Keep Our NHS Public Constitution

Revised 3 June 2020 and published online 24 June 2020. A Word Document version can be downloaded: KONP Constitution

1. Name and Description

The name of the organisation is ‘Keep Our NHS Public’ (hereafter ‘KONP).

KONP is a non-party-political organisation.

2. Objects

The principal object of KONP is to stop the privatisation and commercialisation of our NHS and campaign for the re-instatement of a comprehensive, universal, publicly funded, publicly owned, publicly provided and publicly accountable, national health service which is free at the point of use and has the resources needed to provide excellent health care for all on a long term, sustainable basis. This will involve campaigning to resist cuts and closures within the NHS.  KONP also supports campaigns to reverse the privatisation and commercialisation of social care and pursue publicly funded, publicly provided and accountable social care provision which is free at the point of use and appropriately resourced to sustain the health, independence, wellbeing and dignity of all. In pursuance of its objects, KONP will seek to build a wide coalition of individual members, local groups and affiliated organisations.

3. Powers

KONP will have powers to

3.1 raise money to pursue its objects

3.2 receive contributions through individual membership fees, KONP and affiliated group fees and donations

3.3 employ staff and recruit volunteers

3.4 buy or rent premises or equipment

3.5 act separately and in partnership with different organisations in pursuit of its objects.

4. Membership

4.1 Individual membership shall be open to people living in the UK upon payment of an annual membership fee.

4.2 KONP may refuse membership or terminate an individual’s membership should it consider that their membership or continued membership will compromise the integrity of the organisation.

4.3 A refusal or termination must be carried out in accordance with the grievance procedures specified in Appendix 1A of this document.

4.4 If an individual fails to pay their membership fee by three months after the renewal date that individual will cease to be a member. The individual must have received one reminder to their usual contact address. The onus is on individual members to ensure their contact details held by KONP membership are up to date.

5. Local Groups

5.1 KONP will encourage and support the formation of local KONP groups. These will pursue the objects of KONP locally and seek to network with each other to maximise impact.

5.2 Local groups must gain KONP approval before using the KONP logo or associating their activities with KONP but KONP will accept no liability for commitments entered into by such local groups.

5.3 A local group may register as a local KONP group once three of its members have become individual members of KONP and upon payment of the local group annual registration fee. Ongoing membership of three, including the steering group delegate, must be maintained annually alongside maintenance of group affiliation.

5.4 KONP reserves the right to dissociate itself from any local KONP group which it considers is compromising the integrity of the organisation. The dissociation must be done in accordance with the procedures set out in Appendix 1A of this document.

5.5 Local KONP Groups’ responsibilities to local KONP members [2]

    • 5.5.2: KONP will ensure that local groups are informed of all KONP members in their area.
    • 5.5.3: Members of KONP should be invited to give permission for their contact details to be sent to the local KONP group organisers (where one exists).  Local KONP groups should include all KONP members, who have agreed for their contact details to be shared, in their notices and emails about their meetings and activities.
    • 5.5.4: In addition, local KONP groups should post notices about their meetings and activities on the KONP website.

6. Affiliations

6.1 To build the coalition, affiliation will be encouraged from any national organisation which shares the aims of KONP excluding political parties and from any local organisation which shares the aims of KONP including local branches of political parties. Branches of political parties can be supporting affiliates only (see 6.2 and 6.4)[3]

6.2 Organisations which both share the objects of KONP and have campaigning for them as their prime activity can become Full Affiliates on payment of their affiliation fee or provision in kind.

6.3 KONP reserves the right to dissociate itself from a fully affiliated group if it considers that the group’s continued affiliation would compromise the integrity of KONP. The dissociation must be done according to the procedures set out in Appendix 1A of this document.

6.4 Organisations which share KONP’s objectives but do not have campaigning for those health and NHS-related objectives as their prime activity may become Supporting Affiliates of KONP on payment of their affiliation fee or agreed provision in kind. KONP reserves the right to dissociate itself from a Supporting Affiliate if their continued affiliation risks compromising the integrity of KONP.

6.5 An organisation’s affiliation shall end if it fails to pay its annual affiliation or provide the support agreed. 

7. Governance: The Steering Group

7.1 KONP’s primary governing body will be known as the Steering Group. It will be made up of representatives from local groups, full affiliates and other affiliated groups.

7.2 The purpose of the Steering Group is to set the policy and direction of KONP.

7.3 Every local KONP group and full affiliate will be entitled to nominate one of its members to be its representative on the Steering Group. If the nominated representative cannot attend for any reason, the group may send a substitute. Whoever attends SG meetings on behalf of a local group will have full speaking and voting rights.

7.4 Supporting Affiliates will have the right to send a representative to the Steering Group. This representative will not have voting rights but may participate in discussion at the discretion of the chair.

