The constitution describes the society objectives and how the society is managed. It is updated as necessary, changes being agreed at an AGM.
The most recent changes were made at the AGM on 17th March 2019.
1. The Society shall be called “The National Dahlia Society”.
2. Objectives of the Society.
The objectives of the Society are to encourage, improve and extend the cultivation of the Dahlia; by means of publications, the holding of exhibitions, judging examinations, conferences, lectures, bureaux and trials or by any other means.
New Patrons of the Society are to be recommended by the Executive Council and approved by the members at an Annual General Meeting. Their election shall be considered an honour. Patrons are permitted to attend Executive Council and Northern Committee meetings with the power to vote at such meetings. All Patrons having been so honoured are Patrons for life unless Rule 11 applies.
4:1 Officers of the Society shall consist of: Patrons, Past Presidents, President, Chairman, Vice- Chairman, Treasurer and General Secretary. The General Secretary shall be appointed by the Executive Council, who shall also be empowered to fix the remuneration of the General Secretary. The General Secretary’s Contract of Employment will be available to all Members of the Executive Council. The President, Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Treasurer, shall be elected annually at the Annual General Meeting. The President, Past Presidents and Patrons are exempt from subscriptions. Nominations in respect of all Officers that are required to be elected shall be received by the General Secretary, no later than noon on 1st December, from a Proposer and Seconder, in writing and signed by all parties, on a nomination form, approved by the Executive Council and available on request from the General Secretary. The General Secretary will send an acknowledgement within five days of the receipt of the nomination paper to the Proposer, Seconder, Nominee and Chairman of the Executive Council. Nominations shall be restricted to fully paid up members of the Society in accordance with the rules of the Constitution. Nominations to be included on the Annual General Meeting notice. All members who wish to stand for election as officers are also required to sign and return the Confidentiality Form C1 to the General Secretary prior to the AGM.
4:2 In the event of the loss of the President whilst in office, the duties to pass to the Chairman of the Executive Council. Similarly, with the loss of Chairman, the duties to pass to the Vice Chairman. In the event of the loss of both Chairman and Vice- Chairman, and/or the Treasurer an emergency meeting of the Executive Council shall be called to elect Caretaker Officers as appropriate to serve until the next Annual General Meeting.
New Vice- Presidents shall be recommended by the Executive Council and approved by the Members at an Annual General Meeting. Appointments shall be restricted to persons who have given distinguished service to the Society, chosen as outlined in Rule 18:7 Appointments are for life unless Rule 11 applies.
6:1 The management of the affairs of the Society shall be vested in the Executive Council, which shall consist of the Officers and up to twenty-one other members. Members of the Executive Council, other than certain Officers, shall be elected to serve for three years. They must retire at the end of this period, and will be eligible for re-election. Up to seven of the seats to be contested each year. Nominations must be received by the General Secretary no later than noon on 1st December in the same manner as outlined in Rule 4. All members who wish to stand for Executive Council are also required to sign and return the Confidentiality Form C1 to the General Secretary prior to the AGM.
6:2 In addition to the members of the Executive Council mentioned, two seats shall be reserved for two members of the Northern Committee, who shall be elected in accordance with Rule 19, and such members are required to sign and return the Confidentiality Form C1 to the General Secretary before they can attend Executive Council meetings. Three further seats shall be reserved for regional representatives from Scotland, Wales and Ireland respectively, who will have no voting rights, but such representatives are required to sign and return the Confidentiality Form C1 to the General Secretary before they can attend Executive Council meetings.
6:3 The Executive Council shall have the power to co-opt, on a simple majority, any fully paid-up member of the Society to fill any vacancy arising on the Executive Council. Co-opted members will be required to sign the Confidentiality Form, C1, before attending an Executive Council meeting.
6:4 All business transacted at Council and Committee meetings shall be confidential to the Council or relevant Committee, until ratified at the next Executive Council meeting. All members of the Executive Council are required to sign and abide by the Confidentiality Form C.1.
6:5 Any expenses and reimbursements will be paid in accordance with current Standing Orders.
