Constitution, Structure & Policies
Coleshill and North Warwickshire Astronomy Society

Page: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5



1.0 NAME

1.1 The name of the society shall be 'Coleshill and North Warwickshire Astronomy Society', hereafter referred to as 'the Society' or CNWAS.


2.1 The object of the Society shall be to promote interest in Astronomy by presenting talks, lectures, and observing programmes for society members, and to engage with members of the public by organising outreach events.


3.1 Membership of the Society shall be open to all persons interested in Astronomy. The Council shall have the discretion to withhold Membership. Life Membership shall be awarded at the discretion of the Council.

3.2 The Council may also award Honorary Membership to individuals who make a significant contribution to the Society. Honorary Membership will last for a period of one year and is subject to annual renewal.


4.1 The amounts of Annual Subscription shall be fixed by the Council, who will notify the Membership accordingly at the Annual General Meeting.

4.2 Subscriptions shall be payable to the Treasurer at the first Ordinary Meeting of the Society following the Annual General Meeting. No one shall be entitled to the privileges of membership of the Society until their current annual subscription has been paid. Subscriptions shall be waived for those holding Life or Honorary Membership.


5.1 The Council shall be responsible for the business and activities of the Society (CIO Foundation Model) and shall consist of President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer. In addition, a Members Committee, to assist Council, shall consist of not more than three Ordinary Members. All Members of Council shall serve until their position becomes vacant for any reason. The Council shall have the power to co-opt another Member to fill that position until the next Annual General Meeting. The Council shall appoint from among the Ordinary Members duly elected to the Members Committee up to three persons to be specifically responsible for Membership, Meetings, and Publicity. The Council shall have the discretion to delegate other responsibilities as the need arises. The Council shall also have discretion to invite persons of distinction to serve as 'Executive Advisors to Council'.

5.2 Any Ordinary Member that has occupied a position on the Members Committee for one consecutive year shall be eligible for re-election for a further year subject to a vote by the membership at the AGM.

5.3 At the Ordinary Meeting of the Society immediately preceding the Annual General Meeting, the Council shall submit a list of three Members recommended by them to fulfil the duties and responsibilities of the Committee for the ensuing year. Any Ordinary Member of the Society shall be entitled to put forward additional names of Members, either at the Ordinary Meeting preceding the Annual General Meeting or in writing to the Secretary not less than ten clear days before the Annual General Meeting, such nominations requiring to be duly seconded.

5.4 Should the President be absent, the Vice President shall chair Council Meetings. Otherwise, the Council Meeting shall elect a Chairperson at that time. The Chairperson shall have a casting vote.

5.5 In the event that more than the required number of Members are nominated for any position, a ballot shall be taken of the Members present at the Annual General Meeting. The vote shall be verified by two tellers appointed by the Chairperson.

6.0 Meetings

6.1 The Council shall be responsible for arranging all Meetings of the Society, which shall generally take the form of a lecture by an invited speaker. Advance notice of each Meeting and itemised programme shall be given in the Event Section of The Society website. Not less than 4 (Four) working days‘ notice shall be given for Annual or Extraordinary General Meetings. The Ordinary Meetings of the Society shall generally be held monthly from September to May. The Council shall have the discretion to arrange further Meetings at other times. All Meetings shall require the attendance of Council Members. Any Council Member not able to attend will be expected to submit an appropriate apology by email prior to the event.

6.2 The Annual General Meeting shall be held in May, for the presentation of reports, the election of three Ordinary Members to the Committee and any other competent business.

6.3 An Extraordinary General Meeting must be called by the Council if the Secretary receives a written request, signed by a minimum of seven Ordinary Members, and stating the purpose for which the meeting is required. Such a Meeting may also be called at any time by a full agreement of Council.

6.4 Should the President be absent, the Vice President shall chair all Ordinary, Annual and Extraordinary General Meetings. Otherwise, the Meeting shall elect a Chairperson. The Chairperson shall have a casting deliberative vote.

6.5 The Annual General Meeting and an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Society are open only to Members of the Society who hold a current subscription or Life or Honorary Membership.

