Constitution

1. GENERAL

This constitution adopts the format set out in NHS Circular GEN (1992) 17 and NHS Circular GEN (1992) 26 relating to committee constitutions. This document shall be called the constitution of the Scottish Heart Failure Nurse Forum and any member can have a copy. Any member disregarding the conditions set out in this constitution shall be subject to action by the committee. The constitution shall supersede any formal rules of the SHFNF, which were in force prior to the acceptance of the constitution by a majority of the membership.

2. TITLE

The group shall be called the Scottish Heart Failure Nurse Forum.

For the purposes of this constitution, unless otherwise indicated, ‘forum’ reads Scottish Heart Failure Nurse Forum.

3. FUNCTIONS

a. To promote the essential role of nurses in heart failure services.

b. To share and develop knowledge, expertise and best practice.

c. To incorporate research-based evidence into practice, and promote research to improve outcomes.

d. To help develop core competencies, education and training initiatives for heart failure nurses.

e. To advise and influence the provision of heart failure nursing services, which impinge on patient care and carers at local and national level.

4. MEMBERSHIP

Full membership of the Forum is for nurses primarily involved in the specialist management of heart failure patients in Scotland.

Affiliated membership is offered to any clinician with an interest in Heart Failure (limitations are placed on this form of membership see annex A)

Members are required to update the directory details regularly to renew their membership. The Forum’s committee members shall be representative of Heart Failure nursing in their region and be elected on the basis of merit, knowledge and experience. The committee shall comprise of up to 10 members. Members of the committee must hold Full Membership rights and be currently registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

5. METHOD OF APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS

In any year where the term of office of committee members is either due to expire, or becomes vacant, the Chair shall seek nominations of any individual who meets the criteria for membership.

All members will be advised by the Chair of the opportunity to self nominate or nominate an individual, with the consent of the individual nominated. To aid information, notices on the committee and the membership arrangements shall be circulated to members no later than 2 months before appointments are due to take effect.

Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland and the British Heart Foundation shall be offered a membership option, appropriate to the role of the individual.

6. TERMS OF OFFICE OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS

The term of office of members of the committee shall be 3 years (commencing 1 April in the relevant year). Half of the membership of the committee shall be considered for re-election every 2 years in a staggered membership cohort.

Committee members shall be eligible for re-appointment to serve for one further consecutive term but thereafter, unless approved by the committee, shall be required to demit office for at least one term. To enable staggering of the first committee appointments lots will be drawn to determine which members commence with a 2 or 3 year term of office.

7. ELECTION OF OFFICERS

From the first regular meeting (following 1 April), the committee shall elect from its members a Chair and Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer to serve an agreed term of office.

8. CASUAL VACANCIES

Where a member of the committee has been absent from 3 consecutive meetings of the committee, of which appropriate notice has been given, the committee may, unless they are satisfied that the member’s absence was due to illness or other reasonable cause, declare that his or her seat has been vacated, and a casual vacancy shall be declared. Members of the committee may, at any time, by notice in writing signed by them and delivered to the Chair, resign their seat.

A casual vacancy shall be filled at the discretion of the committee by appointment of a new representative. New representatives shall hold office for the remainder of the term of office of the member in whose place they are appointed.

9. VOTING

Each member of the committee shall possess one vote. Where there is an equality of votes, the Chair shall, as well as having a deliberate vote, also have the power to use a casting vote.

Where a decision is put to a vote, the Chair should ensure that the minutes of the meeting record the decision fully, including dissenting views, and the result of the vote.

10. MEETINGS

The committee shall meet at least twice yearly, and in addition hold an Annual General Meeting, attendance of 10% of the total membership shall be deemed quorum.

11. NOTICE OF MEETING

The Chair shall send an agenda, minutes and notices of meetings to every member of the committee seven clear days before the day of the meeting. Failure by one or more members to receive papers will not invalidate the proceedings.

A calendar of meetings will be prepared annually.

12. QUORUM

Three members plus two office bearers of the Committee shall be deemed a quorum at Committee meetings.

Attendance of 10% of members considered regarded as quorum at Annual General Meeting.

13. ACTION NOTES/MINUTES

Action notes or minutes of all meetings shall be prepared by a rotational basis through the committee members and circulated to the committee. Committee members can circulate minutes for information to members they represent if requested.

14. REQUESTING MEETINGS

Two committee members may, by writing to the Chair, request an extraordinary meeting of the membership, and should specify the business to be discussed at such a meeting. The Chair’s decision on whether to accede to the request will be final, and must be reported to the next ordinary meeting of the committee.

15. APPOINTMENT OF DEPUTIES

The Chair may accept the nomination of a deputy from a committee member, chosen from the existing membership to represent their interests, when the committee member cannot be in attendance. The deputy must be a current member of the Forum.

16. SHORT LIFE WORKING GROUPS

Ad hoc SLWG of members (full and affiliated) may be appointed to consider specific issues, with a representative chairperson to action and report back. Action teams will have delegated to them such powers as agreed by the committee.

17. ALTERATION TO CONSTITUTION

The constitution shall be altered only by a majority of votes passed at an extraordinary meeting or virtual voting system of the membership called for the purpose, or at the Annual General Meeting of which at least 21 days notice shall be given, setting out the proposed alteration or amendment. Such alterations or amendments so approved shall be intimated to each member of the forum. Committee members unable to attend the special meetings or Forum members unable to attend the Annual General Meeting, where there is a proposed alteration or amendment to the constitution, shall be given the facility of a postal vote.

18. CONFIDENTIALITY

The Chair shall rule, where necessary, to advise on the confidentiality of documents.

19. FINANCES

The Treasurer will produce a financial statement for the Annual General Meeting, and an examiner who is not a member of the Forum will check this financial statement prior to the meeting.

In the event of the Forum winding up and with surplus assets, these will be used for charitable purposes.

20. CONFLICT OF INTEREST

Committee members are appointed to act objectively, and shall declare any possible conflicts of interest.

21. PARTNERSHIPS AND AFFILIATIONS

The Forum acknowledges the value that partnerships offer and supports the principle of partnership working. Partnerships with Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland and the British Heart Foundation will be deemed as informal affiliation.

These partnerships do not exclude partnerships with the Pharmaceutical Industry, in accordance with existing guidance concerning partnerships between the NHS and the Pharmaceutical Industry.

The Forum recognises and values the contribution of Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland and the British Heart Foundation in its formation and development.

UPDATED: March 2016.