Bylaws of The Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
1. Purpose of this Document
1.1. The Bylaws of the Vienna Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (ALLIANCE) are designed to supplement the Alliance Statutes and provide details on how the Alliance manages various decision-making processes.
1.2. These Bylaws shall be approved and adopted by the General Assembly.
2.1. The General Assembly (“Mitgliederversammlung”, as specified in the Austrian 2002 Associations Act / Vereinsgesetz) can be attended by all members in good standing. The Annual General Assembly will take place each year preferentially during the time of the annual session of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (normally held at the Vienna International Centre), while Extraordinary Assemblies may be called in line with the Statutes and the relevant provisions below, preferentially during the time of other major events in UNODC (COP UNTOC, CSP UNCAC and CND), unless in case of “force majeure”. Only resolutions and decisions passed at General Assembly meetings are valid.
2.2. The Board is composed of the Executive Board and the Extended Board. The Executive Board consists of the Chair, the Treasurer and the Secretary. The Extended Board also includes five ViceChairs, and five additional Board Members. The Board is the managing body (“Leitungsorgan”, as stipulated in the Austrian 2002 Associations Act). It is responsible for all duties not assigned to another body mentioned in the ALLIANCE Statutes. Board Members are the duly appointed representatives of the member organizations elected to the Board; their tasks are specified in Section 11 below. Whenever hereinafter the ‘Board’ is mentioned, it is meant to be the combined Executive and Extended Board.
2.3. Two Auditors are appointed by the General Assembly for a duration of two years upon suggestion of the Board. They are recognized professionals in this field or experienced as such and may be subsidized.
2.4. Members include non-governmental organizations and individuals whose applications to join the ALLIANCE have been accepted by the Board in line with the Statutes and the relevant provisions below. They include Ordinary Members, who have voting rights and may be elected (para 4.2.1 of the Statutes), Extraordinary and Individual Members, who have no voting rights, nor may be elected (para 4.2.2 of the Statutes), as well as Honorary Members (para 4.2.3 of the Statutes).
2.5. Members in good standing are member organizations and individuals that continuously pay the agreed upon yearly membership fees. Ordinary Members will be entitled to vote if the membership fee for the current year as well as arrears, if any, is fully paid prior to the General Assembly.
3. Membership Applications
3.1. According to the Statutes, all organizations accredited with UN ECOSOC in consultative, special consultative or equivalent status, or civil society organizations which contribute significantly to the purpose of the Alliance, can apply for Ordinary Membership.
3.1.1. Organizations accredited with UN ECOSOC in consultative, special consultative or equivalent status shall provide information on full name of the organization as registered by ECOSOC.
3.1.2. Non-ECSOC accredited applicants, to be eligible for Ordinary Membership, shall provide documentation of their significant contribution to the purpose of the Alliance, according to either a) or b) below:
a) proof of special status with UNODC, for example having participated as an organization or being eligible to participate in UNCAC or UNTOC Conferences of States Parties (on the basis Rules of Procedure Art. 17), or in the Crime Congress (ECOSOC resolution 1996/31 para 44)
b) in the absence of the above, supporting documentation, such as:
- Constitution/charter and statutes/bylaws or equivalent, possibly accompanied by organizational chart;
- Certificate of registration or other proof of existence for at least two years;
- Most recent annual report;
- Examples of publications, recent articles or statements.
3.1.3. As per the Statutes, individuals can also apply for membership on the basis of relevance of their activities to the pursuit of the objectives of the ALLIANCE, as determined by the Board. Their application must be endorsed by one member of the board.
3.2. Upon receipt of an application form, the Executive Board of the ALLIANCE will perform an initial assessment of the documentation provided with respect to the eligibility criteria for Ordinary, Extraordinary or Individual Membership. If the documentation provided is insufficient, the applicant will be contacted to provide additional information.
3.3. Application forms received are then sent to the Board for review.
3.4. Provided there are no objections from Board Members within one week or at the first relevant meeting (whichever comes first), applicants will be accepted in the category corresponding to their status, as demonstrated by supporting documentation. The outcome of the assessment will then be communicated to the applicant by the Executive Board of the ALLIANCE, who will send a welcome letter including the relevant membership fee information.
3.5. In the event that an application form is rejected by the Board, this decision will be communicated to the applicant by the Secretary, who will send a rejection letter including an explanation of the reasons for the rejection.
3.6. Organizations and individuals whose applications have been rejected may resubmit their application form once the identified issues have been addressed, or may appeal to the General Assembly. Such appeals must be sent by email to the ALLIANCE, and received at least three weeks prior to the General Assembly in order to be considered. The General Assembly‘s decision, when opposing the Board’s decision, must be by a majority vote of two thirds of all the existing voting members, in good standing and will then be deemed as final.
