The Dons Trust logoConstitution review: help us modernise our rules

Do you want to help bring our constitution up to date?

We are looking for volunteers to form a small working group to help modernise our constitution – and we also want to ask all members what issues they want this group to look at.

If you want to get involved or want to suggest some areas we should look at (see below for some examples), please email board member Rob Crane (rob.crane@thedonstrust.org) by Wednesday 5 June.

Rob said: “I know a lot of people start to glaze over as soon as constitutions are mentioned, so perhaps it’s better to think of the constitution as a document that outlines the rights and powers that Trust members and officers enjoy. Getting that right is pretty important in a fan-owned club.

“A few years back, Supporters Direct updated their model constitution to reflect some changes in legislation, but we never updated ours to bring it into line with their model. We could just import their model constitution, but this is also an opportunity to think about whether there’s anything we want to do slightly differently.”

Why an update is needed

When Supporters Direct introduced a new template constitution in 2016, ours wasn’t updated to mirror this. Instead, ours has evolved over time and now could benefit from a bit of a spring clean. For instance, the existing Rule 55 merely says, “There is no rule 55.”

We also need to update our restricted actions. These are designated actions, such as selling our ground, that the Trust cannot do without gaining a higher-than-usual vote in favour. But since we have sold the Cherry Red Records Stadium to Chelsea FC, our restricted actions now need to be updated to refer to our new stadium in Wimbledon.

And this is also an opportunity to address any other issues that you want us to consider.

Things we could look at

Among the topics that have already been suggested to the Trust board to be covered in this review are:

  • Election of Trust officers, such as chair and vice chair – do we want this to be by the board itself after the yearly elections? That’s fairly normal in many Trusts and membership organisations. Or do we want to have a direct election by members? We’d need to think quite carefully about the process for that.
  • Term duration – do we want people elected to the Trust’s board to serve for one, two or three years? Currently they serve for two years. Three years might help with continuity, but a single year might encourage more people to stand for election.
  • Term limits – do we want to introduce a limit on the number of terms that people can serve on the Trust board? There isn’t currently a limit: people can stand for election an unlimited number of times. But we could limit people to serving for, say, three consecutive elections. That could help introduce fresh thinking and fresh perspectives onto the board, but it might jeopardise continuity.
  • Trust board representatives on subsidiary companies – at the moment, the board of every subsidiary of the Trust – subsidiaries include the football club and the PLC – should have a majority of Trust board members on it. Although this is done at the top level with the PLC board, it isn’t done in practice with all of the subsidiary companies, such as the football club itself. Do we want to amend this requirement to reflect reality? Or do we want to put it into practice?

Is there anything else you want us to consider? Email Rob (rob.crane@thedonstrust.org) to let him know.

Timeline

The following is a broad outline of the timeline for the update. A firmer timeline will be worked out once the working group is in place.

  • Now = encouraging members to suggest topics to consider; and a request for volunteers to form a small working group.
  • Next = working group to consider the pros and cons of the topics put forward.
  • Then = consultation on any remaining options – which do members prefer? – with pros and cons spelt out.
  • Finally = approval of the revised constitution.

The aim is to have this completed by the time we move to our new stadium in summer 2020.

If you want to help on the working group, or if you want to suggest a topic for the working group to consider, email Rob (rob.crane@thedonstrust.org).

Download a copy of our current constitution.

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