June 21, 2024

The Rules should be read in conjunction with the Constitution. Changes from the previous version are marked in red.

  1. Scope of the Association and its Members

The Association will normally concentrate its activities and services within the county of Bedfordshire. Whilst membership is open to all, and the majority of members will reside in the county, their beekeeping activities may extend outside Bedfordshire.

  1. Membership

There shall be four classes of member: Full Members, Honorary Members, Student Members, and Associate Members.

All classes of member will be entitled to:

(a) Receive a copy of the Yearbook and communication from the Association

(b) Attend Association events

(c) Borrow Association library items and Association equipment designated for loan

(d) Make purchases through the Association’s Bulk Purchase Scheme.

All classes of member aged sixteen or more will be entitled to attend and vote at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and any Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM).

Full and Honorary members will be entitled to insurance cover against legal financial liability to third parties for personal injuries or damage to property arising from the member’s beekeeping activities or products, in accordance with the terms of the insurance policy arranged by the Association. The policy document may be inspected on application to the Secretary.

Note 1: The insurance taken out by the Association is dependent upon each member carrying out their activities in accordance with association policies and good practice guidelines in a responsible manner.

Note 2: The Association does not arrange insurance cover for members against injury loss or damage to themselves or their bees or equipment however arising.

Honorary Membership may be awarded by the AGM on the recommendation of the charity trustees to beekeepers who have rendered valuable and distinguished service to the craft in general or to the Association in particular.  Honorary membership is free.

Student Members are those under eighteen years of age. Student Members attending Association events must be accompanied and supervised by a parent or guardian who is a Full member, or by a Full member who is a responsible adult designated in writing by the parent or guardian. The parent or guardian or responsible adult must accept responsibility for the Student Member’s conduct, dress and safety in all situations relating to beekeeping.  Student Members pay a reduced membership fee.

Associate Membership is open to all those who wish to maintain a link with the activities of the Association, including those who do not keep bees.  Associate Members pay a reduced membership fee.

Terms and conditions of membership of the Association: Members are required to behave reasonably and with respect towards other members of the Association and the general public in matters of beekeeping and Association business, and to comply with the rules and policies of the Association. Our Code of Conduct can be found in the addendum at the end of this document.

Friends of the Association: The Trustees may on occasion appoint Friends of the Association for a term of 12 months. Friends will receive regular communication from the Association and can attend Association events and talks. Friends are not formal members of the Association and there is no membership fee.

  1. Membership Fee

 The annual membership fee for each class of member shall be reviewed and fixed for the next calendar year by the charity trustees when it prepares the budget for that year. Any change to the fee shall be notified and explained in writing to all members by 30th November and reported to the next AGM or EGM. Membership will be deemed to have lapsed if the membership fee has not been paid by the start of the AGM.

  1. Financial Management of Assets and Accounts

4.1 The charity trustees shall maintain close financial control, and retain sufficient funds to cover at least one year of forecast running costs, excluding purchase of goods for resale, in addition to reserves for emergency situations and to facilitate longer term projects, such as the replacement of a teaching apiary or other services to preserve and enhance beekeeping in the county or public understanding of bees.

4.2 The Treasurer shall be responsible for monitoring the observance of the rules relating to Financial Management of Assets and Accounts and shall bring to the attention of the charity trustees any non-compliance therewith.

4.3 The Treasurer shall present to each meeting of the charity trustees a financial report summarising the income and expenditure since the beginning of the financial year, a comparison of actuals against budget with an explanation of any significant variances, a balance sheet, closing bank balances, and details of any payments made since the previous meeting of the charity trustees in excess of £250.

4.4 The Treasurer’s prior approval is required for any charity trustee to commit the Association to any sum greater than £100. The Treasurer shall obtain the charity trustees’ prior approval before making or approving any commitment over £500, other than the purchase of goods for trading purposes where the Treasurer, jointly with the Bulk Purchase Manager, may approve commitments up to £1500.

4.5 Each November the Treasurer shall bring to the charity trustees for approval a budget for the following financial year.

4.6 The Association’s bank account shall be operated by the Treasurer. Those charity trustees allowed to initiate or authorise online payments or sign cheques shall be any two of the Treasurer, the Secretary and any two other charity trustees authorised from time to time by the charity trustees for that purpose. No authoriser shall process a payment or sign a cheque for which they are the payee or possible direct or indirect beneficiary.

4.7 Payments shall where possible be by online payment or by cheque if the recipient requests it, and a receipt obtained for all cash payments. Unless the matter is under dispute, payment shall be made within two weeks of the receipt of the invoice.

4.8 All income, except for electronic payments, including membership subscriptions and orders for magazines, shall be recorded by the issue of a receipt by the person who initially receives the money on behalf of the Association.  However, the Treasurer may waive the requirement for receipts to be given for low cost items and where income is anticipated to be a small amount, and this has been agreed in advance.

4.9 All income shall be passed to the Treasurer with the issued receipt number within three weeks and banked within two weeks.

4.10 The Association shall have a current account for day-to-day working and at least one interest bearing account. The Treasurer shall be responsible for ensuring that a substantial portion of the Association’s money is held in an interest-bearing account and that the cleared funds in the current account shall not exceed £1000 for any period of time greater than one week.