7. Executive Council Meetings.
The Executive Council shall meet as often as is deemed necessary. Ten members to form a quorum. All business will be conducted in accordance with the Society’s Standing Orders. All ratified minutes of the Executive Council and Standing Committees shall be available to any fully paid-up member or Affiliated Society on application to the General Secretary.
8. Attendance at Executive Council meetings.
Any member of the Executive Council, other than a regional representative, who misses any three meetings of that Council in one year, not necessarily consecutively, AGM to AGM, shall cease to be a member of Council. The Council shall have the power to waive this rule if it considers the best interests of the Society would be served by the member’s retention on Council. Council members can apply for leave of absence which may be granted at the discretion of the Council.
9. Membership Subscriptions.
9:1 The minimum annual subscription shall be determined, from time to time, by the Executive Council, with a two-thirds majority in favour of those present there and voting
9:2 Any Officer or member of the Executive Council, whose subscription is in arrears on the 1st March, shall cease to be a member of the Council. Any other member whose subscription is not paid shall cease to be a member of the Society.
9:3 Categories of membership. Shall be determined, from time to time, by the Executive Council, with a two-thirds majority in favour of those present there and voting.
9:4 All categories of members may enrol at the current rate for that category on application to the General Secretary or on-line via the Society website.
10. Privileges of Membership.
Members shall have the privilege of exhibiting at the Society’s exhibitions, and be entitled to receive gratis, a copy of the Society’s Annual and Winter Bulletin each year. Additional copies of these and other Society publications may be purchased on application to the General Secretary. No member may be entitled to these privileges until their subscription for the current year has been paid. Additionally, new members upon enrolment shall receive gratis, a copy of the Society’s cultural guide and a copy of the current edition of the Classified Directory.
11. Conduct of Members.
The Executive Council shall be empowered to reprimand, suspend or expel any officer/s, member/s, or Affiliated Society/Societies, whose conduct, in the opinion of the Council, is considered prejudicial to the interests of the Society. This power shall be exercised only on a two-thirds majority vote of the Executive Council members present at a meeting specially convened for this purpose, at which the member/s or Affiliated Society/Societies have the right to attend, and the right to appeal at the next Annual General Meeting. Each case will be considered on its individual merit and appropriate sanctions and length of suspension decided by the Executive Council. After expulsion any subsequent re-admission to the Society will be at the discretion of the Executive Council.
12. Affiliated Societies.
12:1 Any Society may become affiliated to the National Dahlia Society upon payment of a minimum yearly affiliation fee, and shall have the privilege of exhibiting in classes provided for Affiliated Societies at the National Dahlia Society’s exhibitions. They may appoint one of their members as a representative, to attend and vote on the Affiliated Society’s behalf at all General Meetings of the Society, as outlined in Rule 15:4
12:2 An Affiliated Society, having paid their current affiliation fee will be entitled to receive gratis, a copy of the Society’s Annual and Winter Bulletin each year. Additionally, new Affiliated Societies upon enrolment shall receive gratis, a copy of the Society’s cultural guide and a copy of the current edition of the Classified Directory.
13. Medal Certificates and Medals.
13:1 On application to the General Secretary, an Affiliated Society shall be entitled, where there are six or more dahlia classes in one show, to a Silver Medal Certificate, to be awarded for the best exhibit of dahlias in the show by an individual or joint exhibitor.
13:2 On application to the General Secretary, an Affiliated Society shall be entitled to a Bronze Medal Certificate, to be awarded for an exhibit of dahlias at the discretion of the Affiliated Society where there are fewer than 6 dahlia classes.
13:3 Medals of the National Dahlia Society may be purchased and offered for competition, on the same conditions as those for Medal Certificates, provided that not more than one Silver Medal is offered at any one Affiliated Society show.
13:4 No Medal Certificate or Medal shall be awarded by an Affiliated Society for any exhibit of flowers other than dahlias.
13:5 When National Dahlia Society Silver and Bronze Medals are awarded by Affiliated Societies, the Medal Certificates must be awarded with the appropriate Medals and for the same exhibits.
13:6 Dahlia exhibits at shows of Affiliated Societies should be judged in accordance with National Dahlia Society rules, by qualified National Dahlia Society Judges, as laid down in the current Classified Directory of Dahlias.