3.7. The Executive Board shall announce new members and report on rejected applications at each General Assembly.
4. Termination of Membership
4.1. Any member organization or individual that has not paid their membership fee for two consecutive years will be deemed to have voluntarily withdrawn their membership.
4.2. In this event, the ALLIANCE will send at least two written reminders to the member. If no satisfactory response is received within one month of the final reminder, then the organization or individual will be removed from the ALLIANCE membership.4.3. In the event of a member organization undergoing a change of circumstances that rules them ineligible according to the membership criteria – such as the loss or change of legal status– the Executive Board will request the member organization to re-submit an application form or confirm their voluntary withdrawal from the membership.
4.4. In this event, the ALLIANCE will send at least two written reminders to the member organization. If no satisfactory response is received within one month of the final reminder, the organization will be removed from the ALLIANCE membership.
4.5. If a member is deemed to be violating the membership criteria and obligations as per the ALLIANCE Statutes, or is deemed to have brought the ALLIANCE into disrepute, it may be reported to the Executive Board in writing by another member, or identified independently by the Board.
4.6. In this event, the Executive Board will review the case and, if required, submit a formal resolution for consideration at the next General Assembly. The member in question shall have the right to make representations at the next General Assembly. A decision on the expulsion of a member shall then be made by the General Assembly by consensus or, if required, through a simple majority of the total eligible votes cast. (See para 6.5)
4.7. In the event of gross misconduct, the Board may suspend the membership pending a decision by the General Assembly.
4.8. The Executive Board shall inform the members at each General Assembly about organizations and individuals having been removed from the membership list.
5. Membership Fees and Payments
5.1. Membership fees are proposed by the Board and approved by the General Assembly, by simple majority of members present and voting.
5.2. Membership fees can be paid in cash (Euros), or transferred into the ALLIANCE account based in Vienna. The ALLIANCE is not responsible for any bank charges incurred by members. Members are requested to include their name / name of the organization and the year for which the fee is being paid in the payment reference / description. The Executive Board will make provisions to facilitate the payment in person, in advance, of membership fees for the following year on the occasion of the Annual General Assembly.
5.3. All incoming membership fees are processed at the end of each month by the ALLIANCE, and registered in a central database.
5.4. Members can request an invoice or receipt for their payments by sending an email to the ALLIANCE Treasurer.
6. Preparing General Assemblies
6.1. The Executive Board will organize an Annual General Assembly each year, as per para 2.1. above.
6.2. The Executive Board will organize additional General Assembly meetings, if necessary, within twelve weeks of a formal request submitted in line with the ALLIANCE Statutes.
6.3. The Executive Board will notify all members of the date and time of the General Assembly by e‐mail, including agenda and venue, at least four weeks prior to the meeting date. In case of election for vacant Board positions, the full list of eligible candidates and their details (see Paragraph 9.11) will also be sent at least four weeks prior to the meeting date.
6.4. The Executive Board will then send the additional working documents for the General Assembly to all members, by email, at least one week in advance of the meeting. These include: − relevant reports from the Board (such as on ALLIANCE activities and finances); − relevant discussion papers; − any resolutions for decision; − instructions on how to participate online or nominate a proxy (where appropriate).
6.5. Decisions made by the General Assembly require a simple majority of the valid votes cast. This quorum includes those Ordinary Members participating in person, online or via proxy. Decisions, however, require a quorum of at least fifty percent of Ordinary Member organizations in good standing (as stipulated in the Austrian 2002 Associations Act). If the quorum is not reached at the opening of the GA, the meeting shall be suspended and then proceed after 30 minutes, to discuss and adopt resolutions already included in the Agenda.
6.6. The Agenda for the General Assembly will be articulated in sections dealing with relevant areas of responsibility, which include: − Adoption of reports (minutes of previous General Assembly; reports from Chair, Secretary and Treasurer); − Adoption of a provisional budget; − Acceptance and approval of the most recent financial report and the audited annual accounts; − Election of vacant positions in the Members of the Board (see Section 9); − Election of Comptroller(s) (if necessary); − Appointment of Auditors (if necessary) and approval of a contract between Auditors and the Alliance (if necessary): − Discussion and adoption of resolutions (see Section 8); − Any other business.
7. Informal Meetings
7.1. The ALLIANCE will host additional informal meetings of members at large during the year, to facilitate interaction among members and for discussion purpose only. Members will be notified of such meetings at least two weeks in advance. However, no decisions or resolutions may be passed at these meetings. Whenever possible these meetings will also allow members to connect remotely for the purpose of more extensive sharing of information.
8. Voting on Resolutions at General Assemblies
8.1. Only resolutions passed and decisions made at General Assembly meetings are valid (other than operational decisions made by the Executive Board).
8.2. The Executive Board reserves the right, during a General Assembly, to ask the participants if consensus has been achieved on a decision point – at which point consensus will be assumed unless a participant specifically states otherwise and requests for a vote to take place.
