The future of the left since 1884

Fabian Society Bye-laws

The executive committee has agreed revisions to four existing bye-laws of the society.



The new text is published below with significant changes in bold. The existing wording is available on the society’s website.  Bye-laws are made by the executive committee under Rule 13 of the society’s rules. They may be amended or annulled by a resolution at an annual or special general meeting of the Society.

3. Local Societies

i. The executive committee shall have the power to recognise a local society where a minimum of four members of the national society wish to serve on its committee and it has submitted its rules for approval.

ii. The rules of a local society shall conform to the rules, bye-laws and regulations of the society and shall ensure that full membership is limited to those eligible under rule 4; that associates shall have no voting rights and shall not hold office or be elected to the governing committee of the local society; and that the local society shall have no collective policy and shall put forward no resolutions of a political character. No delegate shall be given instructions which would commit the society to a collective policy.

iii. No member shall be qualified to hold office in, or to serve on the executive committee of, a local society, or to represent the society, unless he or she is a full member of the national Fabian Society.

iv. A society shall pay an annual affiliation fee that is the same as the concessionary annual subscription for individual members of the national society.

v. The membership of a local society shall consist of either: all members of the national Fabian society who reside in the geographic area of the local society (which shall be agreed with the executive committee) (model 1); or individuals who apply for membership and are eligible under rule 4, including both those who are and who are not members of the national society (model 2). Under model 1 membership shall be free; under model 2 subscriptions shall be set by the local society, with a minimum annual payment for membership of £0 (free) for members of the national society and £5 for non-members.

vi. After the inaugural meeting, at which a resolution shall be passed by a two-thirds majority of national members present to set up a society, the new society shall send to the national society the affiliation fee together with its proposed constitution and a list of members (if it wishes to operate under model 2). Recognition shall not be given to the local society until its constitution has been approved by the executive committee or its appointed sub-committee. Local societies shall send notices of annual general meetings to the national society. The executive committee reserves the right to send an observer to local societies’ annual general meetings.

vii. The secretary of every local society shall complete the annual return circulated by the national society and shall supply during the years such other reports of its activities as the national society may require.

viii. Members of local societies who are not also national members shall, at the discretion of the executive committee, have the right to attend national activities at special rates.

ix. The executive committee shall have the power to set up such regional or other groupings of local societies and national members as it may from time to time determine.

x. Each year a local society shall pay its dues, meet regularly, complete an annual return, submit membership information, and hold a properly constituted AGM. It will at all times behave in a manner consistent with the rules, bye-laws and principles of the national society; and shall act to prevent its members bringing the national or local society into disrepute. The executive committee shall have the power to withdraw or suspend recognition if these conditions are not met subject to the right of the local society to appeal to the annual general meeting.

xi. Local societies shall comply with data protection legislation at all times, with respect to the personal data of their own members, national members and the general public. Local societies provided access to the personal data of national members in order to undertake the functions of the society may only use the data for purposes associated with the society. Local societies shall provide personal data of their members to the national society for purposes associated with the society and this data shall only be used in ways that comply with data protection legislation. Local societies must inform members and where necessary obtain their consent with respect to the national society’s use of their personal data, where this is required by law. National and local members may request not to receive communications from the local society and/or the national society.

xii. Local Fabian societies are independent membership associations with their own legal obligations and responsibilities towards their members. Recognised local societies are covered under the national society’s public liability insurance, in the case of bodily injury or damage to third party property.

xiii. The term Fabian Society is a registered trade mark of the national Fabian Society. Only recognised local Fabian Societies have permission from the national society to use the term or any words or images associated with it.

8. Local affiliation to the Labour Party

i. Local Fabian societies may affiliate to local units of the Labour party with the prior agreement of the executive committee.

No local society may affiliate to any unit of the Labour Party for a period of six months from the date of its recognition.