7.5 The Steering Group may co-opt up to six individual members. Co-option will normally be for a maximum of one year and will end at the AGM although it may be renewed at the discretion of the Steering Group by majority vote.

7.6 All Steering Group members must be individual members of KONP.

7.7 The Steering Group will normally meet bi-monthly but no less than five times per year. At least two of these meetings will be outside London.

7.8 Fifteen voting members of the Steering Group will constitute a quorum.

7.9 The Steering Group will elect an Appeals /Grievance Panel of 3 Steering Group members to implement the grievance procedures specified in Appendix 1 of this document.

7.10 The Steering Group may also set up specialist working groups chaired by a Steering Group member and including KONP members with relevant experience who are not on the Steering Group. Such working groups may also seek advice from experts who may not be KONP members.

7.11 The Steering Group will elect from its members an Executive Committee as specified below. All local KONP groups and full affiliates who are entitled to a voting representative on the Steering Group will be invited to participate in electing an Executive Committee as specified below.

7.12 A minimum of eight members of the Steering Group, excluding co-opted members and supporting affiliates, may call for an Extra-ordinary Meeting of the Steering Group by making a written request for such a meeting to the chair of the Steering Group. The Chair will arrange an ESGM within 4 weeks.

7.13 In the event of concerns arising about the actions of any Steering Group member promoting policies that are inconsistent with the policies of KONP, behaving unconstitutionally or in any other way bringing the integrity of the organisation into disrepute, a written complaint from no fewer than 3 members of the Steering Group should be made to the Chair of the Steering Group who will instigate procedures in accordance with the Grievance Procedure specified in Appendix 1:B.

8. Governance:  the Executive Committee

8.1 The purpose of the EC is to take instruction from the SG and implement the policies specified by it. The EC should ensure the smooth day to day running of the organisation.  The EC may develop its own strategies and bring those to the Steering Group for approval.  In exceptional cases where there is no appropriate policy and consultation is impossible, the EC may act first and bring these actions for post facto approval to the Steering Group.

8.2 The Executive Committee must act in a transparent manner in its relationship with the Steering Group. It must present a full report of its activities to each Steering Group meeting and respond to questions, queries, comments and challenges regarding its actions.

8.3 The Executive Committee will consist of 11 people. 10 Executive Committee Members (ECMs) elected from the members of the SG. The eleventh ECM will be the President of KONP, who will be an ex officio member.

8.4 Of the 10 ECMs, 6 will be Non-Officer ECMs and 4 will be officers comprising two co-chairs, a secretary and a treasurer.

8.5 In honour of Prof. Wendy Savage’s role as founder member of KONP and in recognition of her continuing invaluable contribution as ambassador for KONP this document endorses her position as President with full voting rights. Should Prof. Savage withdraw from the role, the Steering Group reserves the right to decide whether the role should cease to exist or whether they wish to appoint or elect another President.

8.6 Procedures for the election of Executive Committee Members[4]

  • 8.6.1 Elections will normally be held biannually.
  • 8.6.2 The elections will be for the following roles: co-chair, secretary, treasurer and non-officer executive committee members (ECMs).
  • 8.6.3 There will be two posts for the role of co-chair, and six posts for the role of non-officer ECM. There will be only one post each for the roles of secretary and treasurer.
  • 8.6.4 Any member of the Steering Group may stand for election except co-opted members and representatives from Supporting Affiliates, whether the delegate of a KONP group (or full affiliate group) or their substitute. The substitute must have attended at least two steering group meetings of the previous six, as acting delegate.
  • 8.6.5 Candidates may stand for more than one role.
  • 8.6.6 Those standing for election must have up to date individual membership of KONP prior to the announcement of the election and the membership of the group they represent must be up to date.
  • 8.6.7 The chair must announce the opening of the election at an SG meeting at least eight weeks before the SG meeting where the votes will be counted, and as close to two years as possible (but not more than 26 months) after the previous election, except for 2016/17 when the election can be brought into line with the AGM.
  • 8.6.8 On announcement of the election, the SG will elect from among those members of the SG who are not standing for election, a group of three people who will supervise the election. This group will be known as the Election Committee.
  • 8.6.9 The Election Committee must ensure that the elections are held in an open and fair way, following the procedures specified in Appendix 3 of this document. The officers and other members of the Executive Committee must follow the instructions of the Election Committee regarding the conduct of the elections.
  • 8.6.10 Officers will be elected first, then the non-officer ECMs. The candidates who rank seventh and eighth in the voting order for the no-officer ECMs will be kept as potential substitutes should any members of the Executive Committee stand down for any reason or be unable to carry out their duties for over two months due to ill health.
  • 8.6.11 Candidates will submit brief, written information about themselves, as requested by the Election Committee but including information about membership of any political party and any commercial or charitable interests six weeks before an election to enable the information to be circulated to local KONP and full affiliate groups, along with ballot papers.
  • 8.6.12 Efforts should be made to ensure that at least three Executive Committee members are from outside London.
  • 8.6.13 The Steering group may call in an outside body such as the Electoral Reform Society to oversee KONP elections. [5]
  • 8.6.14 Any member of the Executive Committee who fails to attend three meetings within a period of 12 months, either in person or by skype, and who gives no apologies in advance of those meetings, shall be deemed to have left the Executive Committee. Their place on it may be filled by candidates who came next in line at the previous election. [6]
  • 8.6.15 If there are insufficient nominations to fill all the places on the Executive Committee, all eligible nominees who have put themselves forward will be considered elected to the Executive Committee positions without contest.
  • 8.6.16 The Executive Committee may, with agreement from the Steering Group, co-opt up to two members of the Steering Group to fill vacancies, or to add specific experience or skills, provided co-optees and the groups they represent have up to date membership of KONP at the point of co-option. Co-option must be agreed by the Steering Group and will normally be for a maximum of one year although may be renewed at the discretion of the Steering Group by majority vote. Co-opted members will not have a vote at the EC. 7