14. Affiliated Societies Medal of Honour.
An Affiliated Society may apply to be awarded the Affiliated Societies’ Medal of Honour, for presentation by them to a member who has rendered outstanding service in extending the interest of the dahlia. Application must be made on the special form, available from the General Secretary. The Medal of Honour may only be awarded if the application is approved by simple majority of the Executive Council. The cost of the Medal shall be met by the Affiliated Society.
15. Annual General Meeting.
15:1 The Annual General Meeting of the Society shall be held not later than the 31st March. Notice of the meeting shall be posted to all members not less than twenty one days before the date of the meeting. Copies of the Society’s Audited Annual Accounts made up to 31st October will be available at the meeting, with a summary in the Summer Annual.
15:2 The purpose of the Annual General Meeting is to receive the Report of the Executive Council; elect Officers (rule 4), elect members of the Executive Council (rule 6) and Auditors for the ensuing year; to confirm the appointment of new Patrons (rule 3) and new Vice-Presidents (Rule 5), to accept the Audited Accounts and for the transaction of other previously notified business, as detailed on the circulated agenda. Twenty members shall form a quorum.
15:3 The election of each candidate shall be on an individual basis in the following circumstances:
a. Where any Officer’s post is contested, and/or
b. In the case of elections for the Executive Council, where there are more candidates than vacancies.
15:4 Nominations for election to the Executive Council must be received by the General Secretary by noon on the 1st December, as specified in rules 4 and 6. Every fully paid up member and joint member shall be entitled to one vote each.
15:5 An Affiliated Society may nominate a member of that Society to exercise a vote on behalf of that society.
15:6 Voting by postal or electronic mail will only apply to voting to the following:
a. Proposed alterations to the Constitution and/or
b. The election of officers (with the exception of Patrons and Vice Presidents) where any post is contested and/or
c. Election of Executive Council members where there are more candidates than vacancies.
15:7 Postal or electronic voting papers will be sent to all fully paid up members and Affiliated Societies whose subscriptions have been received 6 weeks prior to the AGM and who are eligible to vote in accordance with rule 9.3.
Any eligible member wishing to vote by post or electronic mail must return their vote in accordance with the instructions on the voting papers. All votes must be received not less than 10 days before the date of the AGM. It is the responsibility of each member to ensure that their votes are received in accordance with the voting instructions and by the deadline for the return of their vote.
15:8 Any eligible member who decides not to vote by post or electronic mail may vote in person (or by proxy in the case of Affiliated Societies) at the AGM. Any eligible member who wishes to vote at the AGM must bring with them to the AGM their postal or electronic voting paper that will be exchanged for AGM Voting Papers. Any eligible member who cannot provide their voting papers when attending the AGM will not be given AGM Voting Papers and will therefore be unable to vote at the AGM. Any eligible member who has voted by post or electronic mail can still attend the AGM and take a full part in the AGM with the exception that they will not be eligible to vote at the AGM.
15:9 The minutes of an AGM will be presented at the following AGM only for approval as an accurate account of that meeting. Any decisions taken at an AGM will come into force immediately after that AGM or at a date agreed at that AGM.
16. Extraordinary General Meeting.
An extraordinary meeting of the Society can be called at any time, on a requisition signed by not less than twenty paid up members and containing a specific motion relating to the precise business for which the meeting is called being delivered to the General Secretary. If the motion is considered in the opinion of the Officers of the Society to adhere to the aforementioned criteria the General Secretary shall convene a meeting between four and six weeks after receipt of the requisition. A motion cannot be in contravention of the Constitution and no business other than that specified on the requisition can be discussed. Any motion passed by a majority will come into effect immediately after the EGM or at a date agreed at the EGM. Twenty paid-up members shall form a quorum.
17. Alteration of Constitution and Rules.
Notice of any proposed alteration of the Constitution and Rules must be given in writing, with proposed amendments in precise terms, to the General Secretary, no later than noon on the 1st December. The proposed alteration to be notified to the members, by the General Secretary, not less than twenty-one days before the Annual General Meeting.
No part of the Constitution and rules shall be altered except by a two-thirds majority vote passed at the Annual General meeting and will include postal votes if applicable.
