Our Constitution

Constitution of the Radical Association

Adopted by the membership 22 Feb 2017, amended July 2019

  1. Preamble

The Radical Association exists to support the aims and principles expressed in the preamble to the Liberal Democrat constitution, and, within the framework of the Liberal Democrat party, to campaign for a radical and distinctive expression of those principles in the policy and campaigning of the Liberal Democrats.

In particular, within this framework of liberal values, we affirm our support as Radicals for a society in which everyone is supported to allow them to achieve their goals, one in which people’s innate and chosen differences are cherished and not merely tolerated, and one in which the community and the individual by right have primacy over the state and the corporation. We recognise that diversity is a strength and not a weakness, and that overcoming historic and present oppressions on grounds of gender, race, sexuality, disability, class, and other such characteristics is a vital part of allowing everyone to realise the freedoms a liberal society can and must offer.

Trusting in people and not the state or employer to find the best paths for themselves through life, we stand for a world in which everyone is granted the human dignity of, and right to, a stable home and a decent income. We wish not merely to control but ultimately to abolish rentierism, to ensure basic necessities such as healthcare and education are provided at a high quality for all, and work towards a society in which disparities in wealth and social status no longer play a major part in dictating people’s opportunities.

As liberals, we are strengthened by our internationalism: we are not free until we are all free. As Radicals we look forward to a world in which borders no longer choke off human development and progress whether by restricting the pursuit of knowledge, commerce, or the freedom to work and travel. We stand for democracy for all, at all levels from the community to the state to the supranational institution, and we oppose authoritarianism and state censorship wherever they occur. We believe, ultimately, that structures of government must be beholden to all the people whose lives they affect, and must be fundamentally reformed to advance rather than hold back the cause of individual liberty and the redistribution of power across society.

  1. Name and Objects

2.1. Name

The name of the organisation shall be “The Radical Association”. It shall hereafter be referred to as “the Association”.

2.2. Objects

The Association exists to:

  1. a) achieve the aims set out in the preamble to this constitution
  2. b) support the Liberal Democrat party in campaigning on current policies that are in accordance with the aims set out in the preamble to this constitution
  3. c) campaign for reform of internal Liberal Democrat structures such that they work better for the purposes of adopting distinctive liberal policies and
  4. d) campaign for the adoption of specific policies that help build and reinforce a distinct, positive, liberal stance for the Liberal Democrats

2.3. Equality of Opportunity

The Association supports the principle of equal opportunities in all areas of its work and opposes all forms of unlawful or unfair discrimination on any grounds, including but not limited to discrimination based on gender identity, sexuality, physical or mental health or disability, or race. All individuals shall be treated with respect and courtesy by the Association and its officers.

  1. Membership

3.1. Joining the Association

Membership is open to all Liberal Democrat members who support the purpose of the Association and abide by the constitution. The Association shall maintain a record of current members.

3.2. Rights of members

All members shall have the following rights within the Association:

  1. a) To vote in all elections to the executive committee and on all motions submitted to the membership;
  2. b) To submit or second motions and constitutional amendments;
  3. c) To stand in elections to the executive;
  4. d) To petition the executive on a matter relevant to the objectives of the Association, and to receive a written reply;
  5. e) To have access to the Association’s constitution, standing orders and accounts.

3.3. Member communications

The Association shall primarily communicate to its members through use of email and the internet. Members who wish to receive paper based communications by post shall be required to pay an annual subscription fee determined by the executive.

3.4. Annual statements to members

The executive of the Association shall be required to provide an annual statement on its activities and finances to its members. This shall include a statement of the Association’s accounts, which should be approved by a vote of the members coterminous with the main executive election in each calendar year.

3.5. Leaving the Association

Any individual who ceases to be a member of the Liberal Democrats, dies or resigns from the Association shall automatically be deemed to no longer be a member of the Association. Members whose Liberal Democrat membership is suspended shall likewise have their rights as Radical Association members suspended.

3.6. Appointment of the Adjudicator

Each new executive shall appoint one independent adjudicator, by unanimous decision. The independent adjudicator may only be removed during their term by special resolution. Complaints as to the behaviour of members should be addressed to the independent adjudicator.

3.7. Functions of the Adjudicator

The independent adjudicator may, once a complaint is made and in view of the facts as best they are able to determine them, revoke the membership of any Radical Association member who is considered to have brought the Association into disrepute or acted in a way that is deemed utterly incompatible with the objects and values of the Association. Note that committee members removed under this clause also thereby vacate their committee position.

