RULES OF THE ROYAL AIR FORCE REGIMENT ASSOCIATION
Approved at the Annual General Meeting on 25th October 2014
SECTION 1 – STYLE AND GOVERNANCE
- The following provisions shall constitute the Rules for the Royal Air Force Regiment Association (hereafter termed ‘the Association’) and shall be binding on all Branches, Chapters and individual Members as appropriate to their category.
- The formal title of the Association shall be the ‘Royal Air Force Regiment Association”. Chapters and Branches of the Association shall be styled the (name / location) Branch/Chapter, The Royal Air Force Regiment Association”. The only approved abbreviated title of the Association shall be “RAF Regt Association”.
- The overall direction of the Association lies with the Board of Trustee as directed by the membership through its AGM and by the Articles of the Charity
- The management of the Association’s affairs shall be the responsibility of a National Management Committee (NMC), which shall report to the Association at General Meetings. The NMC shall consider any amendments to the Rules of the Association that may be required. All such changes are to be debated and ratified by a General Meeting. Scrutiny of the conduct and performance of the NMC in managing the Association’s affairs shall be the responsibility of a National Compliance Committee (NCC). The NCC will report to the Association at General Meetings on the NMC’s financial probity, management of the business plan and management of risk.
- The main structure of the Association shall comprise theBoard of Trustees, the NMC, the NCC and a number of Branches throughout the UK. Overseas Branches with more dispersed memberships shall normally be styled Chapters. The NMC shall determine the approval of Branches and Chapters.
- The NMC shall issue guidance to all Branch and Chapter Secretaries to assist them in the day-to-day management of their respective organizations. The guidance shall be reviewed and, where necessary, updated.
- The Association governance hierarchy is a follows:
- Articles of Incorporation
- Rules of the Association.
- NMC guidance and instructions.
- Association Business and Financial Plans.
- NCC reports and advice
- Chapter and Branch guidance and instructions.
- The term “RAF Regiment member/personnel”, when used in these Rules, shall be held to apply to any person who has been commissioned in the RAF Regiment/Royal Auxiliary Air Force Regiment, or has been mustered in the trade of Gunner. RAF Firemen serving from 1959 –1975 (or as a Gunner/Fireman) and servicemen of the RAF Regiment (Malaya) force are also deemed to be RAF Regiment personnel.
SECTION II – OBJECTIVES
- The Association shall be a Charitable Incorporated Organization (CIO) with charitable aims detailed in the CIO Articles. In addition, and in furtherance of the charitable aims, the Association shall seek to maintain and promote esprit de corps and comradeship amongst all RAF Regiment personnel, both past and present, in order to promote the good name, reputation and traditions of the Corps. To achieve these objectives the Association shall:
- Facilitate clear communication between retired members and the serving RAF Regiment community.
- Represent former and fallen members of the Corps.
- Support the maintenance and enhancement of RAF Regiment memorials, including the RAF Regiment Memorial Garden at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas, Staffordshire, the RAF Regiment Chapel in the church of St Anne’s in Catterick Village, North Yorkshire, and such other memorials and graves as deemed appropriate by the NEC.
- Encourage and support Association members’ social activities.
- Represent the RAF Regiment in appropriate national veterans’ associations, HM Government’s Veterans’ Agency and related organizations.
- Advise Association members on any related Corps or Association issues.
- Establish and maintain contact with other such organizations that concern themselves with the welfare of the Armed Forces, to ensure that due consideration is given to the interests of both serving and retired RAF Regiment members and their families.
- Assist in fund-raising for, and making donations to, those Armed Forces’ charities and causes that benefit RAF Regiment and RAF Regiment Association members.
- Support the RAF Regiment Museum and the RAF Regiment Archives in recording, preserving and developing the history of the Corps.
SECTION III – PRINCIPLES & POLICY
- The Association shall be a membership subscription organization in which members may choose to form Branches or, in overseas locations, Chapters. All are encouraged to act cohesively for their own collective benefit, and that of the Corps and the Association.
