Constitution of the British Commission for Military History
- The name of the Commission is "The British Commission for Military History" (the Commission).
Effective date of Constitution.
- The rules set out in this Constitution shall apply with effect from the close of the Annual General Meeting held on 4 March 2023.
Object of the Commission
- The object of the BCMH is to promote through research, publication and discussion the understanding of military history in the broadest sense, without restriction as to period or region.
- The object may be furthered by such activities as the Officers of the Commission shall from time to time decide. Those activities may include, at the discretion of the General Committee at a duly constituted meeting, the support, including financial support, of research and other projects undertaken by members in furtherance of the Commission's object. The activities of the Commission may be open to non-members at the discretion of the General Committee.
- The Commission shall be a Members' association affiliated to the International Commission for Military History and shall consist of ordinary members together with such honorary members as are hereinafter mentioned.
- Those shown on the list maintained by the Commission and whose subscriptions are paid in full by 1 March each year are deemed to be members of the Commission.
- Ordinary membership shall be by application to the General Committee. Applications, which should be sponsored by an existing member of the Commission, will be considered from any individual who is prepared to demonstrate a commitment to the object of the Commission and a willingness to contribute to conferences, publications and the activities of the Commission.
- Candidacy for honorary membership shall normally be limited to existing members of the Commission who have given clearly exceptional service to the Commission or to the cause of military history more generally. Candidates shall be proposed and seconded by existing members of the Commission who shall state the grounds for honorary membership. Past Presidents of the Commission shall normally become Presidents Emeritus, which shall be a form of honorary membership. There shall be no formal limit on the number of Presidents Emeritus but there shall not at any one time be more than ten honorary members. Honorary members shall not be liable to pay any subscription but shall be entitled to all the privileges of membership. Honorary members shall be entitled to resign their privilege at any time, on which they shall be liable to the usual subscription rules.
- Applications from candidates for ordinary membership and proposals for honorary membership made in accordance with these rules shall be considered by the General Committee. In addition to the fitness of the candidate the General Committee shall also have due regard to the ability of the Commission to sustain the overall size of membership and to the number of existing honorary members. Candidates elected to membership in any category shall be advised by the General Committee and ordinary members invited to pay their first subscription. The General Committee shall not be required to give reasons in the event of a candidate being rejected.
- Members of the International Commission for Military History and any national Commission for Military History are entitled to join the BCMH on payment of the annual subscription. Members of the International Commission and members of national commissions who have not joined the BCMH may attend BCMH events or meetings on payment of the appropriate fee but would not be permitted to vote in any such meeting.
- The General Committee has the power to expel from membership any ordinary, honorary, or overseas member whose conduct they decide is injurious to the Commission. If the member disputes the decision the member may present an appeal against the decision at the next annual general meeting for which notice remains to be given to members, or at an extraordinary general meeting called in conformity with these rules.
- The Secretary shall maintain an up-to-date list of names and addresses of ordinary and honorary members. It shall be the responsibility of individual members to keep the Secretary advised at all times of their current address and contact details.
Committee and Officers.
- The affairs of the Commission, in all matters not in these rules reserved for the Commission in General Meeting, shall be managed by the General Committee of the Commission.
- The General Committee shall consist of not less than four nor more than twelve ordinary members of the Commission (including officers) who shall be elected for four-year terms at the Annual General Meeting of the Commission. No member may serve more than two consecutive four-year terms in one position on the GC. If there is more than one candidate for a position on the General Committee, then candidates for this position will be asked to make a statement in support of their candidature of not more than 250 words, this statement being circulated to members with the other AGM papers. Voting shall be by show of hands except where a secret ballot is requested by a simple majority of members present. Members of the General Committee shall remain in post for four years without further election but at every AGM it will be possible for the AGM to pass a motion of no confidence in any officer or GC member. A successful motion, that is one that passes by a simple majority of members at an AGM, removes that officer or GC member from their post immediately. At the end of their first four-year term, any officer or GC member may stand for that post again but they may not stand for a consecutive third term. It shall not be necessary to fill all General Committee vacancies beyond the minimum.
- The General Committee shall include the officers of the Commission and at least one non-officer member. The officers shall be a President, a Treasurer and a General Secretary. The Commission may appoint in General Meeting such other officers as it sees fit. The General Committee shall be elected from time to time by the Commission in General Meeting from among the ordinary members of the Commission. The officers shall act in all matters in accordance with the directions of the General Committee. All officers of the Commission shall serve in an honorary capacity and all references to officers and their titles in this document shall be so construed.