8.3. Ordinary Member organizations in good standing are entitled to cast one vote per organization at the General Assembly.
8.4. In the event that an Ordinary Member organization in good standing is unable to participate in the General Assembly in person or remotely, the organization may assign their voting rights to a representative of another Ordinary Member organization in good standing who will be attending. Such proxy assignments must be limited to the specific General Assembly in question.
8.5. In the event that an Ordinary Member organization in good standing is unable to participate in the General Assembly in person or via proxy, votes may be submitted electronically according to instructions that will be shared prior to the General Assembly (see Section 10).
8.6. Notice of proxy assignments must be registered on the official form that is provided, sent electronically to the ALLIANCE, and received before 11.59
p.m. CET on the day before the General Assembly meeting. Requests for proxy assignments received after this period will not be counted. Requests for proxy assignments received in any other format will not be counted.
8.7. Each Ordinary Member organization participating in the General Assembly may hold no more than three proxy assignments.
8.8. For Ordinary Member organizations in good standing that are able to participate in the General Assembly in person, their vote should be registered on the official form that is provided, and submitted confidentially to the ALLIANCE at the end of the relevant agenda item.
8.9. For Ordinary Member organizations in good standing that are able to participate in the Gene ral Assembly remotely, their vote should be registered electronically, through private message to the ALLIANCE hosting the call, at the end of the relevant agenda item, according to technical instructions that will be shared prior to the General Assembly (see Section 10, for elections of Board members refer to Section 9). 8.10. Votes on resolutions will be decided by a simple majority of the total votes cast, as counted by a designated delegate (Teller) – with the exception of votes on resolutions to remove the Board, to alter the ALLIANCE Statutes, or to dissolve the ALLIANCE. These decisions require a majority of two‐thirds of the total votes cast, as counted by a designated delegate.
9. Board Elections
9.1. Wherever possible, elections for at least three Board positions should be held at every Annual General Assembly. This is to ensure continuity on the Board – with the positions of Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, three Vice-Chairs and two Board Members being elected in one year, and the positions of two Vice-Chairs and three additional Board Members in another year. The elected Treasurer is to act as Deputy-Secretary and the elected Secretary as Deputy-Treasurer. In exceptional circumstances, elections for vacant Board positions may take place during an additional General Assembly meeting, provided it will not be entirely held remotely.
9.2. The election procedures will be managed and overseen by a Nominations Committee of three members and an Elections Committee of two members in line with the ALLIANCE Statutes.
9.3. The Nominations Committee will release a call for nominations for the Board at least two months prior to the General Assembly, and closing six weeks prior to the General Assembly. This call for nominations will be sent by email to all members, and posted on the ALLIANCE website and online platforms, and will include full details of the process.
9.4. Nominations will only be accepted from representatives of Ordinary Member organizations that are in good standing at the time the nomination is received.
9.5. Nominations must be seconded by two other Ordinary Member organizations in good standing at the time the nomination is received.
9.6. Nomination forms that are partially or incorrectly completed will be rejected by the Nominations Committee.
9.7. Nomination forms will only be accepted in English.
9.8. Candidates may be nominated for no more than one of the vacant Board positions.
9.9. Existing Board Members are eligible to be nominated for re-election, provided the other criteria are met and they will not be exceeding the maximum of two consecutive full terms. Members of the Nomination Committee may not be nominated for election onto the Board.
9.10. If the nominated candidate is not the Chairperson, President, Chief Executive Officer, Executive Director or equivalent of his or her organization, the application has to be sent and signed by the Chairperson of the nominating organization.
9.11. The Nominations Committee will then check eligibility of candidates on the basis of relevant rules established by the Statutes and Bylaws, and compile the full list of eligible candidates, including nominating and supporting organizations, to be circulated to all members, together with invitations for the General Assembly.
9.12. At the General Assembly, a separate vote will be taken for each of the Board positions that are vacant. A minimum of 50% plus one of the total votes cast, as counted by a designated delegate (Teller), will be necessary for being elected.
9.13. In the event that an Ordinary Member organization in good standing is unable to participate in the General Assembly in person or remotely, the organization may alternatively assign their voting rights to a representative of another Ordinary Member organization in good standing who will be attending. Such proxy assignments must be limited in nature – i.e. be specific for certain decisions being taken at the General Assembly – rather than open-ended.
9.14. Such proxy assignments must be registered using the official form that is provided, sent by email to the ALLIANCE, and received before 11.59
p.m. CET on the day before the General Assembly meeting. Requests for proxy assignments received after this period will not be counted. Requests for proxy assignments received in any other format will not be counted.
9.15. In the event that an Ordinary Member organization in good standing is unable to participate in the General Assembly in person or via proxy, votes may be submitted electronically according to instructions that will be shared prior to the General Assembly (see Section 10).