18. Standing Committees.
The Executive Council may appoint from its members suitable Standing or Sub-Committees. These can be extended to include, as and when required other non-EC members of the National Dahlia Society with the approval of the Executive Council. These members will have the power to vote within the Standing/Sub-Committee and will have to sign the Confidentiality Form. Co-options will be valid until the next AGM. Each Standing /Sub Committee will consist of up to 7 EC members and shall appoint its own Chairman. Four members shall form a quorum. They will report their recommendations to the Executive Council for approval, except where they are given powers to act. The Past Presidents, President, Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Executive Council, The Treasurer, General Secretary, and the Chairmen of Standing Committees, shall be ex-officio members of all Standing Committees, with the power to vote. The following Standing Committees shall be appointed at the first meeting of the Executive Council following the Annual General Meeting.
18:1 Finance Committee. The Finance Committee’s duties shall be to exercise financial control of the Society’s funds. Recommendations of any other Standing Committee involving expenditure shall be submitted to this Committee, who shall report on the financial implications of the proposals to the Executive Council. This Committee must include the holder of the post of Honorary Treasurer.
18:2 Publications Committee. The Publications Committee’s duties shall comprise: the preparation and publication of the Society’s Annual and Winter Bulletin, the Web Site and such other duties, of a like nature, as may be submitted to it by the Executive Council.
18:3 Classification Committee. The Classification Committee’s duties shall be to classify dahlia cultivars, and to produce a Classified Directory of dahlias for sale to members of the Society and such other duties, of a like nature, as may be submitted to it by the Executive Council.
18:4 Judging Committee. The Judging Committee’s duties shall be to formulate rules for judging, and to select judges for the Societies exhibitions. It shall also organise and conduct judging examinations and seminars and such other duties of a like nature, as may be submitted to it by the Executive Council.
18:5 Show Committee. The Show Committee’s duties, in conjunction with the General Secretary, shall be to organise and administer the Society’s annual shows, and to collate and prepare the show schedules for publication by the Publication Committee.
18:6 The General Purposes Committee. The duties of the General Purposes Committee are to promote the extension of the Society’s interests at relevant events, to review and modify the Constitution and Standing Orders as and when necessary and any other duties of a like nature as may be submitted to it by the Executive Council. This will include other duties not covered by other Committees.
18:7 Honours Committee. The Honours Committee shall consist of the following: The President (who shall be Chairman), Past Presidents, Patrons, Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Executive Council, Treasurer, General Secretary, Chairmen of Standing Committees; Finance, Show, General Purposes, Publications, Judging and Classification and the Chairman of the Northern Committee. Nominations, from any paid up member, for awards shall be received by the General Secretary, or the Honours Committee Chairman, by the 31st October; otherwise the nomination will not be accepted. All details shall be confidential to the Committee, both prior to and after the meeting, until notified to the Executive Council.
19. Northern Committee.
The Northern Committee shall be elected at the Northern Annual General Meeting from fully paid up members. The Chairman and Secretary will be elected at the Northern Annual General Meeting, Two members of the Committee will be elected at the Northern Annual General Meeting to become full members of the Executive Council, in accordance with Rule 6.2 The Northern Committee shall forward to the Executive Council, minutes of all meetings held. They may make recommendations to the Executive Council concerning shows in their area, but may not commit themselves or the National Dahlia Society, financially or otherwise, without the authority of the Executive Council. Secretarial expenses may be paid from a petty cash account maintained for that purpose. The account, together with all vouchers shall be submitted to the Executive Council as and when required. Other duties of the Northern Committee shall be as set out in the Standing Orders as agreed by the Executive Council.
20. Exhibition Trials Committee.
The Exhibition Trials Committee shall consist of up to six members nominated by the Executive Council and up to six members from the Northern Committee. The Chairman shall be an Executive Council member. The duties shall be to arrange, manage and adjudicate the Exhibition Trials, in accordance with the agreed judging procedures as designated by the Executive Council.
21. Winding Up
If the Trustees consider it necessary to wind up the charity they must call a General Meeting so that the membership can make the decision. All members must be given at least 21 days’ notice and told the reason for the meeting. The decision would require a two thirds majority. Minutes must be kept If there is a winding up of the Society then any money and assets must be given to a charity with similar purposes to the National Dahlia Society.