The fundamental policies of the ICUU are the Constitution and By-laws. The constitution of an organization is a brief statement of its basic objectives, structure and methods of operation, while the by-laws comprise a set of regulations for its internal organization. In addition, we have developed policies which expand on some provisions of the by-laws or deal with specific matters which fall outside of the basic documents. In general, policies are developed by the Executive Committee. Broad policies are brought to the larger Council for ratification. Others are essentially working documents for the Executive Committee. This document brings together the policies which have been adopted (or, in one case, are expected to be adopted) for the information of the members of the Council.
1. GUIDELINES & TERMINOLOGY FOR GROUPS ASSOCIATED WITH ICUU
The following categories to be recognized (with their voting and representational rights):
Full Members. Organizations that fulfill the conditions laid down in the ICUU constitution and by-laws (section I). In addition to fulfilling these conditions an organization applying for full membership must satisfy the EC and the Council that it has an established record of stability, unity and effective administration. Delegate & voting rights as per the constitution.
To be recognized by the ICUU as a full member group, a group must show evidence of
• At least two years status as an active group, fulfilling all the criteria listed for Provisional Membership
• Commitment to dues structure of the ICUU and annual payment of membership dues
• Provision of a regular annual report
• Recommendation of the Executive Committee, based upon regular, ongoing communication between the group and ICUU staff and/or leadership.
Provisional Members. Organizations which aspire to full membership and apparently fulfill the conditions laid down in the constitution but which in their own estimation and/or that of the EC and the Council are not ready for that status. A newly formed organization would normally be expected to remain in this category for at least four years before being considered for full membership. 3000+ members: two non-voting delegates. 3000- members: one non-voting delegate.
To be recognized by the ICUU as a provisional member group, a group must show evidence of
• Formal organization, with appropriate records of incorporation, including some form of constitution/by-laws which state criteria for membership and criteria for leadership.
• Written record of membership, and evidence of on-going meetings for worship held at a minimum level of 1 per month and evidence provided of democratic leadership
• Membership of at least 20
• Participation in at least one ICUU meeting or event
• Connection with at least one full-member group of the ICUU and demonstrated willingness to cooperate with other regionally connected ICUU members
• Demonstrated use of Unitarian principles and worship formats suitable to local context
• Recommendation of the Executive Committee, based upon first-hand assessment of the aims and intent of this group, and viability of this group for membership
• The provision of an annual report as required
Recognition as a Provisional Member requires the recommendation of the Executive Committee and affirmative vote of the Council.
Emerging Groups. Unitarian, Universalist and Unitarian Universalist organisations which do not fulfil the conditions of either Full or Provisional Membership but which are interested in moving towards full membership. No delegates or voting rights, but observers may be invited by the EC.
To be recognized by the ICUU as an emerging group, a group must show evidence of
• Regular, documented worship activities over a period of at least 18 months
• A support membership of at least 15 people
• Knowledge of and use of U-U principles and practices (such as freedom of belief, tolerance of diversity, democratic ideals and organization)
• Transparent organization (i.e. that it is not a one-man/woman rule with no liability and no provisions on renovation in leadership).
Associates. Properly constituted organizations with beliefs and purposes closely akin to those of ICUU but which by the nature of their constitution are not eligible for full membership or which do not wish to become full members now or in the foreseeable future. Such organizations are entitled to one non-voting delegate.
1. All member groups must report their membership count at each Council Meeting, along with a description as to how this number was arrived at. For small groups, evidence of membership numbers should be provided.
2. Where groups are only entitled to one delegate, requests to send one observer to Council meetings will be sympathetically considered.
3. Delegates -whether voting or non-voting -have the right to speak at Council meetings. Observers have no such right and should only be able to speak at the discretion of the chair.
4. The status of all current members should be reviewed and, if necessary, revised by the Council upon presentation of recommendations by the Executive Committee.
~: This provision may require a constitutional amendment.