8.7 The duties of the officers

8.7.1 The Chair

  • 8.7.1.1 Chair meetings of the Executive Committee and Steering Group, ensuring that each meeting is planned effectively, conducted according to the constitution and that matters are dealt with in an orderly, efficient manner.
  • 8.7.1.2 Ensure that meetings are conducted so that all strands of opinion are heard without favour.
  • 8.7.1.3 Will not have a vote when chairing meetings of the Executive Committee or Steering Group except in the case of a tied vote when they may exercise a casting vote.
  • 8.7.1.4 Represent the group and act as its spokesperson when required.
  • 8.7.1.5 Work with the Executive Committee to share roles and responsibilities to ensure the smooth running of the organisation and the effective implementation of its plans and policies.

8.7.2 The Secretary

  • 8.7.2.1 Ensure that accurate minutes of meetings of both the EC and the SG are taken and circulated to all members of the SG.
  • 8.7.2.2 Prepare and circulate agenda for meetings in collaboration with the Chair.
  • 8.7.2.3 Deal with correspondence and ensure relevant information is circulated to KONP groups and members.
  • 8.7.2.4 Work with the Executive Committee to share roles and responsibilities to ensure the smooth running of the organisation and the effective implementation of its plans and policies.

8.7.3 The Treasurer

  • 8.7.3.1 Supervise the financial affairs of the group.
  • 8.7.3.2 Keep proper accounts that show all monies collected and paid out by KONP.
  • 8.7.3.3 Ensure that a report giving an accurate picture of KONP’s financial affairs is circulated to members of the Executive Committee and Steering Group before each of their meetings.
  • 8.7.3.4 Arrange an annual audit of the accounts

8.7.4 The duties of the Non Officer ECMs

  • 8.7.4.1 Assist the officers with the implementation of KONP’s policies and strategies.
  • 8.7.4.2 Ensure that the actions of the officers are compliant with both the constitution and the policy decisions of the Steering Group.
  • 8.7.4.3 Help to develop new initiatives for presentation to and approval by the Steering Group.
  • 8.7.4.4 Ensure that the actions and decisions of the Executive Committee are fully reported to the Steering Group.

8.8 The conduct of the Executive Committee

  • 8.8.1 The Executive Committee may not enter into contractual agreements without the prior consent of the SG. With that approval it may, in order to facilitate its duties, employ people directly, engage contractors or engage volunteers. Anyone employed or contracted must be given clear terms of employment that are available to, and agreed with the Steering Group.  The same spirit of fair treatment will be applied to anyone who opts to be a contractor rather than an employee. Employees, contractors and volunteers will have the right to use the appeals procedure in case of dismissal or dispute with the Executive Committee. The EC will agree arrangements for the support and management of staff and volunteers which will ensure that they each have only one line manager.  Staff appointments will be made by an interview panel consisting of at least two, non-officer ECMs.
  • 8.8.2 The Executive will normally meet at least monthly but at a minimum 10 times per year.
  • 8.8.3 Six members of the Executive will constitute a quorum.
  • 8.8.4 In the event that a vote is required it will take place by a show of hands and decisions will be determined by a simple majority.
  • 8.8.5 The EC may refuse or terminate membership of an individual or group if it considers that their membership is or would bring the integrity of the organisation into disrepute. The EC must however act in accordance with the Grievance procedure specified in Appendix 1:A of this document.
  • 8.8.6 In the event of concerns about any ECM behaving in an unconstitutional manner or promoting policies that are inconsistent with the policies of KONP or in any other way bringing the integrity of the organisation into disrepute a written complaint from any three members of the Steering Group (who may also be ECMs) should be made to the Chair of the SG who will instigate procedures in accordance with the Grievance procedure Appendix 1:B.