- The Association shall be a permanent body that shall maintain non-political, non-sectarian and non-religious values at all times. Under no circumstances shall it, or any of its Branches or Chapters, elect or be seen to take sides as a body in any political, industrial or religious disputes. Members shall remain entirely free to act as their individual consciences may dictate, provided it is in the spirit of the Association and that their actions do not bring the Corps or the Association into disrepute in any manner that may cause embarrassment to the RAF, the RAF Regiment, the Association, the NMC or individual members at any level.
- The Association shall not be a welfare organization.. Rather, it will forward for consideration any case of hardship or distress, in which direct financial assistance is sought or other assistance may be required, to the RAF Association (RAFA), RAF Benevolent Fund (RAFBF), Royal British Legion (RBL)/RBL Scotland (RBLS), Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) or other appropriate welfare and support organizations. However, the National President should be informed, through the National Secretary, of all welfare referrals involving serving and retired RAF Regiment members so that he may be aware of the needs and, where appropriate, intervene on their behalf. This does not debar Branches or Chapters from taking a close and active interest in their members and of former RAF Regiment personnel and their families living in their vicinity.
- Branches and Chapters shall not amalgamate or integrate with other societies, bodies or organizations, and must maintain their independence and integrity. However, close liaison is encouraged with other such organizations whose policies are similar or sympathetic to those of the Association.
SECTION IV – MEMBERSHIP AND VOTING RIGHTS
- There shall be three categories of Membership: Full, Associate and Honorary.
- Full Membership. Full Membership may be conferred on those individuals defined in Rule 7. Additionally, former RAF Ground Gunners and former members of the RAF Armoured Car Companies may also be admitted as Full Members.
- Associate Membership. Associate Membership may be granted to:
(1) Members, or former members of the British, or Commonwealth Armed Forces who have served on the established strength of a RAF Regiment formation, unit or establishment (including the RAF Regiment Band).
(2) Immediate family members (ie spouses, partners, widows, widowers, brothers, sisters, parents, sons and daughters) of Members or personnel as defined in Rule 13(a).
(3) Members of bona-fide associations of another Service, Corps or Regiments, and to Service and Civic Dignitaries who, while not eligible for Full Membership, may be deemed worthy of the privilege.
- Honorary Membership. Honorary Membership may be granted by the NMC, Branches and Chapters to:
(1) Individuals ineligible for membership under Rules 13 (a) and 13(b) on such terms, conditions, and purposes as the NMC or respective Branch or Chapter Committee may decide.
(2) Members of the RAF Regiment concept-related combat security forces of the United States Air Force and other national Air Forces as deemed appropriate by the NMC.
- Only full members may hold office as National Officials (see paragraph 29). Only full members are entitled to vote on NMC. Full and Associate Members may serve on the NMC and the NCC and hold office in Branches or Chapters and may vote as individuals on any Association, Branch or Chapter issue. However, Honorary Members shall not be eligible to hold office, serve on Branch or Chapter Committees, nor vote at any meeting convened in connection with the affairs of the Association.
- Applicants who meet the Membership requirements under Rule 13(a) and 13(b), and who are unable or choose not to join their local Branch, may choose to join the Branch of their choice or be included in a Headquarters Roll maintained by the NMC.
- Applications for Associate Membership may be made to the Secretary of the Branch or Chapter, or to the National Secretary in the case of the Headquarters Roll. Branch and Chapter Committees, and the National Secretary in the case of the Headquarters Roll, shall have full discretion to refuse or withdraw the membership of any person subject, in the case of withdrawal, to their right of appeal to the higher body.
- Nominations for Life Membership of the Association shall only be considered as an option for those entitled to Full Membership, and then shall only conferred in exceptional circumstances with the referral of the NMC and ratification by a General Meeting. However, extant Life Memberships of the former Corps associations shall be honoured.
