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Adapting The Psla Constitution?


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Hi all,

 

We've got our AGM today and after Rea's experiences recently I was prompted to read the Constitution in a bit more detail than previously (we have 2008 PSLA one).

 

There are a couple of things in here where in all honesty we are not doing exactly what we should be, it's a practical thing to do with numbers of parents willing to serve on committee, also a few technicalities that we're not following to the letter.

 

My question is, then, do we HAVE to stick to this constitution, or could we create a specially adapted version to suit our setting?

 

To my eye, this constitution seems to be partly written to give more power to the PSLA than I might want (why on earth should I ask their permission to do these things - who exactly are they?)

 

There is a clause saying we have to ask their permission to adapt the constitution, but presumably if we were no longer members of the PSLA that wouldn't apply?

 

Thanks!

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Ours was not the PSLA one.. but an adapted version of it, for same reasons as you give, we didn't want them to have so much power over us and our assets did not go to them if we closed or dissolved either but went to a local children's charity..Think ours came from a combination of several other constitutions put together.

 

Its a while ago since they did it but I think we had to have it approved by charity commission before adopting it.

 

Inge

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I had the same thoughts Suzie. The 60% of parents always worries me and now he has copies of the minutes of a couple of our meetings :o

When I put it to the man at the CC about changing our constitution he asked what would I change it to? I said I'd have a mooch around and come up with something.

He didnt say I couldnt so thats another job.

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Thanks guys, something else to add to my list of things to look into, although I hardly dare speak to the charities commission after your experiences, Rea.

 

We only just had enough people to do the voting at our AGM, and in our current constitution that has to be 10%, which means we had TWO PARENTS out of 20, not really good enough is it? Luckily staff and all current committee were there to be voted back in.

 

One of the parents who did attend is happy to come on committee as non officer post which will be good as it will bump up our numbers and she is an old hand as she did it with previous children.

 

Apparently there was a good turn out at fundraising meeting yesterday, that must be more appealing than actually running the setting :o

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I think you will find that there is a "killer clause" in your constitution about when winding up a psla group you in theory need to give all your assets to the psla. Thus moving away doesn't seem like an option to me. However, would LOVE someone to tell me that I'm wrong and it can be done.

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Oh groan, I've just read the constitution again and see what you mean by the 60% figure.

 

Only 2 of our 5 are current parents, 2 have children about to start attending though so I think I will just overlook the bit about asking the PSLA's permission.

 

WHY does it have to made so complicated!!

 

Eeeeek - have just seen your post, heading back now to look at our assets bit.

 

Killer clause is too right.

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It all just seems so grossly unfair! I was told I HAD to adopt the PSLA constitution (when it was called PLA) way back - no-one told me I didn't have to and now it's like we're caught in a noose not of our making! I wonder if anyone would be willing to challenge them in court?

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Hi watching this post with interest as we are just in the process of becoming an incorporated company but still with charitable status. At no time was there a mention in any of our literature that we would have to give our assets to psla and i would like to see them try to do this. Oh no more phone calls i think.

Why oh why is everything so complicated.

Sorry everyone rant over:1b

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Count me in for the anti PSLA group.

 

Are they a quango or a charity or what? Do they have any legal powers over us, or are they just advisory? Maybe the government will abolish them at the spending review :o

 

I shall give them a call and ask tomorrow. I am in the right mood for these things this week, I had a right old go at Ofsted about having to make all committee do EY2 and how it puts them off. The poor girl must have thought I was mad!

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Do let us all know how you get on SuzieC8. Just a word of warning though, I tried the same as you many years ago and was told by PSLA that we could adopt our own constitution but only with their approval. After months of research and endless correspondence with them, they then turned round and said.....you've guessed it....NO!! Don't be bamboozled by them into spending too much time on this.

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Thanks for the tip.

 

I've wasted enough time this week trying to persuade our bank to let us do online banking!

 

I will speak to them tomorrow and report back on exactly what 'hold' if any they have over us.

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I shall give them a call and ask tomorrow. I am in the right mood for these things this week, I had a right old go at Ofsted about having to make all committee do EY2 and how it puts them off. The poor girl must have thought I was mad!

 

 

Thats the form I'm leaving until last so I dont scare anyone off too soon. Get them to agree to join first.

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Thats the form I'm leaving until last so I dont scare anyone off too soon. Get them to agree to join first.

 

Yep I do that too! xD

 

The problem is how do we make them do it?? My last Chairperson never did hers she kept telling me she had done it and yes she'd chased it with Ofsted, but I had no notification from Ofsted to say she was cleared and she never produced a CRB. I'm just glad that she's gone now, but every year there is always someone who doesn't do not matter how much I nag :o

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Hi

I joined OOSC committee in may and told the committee that we had to do EY2 forms (thanks to you guys!)...some been on committee years and never done one as they werent aware! They had done CRB checks but not through OFSTED. If it wasnt for this place i wouldnt know half the stuff i do so how can we expect parents who dont have child care background to know??!!