7.0 Accounts

7.1 An independent Examiner shall be appointed at the Annual General Meeting and shall examine the accounts for the ensuing financial year which shall end on the last day of March. The examined Financial Statement and Balance Sheet shall be distributed to the Membership via The Society website a minimum of seven days prior to the Annual General Meeting.

7.2 If decided at an AGM or EGM, the Society is to be wound up or dissolved, the winding-up or dissolution process will require any surplus assets available to the Society immediately preceding the notification to be used by Coleshill Town Council for purposes which are the same as - or which closely resemble - the purposes of the Society as set out in this constitution.


8.1 The Society shall be affiliated to the British Astronomical Association.


9.1 The Society will register with the Charity Commission as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) Foundation Model.


Board of Trustees (CIO) Foundation Model:

To be announced

To be announced


To be announced

To be announced

Vice Chairperson

To be announced

To be announced


To be announced

To be announced




Bank Account:
To be arranged


Members Committee (Elected at AGM)

Providing Support & Assistance to Board of Trustees

To be announced

To be announced


To be announced

To be announced


To be announced

To be announced



Executive Advisors:

To be announced

To be announced

Current Employment:

To be announced
Area of guidance:
Funds, Grants, Local Rules & Regulations, Contacts.

To be announced

To be announced

Current Employment:
To be announced

Area of guidance:
Education & Outreach, Resources for Schools & Students, Career Guidance.


Charity Framework:

The Society will register with the Charity Commission.

Name: Coleshill and North Warwickshire Astronomy Society

a) Public outreach in the area.
b) Astronomical viewing for the public.
c) Educational resources for schools.
d) Public meetings.
e) Informative talks provided by local amateur astronomers.
f) Advice and guidance on all aspects of astronomy.

Where: Coleshill, North Warwickshire.

Organisation type: Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) Foundation Model.

Charitable objects:
a) Promote interest in the science of astronomy and all related branches of scientific research.
b) Educate the public in Astronomy and provide
facilities for active participation in astronomical observation.
c) Advise on resources for schools and provision of equipment for students studying GCSE Astronomy.
d) Provide Cubs, Brownies, Scouts and Girl Guides with the necessary equipment and resources to attain their Astronomer Activity Badge.
e) Seek support and sponsorship from the business community to assist the construction and development of a public astronomical observatory in Coleshill.

Classification -

• Education / Training
• Arts / Culture / Heritage / Science

• The general public / Mankind

• Provides Equipment / Facilities / Open Space
• Provides Advocacy / Advice / Information


Child Protection Policy:

This Policy applies in its entirety to all members whatever their society status. Everyone has a responsibility for protecting children and young people. Every child should find astronomy safe, fun, enjoyable and informative.

The Coleshill and North Warwickshire Astronomy Society (CNWAS) has the stated Constitutional object of:

Educate the public in Astronomy and provide facilities for active participation in astronomical observation.

In achieving this object, society members will come into contact with children (legally defined as ~ “a child is anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday”) either accidentally, for instance at a society meeting, or intentionally, probably through an organised activity within the society or as an Outreach Group event. There is a need therefore to establish a ‘Child Protection Policy’ for the information, advice and guidance of members.

It should be remembered that a ‘common sense’ approach is appropriate when considering child protection and this is indicated by the way that government guidance has changed since the original regulations were brought in; this reflects the way in which correct and appropriate interaction with children should be encouraged as much as inappropriate interest should be discouraged.

For instance, as an example, it would be considered inappropriate to touch a child in a rough, physical or provocative way; engage in any form of inappropriate touching; make sexual comments (even in fun); or to invite a child for ‘private’ stargazing. However, it would be appropriate to touch a child when in doing so you prevent them from injury or harm; in some ways there is a duty of care to do so. Similarly, perhaps at an outreach event, it would be reasonable to assist a child view through a telescope once you have asked them and gained their permission, the permission of a class teacher or the permission of a parent and it is provided openly. These are only examples and the difference should be obvious and clear when using a ‘common sense’ baseline.