2. MORE THAN ONE GROUP IN A COUNTRY
a.) It is the policy of ICUU to encourage a situation in which there is one member group per country.
b.) If more than one established Unitarian/Universalist organization exists in a country and they do not wish to merge fully, the ICUU will encourage them to form a single 'umbrella' body on the model of the Indian Council of Unitarian Churches. Such a body will encourage closer relations within the country as well as acting as the representative ICUU member group.
c.) If more than one established Unitarian/Universalist organization exists in a country, but for reasons of tradition and practice they wish to remain independent and distinct, then they may seek ICUU membership separately. In considering such applications the EC and the Council will have regard to the attitude which the applicant adopts towards the other Unitarian/Universalist group(s) in the country concerned. It is expected that any such change will be arrived at by mutual consent on the part of the organizations concerned.
3. SCHISMS WITHIN MEMBER GROUPS
Reconciliation and Mediation
a.) In the event of a schism occurring within an ICUU member group where both parties claim recognition as "the" regular ICUU member to the exclusion of the other, the EC will temporarily suspend that member's Council voting rights.
b.) If the factions are able to achieve reconciliation either on their own or through mediation, then the group's voting rights will normally be reinstated by the EC. The EC will, however, need to be satisfied that the reconciliation discussions were carried out in a fair and equitable manner, and that the resolution is stable.
c.) If the schismatic factions are unable to achieve reconciliation through their own efforts, then the EC will offer to assist with mediation. Should one or both of the Parties refuse this offer, or should the mediation be Unsuccessful, then the EC will conduct an investigation to determine the merits of each claimant's case. Both claimants will have the right to be heard.
d) An investigation by the EC, if needed, may following results:
The investigation may find that despite their differences, both factions have acted in good faith and in accordance with the letter and spirit of the constitution of the ICUU. If this happens, the EC will recommend to the Council that both groups be recognized as separate members of the ICUU, subject to the requirements of the policy "More than One Group in a Country". Their membership status shall be that of the original group prior to the split, and their dues and delegate numbers shall be determined by the Constitution and by-laws of the ICUU.
The investigation may find that one faction represents the authentic continuing tradition (if any) of the member group while the other does not, and that it has acted throughout in good faith and in accordance with the letter and spirit of its own constitution and that of the ICUU. In this case the EC will recommend to the Council that it alone be recognized as the continuing ICUU member group. The suspension of voting rights of the entire group will, however, remain in effect until the Council can determine the final outcome. A Representative of the to-be-excluded faction will be invited to attend the council meeting to present that faction's case.
The investigation may find that neither faction is acting in accordance with the principles, constitution and spirit of ICUU. In this situation, the EC will recommend to the Council that the whole group be suspended or removed from membership until such time as one of the other outcomes becomes possible. Representatives of the conflicting factions will be invited to attend the Council meeting to present their cases, but they will have no vote until such time as the Council decides otherwise.
4. MORE THAN ONE COUNTRY IN A GROUP
a.) Where a member group has a transnational constituency this shall not compromise the right of national Unitarian/Universalist groups within the same constituency from seeking distinct ICUU membership.
b.) If a member group's constituency includes more than one country with a national Unitarian/Universalist organization, then the organizations in other countries within its constituency may seek and hold independent ICUU membership. The original member group's representation will then be restricted to that portion of its constituency that is NOT included within those organizations. It is expected that any such changes will be arrived at by mutual consent on the part of the organizations
Adopted by International Council, May 2001
5. Policy on Subsidizing Attendance at ICUU Council Meetings.
Funds available from budget will be allocated according to the following priority:
A) Delegates and EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Members.
B) People especially invited by EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
C) Non-voting Delegates from Provisional Members
D) Non-voting Delegates from Associate Members.
E) Representatives from Emerging Groups
F) Non-affiliated contacts.
We will not pay the travel expenses of observers, except when they are especially invited by the Executive Committee.
6. POLICY ON FINANCIAL AID
FINANCIAL AID TO MEMBER GROUPS *
a.) It is the policy of ICUU not to make grants out of its operating budget to member or other groups for capital projects. That is, it will not fund in whole or in part any of the following: the purchase, rental or lease of land and real estate; the purchase, rental or lease of buildings; the construction of buildings; the extension, repair, renovation or improvement of buildings; any project deemed by EC and Council to be a capital project.
b.) It is the policy of ICUU not to make grants to any member or other group for the normal remuneration of any person in that group's employ.
d.) ICUU will offer advice and assistance as to where groups can seek the grant aid that ICUU is unable to give, and will undertake to bring this need to the attention of the full membership.
