The Bristol LGBT Forum is a Registered Charity.
That means that we do not exist to make money but to achieve the outcome specified in our Objects, which are set out in our Constitution.
Since its formation, the Forum has received an annual grant from the Equalities and Community Cohesion Team of Bristol City Council, to deliver advocacy for the LGBT Communities.
The Forum’s Charitable Objects are:
To advance the education of the public in all aspects of discrimination suffered by reason of sexual orientation and in particular by relieving discrimination and hardship by removing barriers to equal participation and social benefits that may be suffered by Lesbian, Gy, Bisexual and Transgender People who are in need in such ways that are charitable in Law.
To whom is the Forum accountable?
The Bristol LGBT Forum is a membership-based organisation, run by a Management Committee and funded by Bristol City Council, therefore it is answerable to all three entities, as well as to the law, set by Central Government and administered by the Regulator, the Charity Commission.
1) Its Members must:
- be over 18
- live, study or work in Bristol
- identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual people or transgender
The annual meeting of the membership is called the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and is usually held in Autumn.
The quorum (the minimum number of voting members present) for the meeting is at least 10 members or 5% of the membership at the time, in order for any decisions passed by a vote to be legally binding.
2) The Management Committee must:
- have been full, voting members for 21 days
- be duly elected by a quorate Annual General Meeting
- not be disqualified, under the regulations that regulate Charities in England and Wales
3) Central and Local Government:
- The Charity Commission who is the Regulator of all Registered Charities
- Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), for all matters about Tax and National Insurance Contributions
- Bristol City Councilas its principal funder, through the Community and Diversity Team
What are the governing documents of the Forum and where can they be viewed?
The overarching governing document is the forum’s Constitution, which sets out:
- The Objects of the Charity, that is, its aims and objectives
- its governing structure (no. of Trustees, Co-optees and which Officers it will comprise of)
- the recognised procedures for convening AGMs, such as the notice period, quorum required, elections and majority required to pass proposals, amendments and elections, procedures to declare an AGM inquorate and term for convening a new meeting
- Reports to be presented at the meeting and approved by the members present, such as the Annual report and Annual Accounts
- Its key Financial and reporting responsibilities,
The Constitution of the Forum was adopted by a majority vote by its members, at the very first Annual General Meeting (AGM), as were later amendments, at subsequent AGMs.
The Policies of the organisation were written by its Management Committees, over the years, and revised every few years.
The Constitution informs the Forum’s Policies set out the aims and objectives of the Forum in achieving specific objectives, such as legal compliance, probity, accountability, transparency, equality of treatment, environmental sustainability and fair employment.
Most commonly the MC will appoint a Working Group to work on one or more Policies, in conjunction with the Forum’s Development Worker and, where required or desirable, expert advisers, such as legal, financial or employment experts.
The Forum’s Constitution, Policies and other Documents can be found in this section.
Who runs the Forum?
The overall running of the Charity is done by its Management Committee (MC), made up of members who volunteer their time as Trustees and Co-opteees.
Trustees can be only elected to the MC by the members present at the Annual General Meeting of the Forum.
The MC elect their Officers from amongst themselves, usually at the first Committee meeting, after the AGM.
Co-optees can join the Management Committee during the course of the year and are elected onto the MC elected by the Trustees, but must be duly elected at the following AGM as full Trustees, by a majority vote.
What does the Management Committee do?
The Management Committee take forward any outstanding business from the previous year’s programme, meeting initially at the beginning of the year, to formulate the following 3 years’ strategy, if due for renewal, the following 12 months’ Work Programme, including specific projects, fundraising, annual events and renewal of office equipment, review of Policies and procedures.
Throughout the year and at monthly MC meetings, Trsutees and Co-optees the MC must:
- act as the Forum’s legal representative in all legal matters, through its Officers
- act as employer, on behalf of the Forrum, in recruiting, managing and supervising employees
- act as the Forum’s governing body, with responsibility for formulating and reviewing Policies and Procedures
- in conjunction with the Development Worker:
- formulate a triennial strategy, with well-defined aims, objectives, targets and indicators
- agree a programme of work and an annual budget
- sign the annual funding application and any contract tenders
- allocate resources out of the budgets drawn-up and submitted by the Development Worker
- monitor and adjust budgets as required, through the Treasurer
- approve all expenditure above the minimum threshold, set out in its Financial Management and Controls Policy
- ensure the Forum is adequately insured against Third Party and Employer’s Liability, as well as Trustee Indemnity
- ensure the Forum is at all times in compliance of all relevant legislation and regulatory requirements
- at monthly meetings, receive the reports of:
- the Treasurer
- the Development Worker and the Administrator
- Any Sub-groups or Working groups appointed by the MC to carry out specific work or projects
- Trustees and Co-optees who have attended esternal meetings
- volunteers acting as expert advisors on specific projects, like IT, website, training etc.
- partners or consultants engaging with the Forum on projects and initiatives
- members wishing to attend meetings to put specific questions or points to the Committee, abut the Forum’s work
The above are just a few of the capacities in which the MC represent the Forum.
To find out how to become a Trustee and what this entails, in more detail, please click here and visit our ‘Become a Trustee‘ page.