Club Rules (Constitution)
What is a constitution?
A constitution is a basic set of rules for the daily running of your club or group. It details for your members and others the name, objects, methods of management and other conditions under which your club or group operates, and generally the reasons for its existence. It also regulates the relationship between members by setting out the basis for working with other co-members.
Why do we need a constitution?
Constitutions: 1 Explain to members and non-members what your group is about. 2 Provide guidelines for the daily running of your group. 3 Help to sort out internal problems. 4 Are a legal necessity if your group wishes to become incorporated. 5 Can help in seeking resources from other organisations, such as a government agency. 6 AlIow you to apply for a liquor licence. If your group intends to apply for a liquor licence under section 49 of the WA Liquor Licensing Act 1988, it will generally need to be incorporated. One of the pre-requisites for incorporation is a constitution complying with the Associations Incorporation Act 2015.
What level of detail should you include?
A constitution can be extremely simple, containing only the basic outline to explain who you are, what you are set up for and important management matters. The extent to which you add detail in the rules depends on the needs or formality at the time of setting up the group, and on your group’s thoughts about the projected needs of the group as it grows. Many details relating to minor management matters are best included within by-laws, regulations or policies thus keeping your constitution flexible and easy to operate within.
What to avoid
A constitution can be made up of two parts; the rules which include the basic principles of the group and can be changed only by a general meeting; and the regulations or by-laws which can be changed by the committee. You can place almost anything within a constitution. However many aspects of your club’s operation are more easily handled outside the formality of the rules. For instance, you would not include the membership charges or club colours in the rules. The rules in your constitution should relate to the administration of the club. They should not relate to the conduct of the activities of the club. Additional non-administrative rules should appear in regulations and by-laws. A clause in the rules empowering the committee to make, alter or delete regulations or by-laws should appear in the constitution.
Clubs who are members of Clubs WA www.clubswa.com.au also have Model Rules available which can be used and includes requirements around Liquor Licensing.
By-laws are secondary rules that expand on the rules of association and cover non-administrative matters that do not need to be included in the rules of association.
Typically, by-laws might deal with matters, such as the following:
- club colours
- uniforms and dress codes
- sub committee descriptions and procedures
- competition rules
- sporting fixtures
- player eligibility
- selection of players
- coaching regulations
- supply of liquor
- a code of conduct
In order for by-laws to be lawfully effective the rules of association should include a simple clause, referring to the addition and amendment of by-laws.