9. Finances

9.1  Members, local KONP groups, affiliated groups and organisations shall pay a minimum annual membership or affiliation fee set by the Steering Group. Donations will also be encouraged.

9.2   The Treasurer in cooperation with the Officers shall be responsible for ensuring that proper controls are maintained over the funds of KONP, that proper accounting records are kept and audited and that a report giving an accurate picture of its financial affairs is circulated to members of the Executive Committee and Steering Group before each of their meetings.

9.3 Decisions regarding expenditure of over £1,000 should be agreed by the Executive Committee or Steering Group.

9.4 The signatories to the KONP account will be the Treasurer and any one of three others appointed by the Executive Committee.

9.5 No distribution of any surplus shall be made to members or officers of KONP.

9.6 KONP members may be paid for their time or services at the discretion of the Steering Group.

9.7 The Steering Group may at its discretion allow the reimbursement or part-reimbursement of costs incurred by members attending Executive, Steering Group or subgroup meetings.

10. Amendment to the Constitution

10.1     Following notice in writing of a resolution to amend the Constitution at least 4 weeks in advance of a Steering Group meeting, this Constitution may be amended by a resolution of the Steering Group carried at that meeting by two thirds of the votes cast, excluding co-opted members.

10.2     Due to the experimental nature of this constitution, changes may be made during the first year of its implementation with a simple majority.

11. Merger and Dissolution

11.1  A resolution proposing the merger or dissolution of KONP should be notified to the Steering Group 6 weeks in advance of an SG meeting. The motion will be tabled and put to the SG who will decide whether or not to call an Extraordinary General Meeting to discuss the issue. Irrespective of whether an EGM is called or not, no decision will be taken until the issue is discussed at a second Steering Group meeting in order to allow reasonable time for due consideration and consultation.

At a second and quorate Steering Group meeting KONP may be merged with another organisation with similar objects or dissolved by a resolution of the Steering Group carried by two thirds of the votes cast. 8

11.2     On the dissolution of KONP, its assets shall not be distributed to its members, but shall be distributed to one or more organisations with compatible objects specified in the dissolution resolution. 

12. Annual General Meeting (AGM)

12.1 KONP will organise annual general meetings which all members will be invited to attend. At least two months’ notice should be given for an AGM. AGMs will be held no longer than 15 months apart.

12.2 At the AGM one of the co-chairs will present a report on the activities of KONP during the previous twelve months and the Treasurer will present the accounts. Individual members will have the opportunity to question the Officers and Executive Committee about any aspects of the activities of the organisation.

12.3 Motions from local KONP groups, full affiliates and individual KONP members can be put to the AGM. These should be submitted five weeks before the meeting and circulated to all members at least three weeks before the meeting. Any substantive motion must be submitted no less than one week before the meeting, although later amendments and urgent motions under[7] exceptional circumstances will be dealt with by discretion of the co-chairs. The Steering Group and Executive Committee may arrange 8 for motions from individuals to be composited to ensure the efficient use of time. Motions and amendments will be voted on by a show of hands.  All motions passed at the AGM will come before the next Steering Group for further discussion and action. [i]  9

13. Conduct of Meetings

The business of the Steering Group and AGM will be conducted in accordance with the attached Standing Orders Appendix 2 unless a resolution to suspend Standing Orders is passed by majority vote.

signed by

Chair, co-chair, secretary and treasurer

APPENDIX 1:  Grievance Procedure 

A. For individuals, KONP groups or full affiliates who are refused membership, have their membership terminated or are dissociated from KONP by the Executive Committee. 

  1. A motion to refuse, terminate or dissociate a member or group must be made by a majority vote at an EC meeting. The EC must inform the person or group involved in writing, giving reasons for the refusal/termination. The notice must also inform the refused/terminated group/person of their right to appeal.  The EC must also inform the SG.
  2. The SG may decide to refer a refusal or termination decision to the Appeals Panel in the absence of any appeal being made.
  3. An individual or group who has their membership terminated will be advised that they must, with immediate effect, stop using the KONP logo or claiming to speak in the name of KONP. However, all voting and attendance rights will remain until either the time for an appeal has passed and no appeal has been lodged, or the appeals process has been completed and the action of the EC exonerated.
  4. An appeal must be made within four weeks of receipt of notice of refusal or termination. On receipt of an appeal the Chair of the Steering Group will refer the case to the Appeals/ Grievance panel of the SG within two weeks.
  5. The Appeals/ Grievance panel will examine the evidence for the decision and grounds for the appeal then make a recommendation to the full Steering Group giving the reasons for their decision and a brief outline of the evidence on which it is based. Individuals or groups who have been refused membership or had their membership terminated will be given an opportunity to present their case personally to the Appeals/Grievance panel. The panel will normally conclude their investigations within 6 weeks and communicate their conclusions and reasons to the appellants.
  6. The final decision will be made in a meeting of the Steering Group. Any decision to refuse membership, dissociate KONP from a particular KONP group or full affiliate or terminate the membership of an individual will require a two-thirds majority vote in the Steering Group. Where the decision relates to a local KONP group or full affiliate and they are not happy with the recommendation of the Appeals/ Grievance panel, they will be given an opportunity to speak at the meeting of the Steering Group which decides the case.
  7. The Chair will advise appellants in writing of the decision of the Steering Group and the reasons for it.