4.11 The bank mandate shall stipulate that only one authorised signature is required to move money between Association accounts held within the same bank.

4.12 The Treasurer shall hold the paying-in book but stockists and other members of the charity trustees may also be issued with paying-in books.

4.13 The Treasurer shall pay expenses to members of the Association for expenditure properly incurred on behalf of the Association. The Association will exceptionally pay subsistence costs only when approved in advance by the charity trustees.

4.14 The Treasurer shall ensure that a register of the fixed assets of the Association is maintained and arrange for at least one annual stocktaking of these assets.

4.15 The Bulk Purchase Scheme shall be operated in such a way as to enable members to purchase beekeeping supplies at less than normal retail prices while also generating a profit margin for the Association of 5-8%. Stock shall be valued at the lower of cost or realisable value and should not exceed in value the equivalent of 6 months’ sales when valued at the Year End.

4.16 The Treasurer shall present to each AGM the Accounts for the year ended 31st December prior to that AGM. These shall be independently examined or audited in accordance with the requirements of the Charity Commission.

  1. General Management

5.1   Roles of charity trustees

Charity trustees will normally have a specific role in the running of the Association. These roles will be:

    • President
    • Chair
    • Secretary
    • Treasurer
    • Membership Secretary
    • District Advisers
    • Other Officers as the charity trustees or the AGM deem necessary.

For the purposes of administration and support for members, the County shall be divided into Districts, with a district adviser assigned to each District.  Trustees may appoint District Advisors and Other Officers who are not themselves trustees.

5.2   Meetings of charity trustees

5.2.1 Charity trustee meetings shall be held at least five times a year; the first to be as soon as practicable after the AGM.  The Secretary shall send to all charity trustees a copy of the minutes of the previous meeting, giving at the same time at least seven days notice of the date, time and place of the next meeting and the agenda for it.

5.2.2 Charity trustee meetings can be called by any charity trustee for the Association (as stated by Clause 19.1(a) of the Constitution), but in so doing the charity trustee shall specify the business for which the meeting is called.

5.3 Records of the Association

5.3.1 A register of the members of the Association (as required by Clause 23 of the Constitution) will be kept using a computerised membership management system, with a backup copy held by the Secretary.

5.3.2   The Secretary will keep a register of the charity trustees (required by Clause 23 of the Constitution).   A list of the charity trustees will be published in the Yearbook of the Association.

5.3.3 The Secretary will keep records of the proceedings of the Association (required by Clause 24 of the Constitution).  Minutes of the AGM will be published in the Yearbook of the Association.

5.4   Preparation for the AGM

5.4.1 The AGM of the Association shall be held in February of each year, where Charity trustees will present an annual report to members at the AGM.

5.4.2 Any resolution from a member or members for debate at the AGM shall be lodged with the Secretary at least eight weeks in advance of the AGM.

5.4.3 Any member who wishes to stand for a position as a charity trustee of the Association shall inform the Secretary no later than eight weeks in advance of the AGM, giving the names of two other members who agree to act as proposer and seconder.  The member should indicate which of the roles as an Officer of the Association they would be willing to fulfil.

5.4.4 Any member who wishes to stand for a position as a charity trustee of the Association shall provide a brief overview of their relevant experience and expertise (max 200 words) no later than eight weeks in advance of the AGM, and, except in exceptional circumstances, be present at the AGM.

Addendum – Code of Conduct

BedsBKA is a charitable organisation run by unpaid volunteers. We are united by our love of bees, the desire to further the craft of beekeeping and to educate the public of the benefit of bees in the environment.

Just like our bees, each of us bring different skills and fulfil different roles in our human social colony which is our Association.

To function well and to flourish as an Association, regardless of our beekeeping experience or other skills we bring, we require all of our members and trustees to act reasonably and to behave with respect towards others. In fact, you’ll find this in our rules (you can find these on our website, look under point 2).

But what does this mean?

  • We communicate with each other (through emails, Facebook, speaking etc.) respectfully and with dignity;
  • We are considerate of others;
  • We make everyone feel included;
  • We are humble and say sorry if we have caused offence, even if we didn’t mean to;
  • We contribute positively, listen carefully, challenge sensitively and avoid negative conflict;
  • We welcome diverse views and opinions;
  • We consider what is best for the Association, not for ourselves;
  • We don’t bring the Association into disrepute;
  • We don’t remain silent and call out others who don’t behave as they should.

Trustees in particular have some additional responsibilities:

  • We are aware of the contents of the constitution and rules;
  • We make decisions collectively and stand by them – not acting individually;
  • We register, declare and resolve conflicts of interest;
  • We don’t gain materially or financially unless pre-agreed;
  • We understand and respect confidentiality (of the Association, the trustees and members);
  • We actively engage in discussions and in decision-making;
  • We read papers, query unclear or difficult things and think through issues in good time before meetings;
  • We talk positively about the Association both publicly and privately;
  • If there is a difference of opinion, we don’t stubbornly stick to our position but actively try to achieve consensus.

Version: 5th June 2023