Adopted by International Council, May 2001
(Note: A form and procedure for applying for aid is available through the Executive Director.)
c) the purpose is not inconsistent with other ICUU policies.
Adopted by the International Council, May 2003
The financial management of major events is a complex process. The policy described below will centralise and streamline this work and will better ensure the accuracy of financial record keeping for such events in future.
- Events Administered Directly by the ICUU (e.g. leadership development workshops, symposiums)
When the cost of the event is expected to be in excess of 5,000 US$, the Executive Committee or its designate will appoint a registrar/treasurer or a separate registrar and treasurer for the event. These people will be members of the event’s organization team.
Responsibilities of the Registrar:
- to receive and record the names and other appropriate information of all applicants planning to attend the event;
- to collect such registration fees as may be required from these persons and forward them to the Treasurer;
- to send to these people or their sponsoring agencies such advance information as may be required;
- to authorize for the Treasurer the release of cash advances to subsidized participants;
- to register the names, etc. of all persons who actually attend the event and ensure that they receive information packages, identification badges, etc. as appropriate;
- to inform the Treasurer of any refunds to be made or advance payments to be reclaimed for those who registered in advance but did not attend.
Responsibilities of the Treasurer:
- to open a bank account for the event;
- to develop with the Registrar and with the event organisers a detailed budget for the event;
- to process all registration fees collected by the Registrar;
- to process in a timely manner cash advance payments to registrants upon being authorized to do so by the Registrar;
- to process refunds and claims for reimbursement of advance payments for those who registered for the event but do not attend;
- to receive income from the ICUU and from other sponsoring agencies (unless processed directly by the ICUU);
- to pay out all event expenses as described in the budget and authorised for release by the event organizers;
- to maintain detailed records and collect receipts for all financial transactions concerning the event;
- to prepare a final financial report within three months of the event’s conclusion for the event organisers and for the ICUU Treasurer;
- to include in this report any outstanding cost or recovery items that could not be cleared within this time period;
- to close the account and forward to the ICUU Treasurer all remaining funds in that account along with all records and receipts for the event within three months of the event’s conclusion.
- Events that are financially supported by the ICUU but which are not administered by the ICUU (e.g. regional meetings)
Responsibilities of the ICUU Executive Committee:
- to determine that the event is consisted with the ICUU purposes;
- to determine that there are adequate monies in the ICUU budget to cover its share of the costs, and that other sponsors will contribute their shares;
- to assure itself that the event organizers have the means to carry out the planned event and to maintain adequate records – including financial records – of the event and its participants.
Responsibilities of the event organizers vies a vies the ICUU:
- to carry out the event as approved;
- to prepare a report on the event, including a financial report, for the ICUU Executive Committee within a reasonable time following the event.
Adopted by Executive Committee, April 2002
11. Policy on Letters of Endorsement
Many countries require International Letters of Endorsement in order to give legal standing to a new Unitarian church of Fellowship. The ICUU Director has been asked to supply such letters and has requested guidance. By consensus the following four requests were to be met before such a letter will be written:
- Endorsement from the ICUU Member Group with which the applying church or fellowship is affiliated.
- B) A copy of the Constitution of the church or fellowship which is applying.
- C) The names and addresses of three officers of the new church or fellowship including an address of record for mailing purposes.
- The current schedule and place of church or fellowship meetings, with a request that updates be sent in case of changes.
Adopted by the Executive Committee, May 2001
12. Personnel Committee Mandate
The role of the Personnel Committee is to develop and recommend personnel policies to the Executive Committee and, when appropriate, to the full Council, to recommend the appointment or termination of lead staff* to the Executive Committee, and to supervise and evaluate lead staff*.
The committee should be chaired by the President, and include one member of the Executive Committee appointed by the President and one member of the Executive Committee nominated by the staff member. A fourth member, not on the Executive Committee, may be appointed with the agreement of both President and staff member.
