Details of Democrats Abroad UK Elected Office Roles and Responsibilities
Democrats Abroad relies on dedicated and committed volunteers to run the organisation, both in elected leadership roles and on its appointed committees.
The guidance below describes the responsibilities associated with each of the elected positions in the organisation.
Candidates for these roles will be elected to a 2-year term at the upcoming General Meeting to be held on Saturday, March 21, 2021.
If you are considering whether you would like to nominate yourself or others for any of these roles, this guidance is meant to help you understand what is involved in order to inform your decision.
Expenses incurred in the exercise of all elected positions are primarily self-funded. Assistance may be available on occasion.
All members with an interest in taking on leadership responsibilities within Democrats Abroad UK are encouraged to submit a nomination. The elections committee does not take a position either in favour of or opposing anyone’s nomination.
DAUK members will be electing the following positions:
- Chair of Democrats Abroad UK
- Vice Chair of Democrats Abroad UK (must be not of the same gender as the Chair)
- Secretary of Democrats Abroad UK
- Treasurer of Democrats Abroad UK
- Voting Representatives to the Democratic Party Committee Abroad (approximately 22, subject to gender balance rules; number will be finalised in February based on membership count as of January 31, 2021)
- Non-Voting DPCA Representatives (7, subject to gender balance rules)
- At-Large Members of the Executive Committee of Democrats Abroad UK (8)
- At-Large Members of the Council of Democrats Abroad UK (there is no limit on the number of persons who can be elected, but each candidate must receive support from a majority of those voting on the Council ballot to be elected)
The eligibility requirements to vote and stand for election are as follows:
- Any member may vote at the General Meeting and stand for election as long as they are members of DAUK by January 31st 2021 and remain members in good standing up to and including the date of the General Meeting.
- However, members of the Elections Committee are ineligible to be candidates for any position other than at-large members of the Council of DAUK. (Members of the Elections Committee who have been continuous members of DAUK from January 31st 2021 to the date of the General Meeting remain eligible to vote for all offices.)
The Chair, under the bylaws, must be not of the same gender as the Vice-Chair.
The responsibilities of the Chair include, but are not limited to:
- Setting the overall strategic objectives and goals and overseeing the day to day management of the organisation, in consultation with the Executive Committee.
- Presiding over all meetings of the organization at large, the Executive Committee and the Council
- Implementing decisions taken by the Executive Committee and Council
- Appointing committees or individuals to manage the business of the organization
- Serving as our representative at meetings of the DPCA – Democrats Abroad’s international governing body.
The position of chair is extremely time consuming and requires great commitment, sensitivity, political and organizational awareness, a strong leadership vision and strategic planning skills. These skills will have to be used within DAUK and in acting for DAUK in the DPCA. The Chair is sometimes asked to speak to the media about Democratic Party issues and should seek to reflect well upon the organization in any public appearance.
The Vice Chair, under the Bylaws must be not of the same gender as the Chair. As the election for Vice Chair is held after the election for Chair is finalized, only candidates who are not of the same gender as the Chair will be considered for election.
The responsibilities of the Vice Chair are to act as chair when the Chair is absent and to serve as a further representative at meetings of the DPCA. Beyond this, the Vice Chair will undertake such additional duties as may be mutually agreed with the Chair.
Like the Chair, this position can be time consuming and requires a commitment to participating in DPCA meetings. Like the Chair, the Vice Chair may sometimes be asked to speak to the media.
Under the Bylaws, the Secretary is responsible for maintaining a list of members and of the Council, and for keeping accurate minutes of all meetings. In addition, the Secretary will be responsible for all files and records relating to the organization.
Although the Secretary is free to delegate the delivery of these tasks to trusted persons (for example, our membership co-ordinator), they remain ultimately responsible and should therefore take seriously the responsibility of providing oversight.
The role of Secretary demands good organizational skills and an eye for detail.
The Treasurer’s responsibilities are to manage the finances of the organization, including preparing a budget, keeping financial records, and reporting our financial activities as required under the law.
The Treasurer must have the financial acumen and attention to detail so that they can oversee DAUK’s expenses and receipts.
DPCA Voting Representatives
Any member may run for DPCA Voting Representative as long as they are members of DAUK by January 31st 2021 and remain members in good standing up to and including the date of the General Meeting; however, members of the Elections Committee are ineligible to be elected as DPCA Voting Representatives.
Any person who is elected a DPCA Voting Representative may also stand for and be elected to serve as Secretary, Treasurer, or Executive Committee, but there is no requirement for there to be any such overlap. (Those elected to be Chair and Vice Chair cannot also be elected to be DPCA Voting Representatives because the Chair and Vice Chair are already ex officio voting members of the DPCA.)
Whereas the work of the officers and Executive Committee is focused on DAUK’s functions within the UK, DPCA Voting Representatives are concerned with the global work of Democrats Abroad.
