For over 50 years, the club has existed without seeing any need for written rules. We have always had a constitution – a brief document saying what we are, what we stand for, and how we operate in a general sense. This was written in the 1950s when the club was founded, and proved quite adequate in those days, for a club with only 20 to 30 members.
But times change, we now have approaching a hundred members, a catchment area covering most of the West Midlands, and a thriving hut, which throws up its own issues. With a larger club, it is hard to know everyone well. Members in the further-flung parts of the region have difficulty in attending the regular Tuesday pub evenings. New members have difficulty in finding out about the club’s modus operandi. So do some older ones. The present committee felt the need to have the club’s decisions collected together for easier reference, rather than scattered throughout the minutes of many past meetings. We have grasped this nettle firmly, and the result is the following set of rules.
Society has become more litigation – conscious. We have to change to take account of the changes in the law. The biggest change we have recently made is one undertaken with reluctance – to restrict membership to people over the age of 18. Not to have done so would leave the club and its members liable under child abuse and safety law. Hopefully, a written set of rules will make members more aware of their rights and obligations.
It is not the intention to make the club more bureaucratic. The rules are all made for a purpose. Some of them are hard and fast rules, like the one that says dogs are not allowed at the hut. Others, like the one that says you should do your share of the cleaning, are more in the nature of codes of practice. All of them are thought to be worth following, but not in a petty-minded or officious way, and the committee will give short shrift to any member who tries to play the game of gratuitous rule enforcement.
None of these rules is set in concrete. Unlike the constitution (which requires a two-thirds majority at a general meeting for any change), the rules were made by a simple majority of the committee, and can likewise be unmade or altered by later committees. However, much thought and hard work has gone into their writing, and we trust that future committees will not amend them without good reason and due deliberation. If any member has comments, good or bad, about any of the rules, the committee will always be prepared to listen.
The club rules can be downloaded here.