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Protocol for Conducting Meetings by Email Forum (Appendix A)
1. Standing Orders
The following standing orders apply to all general meetings which are subject to standing orders and to all meetings of the Executive committee:
Secretary calls the meeting to order and posts a message asking the members to indicate their presence by replying within 24 hours or such other waiting time as the Secretary may determine by announcing a deadline expressed in Greenwich Mean Time.
If the quorum has been met by the time of the deadline, the Secretary posts a message notifying the meeting of the fact and invites the Chair to open the meeting for business.
If the quorum has not been met by the time of the deadline, the Secretary may post a further call with an extended deadline.
If the quorum appears unlikely to be met, it is the Secretary's call to post a message announcing that the meeting is adjourned to a later date or abandoned.
If the meeting is to proceed, the Chair then opens the meeting for business and makes such statements as are necessary.
Apologies (if any) are now received and the Chair states that they are to be noted in the Minutes.
The Minutes of the previous meeting are now read, corrected (if required) and adopted according to the standing orders in Section 3 (below).
Inward correspondence (if any) is now read and actioned piece by piece and any necessary decisions taken on the basis that they
be taken as information; or
be actioned by proceeding with a motion containing the action; or
be not received: that is, the meeting decides by consensus or by vote that the correspondence is unacceptable
Reports are now presented, starting with the Treasurer's report (if any).
The Treasurer's report may be corrected (if required) and adopted, with or without amendments, according to the standing orders described in Section 3 (below) for adopting Minutes.
Other reports do not need to be received by motion. It is sufficient for the Chairman to state that they have been received and to ask that it be noted in the Minutes.
The Secretary may at his or her discretion ask the Chair or the presenter of any report to formally propose a motion to accept or decline to accept that report.
The following standing orders apply to Annual General Meetings and Special General Meetings:
Next, the motions on the meeting notification are dealt with in the order in which they appear on the meeting notification. paper.
At an AGM, the Chairman may choose to deal with Special Resolutions before any other motions which will not require Special Resolutions
At a Special General Meeting, only Special Resolutions should be on the meeting notification
Next, the Chairman asks if there are any items of General Business:
Matters of General Business are matters that arise from the floor during the course of the meeting or that have been submitted to the Secretary too late to have been published on the notice paper.
Normally, there should be no items of General Business at a Special General Meeting. New matters arising at a SGM and not requiring a Special Resolution should normally be raised as a Motion on Notice for a susequent meeting. However, the Secretary may invite the Chairman to rule on the inclusion of such a matter under General Business if it appears appropriate to do so.
Finally, at all general meetings which are subject to standing orders and all meetings of the Executive committee, the Chair calls the meeting to a close.
At ordinary general meetings and meetings of the Executive Committee the Chair shall announce an approximate date for the next meeting.
At all general meetings, the Chair is expected to provide a brief recaptitulation of the business discussed, decisions made and any actions to be taken.
2. Committee Meetings
Once past the formalities of the standing orders, the main business of committee meetings is unconstrained and all committee members, including Executive Officers, are free to participate equally in the proceedings.
The deliberations of committees are required to be:
minuted; refer to the special provisions for committee Minutes in Section 3 (below)
binding; the committee must carry through on its decisions within the limits of its powers and responsibilities
confidential; meetings are held in camera and their deliberations, other than decisions, are not for public record.
During periods between scheduled meetings of the Committee, the Committee remains informally in session on a day-to-day basis to handle matters that can not wait until a scheduled meeting, to process member applications and to conduct day-to-day matters of business.
In the event that a matter requires a formal decision sooner than the next scheduled meeting, the Chair or any member of the committee may propose a motion, request a seconder and ask the committee to vote on it.
Such resolutions shall be minuted and appended to the Minutes of the previous meeting for adoption at the next scheduled meeting.
Approval of applications for membership need not be minuted but the Secretary shall retain the email archive of each application and approval.
Sub-committees are free to dispense with standing orders entirely, except for the keeping of Minutes, if the matters concerned in the standing orders are not relevant to the business of the sub-committee.
All meetings shall make a permanent record of decisions relating to the Agenda and the business arising from the Agenda.
In the case of Minutes of committee meetings, there should be no account of any debate that proceeds from consideration of any matter during the course of the meetings. The record should be deliberately terse, recording only the Agenda items, new matters arising and the resolution of each item.
Motions that are not Agenda items need not be recorded if they are lost.
Amendments need not be recorded if they are lost.
Minutes are to be presented for adoption by a subsequent meeting according to the following standing orders:
The Minutes of an Annual General meeting are to be presented at the following Annual General Meeting
The Minutes of each Special General Meeting are to be presented at the Annual General Meeting following the date on which the Special General Meeting was closed
The Minutes of each ordinary general meeting conducted under the standing orders shall be presented at the next ordinary general meeting convened under the standing orders
The Minutes of each meeting of the Executive Committee shall be presented at the next meeting of the Executive Committee
The Minutes of each meeting of a sub-committee shall be presented at the next meeting of that sub- committee
The archive of the Members' email forum shall be considered sufficient permanent record of the proceedings of any ordinary meeting that take place whilst that meeting is not subject to standing orders. Such Minutes do not need to be presented for adoption.
