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UKSEDS Constitutional Vote

The Committee is proposing some changes to the Constitution which defines UKSEDS’ purpose and structure. We consider these changes relatively minor, and do not have any concerns about them dramatically altering UKSEDS or its activities.

There will be a two week consultation period from 22 August to 5 September, in which you can review the proposed changes, ask any questions, and raise any issues you have.

Following this there will a one week voting period from 5 September to 12 September. All registered members (including branch members) are eligible to cast a single vote in favour or in opposition to the motion. They can do here.

Why are these changes necessary?

We are in the process of applying to make UKSEDS a registered charity. This has lots of benefits, but brings us under the oversight of the Charity Commission. They have reviewed our constitution and asked us to make the changes outlined below. Once the changes are made we will be able to complete the registration process.

What are the changes?

Alteration of Clause Two (Objectives)

The exact phrasing of our objectives is not in quite the right legal language required for a charity. We are therefore rephrasing clause two of the constitution in the following way:

Current Clause Two
  1. UKSEDS shall act as a non-profit making forum for the communication and exchange of ideas between students, educational establishments, industry and the general public, with the aim of developing and promoting interest in space technology and space-related subjects.
Proposed Clause Two
  1. The charity’s objects (“the objects”) are:
    1. The advancement of education for the public benefit, in particular but not exclusively in relation to space and planetary science, astronomy and technology and their significance to life on earth by making a forum for the communication and exchange of ideas between students, educational establishments, industry and the general public.
    2. To act as a resource for young people in the UK with an active interest in space and space related subjects by providing advice and assistance to improve their knowledge base, skillsets and hands-on experience levels as a means of:
      1. advancing in life and helping young people by developing their skills, capacities and capabilities to enable them to participate in society as independent, mature and responsible individuals;
      2. advancing education;
      3. relieving unemployment and raising awareness of possible career opportunities.

Insertion of New Clause (Dissolution)

Charity constitutions are required to include a dissolution clause which concerns the actions to be taken if UKSEDS were ever to be shut down. The clause is taken verbatim from the model constitution provided by the Charity Commission.

Proposed clause (will become Clause Ten)
  1. If the members resolve to dissolve the charity the trustees will remain in office as charity trustees and be responsible for winding up the affairs of the charity in accordance with this clause.
  2. The trustees must collect in all the assets of the charity and must pay or make provision for all the liabilities of the charity.
  3. The trustees must apply any remaining property or money:The members may pass a resolution before or at the same time as the resolution to dissolve the charity specifying the manner in which the trustees are to apply the remaining property or assets of the charity and the trustees must comply with the resolution if it is consistent with paragraphs (a) – (c) inclusive in sub-clause (3) above.
    1. directly for the objects;
    2. by transfer to any charity or charities for purposes the same as or similar to the charity;
    3. in such other manner as the Charity Commission for England and Wales (“the Commission”) may approve in writing in advance.
  4. In no circumstances shall the net assets of the charity be paid to or distributed among the members of the charity (except to a member that is itself a charity).
  5. The trustees must notify the Commission promptly that the charity has been dissolved. If the trustees are obliged to send the charity’s accounts to the Commission for the accounting period which ended before its dissolution, they must send the Commission the charity’s final accounts.

Amendment to Clause Ten (Alterations to the Constitution)

The current clause concerning alterations to the constitution does not specify a required period for electronic voting. In theory this could allow votes to be held very quickly, not giving anyone a chance to vote. This minor amendment prevents this scenario from occurring.

This amendment is not required by the Charity Commission.

Current clause ten
  1. Alterations to the constitution must be voted for by the membership of UKSEDS, as defined in the Rules and Regulations, requiring a simple majority of those attending or participating. This may be at an AGM or otherwise. Notification of the change must be given to the membership at least 2 weeks before such a change. Voting and consultation may be electronic.
Proposed Clause Ten (will become Clause Eleven)
  1. Alterations to the constitution must be voted for by the membership of UKSEDS, as defined in the Rules and Regulations, requiring a simple majority of those attending or participating. This may be at an AGM or otherwise.
  2. Notification of the change must be given to the membership at least two weeks before any such a change.
  3. Voting and consultation may be electronic, and in such cases the voting period must last at least one week.

What do I if I have questions?

If you have any questions or concerns about the changes that have been proposed, please contact me at [email protected]

Joseph Dudley
Secretary of UKSEDS

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