University of Bristol A Cappella Society Constitution

Version 2020-07-01

1. Name

    – The name of the Society shall be University of Bristol A Cappella Society, hereinafter referred to as the Society.

    – The Society shall be recognised by the University of Bristol Students’ Union, hereinafter referred to as the Union.

2. Aims

    a. The Society shall aim:

      i. to provide opportunities for rehearsal and performance composed primarily of a cappella singing to its members, and

      ii. to promote a cappella singing in the wider community by means of concerts and, where appropriate, workshops, and

      iii.  to encourage and provide opportunities for members to form their own groups within the Society, and

      iv. to present high standards of a cappella singing at public engagements, and

      v. always to abide by the Union’s Code of Conduct.

3. Membership

    a. Membership is open to all Members of the Union by such applications as may be set up by the Union.

    b. Not less than three-quarters of the Society members shall be Full Members of the Union.

    c. The Secretary shall keep a list of all members of the Society.

    d. There shall be a fee levied for membership, fixed by the committee (being no less than any minimum rate demanded by the Union).

4. Privileges of Membership

    a. All members shall have equal rights of voting at general meetings, attending society committee and society sub-committee meetings, running for election, and participating in society-led events.

5.  Groups

    a. Groups, and smaller groups such as quartets, shall be formed as the members see fit, recognised by the committee.

    b. The Society shall always maintain three unauditioned groups, consisting of upper voices, lower voices and mixed unauditioned groups, plus sufficient auditioned groups to accommodate all genders.

    c. Each unauditioned group shall be rehearsed and conducted by one or two Musical Directors and, where needed, Deputy Musical Directors, appointed by a panel at the request of the Committee at any time, usually following the Society’s annual general meeting.

    d. The committee shall announce the decision with sufficient time for an EGM to be held before or on the last mixed group rehearsal of the term.

    e. The panel shall also appoint one or two Musical Directors and, where needed, Deputy Musical Directors, for the first year of any group created to meet the Society’s obligation to maintain auditioned groups for all genders.

    f. The groups’ Musical Director appointment panel shall consist of at least seven members, being minimally: the President, the Vice-President, two current Musical Directors (from any Society group), and three members of the unauditioned groups.

    g. Other groups may decide to appoint their own Musical Directors at any time.

    h. Each group may have a number of Performance Directors, responsible for assisting the Musical Directors with non-musical aspects of the group’s performance, appointed at each group’s discretion.

    i. Each group may have a number of Section Leaders, with responsibilities appropriate for their group.

    j. The Musical Directors and Deputy Musical Directors are collectively known as the Society Music Team.

6. Committee

    a. There shall be a committee of the Society which shall be the executive decision-making body of the Society.

    b. The Committee shall be responsible for the general and financial policy of the Society, subject to such rules as laid out by the Union.

    c. Society policies shall not conflict with the Constitution, Union policies or Union bylaws. A policy set by the Committee can always be overridden by a General Meeting, but not vice versa.

    d. The quorum for Committee meetings shall be set at 50% of the members filling full positions plus one.

    e. The Committee shall maintain an appendix to this Constitution setting out in more detail the responsibilities of Committee members. This appendix may be altered by a properly constituted Committee meeting without reference to a General Meeting, but shall not contradict this Constitution.

    f. The positions and responsibilities of the Committee shall be (supplemented by Appendix 1):

          i. President

          The President shall be a Full Member of the Union.


          – Overall running of the Society

          –  Maintaining a strategic plan

          –  Representing the Society

          – Chairing Committee and General Meetings

          ii. Vice-President (Operations)


          – Assisting the President in the fulfilling their duties and deputising for the President in their absence

          – Day-to-day actions of the Society, such as room bookings

          iii. Treasurer

          The Treasurer shall be a Full Member of the Union and not in their final year at University. However, if given approval by the Bristol SU Societies                     Network, a final year student may take the position.


