Thursday, May 10, 2012

Change to Borders Family History Society's Constitution

Old Gala House
For many years Borders Family History Society has used the Laird's Room at Old Gala House, Galashiels for its archive, library and search room.  We need more space as we've outgrown the Laird's Room and a lot of our other property is stored in members' homes or businesses.  In addition, changes at Scottish Borders Council mean that our current arrangement to use Old Gala House is likely to change.
The Premises Committee has been re-activated and is looking out for a suitable
property in the central Borders.
One issue that needs to be addressed is the legal status of the Society.

Borders Family History Society is an unincorporated association.
Legally it has no separate existence; it is merely a collection of people who own its assets and are responsible for its debts.  The Society cannot sign contracts in its own right and owning its own premises is difficult.  This structure has served us well for over 25 years but it is time to consider a change to become an incorporated organisation.  This would allow the Society to sign contracts and own property in its own right.  It would also mean that the members would no longer be responsible for the Society's debts.

The most appropriate structure to adopt would be that of a Scottish Charitable
Incorporated Organisation (SCIO).  This gives the Society the benefits of
incorporation but means that there would only be one regulator  - the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) with whom we are already familiar as a registered Scottish charity, to deal with.

If the Society wishes to go down this route then the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 27th May 2012 must adopt a new constitution.  To comply with the legal requirements for a SCIO, this new constitution is a much longer and more complex document than the current constitution.

Here are the links for the current constitution and the new constitution.

Since we will want to retain the name Borders Family History Society the current
organisation must be disbanded and its assets transferred to the new SCIO.

At the AGM, I will be proposing two motions:
1. This meeting agrees that Borders Family History Society should become an
incorporated organisation.
2. This meeting wishes to adopt the constitution for Borders Family History Society (SCIO) before it, authorises the Council to make changes in the light of
recommendations, and changes required by OSCR and otherwise as it thinks fit and
agrees that once OSCR has approved the formation of Borders Family History
Society (SCIO), the Council  be empowered to disband the existing unincorporated
Borders Family History Society and transfer its assets to the new organisation.
[Note that if motion 1 fails then there will be no need to discuss Motion 2.]

These motions have the support of the Council of Borders Family History Society.

If having read this email and the proposed new constitution, you have any questions,
please do not hesitate to contact me via our Contacts page selecting the contact type Contact the Chairman.

David Rudram,

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