- In the period between Annual General Meetings the General Committee shall have the power to co-opt members as it thinks fit up to the maximum number of General Committee members permitted by these rules. This power shall include the co-option of members to fill officer posts should this become necessary between General Meetings.
- The General Committee may appoint one or more sub-committees from among the General Committee or the generality of the membership for such purposes as it may from time to time deem appropriate.
Subscriptions, Charges and Accounts.
- The General Committee shall have the power to propose any annual subscription for payment by ordinary members and any such proposal be approved by simple majority vote of the membership in General Meeting before any such charge or change is made. At the discretion of the General Committee a member may be allowed to pay a reduced subscription for any period of membership less than a full year.
- Annual subscriptions shall be payable on election as provided in these rules, and thereafter without demand on 1 January in every year. The General Committee may terminate the membership of any ordinary member whose annual subscription remains unpaid on the 1 March.
- The General Committee shall have the power to set such charges for participation in conferences and similar events as they deem appropriate. These charges may differentiate between members and non-members.
- The Treasurer shall keep such proper books of account as will enable him to present at every Annual General Meeting of the Commission, or at any other time if required (on reasonable notice to him) by the General Committee, an accurate report and statement concerning the finances of the Commission for the preceding year, or for the current year as the case may be, and shall present such report and statement accordingly.
- The accounts shall be subject to audit and accounts presented at Annual General Meetings shall be audited accounts.
- The independent examiners of the accounts shall be elected by the Commission at the Annual General Meeting that precedes the Annual General Meeting at which the accounts shall be presented for approval. The independent examiners shall not be members of the General Committee or of any sub-committee which that Committee may appoint.
- The Commission shall have such of its own bank and / or building society accounts as the General Committee deem appropriate and all the Commission's monies shall pass through this or these accounts.
- Any bank or building society account shall have three signatories authorised by the General Committee. One of these signatories shall be the Treasurer and one the President. The third signatory shall be such other member of the General Committee as approved from time to time by them. Two of the three signatories shall be required to sign any cheque or authorization to make any payment greater than £1,500 on behalf of the Commission. In order to maintain the security of the account under internet banking, the Treasurer shall also arrange for all the signatories to have electronic access to the accounts.
Proceedings at meetings of the General Committee.
- The General Committee shall meet at least three times a year. Notice of the date, time, place and agenda of General Committee meetings shall be issued by the Secretary to each General Committee member as soon as practicable prior to each meeting. Extraordinary General Committee meetings may be called at shorter notice at the discretion of officers of the General Committee provided that all reasonable attempts are made to contact all current General Committee members.
- A quorum of the General Committee shall comprise a simple majority of current Committee members, subject to at least one being an officer of the Commission.
- Each General Committee member present shall have one vote. Proxy votes are not permitted.
- If the President is not present the members of the General Committee present shall elect an acting chairman for that meeting from among their number.
- The President (or acting chairman) shall have a second vote which may be used in the event of a tied vote.
- Minutes shall be taken and shall be made available to the membership on reasonable notice as soon as practicable following the meeting of the General Committee, and at the next General Meeting.
Proceedings at meetings of sub-committees.
- Two members shall constitute a quorum for sub-committees.
- Minutes need not be taken at sub-committee meetings but a report of the findings and/or recommendations shall normally be presented to the General Committee and made available to the membership on reasonable notice as soon as practicable following submission of the report to the General Committee, and at the next General Meeting.
- An Annual General Meeting of the Commission shall be held in every year, and there shall not be more than fifteen months between one Annual General Meeting and the next.
- Notice of the date, time and place of the Annual General Meeting shall be sent to each member at least eight weeks before such day, and shall invite nominations of candidates for election as officers and other committee members, and motions for discussion.
- Nominations of candidates for election as officers or other members of the General Committee shall be in writing, each with a proposer and a seconder from among those eligible to vote and accompanied by an expression of the willingness of the candidate to stand, and shall be received by the Secretary at least 28 days before the date of the Annual General Meeting. Where no nominations for a vacancy have been received, or where a nomination has been received after the deadline, nominations from the floor, or the late nomination, may be accepted by the agreement of a simple majority of members present and eligible to vote. No candidate may be elected in absentia except by resolution by simple majority of the Commission in General Meeting.