- To make recommendations to the Executive Committee and the Council for personnel policies.
- To develop job descriptions for positions determined by the Executive Committee to be necessary to the functioning of the Council.
- To advertise positions available, recruit suitable candidates when appropriate, interview, and recommend appointments to the Executive Committee.
- To evaluate staff at the end of a probationary period and at the mid-point between Council meetings thereafter.
- To make recommendations to the Executive Committee on compensation and benefits.
*As long as the Council has only one employee (lead staff), the personnel committee carries the responsibilities outlined. In the event that the Council expands, the Executive Director/General Secretary would have responsibility for managing other staff.
Adopted by Executive Committee, October 2002
13. POLICY ON DISSOLUTION OF A MEMBER GROUP
If a member group ceases to exist, and notice of such comes from last member(s) of the member group, the Executive Director should try to contact other members of the supposedly disbanded group to confirm that the group has actually disbanded. If confirmed, then bring to next Council the proposal of removal of membership. If information of dissolution comes from indirect sources, the Executive Director should try to contact members of the supposedly disbanded group, for direct confirmation.
Adopted by Executive Committee, February 2010
14. POLICY FOR COMPLIANCE WITH MEMBERSHIP RESPONSIBILITIES
If a member group fails to provide an annual report to the Executive Committee, or fails to pay annual membership dues without communication of such to the Treasurer, the Executive Director may give notice that the continuing membership will be reviewed by the executive committee and terms of compliance determined with member group.
If membership responsibilities are not reinstated within the period of notice given the group membership will be slated for termination at the next Council meeting.
Adopted by Executive Committee, February 2010
15. MEMBER GROUPS IN “SUSPENDED” STATUS
If a member group temporarily interrupt’s their organizational activities, they may request a "freezing" in their status evaluation, or a period of “dormancy” as a member group, until they are able to resume activities.
If agreed by the Executive Committee, and also in agreement with the member group, consider it "dormant" for a period of 2 to 4 years, as considered adequate by the Executive Committee.
If, by the end of that period, the group remains inactive, consider removing it from membership at the next Council.
If by the end of the "dormant" period, the group is still inactive but there are reasons to believe that they are struggle to resume meetings, or if they are meeting irregularly or only on special occasions (national holidays, Christmas, etc.), then consider removing it from membership and inviting the group to become an "emerging group" instead.
A protocol and program for aiding member groups who are struggling is to be developed. This could include a combination of organizational consulting, visiting minister, and community capacity building. This type of support should be offered before consideration is given to placing a member group in “suspended” status due to lack of activity.
Adopted by Executive Committee, February 2010
16. Policy regarding Travel Reimbursements
When travel on ICUU business is undertaken, stops and diversions en route are permitted and the cost can be reimbursed as long as the total cost of travel is no greater than 10% higher than the direct travel cost as offered by a travel consolidation website such as www.kaayak.com.
When travel on ICUU business is combined with personal trips, ICUU will reimburse the same amount as the direct travel cost as offered by a travel consolidation website such as www.kayak.com.
Adopted by Executive Committee, August 2010
17. Financial Management :Policy
The Bookkeeper should be a continuing position with the office holder physically located close to the location of the Executive Director.
The Bookkeeper will continue to be supervised by the Treasurer but will receive day to day input directly from the Executive Director and the Program Coordinator.
The Executive Director and Program Consultant will be given the authority to requisition cheques and other payments directly from the Bookkeeper so long as the amounts are within the specific project budgets approved by either the Treasurer or the EC. This authority will extend to special project budgets, office/ office equipment and travel budgets and such other routine items.
The authority of the Executive Director and Program Consultant will not extend to staff salary and benefit budgets. Those will remain the purview of the treasurer.
The Executive Director and Program Consultant have the authority to reallocate funds between budget items under their control as they deem necessary, but must inform the Treasurer and the President of any significant changes they decide to make.
The Staff may not exceed established project budgets (that is total budget for specific special projects) by more than 10 percent without permission from the Treasurer.
The Treasurer will continue to carry out the management accounting functions of review and analysis of monthly statements, ensuring that financial matters stay within the bounds set out by By-laws, EC and Council policy and the legal requirements of the state.