- The NMC may, of its own volition or on the recommendation of a Branch or Chapter, recommend to the AGM that the title of ‘Friend of the RAF Regiment Association’ be awarded to an individual who has rendered exceptional service or benefit to the Association. Upon ratification by the AGM, a Friend of the RAF Regiment Association may exercise the rights of an Honorary Member.
SECTION V – MEMBERSHIP SUBSCRIPTION
- Overseas Chapters shall be autonomous but shall make a negotiated annual contribution to the Association to cover appropriate administrative and communication costs, commensurate with their situation and ability to take advantage of Association events and benefits. Chapters may charge their own Chapter Membership Subscriptions as deemed appropriate by their respective Committee.
- The Association year shall be from 1 April to 31 March. Full and Associate Members of Branches shall be charged an annual Association Membership Subscription at a rate set by the NMC and ratified by the Annual General Meeting (AGM). The following provisions shall also apply:
- Branch members’ Association Membership Subscriptions shall be forwarded to the Association not later than 30 April annually, or within 30 days of receipt of a new member’s Membership Subscription.
- Branch members may be charged a supplementary annual Branch Subscription, to be determined by the respective Branch at its AGM, for the respective Branch’s own funding purposes.
- Serving Forces’ members shall be charged a Forces’ Membership Subscription at a rate determined by the NMC and ratified by a General Meeting.
- Members joining between 1 April and 30 September shall be required to pay the full annual Membership Subscription for their first year. However, Members joining between 1 October and 31 March shall be required to pay 50% of the annual Membership Subscription for that year.
- No Member leaving the Association, for whatever reason, may lay claim upon the contributions or other moneys paid by them into the Association.
- Branch members who fail to pay their Association Membership Subscription after due notice of two calendar months shall have their membership terminated without further recourse and all Association benefits shall cease. Individuals whose membership has been terminated under this Rule may not be introduced by another Member to any Association function or meeting, nor re-join the Association without the approval of the NMC.
SECTION VI – ASSOCIATION OFFICERS
- The NMC shall be populated by individuals enjoying both ability and respect, without regard to rank served. As the National Officials are ex officio Trustees of the Charity, they must also be able to satisfy the Charities Commission criteria for Trusteeship. The honorary Officers of the Association shall consist of, where appropriate, Patrons, President, Vice Presidents and Advisers.
- The Patrons shall be persons of high standing within the community, whose patronage would bring prestige and advantage to the Association. The NMC shall nominate the Patrons, after verifying their willingness to be nominated, for ratification at a General Meeting.
- The serving Commandant General of the RAF Regiment shall be the National President in an ex-officio capacity. He shall take an interest in the policies and direction being taken by the Association and offer Corps guidance where appropriate, but he shall not have any voting rights in committee.
- Vice Presidencies may be conferred upon Members who have rendered significant service to the Association. The NMC shall nominate Vice Presidents, after verifying their willingness to be nominated, for ratification at a General Meeting.
- Advisers may be appointed for their knowledge and expertise and need not be Members of the Association. Such advisers should only be invited to attend where their expertise and advice would be required for specific discussion items and they shall not have any voting rights in committee.
SECTION VII – NATIONAL MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE
- The prime role of the NMC shall be to manage the affairs of the Association, draft the Business and Financial Plans, advise the AGM, and implement its decisions. It will have the authority to apply and uphold the Rules of the Association, and resolve any issues to which the Rules do not specifically apply, subject to final approval at the AGM. The NMC will:
- Decide upon matters of general management and administrative policy.
- Draft and implement the Association’s Business and Financial Plans.
- Create sub-committees, or ad hoc working groups, as considered necessary for the day-to-day business of the Association.
- Review matters brought before it by the NCC, Branches and Chapters and agree the items being placed on the agenda of a General Meeting.
- Provide guidance and advice to Branches and Chapters on procedures to be adopted.
- Conduct, a periodic review of the Rules and, where necessary, propose revisions at the next AGM.
- Elections. National Officials shall be Full Members and shall be elected by the membership. As far as possible, elections shall be phased to maximize continuity on the NMC. The format of elections shall be recommended by the NMC and approved by a General Meeting. The results shall be announced at a General meeting. National Officials shall constitute the voting members of the NMC and shall be as follows:
- National Chairman.
