This is a draft Constitution for consultation, until it can be agreed at the 2021 AGM
1. The Association is a body made up of all plotholders at Wildmoor Allotments.
2. Objective –
The objective of the Association is to look after the interests of all plotholders and enhance the experience of allotment holding.
3. Annual General Meeting –
This is held, if possible, during the third week in November of each year. An agenda for the meeting is posted to the last recorded address of each member, or sent by email. Reports from the Chair, Secretary, Lettings Secretary and Seed secretary are accompanied by a summary of the accounts from the Treasurer. Discussions are led by the Chair. Votes of the membership in attendance at the meeting are held to inform final decisions. Committee members are confirmed at the AGM. Any changes to the Rules of the Association can only be agreed at the AGM.
4. Committee –
The Committee consists of 6-12 members of the Association and includes
And other non-portfolio members
Meetings are held at the discretion of the committee, and generally at least three times a year.
The Committee is responsible for –
a) Negotiating with the Town Council, carrying out an annual risk assessment, and any other negotiations around the Service Level Agreement.
b) The letting of individual plots, setting and collection of rents, and ensuring compliance with Rules of the Association.
5. Waiting List –
A waiting list is held by the Lettings Secretary on a strict application order basis. Only residents of Abingdon Parish are eligible. There will be no discrimination on any basis before or during the period on the waiting list. Plots will be let according to availability of suitable plots and position on the waiting list.
6. Finances –
An Association Bank account is held by the Treasurer, who keeps the accounts. Expenditure is agreed by the Committee. Any payments must be countersigned by a second committee member.
7. Plot Inspections and Dismissal Procedure –
a) Monthly plot inspections are carried out during the growing season.
b) If there is a problem with a plot, a member of the committee, usually the Lettings Officer, will contact the plotholder in person and send or give him/her a copy of the warning letter. The personal approach is to ascertain whether there are reasons why the problems have arisen and explain the importance of keeping weeds down etc. If this entails a visit to the plotholder’s home then two committee members will go together.
c) If no improvement has been made after 28 days, then the termination letter will be sent.
d) There is a right of appeal against the decision and in order to do so the plotholder should contact the committee via the chairman or secretary within 14 days of receipt of the termination letter. A meeting will then be arranged with three members of the committee. The plotholder can bring one other plotholder along if he or she wishes.
8. Disciplinary Procedure –
The disciplinary procedure was agreed by the Membership at the AGM in 2007, and can be found at Appendix A.
9. Data Protection Policy –
The data protection policy was agreed by the membership at the AGM in 2017, and can be found in Appendix B.
Appendix A Disciplinary Procedure, as ratified at the 2007 Annual General Meeting
To be used in cases following serious or persistent breaches of the Rules of the Association and in some cases where the conduct of the member has given cause for concern.
Step 1 Initial attempt to resolve the issue amicably and informally between the parties involved, mediated by Committee Members.
Step 2 If Step 1 fails then the member will be invited by letter to attend a meeting of the Committee which shall consist of not less than 3 Committee Members. The member may bring one other Association member with them if they wish. At this meeting the member will be given the opportunity to explain the actions or conduct that have caused concern and which has been outlined to them in a letter.
Step 3 Should the member refuse to attend this meeting or he/she fail to satisfy the majority of the Committee members present, then the Committee will have the authority to immediately suspend the membership with two week’s notice to quit the site.
Step 4 Right to appeal will be through a full Committee Meeting.
Appendix B – Data Protection Policy, as agreed at the 2017 Annual General Meeting
The data that members provide on their application forms are kept in documents that are held and processed electronically. This means that the Association is subject to the Data Protection Act.
Under the Act, the data that members provide are not classed as “sensitive data”, and because we are a not-for-profit organisation that does not use CCTV, we do not have to register with the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office). Nevertheless, under the Act, we have responsibilities of care to uphold. This document outlines our policies.
For more information, the ICO website is here: https://ico.org.uk/
What data do we keep?
We are only allowed to keep data that are necessary for our association activities. We keep the
Name and postal address
Telephone number(s) – optional
Email address – optional
We will endeavour to maintain accurate records, but we rely on members keeping us up-to-date.
Members can at any time ask the Secretary for a copy of their recorded data. To request this, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the data used for?
The data are only used for legitimate Association uses; these include:
Communication between committee members and other members as part of the daily running of the
Association; notification of Association meetings, the minutes of those meetings; the provision of seed catalogues.
What is the data NOT used for?
We will not disclose your data to other members or to third parties or use it on behalf of third parties. For example, members may sometimes be lobbied to advertise a service or product that might be useful to other members of the association. We will not use your addresses to do this (no “spam” allowed). Such requests from third parties can however be placed on the Allotment web site or the Facebook page, so that members can benefit from these offers.
Who has access to the data?
Only those who need access to the data have access. The following committee members have access to all the member data:
Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Lettings secretary.
The Seed secretary only has access to names and postal addresses for the purpose of distributing seed catalogues.
What happens when a member leaves the Association?
We do not keep data that is not needed for operation of the Association. The data for members who leave is held for at most 6 months, after which time it will be deleted from our records. We keep the data for a short period in the event that we need to communicate with a member who has recently left.
How do we protect the data?
The Data Protection Act does not specifically define the level of protection required for personal data, but rather recommends protection that is appropriate depending on the sensitivity of the data and the risks that might be incurred in the event of a security breach. The data that we keep is not classed by the Act as sensitive (examples of sensitive information are bank account details, ethnicity etc.). We therefore assume that the risks that we are exposed to are no greater than the risks of an individual providing the same data to a friend for social purposes.
The Secretary responsible for mass emails across the membership has a Gmail account (email@example.com) used for the purpose which has a strong password. All email traffic to the Secretary is on this account and not on a personal email account. This account contains members’ email data. Mass emails to the membership are sent blind (Bcc) so that addresses are not exposed.
Encryption and passwords.
The data are held in documents on committee members’ personal computers. The members are expected to take the usual precautions regarding security. The documents themselves, mostly spreadsheets, are not encrypted.
There is sometimes a need to transmit a copy of all the data between committee members. Under these circumstances any document will be encrypted and the password communicated by telephone. This is to mitigate the risk that the document is sent to the wrong recipient.
Mobile (“smart”) phones are sometime used for email purposes. Phones are vulnerable to loss and theft so if they are used for Association business they must at least use a 4-character PIN.
Spreadsheets containing multiple records will not be kept on phones.
Who is responsible for the implementation of this policy?
A nominated member of the committee is responsible for ensuring that this policy is adhered to. The Secretary has this responsibility (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Version 1 (8th August 2017)