  1. The Executive Committee

4.1. Role of the executive

The Executive Committee, also referred to herein simply as “the executive”, shall be responsible for the overall strategy and running of the Association.

4.2. Composition of the executive

The executive shall consist of four positions to be elected as individual roles, and four members elected as general executive members without specific portfolio. The individual positions shall be those of the chair, treasurer, director, and access & diversity officer. The individual positions may all be held and run for by two co-members. All members of the executive shall serve for one year terms.

4.3. Functions of the individual officers

The chair shall be responsible for the overall direction of the Association, for chairing the executive committee, and for representing the Association at such public events or functions as may be necessary. They have a casting vote at executive meetings if the executive cannot come to a majority decision for any reason.

The director shall be responsible for the day to day running of the Association and ensuring that its executive members and volunteer groups continue to function effectively on an ongoing basis.

The treasurer shall be responsible for the Association’s finances, and for presenting the accounts to the membership coterminous with each year’s election.

The access & diversity officer shall be responsible for ensuring that the needs of disadvantaged and minority groups are properly represented and catered for and their voices fairly heard in the running of the Association.

4.4. Functions of executive members

The executive members shall have collective responsibilities for all tasks not covered by an individual officer – these include but are not necessarily limited to coordinating policy working groups, maintaining membership lists and other administration for the Association, organising meetings and venues, and assisting with both public and internal communications.

4.5. Returning officer

The executive, as soon as they are elected, shall appoint a Returning Officer for the year who shall preside over all elections and ballots conducted on behalf of the Association. The Returning Officer may not be a candidate in elections, or a member of the executive.

4.6. Confidence votes in the Executive

The committee may call a vote of No Confidence in any committee member via a simple majority vote. This will lead to a vote among the members, in which the members vote confidence or no confidence by simple majority. If they vote no confidence, the committee member is removed from office and a by-election should be held to fill the resulting position.

  1. Elections

5.1. Rules pertaining to elections

There shall be an election to the executive committee each calendar year, in which all executive positions shall be elected by the membership.

5.2. Election procedure

Voting should be accessible to all members, and will be done by ranked-choice voting. There should be options to abstain and to re-open nominations available on all election ballots. Voting and member communications pertaining to voting shall all take place through email, except where a member has requested otherwise in accordance with section 3.3 of this constitution.

5.3 Standing orders for election procedure

Additional standing orders regarding procedures for elections, and candidates’ communication with members, may be adopted by unanimous assent of the committee and returning officer. Such standing orders should be communicated to members and candidates, and may not be changed or amended after notice of the election has been given.

5.4. Notice of elections

Members should be given at least two weeks notice of the date on which the election process will start. This should be followed by one further week in which nominations can be submitted, a one week period to allow for campaigning and discussions, and then a week to allow members to submit their ballots.

5.5. Nominations

Any member wishing to nominate themselves for a position should have their nomination seconded by at least two other members.

5.6. By-elections

If a member of the executive committee resigns or is otherwise unable to continue their role, a by-election should be triggered immediately, with two weeks given to submit nominations and otherwise operating according to the rules in clause 5.3 above.

  1. Rules for ordinary and special resolutions

6.1. Resolutions

Both ordinary and special resolutions may be submitted to the returning officer and committee by members at the same time as nominations for elections. All resolutions need five members to support them in order to be submitted to the rest of the membership for voting.

6.2. Ordinary Resolutions

Ordinary resolutions are not binding on the committee, but serve to advise the committee to act in a certain way or on a certain issue. Ordinary resolutions need a simple majority of members voting in favour to pass.

6.3. Special Resolutions

Special resolutions are binding on the committee. This constitution may only be changed by special resolution. Special resolutions require three quarters of voting members to vote in favour to pass.

6.4. Grounds for rejecting resolutions

The returning officer may reject resolutions on the grounds that they conflict with the values or text of this constitution, or are at odds with the values expressed in the preamble to the Liberal Democrat constitution.

6.5. Emergency resolutions

The executive committee and returning officer may decide to put an ordinary or special resolution to the membership at any time of year outside the normal elections. The executive committee and returning officer must both agree for this to occur. An emergency resolution, if deemed constitutional by the returning officer, may also be put to the membership if signed by 20% of the Association’s membership, or fifty members, whichever is smaller.

If you have any comments on or queries about the text, please get in touch with office@radicalassociation.org. You can find older versions of the constitution at this link: http://radicalassociation.org/ConstitutionPast