The current and anticipated type(s) of contact between CNWAS members and children are ‘NonRegulated Activity’ and likely to fall within three (3) categories:

a] Mutually Agreed Contact¹;
b] Incidental Contact²; and
c] Supervised Contact³.

The above types of contact do not currently require a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. However, the welfare of children attending CNWAS meetings, events or who may be encountered at any outside CNWAS activity should be considered of paramount importance. The Lead Member for Child Protection matters within the society is the current Chair (Designated Child Protection Officer).

Relevant Contact details regarding these matters are:

Chair of the Society ~ David Evans ~ 07541670689.

NWBC Senior Officer (Simon Powell) ~ Assistant Director (Leisure and Community Development), The Council House, South Street, Atherstone, CV9 1DE, 01827 719352, simonpowell@northwarks.gov.uk

NSPCC ~ 0808 800 5000

Childline ~ 0800 1111

For emergency cases please contact the police 999.

Nothing in this document prevents individual members of the society from reporting a concern directly to the Local Authority’s Children Services or the Police; however, as the concern would relate to the society’s activities, the concern should also be brought to the attention of the society Chair as soon as possible. Indeed, it is the responsibility of the member to raise any concern, whether serious or minor, to the Chair or Committee in order that they may take decisions regarding any action or member.

To assist members the following guidance should be noted:

1] This Child Protection Policy should be reviewed at regular intervals by the Committee; the interval between reviews should be no longer than three (3) years in order to take account of potential legal changes.

2] The current and anticipated contact between CNWAS members and children does not require that CNWAS members involved be DBS checked. However, if a member at any time considers that they or the type of contact may fall within the requirements for a DBS check, that member MUST inform the Committee as a matter of urgency.

3] A barred person may NOT be involved in society or Outreach Group activities representing or on behalf of the society. Any member who considers that they fall within the category of a ‘Barred Person’⁴ MUST inform the society Committee as a matter of urgency.

With regard to [a] above;

4] Parents, guardians, or carers with children under the age of 18 years wishing them to attend meetings and/or observing evenings unaccompanied are advised that they need to give written consent allowing the named child/children to participate in these regular events organised by the Coleshill and North Warwickshire Astronomy Society.

5] This consent needs to be regularly updated on renewal of annual subscriptions and should also be specifically given for special events (e.g. trips to science centres, museums and observatories). The parent, guardian or carer MUST accompany a child to and from the event/meeting or make appropriate arrangements to deliver and collect the child.

6] When a child or children does attend a society meeting or event, with consent by their parent or guardian, the Committee Members will then be responsible for the safety and well being of that child.

7] Copies of any agreement relating to children under the age of 18 years should be held within the society’s records and signed by at least two (2) Committee Members.

8] Members who have made private arrangements, independent of the society, to bring a child, not being their own relation, may wish to advise the Committee that they are doing so.

9] The Committee may rescind or temporarily remove agreements covered by paragraphs 4, 5 and 6 at their discretion when they consider the need for parent, guardian or carer presence to be necessary or when they consider that the appropriate level of society support cannot be provided effectively.

With regard to [a, b and c] above:

10] Any single photos or group photos of any child or group of children under age 18 years taken at society events must not be published in any form without first obtaining the written permission from a parent or guardian unless that photo is already within the public domain (i.e. a school photo which may already be on the school website and therefore within the public domain).

11] Members should avoid being alone with a child or group of children and endeavour to always have at least one other member present. Ideally children should remain with the main body of the group at all times. Where members give talks and/or demonstrations to youth groups or school children, the youth leader or teacher must be present with the group at all times or an appropriate alternative arrangement made.

12] When liaising with potential Outreach contacts, the Outreach Group should proactively identify the existence of this policy at an early point and work constructively with the contact to ensure that this policy sits alongside any existing contact Child Protection Policy for that event.

In conclusion, this policy reflects a ‘Protection’ rather than ‘Safeguarding’ standard in that it seeks to address instances which might occur under the banner of the ‘Society’s’ interests. It is not a ‘proactive’ policy in actively seeking to resolve or identify domestic cases unless they become obvious during the time the child is within the society’s purview.

