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Directors at the Bridge Collective
Directors are elected by the Members annually at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). Responsibility for the running of the company is delegated to the Directors, but decisions are made at the open Bridge Community Meeting, and all members present can vote on any decisions made there. Decisions are made by consensus as far as possible. If a vote is held, the majority vote will be accepted except that the Directors have to veto any decision that would be illegal or against the interests of the company.
All directors are members of the Bridge, any member can nominate themselves for directorship. Information about how to do this is sent to all members in advance of the AGM.
BECOMING A DIRECTOR
If you think you might like to be a director of the Bridge Collective, read on to find out more.
We do need directors, but there are many ways you can help and support the Bridge. Being a director is just one of them. We need you to be involved in the way that works best for you and suits your skills and the person you are. So we are looking for directors who will enjoy the work and be able to do it reliably – people who:
Understand how the Bridge works, its aims and ethos
Like working in a team and can be open to all points of view
Like and enjoy the kind of work involved
Can put in the necessary time commitment
Are willing to accept the challenge of dealing with the more difficult issues that may occasionally arise.
You do not need any specialist advance knowledge, but you do need to be willing to learn about issues as they arise.
If you think the job might suit you, please read on…
What are the qualifications for being a director?
You must be a paid-up member of the Bridge.
You must not be bankrupt.
Any unspent criminal convictions must be declared to our insurers and if they are unwilling to insure us (which may not necessarily be the case), you will not be able to be a director.
You will need to have an enhanced DBS check which would be arranged by the Bridge after you are conditionally appointed. If you have convictions the safeguarding team will have to decide whether they are relevant (in many cases they will not be).
You must be willing to have personal information such as your home address shared with companies house, there is an option for this information not to be in the public domain. You must be willing to have your name and personal details registered with our bank. You must be willing to be subject to a credit check by our bank.
What commitment will I be making?
You will be committing to attend a Community Meeting each month that lasts approximately 2 hours. You will need to read briefing information that will be sent in advance of the meeting, with the agenda. This could include policy documents that need to be agreed or reviewed. This material will be kept to a manageable volume which directors will be able to negotiate collectively.
You will need to attend Directors’ training sessions that will occur periodically.
You will be asked to join smaller working teams with other directors, members, and employees. These teams might work on things like, for example, policy development, fundraising, support to volunteers, or organising events. The work might be done through meetings, by email, or in other ways to suit those involved.
Rarely, there may be Extra Directors Meetings. These will arise when there is an emergency or an issue such as a complaint or an allegation of abuse which it is not appropriate to deal with in an open meeting. Sometimes such an issue may need more than one meeting to resolve.
The overall volume of this work will vary and is up to directors to negotiate, but as a guide, it might average a total of about 5 or 6 hours a month.
What support will I get in maintaining this commitment?
You will be working as part of a team of directors (between 5 and 11 in number) some of whom will have been doing the job for several years.
Basic training and briefing in issues where you may have to make informed decisions will be available.
You will have access to quarterly Open Reflection sessions along with others working at the Bridge, and to team supervision every two months, with external facilitation.
What will my legal responsibilities be?
The activities of the Bridge Collective are governed by our Memorandum and Articles which are available to see at the Bridge office, and on the website, and any member will be given a printed copy on request.
As a director, you must pursue the objectives listed in the Memorandum of Association and you must act within the powers granted in the Memorandum and Articles of Association.
The Companies Act 2006 requires company directors to act in a way most likely to promote the success of the business.
You must exercise a degree of skill and care. You must: show the skill expected of a person with your knowledge and experience and act as a reasonable person would do looking after their own business.
You must act in good faith in the interests of the company as a whole. This includes: declaring any conflicts of interest; not making personal profits at the company’s expense.
You must obey the law: company law requires the directors (collectively) to produce proper accounts and send various documents to Companies House – you will not necessarily do this work yourself but you are responsible with the other directors for making sure it is done; other laws include areas such as health and safety, employment law and tax; you may be responsible for the actions of company employees.
Acting improperly can lead to fines, disqualification from being a director, personal liability for the company’s debts or a criminal conviction. However, you are not at risk of this if you act conscientiously and in good faith.
What if I miss a meeting?
If you need to miss a meeting, you will need to send apologies (in advance if possible) giving your reason.
It is fully understood that people need holidays sometimes and are sometimes ill.
If you miss occasional meetings but continue to maintain your commitment as a director and to keep in contact, there will be no problem.
If you have reason to expect that you will not be able to fulfil your commitment for a temporary period, you will need to discuss this with the other directors.
If you miss two consecutive meetings, or more than 4 in a year, and have not discussed this with the other directors, you will be asked to consider whether you are able to continue your commitment.
A director can be removed from his or her position by the remaining directors after missing two meetings without good reason; or at any time by a majority vote in a General Meeting of Bridge Collective Members.
How do I become a Director?
You need to attend an introduction session which will be held at the Bridge on advertised dates, before nominating yourself to be a Director.
You need to have attended at least three Bridge Community Meetings in the year prior to nominating yourself as a director. This will allow you to find out what is involved and whether it is for you, and it will enable members of the Bridge to see your commitment and what you have to offer before voting for you.
If you wish to go ahead, you need to check you fulfil the conditions listed above. If you have any criminal record, you are invited to discuss this in advance with the Safeguarding Officer. DBS checks will not be done until you have been conditionally elected.
You will need to attend the Annual General Meeting and nominate yourself at the meeting, bring a brief statement saying what you can bring to the Bridge as a director and be willing to answer questions from members before they vote on whether to appoint you. There may also be vacancies for a director to be co-opted between AGMs.
After being elected, you will need to attend a Director’s Induction which will be arranged after the AGM.
Your position as a Director will commence from the first Community Meeting you attend after attending an induction and being cleared by the Safeguarding Team.
You will then remain a director until the second AGM after your election, unless you resign in writing or your directorship ends for any of the reasons listed in the Articles of Association.