The Courtlands Residents' Association Constitution

1. Name


The name of the Association shall be: Courtlands Residents’ Association; hereinafter referred to as the Association.


2. The Area


The defined geographical area that the Association covers is: Courtlands Close, Courtlands Drive (from junction with Silver Dell down to junction with Strangeways and Fairview Drive), Goodwood Avenue, Minerva Drive, Greenbank Road (from Minerva Drive down to Primary School), Hamden Way, Strangeways, Gammons Lane (from junction with Courtlands Drive to junction with Leaford Crescent), Chilcott Road, Gammons Farm Close, Comyne Road, Desmond Road, Rosebriar Walk, Hudson Close and Silver Dell.


3. Aims


The aims of the Association shall be to carry out any charitable activities that will benefit all residents of the area represented.  To help do this, the Association will have the following powers:


a) To represent the interests of, and promote membership to, all the residents within the defined area.

b) To promote the rights of residents and to encourage them to become more actively involved.

c) To work towards improving the quality of life for local people and their community and the way the Council, Watford Community Housing Trust and other service providers deliver and manage local services.

d) To provide, assist and promote social activities for recreation and enjoyment, and encourage a community spirit and sense of responsibility.

e) To promote equal opportunities, valuing diversity and to work for good relations among all members of the community.

f) To regularly consult and inform all of its members.

g. To be non party political.


4. Membership


a) A copy of the Constitution shall be published on the Association’s website, posted on the Association’s Public Notice boards and be made available on request.

b) Membership of the Association shall be open to all residents within the defined area of the Association.

c) Any membership fee shall be determined and reviewed at the Annual General Meeting.  Any subscription monies raised by, or on behalf of, the Association shall only be applied in furtherance of the aims of the Association.  The Secretary shall keep records of paid up members. (As yet the Association has not elected to charge members).

d) Every member shall have an equal vote.

e) Specific interest groups will be encouraged and supported by the Association.

f) Associate membership is open to those who do not live in the Association area but who are interested in helping the Association to achieve its aims.  The Committee will decide whether to grant associate member status, and whether or not to grant associate member voting rights as and when it occurs.

g) Voting membership will end when a member stops living in the area represented, dies or resigns, unless the Committee decides to grant associate membership: 4(f) above.

h) In the event of breaches of the Constitution or Code of Conduct membership of the Association can be suspended or ended by a two thirds majority vote of the Committee (of those present).

i) Notification of suspension of a member must be given in writing to the member with a copy of the Constitution attached.


5. Appeals


a) Any member who has been suspended or had their membership terminated shall have the right to appeal.  If a member wishes to appeal they have the right to ask the Secretary to convene a Special General Meeting to address their grievance.

b) Appeals must be made to the Secretary within twenty eight (28) days of receipt of the letter suspending them.  A Special General Meeting must be held not less than fourteen (14) days and not more than twenty one (21) days of the Secretary receiving the notification from the member to appoint an Appeals Panel.

c) The Appeals Panel shall consist of three (3) persons who are not members of the Association.

d) Any member who has invoked clause 5(a) shall have the right to be accompanied by a third party and, if they wish, to be represented by the third party before the Appeals Panel.

e) The decision of the Appeals Panel shall be binding on both parties.


6. Equal Opportunities


a) The Association will seek to ensure equality of opportunity and treatment of all those it comes into contact with.

b) The Association will actively seek to represent the needs of all groups and must not discriminate on the grounds of nationality, political opinion, race, religious opinion, sex, sexuality or disability.


7. The Committee


a) The Committee shall monitor the work, finances and membership of the Association.

b) The Committee shall have a minimum of the following officers: a Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer.  The Committee shall have the power to appoint if they wish a Vice-Chairperson, Vice-Secretary and Vice-Treasurer.   Committee members shall be elected at an Annual General Meeting (AGM).

c) There shall be a maximum of 15 Committee members at any one time.

d) The Committee shall send 2 representative(s) to the Community Action Group (CAG), which is a borough-wide forum of local residents’ associations, and make regular reports of the CAGs business to the Committee.

e) The Chairperson (or in their absence the Vice-Chairperson or other Committee Member) shall conduct the meetings of the Association.

f) There shall be only one Committee Member per household.

g) The Committee may appoint Sub-Committees as may be required to carry out the activities of the Association.  Sub-Committees shall be directly accountable to the Association Committee.

h) At least one Committee member shall sit on any Sub-Committee of the Association.

i) The Committee shall agree in advance the terms of reference for any Sub Committees.

j) Any vacancies from the Committee may be filled by co-opting members until the next General Meeting with full voting rights.

k) In view of potential conflict of interest, Watford Councillors and Staff are not eligible to be officers of the Association.