Footnotes to this section:

¹: Mutually Agreed Contact ~ Mutually agreed and responsible arrangements made between parents and friends for the care of their children.

²: Incidental Contact ~ The activity is not being provided for children and the presence of a child or children is unforeseen; is open to all; attractive to a wide cross-section of society or where attendance is discretionary.

³: Supervised ~ Supervision can be given by a person [other than a society member unless DBS checked] who is in a regulated activity themselves (thus subject to a DBS check) and must be engaged in that regulated activity on a regular or on a day to day basis [for example, a teacher].

⁴: Barred Person ~ Someone placed on the list by the Secretary of State.



Privacy Policy:

Provisional and subject to update.

Our website address is: http://www.coleshillastronomy.co.uk

Articles on this site may include embedded content (e.g. videos, images, articles, etc.). Embedded content from other websites behaves in the exact same way as if the visitor has visited the other website.

These websites may collect data about you, use cookies, embed additional third-party tracking, and monitor your interaction with that embedded content, including tracing your interaction with the embedded content if you have an account and are logged in to that website.

Our society will not share your data with any other organisations without your approval.

Postings to our website may include personally identifiable information that is visible over the lifetime of the webpage in question. Website administrators can also see and edit that information.

You can request to receive a copy of the personal data the society and website holds about you. You can also request that we erase any personal data we hold about you. This does not include any data we are obliged to keep for administrative, legal, or security purposes.



What is the Role of the Chairperson?

The Chairperson must ensure that the Management Committee functions properly, that there is full participation during meetings, that all relevant matters are discussed and that effective decisions are made and carried out.

Main duties of the Chairperson

The responsibilities of a Chairperson can be summarised under five areas:

1. To provide leadership.
The overarching role of the chairperson is to provide leadership, they must be an effective strategist and a good networker.

2. To ensure the Management Committee functions properly.
The Chairperson is responsible for making sure that each meeting is planned effectively, conducted according to the constitution and that matters are dealt with in an orderly, efficient manner.  The Chairperson must make the most of all his/her committee members, building and leading the team.  This also involves regularly reviewing the Committee's performance and identifying and managing the process for renewal of the Committee through recruitment of new members.

3. To ensure the organisation is managed effectively.
The Chairperson must co-ordinate the Committee to ensure that appropriate policies and procedures are in place for the effective management of the organisation.

4. To represent the organisation as its figurehead.
The Chairperson may from time to time be called upon to represent the organisation and sometimes be its spokesperson at, for example, functions or meetings.

Characteristics of a Good Chairperson

A good chairperson will:

  • speak clearly and succinctly;

  • be sensitive to the feelings of members;

  • be impartial and objective;

  • start and finish on time;

  • be approachable;

  • have an understanding of the voluntary and community sector;

  • be tactful;

  • have knowledge of the organisation's key networks;

  • be able to delegate;

  • be a good strategist;

  • be a strong networker;

  • be good at team building;

  • consider succession planning across the board;

  • plan for skills development of themselves and the committee;

  • have experience of management committee involvement;

  • show interest in member's viewpoints;

  • have sound knowledge of the organisation's work;

  • have an ability to respect confidences; and

  • ensure decisions are taken and recorded.

A good Chairperson will NOT:

  • Be the person who talks most at the meetings

  • Make all the decisions

  • Allow one or two people to dominate meetings

  • Cut people out of discussions

  • Allow meetings to become unproductive

  • Make people feel foolish or useless

  • Force people to contribute to discussions

  • Lose his/her temper



What is the Role of the Secretary?

The role of the Secretary is to support the Chair in ensuring the smooth functioning of the Management Committee.

In summary, the Secretary is responsible for:

1. Ensuring meetings are effectively organised and minuted

2. Maintaining effective records and administration

3. Upholding the legal requirements of governing documents, charity law, company law etc (where relevant).

4. Communication and correspondence

It is important to note that although the Secretary ensures that these responsibilities are met, much of the work may be delegated to volunteers.
Given these responsibilities, the Secretary often acts as an information and reference point for the Chair and other committee members: clarifying past practice and decisions; confirming legal requirements; and retrieving relevant documentation... The Secretary may delegate some of the administrative responsibilities to volunteers outside of the management committee to reduce the burden of what may otherwise be a time-consuming role.