          – All Society accounts and finance, in accordance with Union regulations for financial activities and as set out below

          iv. Equality Officer


          –  Ensuring equality, inclusiveness, and diversity across the society

          –  Being on hand to tackle any complaints/problems/issues within the society and work with the president on serious issues

          –  Conducting one or two surveys (up to the discretion of the committee each academic year) per year to assess the equality and diversity of the                     Society

          – Writing a report(s) based on the findings of the survey, publishing and presenting these findings to the committee

          v. Secretary


          – Preparing the agenda and reminding attendees of Committee and General Meetings

          – Taking minutes of Committee and General Meetings

          – Maintaining an up-to-date list of members as specified by the Union, including which groups members are in

          – Maintain a mailing list of all members

          vi. Social Secretary


          – Organising socials for the Society as a whole

          vii. Publicity Co-ordinator


          – Publicising Society events and the Society itself to students, the University and general public, including:

  • A Society website
  • Society social media
  • Society merchandise

          viii. Gigs Coordinator


          – Arranging gigs for the Society as a whole

          – Responding to booking requests that come to the Society

          ix. Resource Manager


          – Manage all communal society equipment

  • Sorting loans and hiring
  • Labelling and keeping a record of the equipment in the lockers

          x. Group Representative

          Each singing group of ten or more members in the Society must choose a representative to be part of the Committee

          The Committee may request that a group of smaller than ten members should choose a representative; for example, if they are particularly active

          Group Representatives are full members of the Committee


          – Communicating views and needs of their group to Committee and vice versa

    g. In addition to the Committee members listed above, the Committee may appoint roles to individual members of the Society as necessary by co-opting them.

  • Co-opted Committee positions may be designated either as full or observing members of the Committee. Observing Committee positions are not required to always attend or send apologies for absence to meetings, do not count towards quoracy, and are not accorded the rights and privileges of a full Committee member, such as voting in Committee meetings.

    h. Motions of no confidence in any member of the Committee must be passed by a properly constituted General Meeting to take effect.

    i. All core committee roles (President, Treasurer, Secretary and Equality Officer) must be full members of the Union

    j. No one person may hold more than one SU defined core committee role (President, Treasurer, Secretary and Equality Officer)

7. Financial

    a. The Society’s financial year shall run from 1st August until 31st July the following calendar year, so as to coincide with the academic year.

    b. All financial arrangements must be made in accordance with current instructions to Society Treasurers, as set down by the Union.

    c. The Bristol SU Union Affairs Officer, Sport and Student Development Officer and Director of Finance and Administration shall jointly be empowered to issue financial instructions on behalf of the society if:

      i. the society folds with outstanding financial affairs, or

      ii. change of mandate forms are not completed, and the previous committee are out of reasonable contact, or

      iii. financial irregularities are found.

8. General Meetings

    a. There shall be an Annual General Meeting once per annum, and this shall be held before the end of the undergraduate teaching block of the Summer term.

    b. An Extraordinary General Meeting may be called by 5% of the membership of the Society by application to the Secretary or by a majority decision of the Committee. An EGM shall be held as soon as practical, as long as the required notice to members is given.

    c. The Committee shall appoint two Returning Officers, ideally from the Committee, for each General Meeting, to receive motions and nominations, and to count secret ballots and elections. Returning Officers are automatically disqualified from being candidates or the sole proposer of a motion in votes they are due to count.

    d. Notice of a General Meeting must be published to the Society’s members, together with an example motion and a deadline for motions to be received by the Returning Officers, at least seven days before that deadline, which is a date and time set by the Committee leaving enough time for the agenda and full texts of motions to be published.

  • The agenda and motions must be published to the Society’s members at least seven days before the meeting itself, together with a deadline for amendments, set as for motions, which must be at least three days before the Meeting.

    e. The notice period for a general meeting may run through vacations.

    f. Motions must have a name, proposer, and sections outlining what the Society notes, believes, and resolves.

    g. Proposers may request to withdraw their motions at any time, in which case the chair shall propose a members’ vote at that point in the General Meeting on whether to keep the original motion in the agenda.

    h. The quorum of General Meetings shall be set at twice the number of members filling full committee positions plus one.

    i. Items raised under Any Other Business at a General Meeting can make no binding decisions, but the Committee or required number of members may call an EGM to take the item further.

    j. Voting shall be carried out by open or secret ballot at the discretion of the members, counted by the Returning Officers, motions being passed by a simple majority (except where required by this constitution), recording votes for and against (and abstentions) in all cases.

