to other officers as decided by the AEC from time to time.
(v) The financial year shall run to the 30th of September.
- The Honorary Treasurer shall keep proper financial records, shall report regularly to the AEC and shall be responsible for the preparation annually of Area income and expenditure accounts for the preceding financial year, a balance sheet showing the assets at the end of that year and for their submission to the Area’s auditor(s) / independent financial examiner(s). The register of assets shall include all items costing over a sum to be agreed by the AEC from time to time, notwithstanding the written down value of that item. All assets of the Area remain the property of the Association and are held in trust for it by whichever Member, Honorary Officer or Local Group possesses the item at any given time.
- The Honorary Treasurer shall seek projected budgets for Local Groups’ expenditure for the following year and prepare a consolidated funding request to be submitted for approval to the BofT, within the prescribed timetable each year. These will be offered to the AEC for approval.
- The report from the independent financial examiner / auditor shall be addressed to the members of the Area and to the BofT.
If the AEC at any time resolves that it is impossible or undesirable to continue as an Area, it shall notify the BofT and convene a SGM of the Area. If this meeting resolves that the Area be dissolved, the BofT shall be informed forthwith and be asked to take such steps as may be necessary to continue the activities of the Association in the territory previously covered by the Area.
If in the event of the dissolution of the Area, there remains after the satisfaction of its debts and liabilities any property whatsoever the same shall be transferred to the General Council of the Association.
13 ALTERATIONS TO THE CONSTITUTION
Insofar as any alteration or amendment is not inconsistent with the Association’s Memorandum and Articles of Association and standing orders, this Constitution may be amended subject to prior approval by the BofT, at any General Meeting, in accordance with the approval of a two-thirds vote of members present and voting.
Any proposal for such alteration must be delivered in writing to the Secretary of the Area not less than twenty-eight days before the meeting of the Area at which it is to be discussed and not less than fourteen days notice of this meeting giving the terms of the proposed alteration shall be given to the members of the Area.
The accidental omission of giving notice of a meeting or the non-receipt of notice of a meeting by any member shall not invalidate any proceeding or resolution at any general meeting of the Area, any meeting of the AEC or any Sub-Committee. This shall not excuse the AEC of its obligation to give notice as set out within this Constitution.