The Executive Director and Program Consultant will transmit all working drafts of specific project budgets to the Treasurer in a timely fashion for oversight, question and comment and possible referral to the EC for decisions. Draft project budgets will be forward to the EC for approval before project can be initiated.
The Treasurer will have the discretion to decide whether later drafts of specific project budgets need further EC approval. The EC may choose to impose ‘triggers’ at which time the treasurer will have to bring the budget to the EC for comment.
Adopted by Executive Committee, August 2010, Amended September 2011)
18. Policy for Emergency Disaster Appeals to Benefit ICUU Member Groups and Emerging Groups
- A part of ICUU’s core mission is to foster and facilitate networking between the progressive faith communities, including member and emerging groups, connected through it. Some of these groups will experience disasters or emergencies as a result of acts of nature or of humanity.
- In such instances, ICUU has a vital role to play in sharing information and in coordinating the collection, handling and disbursal of financial contributions from groups and individuals worldwide who wish to donate toward relief efforts connected to such disasters and emergencies.
- The Executive Director (ES) will monitor news and information to identify such situations when they arise. Other ICUU staff, the Executive Committee and the Council should assist by alerting the ES as quickly as possible if they become aware of such situations or the emerging possibility of one.
- When such a situation arises, the ES should consult with appropriate persons such as the ICUU President and staff colleagues in regard to a suitable response. If contact is difficult, the ES is empowered to act using the ES’s discretion. The ICUU EC should be informed as soon as possible of any such actions undertaken.
- The ES should consider and put into place what communication is appropriate both in terms of supportive messages from ICUU to the group affected and of informing the larger ICUU community of events, to include details of any financial appeal that may be organized on behalf of the affected group.
- When it is considered appropriate to organize a financial appeal as part of the response, the ES should arrange this in collaboration with the ICUU Treasurer and financial staff. Approval of the representative of the affected group should be given for any such appeal except in extraordinary circumstances such as inability to make contact.
- Funds collected by the ICUU for any such appeal will be processed in the same way as any other income or expenditure, but a record will be kept of income, costs and disbursements related to any appeal. Funds donated or intended for the general operating expenses or designated for other purposes cannot be applied to or become part of the disbursement of any appeal.
- ICUU is not obliged to accept or process a contribution from any person or group and will comply with legal requirements and recommended practice regarding matters such as money laundering.
- Any and all expense incurred by the ICUU in the receipt, handling and disbursement of funds for any appeal will be deducted from the funds disbursed to the beneficiary group.
- It will be made clear in all communications regarding any appeal that any funds disbursed to a group not needed for the purpose of the appeal can then be used for the general expenses of the group.
- At the next Annual or Special Meeting of the ICUU Council following any Appeal, the ICUU Treasurer will include an accounting of any appeals since the last Council Meeting as part of the Treasurer’s report.
Adopted by Executive Committee February 2013
19. Nominating Committee Policies
Objectives of Nominating Committee:
To present to the Council a slate of candidates for office who have the appropriate skills, knowledge and experience to meet the requirements of the positions for which they are nominated. All candidates must be members in good standing of Member Groups. The slate may include one or two candidates for any particular position.
To nominate members of the succeeding Nominating Committee.
To ensure that the slate is balanced as to geography, gender and size of member group.
To avoid conflict of interest, Nominating Committee members may not stand for election as Executive committee members during their terms of office.
Nominating Process: All member groups must receive the call for nominations, including the criteria required for particular positions.
Nominating Committee canvasses sitting Executive Committee members to determine their eligibility and willingness to continue serving on the Committee, in their present position or in another position. To ensure continuity on the Executive Committee, members are usually encouraged to serve more than one term. They may be nominated for a different position within the Committee if that seems appropriate.
Candidates must be nominated by their own member group and seconded by another member group. The member group must solicit a seconding group. The Nominating Committee may make suggestions about possibilities for seconding groups.
All candidates must prepare a short statement outlining their qualifications for the position and what they would like to contribute should they be elected. The Nominating Committee may suggest further requirements for this statement.