Main responsibilities of the Secretary

The responsibilities of the Secretary of a Management Committee are outlined below:

1. Ensuring meetings are effectively organised and minuted

  • Liaising with the Chair to plan meetings
  • Receiving agenda items from committee members
  • Circulating agendas and reports
  • Taking minutes (unless there is a minutes secretary)
  • Circulating approved minutes
  • Checking that agreed actions are carried out.

2. Maintaining effective records and administration

  • Keeping up-to-date contact details (i.e. names, addresses and telephone numbers) for the management committee and (where relevant) ordinary members of the organisation.
  • Filing minutes and reports
  • Compiling lists of names and addresses that are useful to the organisation, including those of appropriate officials or officers of voluntary organisations.
  • Keeping a record of the organisation's activities
  • Keeping a diary of future activities

3. Upholding legal requirements

  • Acting as custodian of the organisation's governing documents
  • Checking quorum is present at meetings
  • Ensuring elections are in line with stipulated procedures
  • Ensuring organisation's activities are in line with its objects
  • Ensuring charity and company law requirements are met (where relevant, unless there is a separate company secretary)
  • Acting as a mediator in relation to any raised or registered dispute.

4. Communication and correspondence

  • Responding to all committee correspondence
  • Filing all committee correspondence received and copies of replies sent
  • Keeping a record of any of the organisation's publications (e.g. leaflets or newsletters) and
  • Reporting the activities of the organisation and future programmes to members, the press and the public (unless there is an Information or Publicity Officer).
  • Preparing a report of the organisation's activities for the year, for the Annual General Meeting.
  • Use the links below to access further articles and resources which will help you understand the role of the Secretary and prepare your own role description or person specification:


The Secretary's Role at Meetings

The Secretary is crucial to the smooth running of a Management Committee meeting.  This involves activities before, during and after Committee meetings.

In order to be effective, the Secretary of the Management Committee should ensure that they carry out the following activities:

Before the Meeting

  • Consult with the Chairperson on the order of business for the meeting, and the way in which it should be dealt with on the agenda.  Decide what business requires discussion and what requires a decision by the Management Committee;
  • Ensure that the notice of the meeting is given, that suitable accommodation is arranged and confirmed, and that copies of the agenda is prepared;
  • Circulate to all members (a) any papers to be discussed at the upcoming meeting and (b) a copy of the agenda, minutes of the previous meeting; and
  • Make sure that any reports or information requested at the last meeting is available or that there is a good reason why not.

At the Meeting

  • Arrive in good time before the meeting with the minutes and with all the relevant correspondence and business matters for that meeting, in good order.  Record the names of those who are present, and convey and record apologies received from those who are absent;
  • Read the minutes of the previous meeting, and if they are approved, obtain the Chairperson's signature on them;
  • Report on action or matters arising from the previous minutes.  Read any important correspondence that has been received;
  • Unless there is a Minutes Secretary, take notes of the meeting, recording the key points and making sure that all decisions and proposals are recorded, as well as the name of the person or group responsible for carrying them out.  Make sure action points are clear; and
  • Make sure that the Chairperson is supplied with all the necessary information for items on the agenda, and remind the Chairperson if an item has been overlooked.

After the Meeting

  • Prepare a draft of the minutes (unless there is a minutes secretary) and consult the Chairperson and most senior staff member (where relevant) for approval;
  • Send a reminder notice of each decision requiring action to the relevant person; this can be done by telephone, or by an ‘action list' with the relevant action for each person duly marked; and
  • Promptly send all correspondence as decided by the Management Committee


Characteristics of a Good Secretary

The role of Secretary can be key to the efficient functioning of the Committee. Below are some of the qualities, skills and knowledge which should be demonstrated by those carrying out this role.

