Association of Tenancy Relations Officers (ATRO)
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
ATRO aims to promote best practice in the use of Local Authority powers and duties to enforce rights and maintain standards in private sector housing.
ATRO will endeavour to achieve this by:
1. Providing support and training to individual members to ensure high standards of:
advice, mediation and facilitation
education and training
on issues relating to private sector housing
to raise awareness and encourage use of local authority enforcement powers.
1. These Standing Orders shall apply to the conduct of all Regular, Committee, and Sub-Committee meetings.
2. With the exception of Standing Orders 1, 2, 4, 19 and 21, any one or more of these Standing Orders may be suspended by a two-thirds majority of members at any meeting voting on a motion to suspend the Standing Orders.
CONVENING OF MEETINGS
3. All Regular meetings and those of the Committee and its Sub-Committees, shall be convened by the Chair or someone duly elected. Notice of the time and place of the meeting and the business to be transacted shall be sent to each member of the Association at least one week before the meeting by the Association Secretary. Secretary would include Assistant Secretary.
4. (a) No business shall be transacted at any Regular meeting unless ten (10) members are present.
(b) No business shall be transacted at any Committee meeting unless four (4) members are present.
(c) At the commencement of the meeting the Chair or person delegated shall establish that a quorum is present, and at any time during the meeting, but not during the discussion of an item, any member may request that a count be taken. If a quorum is not present the meeting may be adjourned or terminated.
(d) Any item of business unable to be transacted by reason of the lack of quorum shall, where appropriate, be referred to the next Regular meeting.
5. The Chair, Vice-Chair, Research Officer, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Treasurer, and at least two ordinary members of the Committee shall be elected at the first meeting of the Association in each year by members present and/or by proxy. The Committee shall have power to co-opt other additional members.
TIMETABLE OF MEETINGS
6. Meetings shall be held where possible every three months in the appointed month. The appointed month shall, where possible, be every third month of every year commencing 1st January and ending 31st December.
7. A Special meeting of the Association shall be held:
(a) in pursuance of a resolution of the Committee;
(b) by the Chair, Vice-Chair, or Secretary if it is urgently necessary to ascertain the policy of the Association on a subject, and/or subjects.
(c) at any time within fourteen days of the receipt by the Chair of a requisition in writing signed by at least ten members stating fully the reasons for such a meeting.
The aforementioned period may be extended with the agreement of the signatories of the requisition. The business to be transacted at a Special meeting of the Association shall be set out on the notice of meeting and no other business shall be transacted.
8. (a) The Committee may elect from time to time standing Sub-Committees where appropriate for the purposes of assisting the Committee on matters of policy and any other matters considered fitting and appropriate to the Association.
(b) The Committee may constitute Sub-Committees if appropriate, and may decide whether the constitution of any such Sub-Committee should include specific officers.
ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS
9. (a) Any member may attend any Regular, Committee, or Sub-Committee meeting. Attendance at Regular meetings shall be with full voting rights though attendance at Committee and Sub-Committee meetings, where the member has not been duly elected, shall be in a non-voting capacity, and unless expressly permitted by the Chair of that Committee shall not be permitted to speak.
(b) Any Assistant or Vice-Officer may ex-officio attend any meeting of a Sub-Committee, in the absence of the “full” member, as a member of that elected Sub-Committee.
ORDER OF BUSINESS
10. (a) The order of business at Regular, Committee and Sub-Committee meetings shall be as follows:
1. If both the relevant Chair and the Vice-Chair of any regular, Committee or Sub-Committee meeting are absent a Chair shall be appointed from amongst the members present, via a show of hands.
2. To receive apologies for absence.
3. To consider whether the meeting shall debate or vote on any item or amendment to an item not having been previously notified to the Chair in accordance with Standing Order number 3 or to discuss any item of an urgent nature.
4. To receive and approve the appropriate Minutes of the previous meeting.
5. To deal with correspondence.
6. To consider any item, or discuss any item, notice of which has been given to the membership in accordance with Standing Order number 3.
7. To consider any item or amendment, or item of an urgent nature, which the meeting has agreed to debate or vote on in accordance with article 3 of this Standing Order number 10.
8. Any Other Business.
(b) Regular meetings will adhere to the above order of business wherever practical and appropriate.
(c) The Chair may authorise any special or occasional items of business to be inserted at an appropriate point in the agenda.
(d) The Chair may, at the meeting, vary the order of business so as to give precedence to business of special urgency or importance.
POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE CHAIR
11. (a) Deference shall at all times be paid to the authority of the Chair. The Chair shall decide all matters of order, competency and relevancy, and his/her ruling shall be final and binding. S/he shall be entitled to adjourn any meeting to a time which s/he may then or subsequently fix, and his/her quitting the chair shall be the signal that the meeting has adjourned.
(b) The Chair shall have both a deliberative and a casting vote.
NOTICES OF ITEMS
12. (a) Every notice of an item intended for inclusion in the agenda shall be submitted to the Secretary at least twenty one days prior to the date of the meeting.
(b) 1. Every item presented at a meeting must be submitted in writing to the Chair or Secretary of the meeting prior to the commencement of the meeting, or with the express leave of the Chair at any time during the course of the meeting.
2. Every such item, subject to paragraph (d) 1 and 2 of this Standing Order, shall be read by the Chair to the meeting. The Chair may allow minor motions, subject to the aforesaid, to be read from the floor.
3. The meeting shall vote as to whether any motion presented as in paragraph 1 above is to be debated.
(c) Amendments to items presented at a meeting may be submitted in writing to the Chair or Secretary of the meeting at any time during the course of the meeting or submitted orally and, if accepted by the Chair, be produced in writing forthwith and passed to the Secretary. As with other items cf. paragraphs 2 and 3 above.
(d) 1. Any item or amendment presented in writing or otherwise in accordance with paragraphs (a) and (c) of this Standing Order shall indicate the name of the proposer and that of the seconder.
2. Any motion or amendment referred to in sub-paragraph 1 above shall be subject to a declaration of the Chair as to its relevance, competence and urgency.
(e) Any vote relating to motions or amendments shall be decided by a simple majority of the members present.
(f) The following items may be moved at any time without previous notice being given:
1. That precedence be given to any particular business set forth on the agenda.
2. That it relates to a matter of extreme urgency or as a result of new information given during the course of a meeting.
3. That leave be given to withdraw or amend an item or an amendment.
4. That the question now be put.
5. That the meeting now proceed to the next business.
6. That the speaker no longer be heard.
7. That the debate be adjourned.
8. That the meeting be adjourned.
9. That (a) Standing Order/s be suspended during the course of the meeting.
(g) Any motion proposed under paragraph (f) above shall be seconded, and any motion proposed under sub-paragraph 9 thereof shall specify the Standing Order/s concerned by either number or content.
ORDER OF DEBATE
13. (a) Any member may formally second an item or an amendment, reserving his/her speech for a later period in the debate.
(b) A member shall not move or second more than one amendment to any item. Neither the mover nor the seconder of an item may move or second any amendment to such item.
(c) A member may at any time raise a point of order or ask a question, but must confine the point of order or question to the subject at the time before the meeting.
(d) A member on being given permission to speak by the Chair shall on request give his/her name and Authority or Council. S/he shall direct his/her speech strictly to the matter under consideration or to a question of order.
(e) If two or more members indicate simultaneously that they wish to speak the Chair shall decide to whom priority shall be given.
CLOSURE OF DEBATE
14. At the close of any speech, provided that not fewer than two members have spoken, any member who has not spoken on the question before the meeting may move “That the question now be put”. If this is seconded the Chair shall, without further debate, take a vote. If it is carried the mover of the item (or the mover of an amendment which has become the substantive item) shall have the right of reply, and the question under discussion shall then be put to the meeting.
15. Voting at all meetings shall be by a show of hands, but at the discretion of the Chair of the Meeting or by request of a majority of members present at the meeting such other means of ascertaining the result of the vote may be adopted if considered appropriate. Tellers shall be appointed at each meeting where necessary and shall be under the direction of the Chair or Secretary.
16. (a) Proxy Voting
Where a member wishes to vote in an election or on a motion which has been tabled for a meeting that member may write and notify the Secretary, nominating another member to cast a vote for the absentee member’s. Such notice shall clearly state the election the absentee member wishes to vote in and/or the motion that the absentee member wishes to vote in. The notice shall also clearly name the member nominated by the absentee member and shall be signed by both the nominated and absentee member. The notice must be given to the Secretary, on in their absence the Chair, prior to the relevant vote taking place.
(b) Postal Voting
The Committee may from time to time decide that any motion(s) (but not elections) at a meeting may be open for absentee member votes. The Committee may then direct the Secretary to ensure that all members are sent a postal ballot form. Should a member not be able to attend at the meeting where the motion is to be debated, that member may then complete the postal voting form and return it to the Secretary not less than 24 hours prior to the relevant meeting taking place. Where the meeting is to take place on a Monday, the postal voting form must be returned to the Secretary by 12 p.m. on the previous Friday.