After the initial call, the Nominating Committee may request a member group to nominate someone for a particular position. It may become proactive, seeking advice from all appropriate sources to find candidates who meet the particular criteria needed to fill the positions. Such candidates must still be nominated and seconded as any other candidate is.
The Nominating Committee may wish to place a name on the slate for a position other than that for which he or she was initially nominated. That individual and the nominating and seconding groups must be informed and must agree in writing to the change.
All nominating candidates should be informed whether or not their names are on the official slate as soon as the Committee has prepared it.
Election process: Our by-laws state that there are three ways in which people can be nominated for the Executive Committee. The slate of candidates prepared by the Nominating Committee is mailed to the Members not less than three months prior to the Council Meeting at which the election is to occur. Everyone nominated must be a Member in good standing of a Member organization and be acceptable to the governing body of that organization.
Adopted by International Council January 2014 (replacing Policy Adopted by Council in 2007)
- ICUU internal emails whether circulated via the EC mailing list or as direct communications should be labelled in the subject line by one of three tags before a colon – FOR INFO, ACTION NEEDED, or URGENT, followed by a brief description of the subject, such as ACTION NEEDED: Next EC Meeting.
- Emails should be responded to as soon as possible but with these expectations -
FOR INFO – No response is needed or expected unless there are questions
ACTION NEEDED – A response should be sent or the requested action undertaken within 5 days of date of email
URGENT – Response or action should be undertaken within 48 hours of the date of the date and time of the email.
- The URGENT tag should only be used when immediate response or action is critical. Please though respond to ACTION NEEDED emails as soon as possible, so email writers are not tempted to overuse the URGENT tag just to obtain responses.
- If more time is needed before acting on an ACTION NEEDED or URGENT email, colleagues are encouraged to let that be known as soon as possible.
- When possible, an email should be limited a particular topic or request. This is to avoid other matters being overlooked and to make it easier to file and deal with email.
- Emails should normally only be sent to those who need to see them or have requested information or action, even if the email reached you as one circulated to everyone thorough the EC email list. This requires attention to who an email is addressed to, as simply hitting reply to an email that came from the EC mail list may cause it to have a wider circulation.
- Emails are person to person communication and permission to quote or copy should be sought before quoting or copying any email that may have content the author would reasonable presume as private.
- Emails can lead to misunderstandings as subtle meanings and cultural context are not conveyed or are masked. Please assume goodwill and expect that differences in email communications are a result of misunderstanding rather than of critical or negative intent. When such a situation arises, attempts to clarify or resolve such matters by email can unintentionally escalate difficulties and verbal communication by phone or Skype is recommended as a better way to re-establish understanding.
Adopted by Executive Committee March 2014
- The staff should circulate agendas and associated documents as soon as possible in advance of an Executive Committee meeting, but normally no later than two weeks before a meeting. The agendas are prepared by the Executive Director (ED) and the President (P) working collaboratively.
- EC Member are expected to review agendas and associated documents as soon as possible after they arrive and to normally contact the ED and/or the P with any questions or concerns about the agenda and documents. This is so that time at the meeting does not need to be devoted to answering questions and to give the staff to locate and consider any necessary information.
- EC Meetings agendas are divided into consent items and discussion items. Consent items are taken with discussion and considered adopted unless a member of the EC requests a particular item be moved to the discussion agenda. Consent items will normally be reports and notice of decisions or plans for confirmation by the EC or for their information. Discussion items will normally be strategic questions or matters that the board needs to consider to offer guidance to the staff to guide their work.
- Although there may be occasions at EC meetings when new questions or considerations arise that could not be anticipated, whenever possible questions and suggestions should be shared in advance of a meeting, to enable the maximum time at meetings to be devoted to discussion.
- The President is normally the chair of a EV meeting and those who wish to speak at a particular time should type a note in the chat box that they wish to speak and wait to be called on by the chair of the meeting. At the discretion of the chair, the order of speakers may be varied from that of indication of their wish to speak and staff may be asked to comment in response to questions or to offer perspectives on possibilities.
- Except in emergency circumstances, EC members should notify the ED and/or P in advance of items they wish to be included on the consent or discussion agendas. New items of other business raised at an EC meeting will be normally be deferred until the next meeting, unless earlier action is an absolute requirement.