A good Secretary will:

  • Be organised.
  • Keep copies of all correspondence.
  • Check quorum is met for meetings.
  • Respect confidentiality.
  • Work closely with the Chairperson.
  • Make it easy for others to take over by keeping clear records.
  • Prepare for meetings well in advance.
  • Summarise discussions effectively.
  • Keep people informed.
  • Ensure accurate minutes of meetings are kept.

A good Secretary will NOT:

  • Ignore correspondence.
  • Keep information to her/himself.
  • Be late for meetings.
  • Throw away important papers.
  • Write down trivial details of all discussions at every meeting.
  • Rely on his/her memory.
  • Repeat private conversations.
  • Organise meetings at the last minute.



What is the Role of the Treasurer?

The Treasurer has a watchdog role over all aspects of financial management, working closely with other members of the Management Committee to safeguard the organisation's finances.

It is important to note that although the Treasurer ensures that these responsibilities are met, much of the work may be delegated to a finance sub-committee and paid staff or volunteers.

In summary, the Treasurer is responsible for:

1. General financial oversight

2. Funding, fundraising and sales 

3. Financial planning and budgeting

4. Financial reporting

5. Banking, book keeping and record keeping 

6. Control of fixed assets and stock 

Given these responsibilities, the Treasurer typically acts as an information and reference point for the Chair and other committee members: clarifying financial implications of proposals; confirming legal requirements; outlining the current financial status; and retrieving relevant documentation.

Main responsibilities of the Treasurer

The following points outline the typical financial responsibilities of a Treasurer:

1. General financial overview

  • Oversee and present budgets, accounts and financial statements to the management committee
  • Liaise with designated staff about financial matters
  • Ensure that appropriate financial systems and controls are in place
  • Ensure that record-keeping and accounts meet the conditions of funders or statutory bodies
  • Ensure compliance with relevant legislation.

2. Funding, fundraising and sales

  • Advise on the organisation's fundraising strategy
  • Ensure use of funds complies with conditions set by funding bodies
  • Ensure fundraising and sales complies with relevant legislation and is bound by effective financial systems and controls
  • Ensure effective monitoring and reporting

3. Financial planning and budgeting

  • Prepare and present budgets for new or ongoing work
  • Advise on financial implications of strategic and operational plans
  • Present revised financial forecasts based on actual spend.

4. Financial reporting

  • Present regular reports on the organisation's financial position
  • Prepare accounts for audit and liaising with the auditor, as required
  • Present accounts at the AGM
  • Advise on the organisation's reserves and investment policy.

5. Banking, book-keeping and record-keeping

  • Manage bank accounts
  • Set up appropriate systems for book-keeping, payments, lodgements & petty cash
  • Ensure everyone handling money keeps proper records and documentation

6. Control of fixed assets and stock

  • Ensure proper records are kept
  • Ensure required insurances are in place.
  • In all of these areas the Treasurer is responsible for ensuring that effective financial systems and procedures have been established, are being consistently followed and are in line with best practice and legal requirements.

Delegating financial responsibilities

It is not good practice for all tasks associated with the finance function to be performed by one person.  For this reason, it is good practice for the Treasurer to set up a finance sub group to manage and monitor finances... This provides an opportunity for those with no experience of finance matters to develop their knowledge and skills for financial management and fund raising.


Characteristics of a Good Treasurer

The treasurer of a management committee plays a vital role. Below are summarised some of the key qualities and skills required for an effective treasurer.

A good treasurer will:

  • be capable of handling figures and cash;
  • have an orderly mind and methodical way of thinking;
  • have experience in dealing with large sums of money and budgets;
  • have experience of financial control and budgeting;
  • have an eye for detail;
  • be available to be contacted for ad hoc advice;
  • good communication and interpersonal skills;
  • ability to ensure decisions are taken and followed-up; and
  • show good time-keeping.

A good treasurer will NOT:

  • Commit fraud - i.e. 'borrow' group funds for his/her own use.
  • Carry group money around for weeks before banking it.
  • Neglect to pay bills.
  • Ignore the law.
  • Overdraw group funds without the agreement of the committee.
  • Pay or receive money without making a note of it.
















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