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Wednesday, 31 August 2016

DRAFT CONSTITUTION: The Portico Social Advocacy Group


Here is our draft constitution, Our monthly meetings will probably start on a Friday evening during November 2016. If you live in the Edinburgh area and are interested in taking part, then please e-mail me on 


and tell me a bit about yourself and your interests.

                                        THE PORTICO SOCIAL ADVOCACY GROUP

Mailing Address: The PSAG Secretary, c/o St. Andrews and St. George's West Church, George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2PA

                                                      DRAFT CONSTITUTION
                                                (to be discussed at first meeting)

(1) Purpose and Nature of the Group:

The primary purpose of this secular and apolitical group is to confront authority and the echelons of power in a manner which promises to (a) help improve the well-being of all ordinary people everywhere, including the sick, the unemployed, the hungry, the vulnerable, Workfare volunteers, and refugees and asylum seekers from abroad, and to (b) help bring about beneficial social change in Scotland and elsewhere.

We intend to do this in a fashion which yields some chance of achieving beneficial impact, rather than doing token things which merely produce an outward impression or façade of doing good.

The group will not be part of, or subject to undue prescriptive influences from or on behalf of, any other organisation.

In attempting to achieve our objectives, we will plan various events at 13 George Street and elsewhere e.g. meetings with the public on the Portico, invited talks in the Undercroft, and public activities and demonstrations elsewhere in Edinburgh, in the hope of attracting as much attention as possible from the media and the population at large.

Our choices of activities will be made entirely by the members in open meeting and, if necessary, by a simple majority vote of those present. Working parties comprising members will prepare reports on current issues or topics which the members decide are potentially worthy of possible action. The choice as to which issue or topic to pursue at any particular time will be made after considering such reports.

Possible activities include, for the sake of example, (a) confronting the Scottish government regarding their apparent plans to continue with something similarly cruel to Workfare (b) confronting the authorities regarding the inadequate and cruel treatment of the many residents of Scotland who experience mental health issues (c) addressing bullying, intimidation and exploitation in the workplace, and (d) seeking to protect the security and well-being of our many friends and neighbours who are from overseas.

(2) A Secretary shall be appointed from among the members for the purposes of keeping a list of members, helping the Convenors to advertise the meetings and activities of the group, taking succinct minutes of meetings and handling any similarly orientated business. The secretary will also be responsible for handling any money on behalf of the members and shall produce a simple annual account of income and expenditure to the Annual General Meeting.

(3) Definition of member: A member is a person who is invited by a majority of those current members who are present at a monthly meeting to add his or her name to the list of members.

(a) Members will remain members until they either remove their name from the list or are asked to leave by majority vote of the members under the succeeding paragraph on the ground of failing to adhere to the spirit of this constitution or failing to attend six consecutive monthly meetings.

(b) Any person may be asked to leave the membership by way of a resolution passed by not less than two thirds of those present and voting at a monthly meeting, providing the following procedures have been observed:-
  1. at least 21 days’ notice of the intention to propose the resolution must be given to the member concerned, specifying the grounds for the proposed removal; and
  2. the member concerned will be entitled to be heard on the resolution at the monthly meeting at which the resolution is proposed

(c) The three initial members of the group will be James McNeill, Tom Leonard and ****, and the secretary will be elected during the first monthly meeting.

(d) A member can only vote, or propose or second motions, if physically present at a monthly meeting. It cannot be done by proxy.

(4) Convenors shall facilitate the meetings of the group and put in hand preparations for the ensuing meeting. The first meeting will be convened by James McNeill and Tom Leonard. At each subsequent meeting a convenor shall be selected according to the democratic wishes of the group.

(5) Funding: The group will be financed by private donation.

(6) International Group Facebook Page. This will be initially administered by Tom Leonard, but the choice of Facebook administrator is subject to the democratic approval of the group.

(7) Public activities on the Portico and elsewhere on the Church premises: All plans by the group for activities to take place at 13 George Street, other than monthly meetings, will be are subject to the approval of Rev. Ian Gilmour.

(8) Regular meetings of the group. Once a month, on a Friday evening, in the Undercroft, unless otherwise arranged by the members. Each calendar year there shall be an Annual General Meeting at which (i) the appointment of a Secretary shall be confirmed, (ii) the Secretary shall lodge an account of any income and expenditure and (iii) the operation of the group shall be reviewed.

(9) Safe Space Policy: It is essential for members to avoid language expressed attitudes, or actions which are xenophobic, racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, abilistic, or exploitative in nature, and not to create disturbances.

All members are required to abide by these policies; they should then be enabled to feel safe within the group. Members not adhering to this policy may be asked to leave the meeting or activity.

31st August 2016

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