8. Meetings


Annual General Meeting


a) The Association shall hold an AGM once each calendar year and not more than fifteen months shall pass between the date of one AGM and the next.

b) The AGM shall:

  • Agree the Minutes of the last AGM.
  • Receive an Annual Report from the Committee.
  • Present a statement of accounts to members.
  • Appoint an independent auditor. (if turnover is more than 10k per year)
  • Elect Committee members.
  • Agree rates for membership fee. (If any.)
  • Vote on amendments to the Constitution.
  • Consider any resolution put forward by members.

c) Any member over the age of 16 shall be entitled to stand for election to the Committee, except for any youth Committees where members between the ages of 10 and 16 years may stand.

d) Nominations for the Committee must be received by the Secretary in writing at least three days before the meeting, unless the Committee makes a decision to accept nominations at the AGM.

e) Nominees should be present at the AGM unless they are unable to attend due to illness, holiday, etc, at the discretion of the Committee.  The Secretary must be informed before the meeting.

f) An independent observer shall attend each AGM and confirm that the meeting was arranged and conducted in accordance with the Association’s constitution.

The independent observer must be one of the following:

  • Council Officer
  • Watford or Hertfordshire County Councillor
  • Watford Community Housing Trust Officer
  • A Committee representative from another Residents’ Association
  • A representative from the Council for Voluntary Services

g) All members must receive in writing not less than seven (7) days notice of the AGM.  Notice of the AGM shall be published on the Associations’ website and displayed on public notice boards in the Association’s area.

Special General Meetings

h) A Special General Meeting may be called by the Committee or if requested by at least twenty (20) representatives of the membership.  The request should be made in writing to the Secretary at least twenty-one (21) days before the requested meeting date. The business of a Special General Meeting shall be managed in accordance with the rules for a General Meeting.

General Meetings

i) Meetings will be chaired by the Chairperson but in the event of their absence the meeting will be chaired by the Vice Chair, or in their absence an elected Committee member.  There shall be at least two (2) General Meetings of the Association in any year (including the AGM).

j) General Meetings are open to all people living in the defined area.  Everyone from the defined area present is entitled to vote on proposals put forward.

k) Decisions of the General Meeting shall be binding on the committee.

l) At least seven (7) days notice shall be given for a General Meeting.

m) The quorum for a General Meeting shall be 10 Association members, including Committee Members.

n) If a member believes an item to be of a confidential nature this must be made known to the Chairperson before commencement of business.  The Committee must decide if the item is to be discussed in a Closed Session at the end of the General Meeting.


Committee Meetings


o) The quorum for Committee meetings shall be five (5) or 50% (whichever is greater) of Committee members.

p) Committee meetings may be called by the Chair and Secretary or at the request of one third of the Committee members.  At least seven (7) days notice must be given.

q) All Committee meetings are open to all members as observers.

r) Meetings will be chaired by the Chairperson but in the event of their absence the Vice-Chairperson or another Committee member will chair the meeting.


9. Voting


a) Decisions at meetings (except those dealing with alterations to the constitution) shall be taken by a simple majority of those voting, including any proxy votes.

b) The named proxy must be a Committee member.  The Secretary must be informed of the proxy no later than three (3) days before the meeting.  Each member has one vote.

c) In the event of a tie of the vote the Chairperson of the meeting shall have the casting vote.  The Chairperson of the meeting shall not otherwise vote on any resolution.

d) If a counted vote is needed the numbers shall be counted and recorded in the minutes.

e) Alterations to the Constitution require a two-thirds majority of those present and voting at a General Meeting.  In addition, full details of the changes must be tabled and endorsed by a two-thirds majority at the next Annual General Meeting.

f) Any conflict of interest must be declared to the Meeting.  Any member with a conflict of interest should then withdraw from discussion and not vote on the issue in question.


10. Minutes


All formal meetings must be minuted and the minutes formally approved by the next meeting (Committee or General).


11. Action Plan and Annual Report


A simple Action Plan must be produced and updated throughout the year.  This shall be used to prepare the Annual Report to be given to members at the AGM, and for applications for grant funding.