- Minutes of meetings should be as brief and succinct as possible. Decisions and action points should be included rather than summaries of what each person said or raised. Only decisions or actions that are agreed by the EC become decisions or policies of the EC. That an EC member might mention or suggests something does not mean that it will be actioned unless there is formal agreement on the part of the EC. When a variety of ideas or proposals have been aired, at the conclusion of a discussion, it is a good idea for the EC to stop and check what has been agreed, particularly for the benefit of the note taker and staff.
- Once a decision has been made by the EC, it is the responsibility of individual EC members and the staff to support and implement that decision or plan, even if they were not in agreement with it. In unusual circumstance, an EC member or staff member may ask the EC to reconsider an earlier decision. They should explain why they feel this is necessary and be prepared to make their case. However if the EC declines to review the decisions or reviews it and re-affirms its original decision, the EC member or staff member is expected to support the EC decision publicly and privately.
Adopted by Executive Committee March 2014
22. Roles of the Executive Committee and of the Staff
- In general terms, it is the work of the Executive Committee to focus on strategic matters, on the governance of the organization, on accountability and on ensuring there are adequate resources financial and otherwise. This is sometimes described as focusing on “the what” rather than “the how”.
- Also in general terms, it is the work of the staff to plan and undertake the how to address “the what” that has been determined by the Executive Committee. The staff should have full responsibility for operational decisions, restricted only by any limitation policies that the EC feels is absolutely necessary.
- EC members are also likely to undertake volunteer tasks for the organization. This is different role than when they are acting as board members, although both types of work are vital and greatly appreciated. When acting as EC members, the staff is responsible and accountable to the EC. When EC members are acting as volunteers, they are responsible and accountable to staff.
- The staff will generally seek to accommodate requests and queries from EC members but only the President can direct or instruct staff collectively on behalf of the EC. The staff are grateful for suggestions and information from EC members, but EC member should avoid micro-managing staff and give them as much trust and autonomy as possible.
Special Role of the President
- The President has a number of special roles and ICUU should be grateful for the significant contribution those who serve in this role make to the organization.
- A key role of the President is to chair the Executive Committee and to facilitate its meetings and work in collaboration with the ED. Normally, the focus on facilitating the involvement of EC members in the discussion means he or she does not have the opportunity to promote their own views and perspectives. There are times when the President will want to do just that and best practice is for the President to ask the Vice-President or ED to take the chair while the President participates in the discussion.
- The President is the person empowered to speak on behalf of the EC and along with the ED, the President is one of the public voices and representatives of ICUU. There is sometimes a ceremonial role. The person serving as President is often an important leader in their own member group. Careful consideration when they speak or act is best given to when they are acting on behalf of or promoting the broader interests of ICUU or when they are speaking as or acting for the interest of their own group.
- Staff will inevitably have a close relationship with the President. Part of that relationship is ensuring the accountability of staff and offering them guidance. As important a role for the President is caring for and supporting the staff, ensuring their interest and well-being is taken into account and covering their back when needed.
- In encouraging member groups and other to support the ICUU and its work, there is an implied role for the President as an important fundraiser for the organization. However in this role she or he is “first among equals” and all EC members take on a collective responsibility to help generate support.
Special Role of the Vice President
- Naturally the key role of the Vice President is to support the President in their special role and to be prepared to fill in for the President when it might become necessary.
- It is helpful for the Vice President to be seen as complementary to the President. This means supporting the President and enhancing their work. In some cases, this may mean working together with the President on particular tasks or responsibilities. In other situations, it may mean handling certain work roles on behalf of the President that the other office holder may not have time to handled or when the Vice President have expertise or experience of value.
- It is both important that the Vice President take their lead from the President and respect their authority but also that the President sees the Vice-President as a vital partner and colleague in leadership.
- Service as Vice-President can be a superb training ground for some who may later become President of an organization. However there should be no presumption or assumption that a Vice President will then go on to become President. There are people who may not have the time, temperament or experience to serve as President but bring special skills and gifts to this role that may be vital in helping a President feel supported.