- National Vice Chairman.
- National Secretary.
- National Treasurer.
- National Officials shall be appointed, ex-officio, as trustees of the CIO. National Officials shall serve for a term of no more than three years when they must stand-down. They may seek immediate re-election at a General Meeting. Should a National Official retire, resign or be unable to continue in office for any reason, a Full Member (being willing to serve) shall be co-opted by the NMC and they shall serve until formal election at the AGM.
- The NMC shall comprise the National Officials and one officer and one warrant officer or SNCO, nominated by the Commandant General, RAF Regiment as non-voting members, to provide the necessary interface with the Corps.
- Any three voting Members of the NMC shall constitute a quorum. The Chairman or the Vice Chairman shall preside.
- The NMC may co-opt any other Full or Associate Member to attend meetings to advise on any particular issue, but such co-opted Members shall not be entitled to vote.
- The NMC shall meet whenever necessary. It shall also meet with the NCC at least three months before the scheduled date of a General Meeting and at other additional times at the discretion of the Chairman, or when an Extraordinary General Meeting is called for under the terms of the CIO Articles.
- Minutes or ‘Notes for the Record’ of each NMC Meeting shall be recorded by the National Secretary and issued to the National President and to all NMC Members and Branch and Chapter Secretaries within two working weeks of the subject meeting.
- Appropriate and allowable travel expenses of Members attending meetings shall be determined by the NMC and met from the Association’s General Fund. Travel costs, however, shall be set at the most cost-effective means, as defined by the NMC. Subsistence costs shall be the responsibility of individuals other than in exceptional circumstances.
- The NMC shall be entitled to suspend, for a finite period, any Branch, Chapter or individual that has ceased to respect the requirements of the Association’s Constitution or Rules. A General Meeting of the Association shall ratify any suspension or expulsion.
- The NMC may appoint such support staff as necessary for the efficient conduct of Association affairs. The support costs of such staff shall be met from the Association’s General Fund.
SECTION VIII – NATIONAL COMPLIANCE COMMITTEE
- The NCC shall monitor the performance of the NMC in delivering the Business and Financial Plans and implementing the decisions of the membership expressed by General Meetings. It will report to the membership annually at the AGM with a written report available to all members. The NCC shall ensure that the NMC is implementing prudent risk management in managing the Association’s affairs.
- The members of the NCC shall be elected by the Association membership at the AGM. Full and Associate members are eligible to serve on the NCC. There shall be not less than three members and not more than six. Members will serve for three years, with elections phased to maximize continuity
- The NCC will meet the NMC at least once during the Association financial year, at least 3 months before the scheduled date of a General Meeting. It shall notify the National Secretary of items it wishes to discuss at least 3 weeks in advance of any joint meeting. The National Secretary will facilitate the joint meeting and provide the necessary information and documentation. The NCC will produce a report of each joint meeting (agreed by both committees) to be available to all members.
- The NCC may, in exceptional circumstances, call for an Extraordinary General Meeting, in compliance with the CIO Articles.
- Appropriate and allowable travel expenses of NCC Members attending meetings shall be determined by the NMC and met from the Association’s General Fund. Travel costs, however, shall be set at the most cost-effective means, as defined by the NMC. Subsistence costs shall be the responsibility of individuals other than in exceptional circumstances.
SECTION IX – BRANCHES AND CHAPTERS
- Branches and Chapters shall not be established or disestablished without the approval of the NMC.
- Each Branch or Chapter shall elect a Committee, comprising a Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer, and a minimum of two Full or Associate Members, whose duty it shall be to exercise a controlling oversight of the conduct of the Branch or Chapter, and to implement any constitutional or administrative direction provided by the NMC on behalf of the Association AGM.
- A Branch or Chapter General Meeting shall be held each year where the Committee members for the forthcoming year shall be elected; their names and contact details shall be reported to the NMC.