- Motions for discussion at the Annual General Meeting affecting the rights and benefits of members, or altering the rules of the Commission, shall be in writing, have a proposer and seconder from among those eligible to vote, and be received by the Secretary at least 28 days prior to the date of the Annual General Meeting.
- The Secretary shall publish an agenda, a list of candidates nominated for election, and any motions, at least 14 days before the date of the Annual General Meeting.
- An Extraordinary General Meeting may be summoned at any time by the General Committee, and shall be summoned immediately upon any 30 members (each being entitled to vote), delivering to the General Committee a written request in that behalf, stating the reason for such a meeting. If the total membership of the Commission shall be less than 75 at the time of the request for an Extraordinary General Meeting, the number of signatures required shall not be more than one fifth of the total number of members.
- An Extraordinary General Meeting requested by the membership shall be held within six weeks of the request being received by the General Committee and shall be summoned by notifying members at least fourteen days before the day appointed for the meeting. This period may be abridged at the discretion of the General Committee if the urgency of the business to be discussed in their opinion so requires.
Conduct of Business at General Meetings.
- At the Annual General Meeting the business shall be:
- Apologies for absence from the Committee.
- Minutes of the last meeting.
- Election of Officers.
- Election of other General Committee members.
- Treasurer's report and adoption of accounts.
- Election of auditors.
- Officers' reports.
- Sub-committee reports.
- Motions as published in advance.
- Any other business.
- At Extraordinary General Meetings the business shall be:
- The election of a chairman for that meeting.
- The motion as published.
- No other matter may be raised. Amendments to the motion that substantially alter the character of the motion shall not be allowed unless a resolution to accept discussion of the amendment is approved by a two thirds majority of those members present and entitled to vote.
- Every member of the Commission shall be entitled to attend General Meetings but only paid-up ordinary members and honorary members are entitled to vote. Each member present and entitled to vote shall have one vote on each motion. Proxy voting is not permitted.
- Except where stated otherwise in these rules, voting shall be by simple majority of those present and entitled to vote.
- The chairman shall have a casting vote only, which may be used only in the event of a tied vote.
- General Meetings shall have the power to amend procedure or to adjourn upon the vote of two thirds of those members present and entitled to vote. The Chairman may not refuse to put to the vote motions proposed and seconded from the floor for amendments to procedure or adjournment. Amendments to procedure approved in this fashion shall have force only for the duration of the meeting at which they are approved. All members present at a General Meeting that is adjourned must be informed of the date on which the meeting is re-convened.
- Minutes shall be taken and a draft approved by the General Committee made available to members at reasonable notice as soon as practicable following the Annual General Meeting and presented for approval at the next General Meeting.
Alteration of rules.
- These rules may be revoked added to or altered by a majority comprising two thirds or more of the members present and entitled to vote at any General Meeting of the Commission of which notice has duly been given under the rules governing the calling of General Meetings and which specifies the intention to propose the revocation, addition or alteration, together with the full particulars thereof.
- If the number of members of the Commission shall at any time fall below ten, or if at any time the Commission shall pass at a General Meeting by a majority comprising two thirds or more of the members present and entitled to vote a resolution (in this rule called "the first resolution") of its intention to dissolve, the General Committee shall take immediate steps to convert into money all the property of the Commission, with the power however to postpone or delay the conversion of any particular property if the Commission in General Meeting shall so authorise. Out of the proceeds of such conversion, the General Committee shall discharge all debts and liabilities of the Commission, including the expenses of such conversion, and any balance remaining in their hands shall be disposed of by them as the Commission in General Meeting shall resolve; and thereupon the Commission shall for all purposes be dissolved. Provided that if the Commission shall not, within six months after the date of the first resolution, resolve upon the disposition of any such balance, the same shall be divided equally between all persons who were ordinary members of the Commission at the date of the first resolution.
- A copy of the notice convening any General Meeting to consider dissolution shall be sent by the Secretary by post to every member at the address last notified to the Secretary not less than fourteen days before the date appointed for the meeting; but any accidental omission to send such copy or the non-receipt of the same shall not invalidate any proceedings or resolution.
As amended following the AGM held on 4 March 2023.