9. Elections

    a. Elections shall be held at the Annual General Meeting to elect officers of the committee for the following session.

    b. Should there be vacant committee positions immediately following an AGM, an EGM shall be called by the committee in order to fill those positions.

    c. Nominations (proposed by the candidates themselves without need for seconders) must be received and published as a single batch by the Returning Officers at least seven days before a General Meeting.

    d. Voting shall be carried out by secret ballot, counted by the Returning Officers, candidates being elected by a simple majority, recording votes for and against (and abstentions) as reserved items.

    e. There being only one candidate for an elected position that falls vacant during the normal term of office, that candidate may be co-opted as a full committee member by the committee. At least seven days’ notice of this intention shall be given to members; any member’s objection shall trigger the requirement for an EGM as if the position were contested.

    f. In the event of a tied vote a second round of voting will take place. If the vote is still tied after the second vote, the decision will be determined by the toss of a coin.

    g. In the event of a committee position not receiving any nominations by the deadline, or all nominees withdrawing from contest during the General Meeting, nominations may be reopened in the General Meeting.

    h. Members will always be given the opportunity to vote to re-open nominations.

10. Affiliations

    a. The society may affiliate to external bodies where membership of those bodies is pursuant to the fulfilment of the Society’s core aims, but only with the prior agreement of the Union.

11. Constitutional Amendments

    a. Any amendment to this Constitution shall require a two-thirds majority of the members present at a properly constituted General Meeting, except where such changes are required by changes in Union by-laws or policy, when minimal amendments to ensure compliance may be passed by the Committee.

    b. All such amendments shall become valid only after approval by the Union.

    c. A history of all such amendments shall be maintained as an appendix to this Constitution in all versions of the document.

Appendix 1: Committee Roles and Responsibilities

 1. President

    a. Form and maintain good relations with the Union, Societies Executive Committee other societies, individuals, etc.

    b. Communicate with other societies/individuals to organise co-operation/collaboration and representing the Society (e.g. at meetings, awards, etc.).

    c. Decide on the direction of the society and set out a five-year plan accordingly.

    d. Delegate jobs within the committee.

    e. Chair meetings for the Society.

    f. Take decisions (i.e. with a veto or casting vote) if the Committee cannot agree.

    g. Provide leadership (especially in an emergency or in the absence of the person responsible). The buck always stops here.

    h. Make sure everyone else is doing their job and step in if they aren’t. This might include asking other committee members if they are in the right role or are struggling, etc.

 2. Vice-President (Operations)

    a. Carry out the day-to-day running of the society, for example, room bookings, responding to all non-membership enquiries, etc.

    b. Monitor actions decided at meetings and make sure these are all done in a timely fashion.

    c. Negotiate membership card discounts with retailers, service providers, etc.

    d. Deputise for the President in all activities in their absence.

    e. Receive concerns and complaints from the Group Representatives or directly from members of the Society and bring these to appropriate channels.

 3. Treasurer

    a. Deal with the finances of the Society including paying invoices and expense claims, paying in cheques and any cash etc., in a timely fashion and in compliance with Union and University regulations.

    b. Ensure that the Committee works within the financial constraints of the Society.

    c. Ensure that appropriate signatures are obtained on forms etc. (E.g., the President may not sign for their own expenses etc.)

    d. Monitor bank statements.

    e. Rule on any proposed fees or expenses, subject to the approval of the Committee.

(I.e., decide whether any fee should be paid, what can be claimed on expenses, etc.)

    f. Organise collection of any cash (e.g., buckets for busking gigs); arrange pick-up of cheques or similar.

    g. Report to the Committee on any financial issues or concerns that might arise and suggest solutions. (E.g., if the membership fees need to go up or similar.)

    h. Produce accurate and comprehensive budgets for gigs and other events, in consultation with the Committee.

    i. Be a member of any Sub-committee that deals with financial matters.

    j. Liaise with the Musical Administrator to minimise the costs of music printing.

 4. Secretary

    a. Manage and update the list of all members and Society mailing lists.

    b. Monitor who has and hasn’t paid their fees and inform the Group Representatives.

    c. Monitor which members sing with which groups.

    d. Respond to membership enquiries.

    e. Receive requests for Extraordinary General Meetings.

    f. Compose and circulate the agenda before Society meetings (and remind everyone when and where the Committee meetings, General Meetings, etc. will be held).

    g. Minute all Society meetings.

    h. Keep members informed about Society meetings and their minutes, and other useful information, for example, before the first rehearsal of term.

    i. Keep copies of all Society documents such as minutes, letters, etc.

    j. Be the keeper of the Constitution and update it as necessary.

    k. Be the keeper of this Appendix (Committee Roles and Responsibilities) and update it as necessary.

    l. Keep a record of which members have folders.