- Branch or Chapter Committee members may be paid appropriate and allowable expenses, subject to formal agreement at a Branch or Chapter General Meeting, from the Funds of the respective Branch or Chapter.
- Serving Members of the Association may apply to join a Branch or Chapter of their choice, including the Headquarters Roll, irrespective of their posted location. However, a subsequent change of posting shall not justify any free change of Branch or Chapter membership prior to the end of the Membership/Financial Year.
- Branches or Chapters may form a Club as part of their organization. However, the responsibility for the administration, finances and general running of any such Club shall rest solely with the Branch or Chapter concerned. The Association’s General Fund shall not, under any circumstances, be liable for any expenses or losses.
- Any Branch or Chapter having requested and received authority to close, shall forward to the National Secretary:
- A statement of the Branch or Chapter Accounts, certified by the Chairman.
- The balance of remaining Branch or Chapter funds (after suitable disbursements have been made in accordance with the wishes of the membership through a General Meeting).
- Branch or Chapter ledgers and cash books relating to these funds together with all duplicate subscription receipts.
- A register of current members transferring to alternative Branches or Chapters.
- The Branch or Chapter Standard, if it is not to be laid up formally elsewhere or within the country of any Chapter.
SECTION X – STANDARDS
- Association Standards shall be regarded as the ‘Colours’ of the Association and a symbol of the comradeship and esprit de corps for which the Association stands. They shall be kept in a secure, safe and appropriate place, and only be paraded or displayed on authorized occasions or functions that are appropriate and in keeping with their revered status. Standards shall not be used in any decorative role (eg as a table covering), or on occasions unbefitting the dignity of the Association’s symbol. The NMC shall issue additional guidance on the storage and employment of Standards, and requirements for Standard Bearers, as appropriate.
- The Association shall have a National Standard to be paraded or carried at appropriate major events and occasions. The cost of purchase and maintenance of the National Standard shall be borne from the Association’s General Fund.
- Branches and Chapters shall endeavour, where financially viable, to provide a Standard at their cost for their respective organizations. The cost of purchase and maintenance of Branch or Chapter Standards shall be borne wholly by the funds of the respective Branch or Chapter.
- The National Secretary shall maintain the specifications of the National and Branch or Chapter Standards. To ensure continuity of design and manufacturing standards, Branch and Chapter Standards should be procured through the National Secretary, by using Association-approved manufactures and suppliers.
- The cost of the National and Branch Standards’ insurance shall be met from Association’s General Fund, while Chapter Standard insurance costs shall be met from Chapter funds.
- Upon the closure or disestablishment of a Branch or Chapter, the disposal of its Standard shall be determined by the respective Branch or Chapter committee, in consultation with the National Secretary, to ensure that its laying up shall be appropriate.
SECTION XI – GENERAL MEETINGS
- The AGM shall be the normal means of debating and ratifying Association business. An AGM of the Association shall be held at a date and venue chosen by the NMC and notified to all Branches and Chapters at least three calendar months in advance. The business to be transacted by an AGM of the Association shall include (but not be limited to):
- Consideration of reports and approval of Association accounts for the preceding year.
- Approval of the Association’s Financial Plan and Annual Budget for the forthcoming year.
- Approval of the NMC-proposed independent auditors for the forthcoming financial year.
- Approval of any Association Membership Subscription changes decided upon by the NMC.
- Approval of any changes to the Constitution and/or revised Rules recommended by the NMC (subject to a 75% majority vote).
- Report of the election of NMC Officials and the election and appointment of NCC members
- Review and approval of matters of general policy, concepts and guidance.
- Review and approval of planned national Association events.
- Consideration of the NCC’s report on the management of the Association’s affairs
- The NMC shall agree items for inclusion in the agenda for the General Meeting at the NMC meeting scheduled prior to the General Meeting. These agenda items, together with nominations for office, shall be issued to Branches and Chapters with the Minutes of that NMC meeting.