 

B. Complaints against members of the organisation

  1. In the event of concerns arising about the actions of any Steering Group member publicly promoting policies that are inconsistent with the policies of KONP or in any other way drawing the integrity of the organisation into disrepute a written complaint from 3 KONP members should be made to the Chair of the Steering Group who will refer the matter to the Appeals/ Grievance panel  and advise the person against whom the complaint has been made of the nature of the complaint,  the process of investigation and their right  to respond in person at a meeting of the Panel.  Should the complaint be against a co-chair of KONP it should be addressed to the other co-chair, or to the KONP executive committee.
  2. The Appeals/ Grievance panel will examine the evidence for the complaint and make whatever enquiries they deem necessary. They will offer an opportunity to the person against whom the complaint has been made to present their views to the panel in person. They will normally seek to conclude their enquiries within 6 weeks then make recommendations for action to the full Steering Group giving reasons for their decision and an outline of the actions they have taken to inform their recommendations.
  3. The Steering Group will decide on action to be taken in response to the complaint. Should it be deemed necessary to remove an officer from their post or other ECM from the Executive Committee this would require a simple majority of those present.
  4. Care should be taken to respect the dignity of all members throughout all grievance procedures.

APPENDIX 2:  Standing Orders for the conduct of Steering Group meetings and motions at the AGM

2.1 The Agenda for Steering Group meetings will be drawn up by the Chair in consultation with the Executive. However, a motion sent to the chair at least two weeks before an SG meeting, backed by at least three SG members, must be included on the agenda.  A standing item at all SG meetings will be the report from the Executive on its activities with opportunity for questions and discussion.  Time will be allocated both for local groups to share information and for any motions from groups to be heard.  Proposed additions to the agenda from Steering Group members should be put at the start of SG meetings and agreed by the whole group.

2.2 Rules of debate at meetings

a. Ordinary motions should be submitted to the chair at least two weeks before the meeting and circulated to members at least one week before the meeting. Motions on the agenda shall be considered in the order in which they appear unless the order is changed at the discretion of the chair of the meeting. Motions submitted with less than 2 weeks’ notice will be treated as emergency motions and the meeting will need to vote on whether or not they should be heard.

b. A motion (including an amendment) shall not be progressed unless it has been moved and seconded.

c. A motion on the agenda that is not moved by its proposer or substitute may be treated by the chairman of the meeting as withdrawn.

d. If a motion (including an amendment) has been seconded, it may be withdrawn by the proposer only with the consent of the seconder and the meeting.

e. An amendment is a proposal to remove or add words to a motion. It shall not negate the motion.

f. If an amendment to the original motion is carried, the original motion becomes the substantive motion upon which further amendment(s) may be moved.

g. A proposer may move an amendment to their own motion if agreed by the meeting. If a motion has already been seconded, the amendment shall be with the consent of the seconder and the meeting.

h. If there is more than one amendment to an original or substantive motion, the amendments shall be moved in the order directed by the chairman.

i. One or more amendments may be discussed together if the chairman of the meeting considers this expedient but each amendment shall be voted upon separately.

j. A member may not move more than one amendment to an original or substantive motion.

k. The mover of an amendment will have the right to reply for one minute before the amendment is voted on.

l. Where a series of amendments to an original motion are carried, the mover of the original motion shall have a right of reply either at the end of debate of the first amendment or at the very end of debate on the final substantive motion immediately before it is put to the vote.

m. Unless permitted by the chairman of the meeting, a member may speak once in the debate on a motion except:

m.1.  to speak on an amendment moved by another member;

m.2. to move or speak on another amendment if the motion has been amended since they last spoke;

m.3. to make a point of order;

m.4 to give a personal explanation; or

m.5 in exercise of a right of reply.

n. During the debate of a motion, a member may interrupt only on a point of order or a personal explanation and the member who was interrupted shall stop speaking. A member raising a point of order shall identify the standing order which s/he considers has been breached or specify the other irregularity in the proceedings of the meeting s/he is concerned by.

o. A point of order shall be decided by the chairman of the meeting and her/his decision shall be final.