12. Finance


a) An accurate record of income and expenditure must be produced each year at the AGM be made available to all members on request.

b) Accounts should be open to inspection by members on request.

c) All monies raised by or on behalf of the Association shall be applied to further the aims of the Association and for no other purpose.

d) Account(s) must be opened in the name of the Association.  Cheques, transfers and other banking instruments or instructions shall be signed by at least two (2) signatories who must also be members of the Committee.

e) Signatories must not be related to, or be members of, the same household.

f) Proper records of all petty cash transactions must be kept.

g) Finances raised for or on behalf of any Sub-Committee(s) must be applied only within the terms agreed by the Association Committee.

h) An independent person (i.e. not the Treasurer or the Bank Account signatories) shall be appointed by the Committee to carry out an independent check of the Association accounts annually.  The Committee must appoint an independent auditor if the turnover is more than £10k per year.


13. Dissolution


a) The Committee, by a simple majority, may decide at any time that on the grounds of expense or otherwise that it is necessary or advisable to dissolve the association.

b) The Committee shall draft a resolution for consideration by a Special General Meeting; 21 days notice shall be given of the meeting and a copy of the resolution to be considered shall be distributed with the calling notice.

c) If the resolution is carried by a simple majority of the Association’s members present and voting at the meeting, the Committee shall be empowered to dispose of any assets held by or in the name of the Association.  Any assets remaining after the satisfaction of any proper debts or liabilities shall be disposed of as follows:

  • Any equipment or materials bought with the Trust’s grant money shall be returned to the Trust.
  • Any remaining grant monies received from the Trust shall be returned.
  • Any remaining monies shall be donated to a Registered Charity working in the Community.


14. Code of Conduct for Committee and Association Members


a) All Committee and Association members must comply with the Constitution and Code of Conduct at all times.

b) A serious breach of any of the Association’s Constitution or Code of Conduct may result in a Committee member, following a majority vote of the Committee, being asked to resign.

c) Any resident who feels that they have not been treated fairly and equally by the Association can raise this, through the Secretary, using the appeals process (para 5) where appropriate or, if the matter is not related to their membership of the Association, by reference to the Community Empowerment Team.

d) Every Committee member must try to attend Committee meetings regularly.  If a Committee member fails to attend three (3) consecutive meetings without giving good reason, they may be asked to consider resigning at the next Committee meeting.

Equal Opportunities/Valuing Diversity

e) Members shall conduct themselves in a manner that will not cause offence to others.  Racist, sexist or inflammatory remarks, or abusive behaviour, will not be tolerated.  The Chairperson or Committee members have the right to warn the member(s) of their behaviour.  If they persist they will be suspended until further notice.

f) Watford has a diverse, multi-cultural population of people with a variety of backgrounds and abilities.  The Association recognises that all sections of the community have a positive contribution to make to the life of our communities.  The Association will represent the interests of all local residents to the best of its ability, and carry out the day to day business of the Association in an efficient, fair and responsive way.

g) The Association will provide each new Committee member with appropriate support and make them feel welcome at all times.  Committee meetings must be held at times which are convenient to the majority of Committee members.

h) Committee members must never personalise issues and should be willing to recognise that everybody is entitled to express their point of view without unduly preventing progress of discussion.

i) Voters should always be prepared to accept the majority decision and not take such a decision as any form of personal slight or criticism.


Personal Interest of Committee Members


j) Committee member must never use their position to seek preferential treatment for themselves, their family or relatives.  Nor should they be treated more or less favourably when requesting services from the Council or other organisations.


Relations between Committee Members and other Residents


k) Committee members will not deal with neighbour or inter-personal disputes in the area.  Only if the Council has failed to deal with the problem will the Committee member refer the matter to the Association Secretary or write to the Watford Community Housing Trust as appropriate.




l) Committee members cannot receive any payment from the Association other than for bona fide expenses which have been submitted to the Treasurer not less than seven (7) days before the next Committee meeting.


Relations with Watford Council, Watford Community Housing Trust and outside bodies


m) Statements to the media or other organisations should be made by the Chairperson, Secretary or Committee member with prior approval.  Any decision to contact or respond to the media must have the approval of the Committee.

n) Letters sent on behalf of the Association must be signed by the Secretary, agreed by the Committee and recorded in a log by the Secretary.

o) Committee members must not divulge any Association business which is treated as confidential to other persons or organisations.


This Constitution and Code of Conduct for Committee Members was adopted at a public meeting of the Association

held at ……………Holly Tree House……………………….

on ………………………………………………………………



Signed (Chair):    …………………………………………………………

PRINT NAME:    …………………………………………………………



Signed (Vice Chair):   …………………………………………………………

PRINT NAME:    …………………………………………………………



Signed (Secretary):    …………………………………………………………

PRINT NAME:   ………………………………………………………….



Signed (Treasurer):   …………………………………………………………

PRINT NAME:    …………………………………………………………