The agreement of the executive committee must be obtained before a local society affiliates to any additional units of the Labour Party. The executive committee shall have the power to withdraw its agreement to an affiliation subject to the right of the local society to appeal to the Annual General Meeting.

ii. All decisions regarding affiliation to Labour party units and all decisions regarding Labour party democratic processes shall be made at constituted, quorate meetings or by a ballot of all members. Where a society has fewer than 30 paid-up members (under model 2) all members of the national society who reside in the area of the society shall be eligible to vote in any process relating to Labour party affiliation. Where a society has more than 30 members its rules may state whether national members who are not paid up members of the local society are eligible to vote (in the absence of such a statement they will be eligible).

iii: Delegates to units of the Labour Party shall be elected either at a meeting or by a ballot of all members. Participation in the vote is not restricted to members residing in the geography of the party unit in question.

9. Labour party elections, selections and nominations – the national society

The executive committee shall lay down procedures for the selection of candidates for public office and Labour Party officers which shall be adhered to by the society and its constituent sections.

i. Full paid-up members of the national society and full paid-up members of local societies whose names have been received at the central office may participate in internal Labour Party ballots as Fabian members, in accordance with the rules of the party (eg ‘affiliated supporter’ status). The national society and local societies shall promote and facilitate members’ ability to participate.

ii. Only the national society shall have the power to make nominations on behalf of the society in internal Labour Party elections at region level and above. No nominations will be made for the positions of Leader, Deputy Leader or Treasurer of the Labour Party, or for Leader or Deputy Leader of Scottish Labour and Welsh Labour, and the candidate for Mayor of London.

iii. The executive committee may decide to nominate for the Socialist Societies seat on the National Executive committee, for representatives to the National Policy Forum of the Labour Party, or for officers of the Labour Party socialist societies executive, in which case the society’s vote will be cast for the nominee(s). Any nominations to the youth and women’s sections of the Labour party shall be determined on the society’s behalf by the executives of the Young Fabians and Fabian Women’s Network.

iv. Where there is a possibility of an active Fabian being elected to the Socialist Societies seat on a Regional Board of the Labour Party, a nomination may be made by the executive committee, in consultation with the relevant local societies where appropriate. In the case of Scotland and Wales, the Fabian nominee for this seat will be nominated by the executive of the Scottish or Welsh Fabian groups respectively. In these cases, the society’s vote will be cast for these nominees.

v. Should the Labour Party conduct any other process in which the Society is eligible to cast votes or make nominations, the executive committee shall decide whether the it shall participate in that process, and if so put appropriate arrangements in place.

vi. Delegates representing the national society shall be appointed by the executive committee, unless this responsibility is delegated. For the relevant Labour party conferences or forums, responsibility for making appointments shall be delegated to the executives of the Scottish Fabians, Welsh Fabians, Young Fabians and Fabian Women’s Network. Delegates may not be given mandatory instructions.

10. Labour party elections, selections and nominations – local societies

The executive committee shall lay down procedures for the selection of candidates for public office and Labour Party officers which shall be adhered to by local societies.

i. Nominations for candidates for any elected office below nation/region level shall be made by local Fabian Societies with an affiliation to a Labour Party unit which entitles them to participate.

ii: Local societies are entitled to nominate prospective candidates for public office (whether selection or re-selection) in any Labour Party unit to which they are affiliated or entitled to make a nomination, provided that the number of national or local members resident in the area of the party unit and paid up for the current year is 10 or more. Local societies must send notice to the national society of their intention to make a nomination and a nomination will not be valid without this prior notification. Eligibility to vote will be determined by by-law 8 and in addition members must have been paid-up for at least 90 days (of either the local society or national society). A list of members eligible to vote must be supplied to the national society and approved. The executive committee reserves the right to provide directions or send an observer to oversee the process.

iii. In any contested election within the Labour Party where a local society has a right to cast a vote on behalf of its members, the society will only cast a vote after a ballot of members. Voting by a Fabian delegate to a local Labour Party unit on prospective candidates, or on any other matter, will be at the discretion of the delegate, in accordance with Rule 3 of the Fabian Society which prohibits mandatory instructions being given to Fabian delegates.

iv. The national society shall determine how a nomination is to be made where more than one local society may be eligible to nominate.

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