South Western Federation of Museums and Art Galleries

Updates to our Articles of Association – your opinion matters!

The South Western Federation of Museums and Art Galleries (South West Fed) is calling all members to help ensure our future.

If you are a South West Fed member, please vote in this important member ballot to ensure our organisation can continue to run and support the wider cultural and heritage sector. Click here to vote.
Voting closes midnight on 22 May 2019. 75% of you must vote in support to enable us to carry this through. We therefore need your membership vote!

Why a change?

We are proposing a change to our Articles of Association (our core constitutional document) to bring these in line with the Charity Commission’s recommended model framework and to reflect the way in which the South West Fed operates today.

What are the changes?

Your Board is recommending modernising our Articles to enable us to better serve the current needs and interests of the charity and our members, not least in complying with the Charity Commission’s current expectations. If the new Articles are not adopted, our fear is that the South West Fed will find it difficult to function going forward.

The key updates and points of note are summarised below. The full text of the proposed new Articles is available here

Summary changes

  • Compliance with the Charity Commission’s latest model constitution.
  • Retention of the South West Fed’s existing charitable objects (set out in our Memorandum of Association appended to the Articles).
  • Updated quorum requirements for general meetings, enabling these meetings to proceed with the support of at least 50% more members in attendance than Board members (see Article 17).
  • Where a general meeting quorum is not met, enabling the Board to proceed with considering its annual report, accounts and appointment of auditors (where applicable), to ensure the South West Fed can continue operating to a minimum level (see Article 18).
  • Inclusion of the longstanding requirement that trustee directors are also members of the South West Fed (see Article 27).
  • A new streamlined approach to Board appointments enabling a focus on elections for new trustee directors, rather than full Board re-election each year (see Articles 34-37).
  • In conjunction, a requirement that the third longest-serving Board members retire by rotation each year, opening up vacancies to new candidates but with the option of re-electing former Board members should no new candidates come forward (see Articles 33-37).
  • Board service to be capped at nine years total save in special circumstances (see Article 33A).

We hope you will agree these updates are in the best interests of the South West Fed and its valued membership by ensuring a more efficient and effective approach to our operations.

Our existing Articles of Association are available to read and compare here

Why vote?

We are proud of our democratic structure as a membership organisation, enabling our members to sit separately from (but include) our Board and thus scrutinise its activities. Your membership gives you the right to vote on how the South West Fed is run. Because our Articles are front and centre of our operations, any updates to the Articles require full member support - specifically, 75% of you must vote in support to enable us to carry this through. We therefore need your membership vote!

We have a full board of passionate and keen trustees doing great work for members and the wider sector. Please support us in making this change, so that our work can continue and so that as members, you can still enjoy our key benefits such as the website with its popular South West jobs page, other key communications, forums and the annual conference.

We very much look forward to receiving your vote.

If you would like further information or have any questions in connection, please do not hesitate to contact us at: with the subject header “SOUTH WEST FED NEW ARTICLES”.

Every member has a vote. Please vote by midnight Wednesday 22 May 2019.

Claire Dixon

Chair, South Western Federation of Museums and Art Galleries