- Other resolutions for discussion at the General Meeting as Any Other Business must be advised to the National Secretary prior to the start of the General Meeting, but shall not be voted upon unless the National Officials conclude that the matter is of due Association importance or urgency. This does not preclude general discussion on other important or urgent Association matters
- The NMC may convene an Extraordinary General Meeting at any time in accordance with the CIO Articles.
- All Full and Associate Members shall be entitled to take a full part in all discussions and vote at a General Meeting.
- All decisions of a General Meeting shall be decided by votes of entitled Members attending the General Meeting and a simple majority shall be required, except on Association Constitution and Rules matters – see Rule 52e. In the event of a tied outcome, the motion shall not be deemed carried. To avoid repetitious discussions, a decision of a General Meeting shall not be raised for formal consideration at the next consecutive General Meeting, unless the NMC concludes that circumstances demand it.
- Members attending a General Meeting shall be responsible for their own travel and subsistence costs; such costs shall not be met from the Association’s General Fund.
SECTION XI – FINANCE
- The NMC shall establish a formal, regulated and audited investment programme for its General Fund. The General Fund shall be maintained at the level set in the Financial Plan. The NMC may delegate the management of investments to an Investment Fund Manager (IFM). An IFM shall be either:
- An individual of sound repute with at least 15 years experience of investment fund management and who is an authorized person within the meaning of the Financial Services Act 1986,
- A company or firm of sound repute, which is an authorized or exempted agency within the meaning of the Financial Services Act 1986, otherwise by virtue of Section 45 (1) (j) of that Act.
- The NMC may authorize their appointed IFM to buy and sell investments for the Association on behalf of the NMC, in accordance with their directed investment policy. The NMC may only do so on terms consistent with this Rule.
- The conditions governing any such delegation, and the conduct of the IFM shall be in accordance with rules developed by the NMC and approved by a General Meeting.
- The investments of the Association shall be vested in the name of the Association NMC as nominee for the Association.
- ll Association Membership Subscription paid direct to the Association shall become part of the Association’s General Fund. Branch and Chapter Membership Subscriptions shall be retained, and accounted for, by their respective Branches and Chapters.
- A n external and independent accountant shall audit the accounts of the Association annually. An abridged copy of the Association Accounts shall be provided to all Branches and Chapters. Unabridged copies of the accounts shall to be made available upon request and shall be included in the annual Financial Statement to the AGM.
- Branches are to forward a copy of their certified Statement of Accounts to the National Treasurer at the end of the Financial Year.
SECTION XII – ASSOCIATION ACTIVITIES
- The Association shall support, either by participation or representation, in the following annual national events:
- National Act of Remembrance at the Cenotaph.
- National Festival of Remembrance at the Albert Hall.
- Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey.
- Battle of Britain Service at Westminster Abbey.
- Wreath-Laying at the RAF Regiment Memorial in St Clement Dane’s.
- In addition, the Association may support other national events as deemed appropriate by the NMC and approved at an AGM.
SECTION XIII – COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE
- Branch or Chapter Members having a complaint relating to the Association or its Members shall follow an established complaints procedure. Initially, complaints shall be heard at the respective Branch or Chapter level, under local arrangements. Where the matter cannot be resolved at that level, the complainant may refer their complaint to the Association’s Ethics Committee, which shall make a decision. The NMC shall provide the final Appeals level where necessary. The levels of authority shall be:
- Respective Branch or Chapter Committee.
- Association Ethics Committee.
- NMC (on appeal).
- T he National Chairman may not be a member of the Ethics Committee, nor may Ethics Committee Members, as individuals, be party to any deliberation or ruling on a member of their own Branch, Chapter or family. Where necessary, ad hoc NMC Members may be co-opted for such cases.
- Before any Member or Official is censured or expelled from the Association, they shall be given, in writing, six-weeks’ notice to appear before the Ethics Committee, together with details of the complaint(s) leveled against them. Non-attendance at such a review shall be construed as acceptance of the complaint(s), unless a legitimate reason is given that warrants deferment of the review.
25th October 2014