Rule 24 has long provided for annual checks of the accounts of the Association's funds, but a difficulty, caused primarily by the absence of a vice-Chairman, has arisen in recent years preventing the timely accomplishment of the intended task. The Committee has decided to extend the pool of available individuals to include all Committee members and not just the Officers. Rule 24 will, on endorsement at AGM 2020, read:
Rule 24. The accounts of the funds of the Association shall be subject to an independent check annually, as soon as possible after the end of the financial year of the Association (31 March), by 2 members of the Committee of the Association other than the Treasurer and Deputy Treasurer.
This Bye-Law gives immediate effect to that revised Rule 24.
The situation caused by the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and the Association must respond accordingly, as far as adherence to the Constitution and Rules goes. To be precise, Article 14 of the Constitution requires the Association to hold a meeting of all members, known as the Annual General Meeting, each year. When Article 14 was written in 1991, it was probably not envisaged that there would come a time when such a meeting could not be held in any one calendar year, but the Association needs now to take such a scenario into account, amending both Rules and the Constitution to allow for such exceptional circumstances.
Article 14 of the Constitution to be amended, adding after ‘Committee’ “, but in accordance with the Rules where a meeting in one or more years may be prevented by extenuating circumstances”.
After Rule 31 shall be added “Rule 31A. Notwithstanding Article 14 of the Constitution, if extenuating circumstances dictate, the Committee shall postpone or cancel an annual meeting of the Association and inform the membership of the reason. Simultaneously, the Secretary shall distribute to the membership copies of the accounts that would have been discussed and approved (or rejected) at the meeting had it not been cancelled or postponed. If such meeting cannot be held within the intended calendar year, the Committee shall make arrangements for the next meeting to be held as early as possible in the following calendar year; it will though not be necessary for multiple meetings to be held in any one calendar year.”
This Bye-Law takes effect immediately where the amendment to the Rules is concerned, in accordance with Rule 48.
At the Association's Committee meeting on 20 December 2019 it was agreed to formally reinstate the role of Vice-Chair as an Officer of the Association, specifically as the senior serving officer on the Committee and notwithstanding the decision made at AGM 2017 to remove the post. Given the significant changes in the RAF’s Branch structure in recent years and their impact on the Space and Battlespace Management Force, it was good fortune that found the current Deputy Force Commander to be an Association member; the incumbent - Group Captain John Booth - was thus co-opted to undertake the Vice-Chair role in accordance with Rule 20. As the Constitution was not amended in 2017, the Vice-Chair role remains supported by Article 9.
The following amendments to the Rules shall be made:
Rule 13, paragraph a, amend ‘(4) The Secretary’ to be ‘(5) The Secretary’, ‘(3) The Treasurer’ to be ‘(4) The Treasurer’ and insert ‘(3) The Vice-Chairman’ above ‘(4) The Treasurer’.
Rule 14, amend paragraph ‘b. The Deputy Treasurer shares some of the Treasurer's responsibility...’ to read ‘c. The Deputy Treasurer shares some of the Treasurer's responsibility…’.
Rule 14, insert paragraph b: ‘The position of Vice-Chairman shall be held by a serving member of the Association who is also a senior officer (at group captain or wing commander level) in a post whose professional responsibilities are consistent with the Association’s eligibility requirements of Rule 2. In view of the Association’s inability to tie the post of Vice-Chair to any specific RAF post, succession planning shall regularly consider the suitability of posts held by senior serving Association members, accepting that the position of Vice-Chairman may become temporarily vacant.
Amend Rule 33 to read 'In the Chairman's unavoidable absence, the President or the Vice-Chairman of the Committee shall take the chair. If neither of these officers the Vice-Chairman is not available, then another Officer of the Association shall chair the Meeting’.
This Bye-law shall become effective on 20th August 2020 at 0001 hours.
It has been accepted for many years that the Chairman is Primus inter Pares on the Committee, which contradicts the assumption of Rule 17 - as it stands - that all the Officers of the Association, including the President, are members of the Committee. As the President is the head of the Association, it follows that s/he should not be a member of the Committee.
The following amendments/additions to the Rules shall be made:
Amend Rule 13, sub-paragraph a.(1) to read "The President, who shall be the non-executive head of the Association.".
Amend Rule 17, sub-paragraph a. to read "The Chairman, The Vice-Chairman, The Treasurer and The Secretary, as Officers of the Association.".
Add Rule 17A: "The President shall be invited to attend Committee meetings in a non-voting, advisory capacity.".
This Bye-Law gives immediate effect to revised Rules 13 and 17 and new Rule 17A.