The core function of the DPCA Voting Representatives is to attend and participate actively in international meetings of the DPCA, and to represent the membership of DAUK in casting votes on issues arising before the body, including the election of International Officers. Attendance at meetings in person is encouraged where possible, but facilities for participation by WebEx, Zoom (or equivalent) are usually made available for those who are unable to travel to the meeting place. In addition, there are opportunities in some circumstances for the appointment of a proxy for a Voting Representative who is unable to attend.
The Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA) is the body that oversees Democrats Abroad globally. It is treated by the Democratic National Committee as a state party and has responsibilities as such. Those on the DPCA come from all the country committees of Democrats Abroad and elect the DPCA leadership.
As DAUK is a large country committee within Democrats Abroad, DAUK has been granted additional Voting Representatives to vote alongside DAUK’s Chair and Vice Chair at the international level; this helps to ensure that our large membership is represented in a fair and proportional manner. The DPCA follow DNC rules in calling for our DPCA delegation to be balanced in terms of gender, therefore we will need to elect an equal number of male and female Representatives or as close to this as possible. This also allows for election of non-binary identity DPCA representatives.
The exact number of Voting Representatives to be elected for DAUK will be announced in February, based on the count of our membership as of January 31st, 2021 and our corresponding allocation of the total votes on the DPCA.
DPCA Non Voting Representatives
DPCA Non Voting Representatives have almost all of the same core functions as Voting Representatives. They are active members of the DPCA and so will be expected to attend meetings and represent DAUK members on issues arising at the DPCA. They have the right to speak at meetings of the DPCA. They do not have a vote themselves as a non-voting rep; they are, however, entitled to vote by proxy on behalf of a voting DPCA member from the UK or another country committee who has to miss all or part of a meeting, subject to certain formalities about notification of the proxy.
The Executive Committee
Any member may run for the Executive Committee as long as they are members of DAUK by January 31st 2021 and remain members in good standing up to and including the date of the General Meeting; however, members of the Elections Committee are ineligible to be elected as to the executive Committee.
Under the Bylaws, members must elect an Executive Committee of 8 members, in addition to the Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer. Any member may run for Executive Committee as long as they are members of DAUK by January 31st 2021 and remain members in good standing up to and including the date of the General Meeting.
Under the Bylaws, the responsibility of the Executive Committee is mainly to provide oversight and governance to the Officers, including reviewing and approving the actions of the Chair and Officers, approving expenditures over £1,000, and reviewing and approving committee chairs and their activities.
The minimum responsibility of all Executive Committee Members is to attend the regular meetings, typically held at least once per quarter, or more often if needed. Members of the Executive Committee should make a real commitment to attend as many of these meetings as possible, as low numbers at any given meeting can result in the Committee failing to meet its required quorum (under the Bylaws, half of the Executive Committee) and therefore being unable to conduct business.
Members of the Executive Committee should be able to provide well-informed oversight of our key activities, and work to support wider involvement of members of the Council and other members in developing, supporting and sustaining DAUK objectives and activities. The members of the Executive Committee are likely to have to consider the following matters, among others, during the next two years:
- Fundraising to meet DAUK’s regular and one-off expenses
- Managing the Voter Registration and Get Out the Vote drives for the 2022 midterm elections
- Continuing to build and manage our own membership
- Continuing to deliver, and build upon, the work of regional groups, committees and recurring events
- Continuing to develop new ad hoc and one-off events that will be of interest to a wide group of the membership
Any member may run for the Council of DAUK as long as they are members of DAUK by January 31st 2021 and remain members in good standing up to and including the date of the General Meeting. Unlike the other positions, members of the Elections Committee may stand for election to the Council.
The Bylaws state that the Council shall be composed of the Officers, DPCA Voting Representatives, members of the Executive Committee, and at least 15 further at-large Council members elected at the General Meeting.
The Council’s role is to “actively promote the interests and activities of Democrats Abroad (UK).” A minimum of 2 Council meetings will be held each year, and any Council member who fails to attend 3 consecutive meetings without notification is deemed to have resigned from the Council.
The role of the Council is broadly described in the Bylaws and includes holding the officers, Executive Committee, and DPCA Voting Representatives to account. Historically, it has also been a forum for active members outside of the Executive Committee and Officers who bring a high degree of dedication to their participation in the organization, and who can help the Officers by forming a first port of call for advice or assistance. Some reasons why you might want to support someone’s candidacy for Council may include the following:
- You feel the person has shown a high degree of effort and commitment to the activities of the organization.
- You feel the person should be rewarded for past service to the organization.
- You feel the person has valuable skills needed by the organization.
- You feel the person brings a useful perspective or point of view to the organization.
- You feel the person can provide good advice or information to the organization.
- You feel the person embodies the ideals of the organization.