 5. Gigs Co-ordinator

    a. Propose, and actively seek out opportunities for, possible singing events.

    b. Organise gigs for the Society and joint participants.

    c. Ensure the smooth running of Society gigs.

    d. Act as a front-of-house manager for Society gigs.

    e. Be the keeper of the gigs checklist and update it as necessary.

    f. Designate a stage manager and front of house manager for large gigs, as well as any ushers that may be required, who are not performing in the gig.

    g. Seek out opportunities for groups with no committee representative under the aegis of the Society to perform.

    h. Assist with negotiation of terms of bookings, in consultation with the Committee on financial details. (E.g., times, dress, fees.)

 6. Publicity Co-ordinator

    a. Publicise the Society and its events.

    b. Propose ways of publicising the Society to the Committee.

    c. Produce publicity material for the Society and its events.

    d. Organise the production of branded merchandise for the Society.

    e. Negotiate sponsorship for the Society and its events.

    f. Keep an archive library of past publicity materials, photos, etc. for posterity.

 7.  Social Secretary

    a. Propose and organise socials for the whole society.

 8. Resource Manager

    a. Manage all communal society equipment.

    b. Organise any loans of any equipment.

    c. Organise the hiring of microphones and their use for group gigs and society shows.

    d. Check the condition of all equipment before and after any use and enforce the repercussions for damage.

    e. Label and keep a record of all equipment in the lockers.

 9. Unauditioned Group Musical Directors

    a. Decide on appropriate repertoire to learn and perform.

    b. Conduct rehearsals.

    c. Liaise with the Musical Administrator to ensure that sufficient copies of music are available.

    d. Ensure that Deputy Musical Directors are familiar with the repertoire and able to take control of any group.

    e. May appoint Section Leaders and Performance Directors.

    f. Responsible for liaising with arrangers and notifying them on the use of commissioned pieces.

10. Auditioned Group Musical Directors

    a. Decide on appropriate repertoire to learn and perform.

    b. Conduct rehearsals.

    c. Audition members as appropriate.

    d. Ensure that Deputy Musical Directors are familiar with the repertoire and able to take control of any group.

    e. May appoint Section Leaders and Performance Directors.

    f. Responsible for liaising with arrangers and notifying them on the use of commissioned pieces.

 11. Deputy Musical Directors

    a. Take rehearsals in the absence of Musical Directors. Deputy Musical Directors should be sufficiently familiar with their group’s music to be able to take control at a moment’s notice.

 12. Group Representative

    a.  Voice views of their group to the Committee.

    b. Ensure communication between their group and the Committee remains fluid.

    c. Play a role in the organisation and running of whole society events.

    d. Be accountable for the running of the group.

    e. Oversee the welfare of their group’s members, reporting concerns to the Vice-President.

13. Equality Officer

    a. Ensure equality and diversity across the Society.

    b. Conduct an annual survey assessing the equality and diversity of the Society.

    c. Write a report based on the findings of this survey, and present these to the Committee.

Advisory Responsibilities for Potential Co-opted Positions

1. Section Leaders

    a. Know the repertoire for your section.

    b. Check teach tracks as they are released to make sure they match your music.

    c. Be the point of contact for any music questions from your section.

    d. In conjunction with the Musical Directors, point out any persistent errors in your section and how to fix them.

    e. Lead any sectional part of rehearsals.

    f. Know who in your section will be at any concert.

    g. Let Musical Directors know if you can’t attend rehearsals and deputise another member of your section to take sectionals.

 2. Web Site Co-ordinator

    a. Maintain a web site to meet the needs of the Society in consultation with the Committee.

    b. Provide ways of hosting the archive library to preserve access for posterity.

    c. Provide access to members of the Committee to edit the web site.

    d. Manage a Facebook group to meet the needs of the Society in consultation with the Committee.

 3. Refreshments Co-ordinator

    a. Liaise with the Gigs Co-ordinator and Treasurer to provide refreshments at any concert or event where they are requested.

    b. Recruit a team of people to serve refreshments at these events. The Committee should be willing to help out as needed.

 4. Friends and Alumni Co-ordinator

    a. Maintain a mailing list of past Society members (‘Alumni’) and non-Society members (‘Friends’) who wish to keep in contact and receive Society updates.

    b. Promote the Society and all Society events to the Friends and Alumni.

    c. In the event of a tour, or similar event, liaise between the relevant subcommittee and interested Alumni.

    d. Be the main point of contact between the Society, Friends and Alumni