p. When a motion is under debate, no other motion shall be moved except:

p.1. to amend the motion;

p.2. to proceed to the next business;

p.3. to adjourn the debate;

p.4. to put the motion to a vote;

p.5. to ask a person to be no longer heard or to leave the meeting;

p.6.  to refer a motion to a subgroup for consideration;

p.7. to adjourn the meeting; or

p.8. to suspend particular standing order(s) excepting those which reflect mandatory statutory requirements.

q. Before an original or substantive motion is put to the vote, the chairman of the meeting shall be satisfied that the motion has been sufficiently debated and that the mover of the motion under debate has exercised or waived his/her right of reply.

r. The contributions or speeches by a member shall relate only to the motion under discussion and shall not exceed 3 minutes without the consent of the chairman of the meeting.

2.3 Voting at meetings will take place by a simple show of hands.  In the absence of consensus, decisions will be made by simple majority vote with the exception of the following cases:

a. Amendments to the Constitution (s10) and dissolution (s11).

b. Exclusions of individuals or dissociations from KONP of local and affiliated groups (s4.3, 5.4, 6.3, 7.13)

c. EC elections (s8.6.8; App 3, s7)

2.4 Disorderly Conduct at Meetings

a. No person shall obstruct the transaction of business at a meeting or behave offensively or improperly. If this standing order is ignored, [STEP 1] the chairperson of the meeting shall request such person(s) to moderate or improve their conduct.

b. If person(s) disregard the request of the chairperson of the meeting to moderate or improve their conduct, [STEP 2] any member or the chairman of the meeting may move that the person be no longer heard or excluded from the meeting. The motion, if seconded, shall be put to the vote without discussion.

c. If a resolution made under standing order 2(b) above is ignored, [STEP 3] the chairperson of the meeting may take further reasonable steps to restore order or to progress the meeting. This may include temporarily suspending or closing the meeting. 

Appendix 3:  Conduct of elections to the Executive Committee

  1. The election committee is the ruling body in the conduct of the elections. In the event of disputes concerning the elections the decision of the Election Committee will be final.
  2. Within 5 days of the Election Committee being formed the officers will provide the committee with a full list of paid-up KONP and full affiliate groups
  3. Within 7 days of the election being announced at a Steering Group meeting the Election Committee must send all eligible groups notification of the election, the election timetable and request for candidates [Form 1] plus candidate’s details [Form 2].
  4. Candidates for the election must complete and return Form 2 within two weeks. If not complete, the election committee will inform the candidate of any failings within 48 hours of receipt of the incomplete Form 2 to enable the candidate to make the necessary amendments, as long as the deadline is not breached.
  5. The Election Committee will send all eligible groups completed Forms 2 for each candidate, a ballot paper, and instructions on how to vote five weeks before the deadline for return, which will be one clear day before the SG meeting immediately before which the count will be completed.
  6. Each branch will be asked to confirm receipt of the ballot paper to the Election Committee within seven days. The Election Committee will pursue missing acknowledgements and re-send ballot papers as necessary to try to ensure that all eligible groups are in receipt of ballot papers.
  7. Voting will be by single transferrable vote based on the model ballot form below. (see Form 3: Model ballot paper) unless the Steering Group decides to use another voting system.
  8. Ballot papers must be returned before midnight one clear day before the count.  If ballot papers have not been returned by seven days before the count, the Election Committee should endeavour to persuade Local Groups to return their ballots.
  9. Ballot papers should be signed by two KONP members present at the meeting where they were completed. Should this prove difficult for a full affiliate group, groups should send in their ballot paper with a note of explanation to the Election Committee. The Election Committee will adjudicate on the validity of ballot papers and their decision will be final.
  10. A copy of the minutes of the meeting or at least the section of the meeting at which the ballot was completed, indicating numbers present, should be enclosed with the ballot papers.   Failure to return validation of collective decision making regarding the election will disqualify a group from voting.  Any members belonging to more than one group should exercise their vote at one group only.
  11. The count will take place immediately before the SG meeting designated in the notification of the election sent to the local groups/full affiliates. (See paragraph 3 above). Any SG member can attend as an observer. Counting will be carried out in the following order:  co-chairs, secretary, treasurer, non-officer ECMs.
  12. Once the count is completed the Election Committee will announce the results at the SG meeting. It will send the results to each Local Group / Full Affiliate within seven days of the count, prepare a report on its activities for the EC/SG if required and then disband itself.
  13. Those elected begin their new roles with immediate effect.

Form 1: Model letter for announcing the election

      Announcement of the election for the Executive Committee of  

      “Keep Our NHS Public” and invitation to candidates ( form 1)                                                                                   

       Dear KONP Steering Group Members and key contacts for local KONP and full affiliate groups                     

At the Steering Group meeting on ………………….  the Chair announced that elections are to be held for the Executive Committee.  The elections will be for the following roles: co-chair (2 posts), the secretary, the treasurer and non officer executive committee members (6 posts).  Any member of the Steering Group (except co-optees)  may stand for election.

