u3a - Covid-19 AGM Advice - U3A-KMS-DOC-071

1. Document Control

2. Introduction

2.1. Purpose

To offer advice to U3As for hosting a legitimate AGM for 2020 and managing AGM actions where a physical meeting is not possible. 

2.2. Scope

Relevant to all U3As.

2.3. Related documentation

3. Your constitution

You will normally find that your constitution has the clause in it that says if you are unable to reach a quorum at an AGM you can reconvene at a later date, when the quorum is those attending (if this is not the case please contact the National Office to discuss the options available to you). If you have this it means that you could reconvene when lock down ends at a monthly meeting when the quorum is those attending.

To take advantage of this you would need to advise your membership now that it is your intention to call the AGM but it being unlikely, given the lockdown, that you can achieve the quorum, then you will reconvene the AGM later in the year. It is important to keep a record of the decisions you make collectively and the current reasons (Government Advice Covid) for taking these actions.

Those committee members who wish to retire now may still step down, and can be replaced by new committee members using the casual vacancy clause. If there is no successor and a committee member is due to step down because they have reached the end of their term in office, they could continue in post until the next AGM where the position would be elected in accordance with your constitution. Any new trustees appointed during this period can be properly elected when you have your AGM

4. Charity Commission advice Holding meetings online or by telephone during Covid 19.03.20

In the current situation, it is becoming increasingly difficult to hold face-to-face meetings. Some charities have clauses in their governing documents that allow them to meet virtually or to use telephone facilities, so we advise trustees to check their governing document and see if they can make amendments themselves to facilitate changes as to how or when meetings are held.

Where there is no such clause in your governing document and you decide to hold meetings over the phone or using digital solutions, we will understand but you should record this decision and that you have done this to demonstrate good governance of your charity.

This allows you to hold a virtual meeting for example using a system such as Zoom or a teleconferencing facility.

4.1 In order to use this option, your committee would need to:-

  • have a virtual committee meeting to plan the AGM and formally note that you were holding an AGM via video conferencing due to restrictions of Covid-19.
  • formally notify your membership of this decision allowing the usual advanced notice period regarding elections and resolutions; for example, you could send the notice by email and post to those without email or where possible, ask members living nearby to leave a paper notice in their front garden. The timelines in your constitution for running a normal AGM would need to be followed (or exceeded but not reduced)
  • state your intentions for hosting the meeting, inviting attendees via telephone and internet to join.
  • record methods of hosting and inviting attendees to the meeting. You would then hold your virtual AGM following business in the same way that you would at a normal AGM.
  • complete draft minutes for the AGM and notify the membership of decisions made
  • send any updated constitution to the Trust