Our Constitution

  1. NESCHA – The North East Social Care and Health Advisors was formed in February 2015 from some of the membership of the former NE Care Advisors.

NESCHA is a voluntary organisation with no staff, which serves the NE area from Northumberland to North Yorkshire.

  1. Our Aims are to :
  • Build on our reputation as a respected, pro-active, North East organisation that listens and values and shares best practice, especially in participation.
  • Make a difference, shaping the services of tomorrow
  • Engage with the personalisation agenda by encouraging participation and sharing knowledge with providers to help shape the future of health and social care.
  1. Who we are

All core members of NESCHA have ‘lived experience’ of being people who use services, carers or patients

We are all volunteers who are driven by our values and the principles, of confidentiality and trust, to do what we can to improve the quality of services that people receive now and in the future. We know, for example, that many people in care homes, residents, relatives and the staff themselves, and some supported as individuals in the community, seldom have a significant voice and we aspire to assisting them.

We seek to achieve our aims by listening to our members’ and others’ views, and those of the organisations they represent, and by using what we hear in our extensive networks, to help articulate and influence the shape and quality of services, in many ways ‘a critical friend’. Our members will respond to requests for advice, guidance and support, confidentially though Safeguarding issues will have to be referred to the appropriate body.

All our core members participate in various (people who use services, carer, or patient) organisations, which have their own needs and wishes, but we believe in the common core principles that should be found in all such organisations.

Our core members are involved in various organisations and groups, including Healthwatch, Patient Participation Groups, groups supporting students in health and social care, CQC, various health working groups, CCGs and a variety of voluntary groups, often centred on particular conditions eg strokes, mental health, and so on.

  1. Our Community of Interest

We wish to develop a community of interest where best practice in participation is shared but also in gathering views across the NE to influence and empower change. In order to achieve this community of interest we will build on our presence through meetings, workshops, an annual conference, and forums, as well as through Facebook and Twitter.

We will also engage people, gauge views, gather opinions , and let all see results and what actions we are going to take. Our website and Opinioneer smart phone technology will be especially useful in reaching out to people who cannot attend meetings.

Our Community of Interest will, we hope, lead to more members joining us.

  1. Membership

Membership is open to anyone who:

  • lives in the North East ; and
  • supports the aims and principles of NESCHA
  • is interested in receiving our newsletter
  • accessing our website
  • attending events on occasion


Core membership  is open to those that have

  • lived experience as a service user, patient or carer; and
  • are representatives of service user/care/patient organisations;
  • wish to network to others; are prepared to commit some time on a voluntary basis to NESCHA activities.

Membership will begin as soon as a membership form has been received.

The secretary will keep a list of all members. This list will not be shared with any other party.

Members may resign at any time by notifying a Board member to the secretary.

Any offensive behaviour, including racist, sexist or inflammatory remarks, will not be permitted. Anyone behaving in an offensive way or breaching the equal opportunities policy may be asked not to attend further meetings or to resign from the group if an apology is not given or the behaviour is repeated. The individual concerned shall have the right to be heard by the Board, accompanied by a friend, before a final decision is made.

Members will be expected to inform any organisations in which they participate, that they are NESCHA members and will respect confidentiality in every way, but will share, both ways, information that might be helpful.

Core members can apply for travel expenses to do so [if applicable]; attend regular meetings; and commit some work towards our aims.

  1. Equal Opportunities

NESCHA will not discriminate on the grounds of gender, race, colour, ethnic or national origin, sexuality, disability, religious or political belief, marital status or age.

  1. Board members

All Board members will be core members [meeting all those requirements] who are elected to the Board by members, and who are prepared to make regular commitment to working for, and representing, the interests of NESCHA and its members.

The Board members are elected for a year, at the annual conference/AGM, and will take positions such as Chair, Deputy Chair, secretary, and treasurer.

Board members are not paid for their work, receiving only expenses.

  1. Meetings
  2. a) An Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held within fifteen months of the previous AGM.

All members will be notified in writing at least 3 weeks before the date of the meeting, giving the venue, date and time.

Nominations for the Board may be made to the Secretary before the meeting, or at the meeting.

The quorum for the AGM will be a minimum of 8 members.


At the AGM:-

The Board will present a report of the work of NESCHA and the accounts over the year.

The Board for the next year will be elected.

Any proposals given to the Secretary at least 7 days in advance of the meeting will be discussed.

  1. b) Special General Meetings

The Secretary will call a Special General Meeting at the request of the majority of the Board or at least eight other members giving a written request to the Chair or Secretary stating the reason for their request.

The meeting will take place within twenty-one days of the request.

All members will be given two weeks notice of such a meeting, giving the venue, date, time and agenda, and notice may be by telephone, email or post.

The quorum for the Special General Meeting will be a minimum of 8 members.

  1. c) General Meetings/Forums

These are open to all members and will be held at least twice every per year  or more often if necessary.

All members will be given two weeks’ notice of such a meeting, giving the venue, date, time and agenda, and notice may be by telephone, email or post.

  1. d) Board Meetings

Board meetings may be called by the Chair or Secretary. Board members must receive notice of meetings at least 7 days before the meeting.

The quorum for Board meetings is three Board members.


  1. e) Rules of Procedure for meetings

All questions that arise at any meeting will be discussed openly and the meeting will seek to find general agreement that everyone present can agree to.

If a consensus cannot be reached a vote will be taken and a decision will be made by a simple majority of members present. If the number of votes cast on each side is equal, the chair of the meeting shall have an additional casting vote.

  1. Finances

A bank account will be maintained on behalf NESCHA  as agreed by the Board. Three cheque signatories will be required by the Board (one to be the Treasurer).  The signatories must not be related nor members of the same household.

All payments will be signed by two of the signatories.

For other payments (such as BACS payments, cash withdrawals, or cash payments), a requisition note will be signed by two signatories, and held by the treasurer.

The Treasurer will maintain records of income and expenditure, and a financial statement presented at each meeting.  Bank statements will be available for inspection.

All money raised, or earned, by or on behalf of NESCHA is only to be used to further the aims of the group, as specified in item 2 of this constitution.

Members may be paid expenses but will receive no other payments.

  1. Amendments to the Constitution

Amendments to the constitution may only be made at the Annual General Meeting or a Special General Meeting.

Any proposal to amend the constitution must be given to the Secretary in writing. The proposal must then be circulated with the notice of meeting.

Any proposal to amend the constitution will require a two thirds majority of those present and entitled to vote.

  1. Dissolution

If a meeting, by simple majority, decides that it is necessary to close down the group it may call a Special General Meeting to do so. The sole business of this meeting will be to dissolve the group.

If it is agreed to dissolve the group, all remaining money and other assets, once outstanding debts have been paid, will be donated to a local charitable organisation. The organisation will be agreed at the meeting, which agrees the dissolution.

This constitution was agreed at the Inaugural General Meeting of NESCHA on 14th February 2015

Sign up for our FREE newsletter