It is possible to stand for more than one post eg.  a member who stands for secretary should also stand for one of the posts of ordinary Executive Committee member if they wish to be on the EC should they not be elected as secretary.

To ensure that the election process is as democratic and inclusive as possible, ballot papers should be completed at a meeting of a KONP or full affiliate group and minutes of the meeting or at least the relevant section of the meeting should be returned with the ballot paper. 

         Please note the following deadlines:

  1. Anyone who wishes to be a candidate must return the attached Form 2: Candidate’s Details by …………. ( date) Completed forms should be e mailed to ………………….. or posted to …………………………………….

The Election Committee will send you an acknowledgment that your form has been received within 4 days.

  1. The named contacts for all KONP and full affiliate groups will receive by e mail the completed Form 2s for all candidates, a ballot paper and an explanation of how to vote using the single transferable vote system by ………………….  ( date) 
  2. Please confirm receipt of your ballot paper by ……………. ( date )   by e mailing the election

group at      ………………………………..

  1. You must return your ballot paper to ……………………. by ……………………… (date).  Please do not leave returning your ballot paper to the last minute.  If your ballot paper is not received by midnight on the date above your KONP or Full Affiliate group will be disqualified from voting. 
  1. Your completed ballot paper should be signed by 2 KONP members present at the meeting where it was completed. Should this prove difficult for a full affiliate group, please send in your ballot paper anyway with a note of explanation to the Election Committee. The Election Committee will adjudicate on the validity of   ballot papers and their decision will be final.
  1. A copy of the minutes of the meeting or at least the section of the meeting at which the ballot was completed, indicating numbers present, should be enclosed with your ballot paper. In exceptional cases where this has not been possible, evidence of alternative methods of collective decision making needs to be supplied.Failure to return validation of collective decision making regarding the election will disqualify your Local Group from voting. Any members belonging to more than one group should exercise their vote at one group only.
  2. Please e mail ……………………………… to advise your ballot paper has been sent.  The Election Committee will acknowledge receipt of your ballot paper by e mail.
  3. The count will take place immediately before the Steering Group meeting on …………………..( date) and will be open to SG members.

Form 2 : Candidate’s Details

Post(s) applied for: please write YES against any posts for which you wish to be considered.

Co chair                                    (two posts)       … … … … … …

Secretary                                  (one post)         … … … … … …

Treasurer                                 (one post)         … … … … … …

Ordinary Executive Member     (six posts)         … … … … …

Name:  ………………………………………………………

KONP or full affiliate group: …………………………………………………  

Length of Membership of KONP:

Relevant background, experience, skills, political & trade union allegiances and activities in pursuit of the aims of KONP (max 250 words)

What I see as the key priorities for KONP in the coming year and if elected, how I intend to help KONP pursue these       (250 words)

Declaration of any relevant commercial or charitable interests: 

Form 3: Model Ballot Paper: Elections to Executive Committee (year)

Co-Chair (2 posts)
Candidate Vote
Candidate A
Candidate B
Candidate C
Candidate D
Candidate E
Candidate F

 

Secretary (1 post)
Candidate Vote
Candidate A
Candidate B
Candidate C
Candidate D
Candidate E

 

Treasurer (1 post)
Candidate Vote
Candidate A
Candidate B
Candidate C
Candidate D
Candidate E

 

Non Officer ECMs (6 posts)
Candidate Vote
Candidate A
Candidate B
Candidate C
Candidate D
Candidate E
Candidate F
Candidate G
Candidate H
Candidate I
Candidate J
Candidate K
Candidate L

 

For each table rank the candidates in order of preference by putting ‘1’ next to the name of your first choice, ‘2’ next to your second choice, etc.  You do not have to vote for all the candidates in a table but you can if you wish. Under STV you cannot have tie votes; you must not give the same number to more than one candidate in each table.

Candidates are likely to appear in more than one table. You will probably find it easier to vote for the officers first but treat each table as if it were a separate election and rank candidates as suggested above.

At the count the election of officers will be dealt with first. As elected officers become members of the EC they will be removed from the non-officer ECMs table. This means for example if your first and second choices for non-officer ECMs are elected as officers your group’s third and fourth choices for non-officer ECMs will   be treated as your first and second choices.

Form 3b: Validating information to accompany the ballot paper 

You are required to attach the following validating information with your completed ballot paper   

NB: please do not write on the ballot paper; use this separate sheet.  

  1. Name of group:  ……………………………………………………………  

Location:  ……………………………..

  1. Signatures of 2 KONP members present at the vote.

…………………………………………………………………………

…………………………………………………………………………..