To adopt Minutes, the Chair may first ask if there is any objection to the Minutes being signed as a true record.
If no objection is heard, the meeting is taken as having granted leave to adopt the Minutes
If any objection is heard, the Chair should ask the Secretary to move the adoption of the Minutes and should call for another Member to second.
Before the motion to adopt the Minutes is put to the vote, the dissenting Member or Members must propose a motion or motions to amend the original motion, "subject to the following corrections being recorded as annotation(s)...(with details of the corrections proposed)..."
After calling for a seconder, the Chair then puts the amended motion to the vote.
If the amended motion is lost, the Chairman then proceeds to put the original motion of adoption to the vote.
Incorrect entries must not be erased but shall be referred to in the annotations required by the amended motion.
4. Posting to Discussions
At all times during meetings, members are asked to consider the volume of messages and be careful not to "hog the floor". All general meetings are conducted in the FFMembers email list. Executive committee meetings are conducted in the FFCommittee list. Members should keep responses on-topic and read over responses before posting. The following conventions should be observed:
All meetings are conducted in English. Native English speakers should be considerate of the extra time and effort required on the part of non-native speakers to participate in discussions and try to avoid slang and complicated language.
All matters are introduced by the Chair with the meeting and Agenda item ID as the first string in the Subject followed by some brief text, e.g. "2005-AGM-04 Treasurer's Report". Use the Reply button to respond and maintain the original Subject intact.
When an item of main or general business is introduced, the Chair should name the Proposer or initiator of the matter and invite that member to post first. Other members should wait up to 24 hours for that member to post before beginning to post responses.
If possible, members should configure their email clients to begin the message body with the name of the member who posted the email to which they are replying. Where email clients do not support this, members are asked to type the name, e.g. "Mickey Mouse said: "
Messages should be rigorously trimmed so that parts of a previous message that are not being addressed in the response are deleted.
Messages beginning "PLEASE VOTE" are voting papers. Discussions must not be conducted on voting papers.
When the Chair considers discussion of a matter is finished, s/he will close discussion and
Put the motion, if the motion is ready to be put; or
Ask for a motion to be proposed, if a motion is required
Once discussion is closed, any further postings to the thread will be ruled out of order by the Chair.
If there is a motion to be voted on, voting will follow the procedure described in
Appendix B, Procedures for Conducting Ballots and Voting
The normal waiting period for responses is 24 hours. However, a member may ask the Chair to extend the waiting time if there is reasonable cause for the member to be delayed.
5. Meeting Documents
The meeting notification will take the form of an announcement, in the appropriate list forum, with the appropriate minimum period of notice, pointing to a URL on the website where full details of the meeting are to be found.
During the notice period, members and officers should make best efforts to submit Minutes, reports, correspondence and any other documents to the Secretary in good time for them to be available when the meeting is due to begin.
Members are asked to submit documents in plain text or as PDF files, in preference to any other formats, including HTML.
As documents appear on the website, it is recommended that members bookmark them in their browsers to avoid the extra "noise" of members posting requests for the URLs.
6. "Committee of the Whole" Sessions
The normal mode for the FFMembers list shall be a continual "Committee of the Whole" session, an ordinary general meeting in which all standing orders are suspended and all members have an equal voice.
Whenever the meeting is called to order for the commencement of a general meeting under standing orders, the ongoing committee-mode meeting is suspended until the closure of the formal meeting.
The Chairman of a general meeting under standing orders may decide to suspend standing orders temporarily and move that meeting into "Committee of the Whole" mode for some reason pertaining to a specific matter, normally to take advantage of the characteristics of informality or confidentiality that being in committee allow.
Whilst in committee mode, members
may not propose motions or amendments to motions
may not conduct ballots
may not record Minutes
do not need to appoint a Chair, although the members may decide by consensus to ask a Member to act as a referee
are bound to keep the proceedings confidential if the Committee of the Whole is in session as the result of suspension of standing orders
A move into committee mode by suspension of standing orders during the course of a meeting should never be taken to be a resumption of the ongoing committee-mode meeting that was suspended when the formal meeting began.
7. Undocumented and Contradictory Situations
In the event that a situation arises for which a rule, procedure or guideline is not documented in either this Appendix, Appendix B or the Rules of the association, and a solution can not be deduced from these rules and procedures, the members shall refer to "Hocking's Rules" by Don Hocking (Simon & Schuster, 2000) for a recommendation.
In any situation where protocol and the Rules of the association appear to contradict one another, the Rules prevail.
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