No member shall be entitled to cast more than one vote on any matter, unless they shall be also casting a proxy vote on behalf of an absentee member. No member shall be able to cast more than two proxy votes.
THE CONDUCT OF ELECTIONS
17. (a) All elections for posts shall be by means of a paper ballot. Nominations must be received by the Secretary not later than before the commencement of the Annual Meeting. If there are more nominations than the number to be elected then an election shall be held at which each member present may vote for not more candidates than the number of vacancies to be filled. A nomination shall not be regarded as a vote. In the event of no nominations being received for any particular post the Chair may call for nominations from the floor.
(b) The Secretary, or in his/her absence the Assistant Secretary, shall count the votes and announce the result.
(c) In the event of a vacancy not being filled by the foregoing the Committee may appoint member/s to fill such post/s. Casual vacancies occurring from time to time likewise shall be filled by appointment. Any such appointment shall be subject to approval by a simple majority of the Committee, and shall be reported to the next Regular Meeting.
EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES POLICY
18. The Association is committed to promoting equal opportunities for its members, in the services that members provide and in the conduct of all Association business.
In recognition of this commitment, the Association and its members will remain impartial and objective.
The Association will not discriminate on the grounds of colour, race, ethnic, regional or national origins, nationality, religious beliefs, gender, relationship status, sexuality, disability, age and class or any other unjustified reason. The Association will not discriminate on the grounds of political beliefs or trade union activity unless those beliefs or activities are considered not compatible with the Association’s commitment to Equal Opportunities.
In order to reiterate its commitment, the Association will promote greater involvement and representation to those members who have traditionally been under represented in local government and the Association.
The Association will work to achieve equal access to public and legal services for all and to ensure that all users of public services are treated with dignity and respect irrespective of their background.
19. (a) Membership shall be open to any local authority employee whose area of responsibility includes investigatory and/or conciliatory work in connection with private sector housing Landlord and Tenant disputes.
(b) A local authority may join as a corporate member of the Association. The local authority will advise the Association of the names of its officers who it wishes to register as its members. These members shall have the right to vote.
(c) Any person, over the age of 18, who has an interest in the work of the Association may become an Associate Member and may receive such written information about the work of the Association as the Committee may from time to time direct. An Associate Member shall have the right to attend at any meeting but shall not have the right to cast any vote.
(d) The Committee may from time to time decide that an annual fee shall be payable by Members, Corporate Members and Associate Members. The Committee will decide the amount of the fee and also when the fee will be levied. Any Member, Corporate Member or Associate Member who does not pay the required fee within a period of two months from demand may be removed from Membership, Corporate Membership or Associate Membership by vote of the Committee.
(e) The Committee should have the power to award honorary membership to any member in recognition of outstanding service to ATRO. No membership fee will be payable by honorary members. Honorary members shall not have the right to vote.
(f) Membership of any member can be withdrawn by the Association by any member submitting such a motion to the Secretary or Chair as set out in Standing Order number 12.
(g) If any member of the Association acts contrary to the spirit or letter of these rules and/or contrary to the interests of the Association or any member thereof they will be liable to disciplinary action. Any such member can be expelled from the Association following a resolution (by a two-thirds majority of members present and voting) to that effect at a Regular Meeting of the Association, provided that the member concerned has had at least two months’ notice of the motion and the grounds on which the expulsion will be sought. If the member does not attend the first Regular Meeting after such notice then the matter will be deferred to the next Regular Meeting and the Secretary shall write to the member inviting attendance at the next Regular Meeting and inviting written submissions on the motion for expulsion from the member concerned and warning that a resolution may be made in his/her absence should s/he not attend.
(h) Within the Standing Orders the word “member” can, where the context allows, be read to mean both Member, Corporate Member and Associate Member.
20. (a) The Association may by resolution authorise a group of members to form a ‘Regional Group’ as a functional body of ATRO within that area.
(b) The Association may by resolution prescribe rules governing the activity of any such Regional Group.
(c) Duly elected Co-ordinators of Regional Groups shall be entitled to attend meetings of the ATRO Committee with full voting rights.
AMENDMENT OF STANDING ORDERS
21. The Regular meeting shall have power to add, alter, or delete these Standing Orders or any part thereof, provided that at least two-thirds of Association members present vote in favour of addition, alteration and/or deletion.
ATRO Standing Orders March 2001