  1. Explanation of how the vote was conducted and relevant evidence

To ensure that the election process for the EC is as democratic as possible, it is expected that ballot papers will be completed in a meeting of your group.

To evidence this, please attach minutes of the meeting at which the ballot paper was completed or at least a note of the relevant part of the meeting with numbers present.

In the exceptional circumstance where it did not prove possible to have a meeting to complete the ballot paper, please explain to the Election Committee:

  1. why this wasn’t possible
  2. what you did to ensure that the completion of your ballot paper was a collective process

How the Counting is Done 

In order to vote, you only need to rank the candidates.  However, in order to understand how the voting is fair, it is useful to understand how single transferrable vote (STV) works.  A successful candidate must achieve a quota of the total votes cast. A quota is calculated using the following formula:

Required quota = (votes cast/number of posts + 1) + 1 vote.

eg: 50 votes for 2 posts          translates to    [50 / 2+1] + 1  = 50/3 + 1 = 16.7 + 1 = 18 votes

eg: 50 votes for 1 post           translates to    [50 / 1+1] + 1  = 50/2 + 1 = 25 + 1   =  26 votes

To make a percentage, multiply the number of votes needed for an individual by 100 and divide by total votes.  So if there is only one post for a role and 50 votes case, a candidate needs:

[25×100/50 + 1] per cent = [50 +1]%  = 51% of the votes cast to reach the quota.

The count is done as follows:

  1. A candidate who has reached or exceeded the quota is declared elected.
  2. If a candidate has more votes than the quota, surplus votes are transferred to other candidates. Votes that would have gone to the winner go to the next preference.
  3. If not enough candidates meet the quota, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and those votes are transferred to the second preferences.
  4. This process repeats until either a winner is found for every post or there are as many posts as remaining candidates.

In the simplest case where there is one post per role all the first choices are counted.   If a candidate gets 50% of the vote plus one vote, then they have won.

If noone reaches the quota then the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and his/her votes are allocated to the second choices on his/her supporter’s ballot papers.  If still, no candidate has reached the quota, then the next candidate from the bottom has the second choices on their ballot papers allocated, and so on until someone reaches the quota and becomes the elected candidate.

The process is similar if there is more than one post per role as in the case of the co-chairs.  In this case using the formula above, the quota will be 33% (you can’t have fractions of a vote so the figure is rounded down) plus one vote.

Again the first choices are counted.  If any candidate reaches the quota, they are elected.  (There can’t be more than two because of the way the quota is calculated).  Any votes over the quota are distributed to the second choice candidates.  If not enough candidates have reached the quota, then the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated (as per the one post example above) and their votes distributed to the second choices.  This happens as above until enough candidates have reached the quota.

In the case of the non-officer ECMs there are six posts for the role so the quota is different

(6 posts + 1 = 7;  7/100 = 14%), but the procedure is the same as for the co-chairs above.

There is one further complication.  Each candidate may stand for more than one post.  For example, a candidate may wish to stand as an officer, but failing that, be a non-officer ECM.  This system also offers local groups/full affiliates more choice.

STV allows for this very easily.  If you put ‘1’ by your first choice candidate, but s/he is elected for another post prior to the count for the current post (whatever it may be), then their name is removed from the ballot and your second choice becomes your first choice.  This of course may also happen to your second choice, in which case your third choice becomes your first choice, etc.

For more information on STV see Wikipedia and the Electoral Reform Society

[1] This is versions 13 of the KONP constitution adopted with amendments at KONP Steering Group (SG) October 2015; with subsequent amendments at KONP SGs of April & September 2016, January & September 2018 (2. social care) and May 2020

[2] Clause 4.4 was adopted by KONP SG on 13th January 2018. Clause 5.3 was amended by KONP SG on 13th January 2018; 5.5 (5.5.1-5.5.3) was adopted at KONP SG of 10th September 2016

[3] amendments agreed October 2015 and April 2016 SGs; amendment to 6.4 agreed by KONP SG Jan 13 2018

4 Clause 8.6.6 and amendments to: 8.5, 8.6.4 and 8.6.11 were adopted at the KONP SG 13th January 2018; 8.6.1 was adopted at KONP SG 10th September 2016

[5]  October 2015 SG: KONP President [WS] proposed an amendment, duly seconded, to a motion on the election [MH]. This allowed KONP SG, if required, to call in an outside body such as the Electoral Reform Society to oversee KONP elections. This was passed.

[6] Clause 8.6.13 was adopted at KONP SG 10th September 2016; clauses 8.6.15 and 8.6.16 were adopted at KONP SG 13th January 2018

7 Clause 8.6.16 was adopted at KONP SG on 9th May 2020

 [8] amendment agreed October 2015 SG  9 amendment agreed May 9th SG 2020

[i]