Special Role of the Secretary
- The Secretary is Secretary of the Executive Committee which means their primary role is to take the minutes at Executive Committee meetings, at Council Meetings and at any other special meeting for which minutes may be needed.
- Beyond this special task, the Secretary is regarded as a full member of the Executive Committee and take a full part in its meeting and activities.
- Normal and special correspondence on behalf of the ICUU is handled by the ED. The ED also has responsibility for circulating the minutes prepared by the Secretary.
Special Role of the Treasurer
- The Treasurer is tasked with monitoring the financial activity of ICUU and ensuring that there is sound stewardship of our financial resources. The role here is primarily a supervisory one as the bookkeeper looks after the accounts, reimbursements and bank deposits on a daily basis and the ED and SPC look after program expenditure in line with the agreed budget and the seeking of grants to support programs.
- There are two particular areas that the Treasurer has first-line responsibility for and that is the invoicing and collection of due from member group and the salary arrangements and payments for the Executive Director.
- Although the Treasurer is expected to have the most intimate knowledge of ICUU’s financial affairs, responsibility and accountability for the financial health and conduct of ICUU is jointly held with the other members of the Executive Committee. For example, this means that although a recommendation as to the level of membership due and compensation for the staff, and rates paid to contract staff such as the bookkeeper will normally come from the Treasurer, consideration of such matters is the responsibility of the full Executive Committee.
Special Role of the Members At Large
- The special role of the Members At Large is more general and project driven. The primary work is to be fully involved in the meeting and activities of the Executive Committee and to keep in close touch with ICUU member groups, aiding the staff and officers in ensuring there is effective two-way communication.
- There are also opportunities to take on special project or time based tasks as needed. For example, Brian Kiely is chairing the Governance Review Task Force and playing a major role in fundraising.
Adopted by Executive Committee March 2014
23. Policy on Who ICUU Regards as Ministers
Many, but not all, ICUU member and emerging groups recognize particular individuals as ministers, and refer to these persons as Rev. or the Reverend. The practices and arrangements by which persons are chosen and recognized as ministers varies according to local contexts. Those groups that do not have ministers are usually well served by lay leadership.
Where they exist, ministers are persons who have been chosen for a special role in some of our traditions, but have no special authority beyond that granted by their communities. All persons can minister to each other and the world, but persons who hold the title of minister accept a special level of responsibility for sustaining our faith and hold themselves ethically accountable in their conduct and behaviour to their colleagues and to the appropriate body in their group.
Not everyone has the time, resources, abilities, temperament or inclination to become a minister, and the laity is as important and valuable as those who take on the ministerial role.
Becoming a minister is more than the completion of theological education. Within our global movement, there are three basic elements of becoming a minister, namely:
1. academic training or education,
2. formation (experience and contextual training, learning to bring one’s religious call to life, and a new way of being in the world.)
3. recognition ( by an appropriate regional or national body, usually involves the granting of credentials such as “fellowshipping” or being added to a ministerial roll.).
ICUU does not offer recognition, certification or credentialing of ministers. This is a right and responsibility of member groups, according to their local contexts, histories and needs.
Conferences, programs or other activities arranged by ICUU for ministers are open to persons formally recognized by an ICUU member group as a minister of religion and in good standing with that member group.
While recognizing that persons not formally recognized as ministers may exercise ministry in their religious life or community, and that an individual may declare themselves a minister or be regarded as such by a congregation or a sub-group of an ICUU member group, unless formal recognition is granted by the ICUU member group of which the individual is a member, they will not normally be regarded by ICUU as a minister.
Ministerial status should normally be sought from the ICUU member group of which the individual is a member and/or where the individual plans to exercise their ministry. Persons who are granted ministerial status by ICUU groups other than those to whom they belong, will not be viewed as ministers by ICUU unless such recognition is granted or endorsed by the member group to which they belong.
Students for the ministry may take part in ICUU activities intended for ministers if they are formally recognized as students by their member group and if they would be entitled to participate in meetings of ministers in their own ICUU member group.
ICUU staff have discretion in applying this policy with regard to participation in any particular event or activity, in special circumstances.
Adopted by Executive Committee July 2014