Brexit and COVID has meant that it has been necessary to make a number of changes to our Constitution and Bye Laws. Following Brexit, we can no longer have flocks registered with the Society from outside the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) which means our Irish and European flocks are no longer part of the Suffolk Sheep Society. The Society does of course still consider the SOI Branch to be a sister organisation and will continue to do all in its power to encourage interaction and trade between the two Societies as well as our friends throughout mainland Europe. COVID lockdown reduced the capacity to have physical meetings so Society business was mainly conducted virtually (eg via Zoom). The Charities Commission has required amendments to our Articles of Association to include virtual meetings and to ensure any decisions made during this time, and into the future, are within the Constitution. Council established a working party which liaised closely with the Society Solicitors on both the Constitution and Bye Laws.
Changes to the Constitution were adopted at a general meeting held on the 10th May and the revised Bye Laws were agreed by Council at their meeting on the 10th May. Both these documents can be found by clicking on the links below. If you buy or sell at Society Sales (Ballymena, Lanark, Shrewsbury, Carlisle) we would draw your attention to point 6 below where the Ram Fertility Guarantee has been replaced by the Animal Warranty schemes in place and applied in the various jurisdictions/Marts where the sales take place. Here are the key changes to the Bye Laws.
- Members are now responsible for the behaviour of their agents/representatives who are defined in the Bye Laws as people who have authority, whether express or implied, to change or enter into legal relations on behalf of members or flocks, and does so, whether intentionally or not.
- Only Adult Members, Honorary Members and Life Members can vote at Branch and Society meetings. This means that Associate Members, Youth members etc do not have a vote. (Bye Law 4)
- Only breeders from the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) can be Adult Members of the Society. The South of Ireland is no longer represented on Council as they are now a separate Society on their own right. The Society does of course still consider the SOI Branch to be a sister organisation and will continue to do all in its power to encourage interaction and trade between the two Societies.
- Rams now have to be registered before entry to an export sale, including Society Sales where they are organised as an export sale (Bye Law 16.5)
- Previously only sheep from Society Members could enter Society Sales, there is now a process where entries from individual pedigree Suffolk breeders from outside the UK can request Council approval for entry to Society sales (Bye Law 16.5).
- The Ram Fertility Guarantee has been replaced by the Animal Warranty schemes in place and applied in the various jurisdictions/Marts where the sales take place.
- A new Bye Law 18 has been introduced defining unacceptable behaviour towards Society employees, Directors and/or volunteers and setting out the disciplinary process where a member demonstrates such behaviour.