 

We got told few weeks back by oftsed that manager was unsuitable as they had not got her crb form competed by her...this was on the thurs when it had been signed for recorded delivery on the tues!! Chair sent letter of complaint and we are still waiting to hear back...we need OFSTED to OFSTED OFSTED!!!!

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We dont have a PSLA constitution, We never have had as we are a RC group and our Admissions criteria is favourable to children of our parish and of RC faith. But this wasn't a problem we just wrote our own and I'm really not sure where all this thing about the PSLA being such ogres is coming from. They have never said if you were a member you had to have their constitution, same as they hav enever said if you are a member you have to adopt their policies. I think in the beginning (many moons ago) when we all had to become registered charities with written constitutions the PSLA offered one up for groups to use IF THEY WISHED to not because they had to. Ours was made up from and is a mixture of theirs and our local primary schools PTA one. We have amended ours a couple of times and just snet it off the CC. If we wind up then our assets would go to a charity of our choice (didn't want it going to the PSLA)

However if you check your constitution and it says you have to check with PSLA before you amend anything on it, then that's what you will have to do. Of course you can always propose to your members that you change this particular clause in your constitution and have them vote on it. you then effectively have your own constitution. I'm happy to put our up here if any want to see it.

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Can I make it clear here that I am sure there are still a few groups out there for whom the PSLA constitution makes sense. However. My group and many others now find that our aims and objectives have moved so far away from the PSLA ones, that the constitution now seems at odd with practice. And this is the problem. We just can't escape it.

 

historically groups were clearly given the choice of whether to adopt the PSLA constitution or not. However, I don't believe in our case that anyone properly looked at the document or understood the consequences of signing it. But they did, and now we are stuck!!

 

Coupled with this and the new "public benefit" requirement of the CC, I am feeling more and more at odds with our legal document.

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Note to Bridger- the constitution (last time I read it) said assets to PSLA or another charity with their approval, so moving to incorporation with charitable status may well be ok. But, you'd have to check with them.

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My new treasurer has already done her EY2 - hurrah, an efficient committee member!

 

I did, however, send her an email with the following guide in it, because I think when you first look at the 26 pages it seems overwhelming, but actually most of it you don't need to fill out:

 

A1 – [our details]

A2 – leave blank

A3 – [our address]

A4 – yes

A5 – [our URN]

 

Ignore B1, 2, 3, 4

B5 – tick

B6 – tick committee member

Ignore B7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

 

Fill out section C and D

 

Ignore section E, F, G, H

 

Complete sections I and J

 

Section K – up to you!

 

Hope that helps!

Edited by Guest
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Oh and just to report on my phone conversation with the PSLA.

 

- You can leave any time you like

 

- You don't have to give them your assets once you've left, but you do have to suggest a charity that they would go to if you close (I kind of like the idea of the NSPCC)

 

- They are a charity rather than a government body

 

- They wrote their constitution so that it followed charity commission guidelines

 

- You do have to contact them to get permission if you want to adapt it

 

- If you leave you would have to put together your own constitution and get it agreed by the charity commission

 

To be honest, the girl was very helpful. I think the real bad guy here is the charity commission. Does anyone know how often they audit charities to make sure they are actually following guidelines? From what I can gather we have been a charity for about 15 years and never been audited.

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I've been with playgroup for 14 years and never known of an audit.

 

I suggest we all keep our heads down, keep quiet and carry on doing the best we can with limited resources such as no parents on the committee and poor turn outs at fundraising events.

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To be honest, the girl was very helpful. I think the real bad guy here is the charity commission. Does anyone know how often they audit charities to make sure they are actually following guidelines? From what I can gather we have been a charity for about 15 years and never been audited.

 

Hi Suzie - haven't entered this debate so far as I am an owner/manager - therefore no committee etc. :o have however been reading with great interest!

 

With reference to the Charities Commission and audits - just wanted to say that I am a Trustee for one of our Village Charitable Organisations - we were audited a few years back - thankfully everything added up, balanced and we had dotted and crossed all that we needed to - phew! It was a really rigorous process - strangely, as we knew that we had done nothing wrong (well not intentionally anyway) it was a really stressful time.........We asked why they had chosen to audit us - their reply was that they just randomly select organisations......... :(

 

Anyway, hope that helps, keep up the good work! xD

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Just to add my thoughts! We are a limited company and a registered charity and so have adopted the PLA model Memorandum and Articles. I looked into the quorum section of the Mem and Arts as we would struggle to find 30% of members (up to 18 parents!!) to attend the AGM. The PLA told us the CC requested 30%, so I phoned the CC and they told us it was our document and as long as we registered it with them it was up to us to determine a correct figure - so I changed it to 10% and we adopted it at the AGM.

 

Interestingly I attended a committee briefing put on by the local council recently (given by Noel Quinn education) and the message we got there was it was entirely up to us as a committee to determine the rules, including matters such as who should receive the assets of the wound up company. We're OK with the documents as they stand but this seems at odds with the advice the CC and the PLA have been giving out.

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