9.16. For Ordinary Member organizations in good standing that are able to participate in the General Assembly in person, their vote should be registered on the official form that is provided, and submitted confidentially to the Elections Committee at the end of the relevant agenda item.
9.17. For Ordinary Member organizations in good standing that are able to participate in the General Assembly remotely, their vote should be registered electronically through private message to the address that will be provided for the Elections Committee, according to technical instructions that will be shared prior to the General Assembly (see Section 10).
9.18. The Elections Committee will oversee the procedure of election of Board members and communicate the results during the General Assembly.
10. Electronic Voting
10.1. Procedures for electronic ballot will be established and communicated to Ordinary Members prior to each General Assembly. Electronic ballot procedures shall carry out the intent and purpose of Bylaws Sections 8 and 9.
10.2. Information to be communicated by the ALLIANCE will include the specific software to be used, instructions for its use, deadlines to be respected for the various voting procedures, as well as composition and email address of the Elections Committee.
11. Terms of Reference for Specific Board Positions
11.1. The Chair: − is the highest ranking officer of the ALLIANCE; − is responsible for the proper functioning of the Board; − is responsible for ensuring adherence to the ALLIANCE Statutes and the ALLIANCE Bylaws; − shall represent the ALLIANCE in external matters, including with government authorities, UNODC and any other entities; − is expected to convene, attend and preside over all Board meetings, General Assembly meetings and informal meetings in Vienna; and − shall maintain effective communications with current and prospective member organizations, and other NGO Committees. − may designate, and change, the main responsibilities of the other members of the Board, as regards matters not specified in these Bylaws. Can designate one of the Vice-chairs to replace him or her, whenever circumstances require. The Chair shall be available to spend considerable time in Vienna.
11.2. The Vice-chairs: − will support the Chair in the implementation of his or her role; − shall, in the absence of the Chair, act on his or her behalf and perform his or her duties; and − are expected to travel to Vienna at least once a year for the ALLIANCE Annual General Assembly.
11.3. The Secretary: − shall oversee preparations for General Assembly, Board meetings and informal meetings; − shall oversee the content of the ALLIANCE website; − shall ensure that adequate minutes are kept of Board meetings, General Assembly meetings and informal meetings; − shall oversee communications with member organizations, in line with the ALLIANCE Bylaws; − shall assist the Chair with managing ongoing business; and − shall be available to spend considerable time in Vienna.
11.4. The Treasurer: − shall be responsible for properly managing for ALLIANCE funds and keeping the accounts; − shall oversee the membership application and termination procedures; − shall oversee the process of registration of members, membership fee payments; − shall prepare and present annual budgets and regular financial updates for the General Assembly; − shall ensure the maintenance of appropriate systems for book-keeping, receipts and payments, membership fees, and ensure prompt response to financial enquiries; − shall be responsible for keeping the bank accounts and making disbursements by the ALLIANCE; − shall support fundraising efforts; − shall work with the appointed auditors to facilitate the annual audit of the ALLIANCE accounts; and − shall be available to spend considerable time in Vienna.
11.5. Board Members − will support the work of the ALLIANCE on thematic areas and expanding membership; − shall participate in Board Meetings; and − are expected to travel to Vienna at least once a year for the ALLIANCE Annual General Assembly.
12. Financial Management
12.1. The financial year of the ALLIANCE shall be the calendar year.
12.2. Payments will be made from the ALLIANCE accounts upon receipt and approval of invoices and all relevant attachments and necessary information.
12.3. For individual payments up to € 3,000 (or equivalent), the invoice and documentation should be sent to the Chair and Treasurer for review. If no objections are raised by the Chair within 72 hours, the payment can be processed upon written approval by the Treasurer. As per Statutes, in case of unavailability of the Chair, one of the Vice-chairs or the Secretary may co-sign with the Treasurer.
12.4. For individual payments over € 3,000 (or equivalent), the invoice and documentation should be sent to the Board for review. If no objections are raised by the Board within 72 hours, the payment can be processed upon written approval by the Treasurer.
12.5. The Treasurer is then responsible for approving the payment on the ALLIANCE online banking system.
13. Developing and Approving Statements
13.1. The ALLIANCE is frequently requested to make oral or written statements for events such as the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) meetings and other international events or processes.
13.2. The ALLIANCE Board will agree which Board Member will be the designated speaker. If no Board Member is able to participate, then the Board may select a third party, preferably a member, to represent the ALLIANCE.
13.3. The selected individual will coordinate the drafting of a statement, aligned to the ALLIANCE vision and mandate, and reflecting the balanced and broad perspectives held within the ALLIANCE membership. A Working Group will be established for drafting the most important statements, for example on the occasion of the UN Crime Congresses.
13.4. The draft statement should then be shared by email with the Board for comments and suggestions, before reaching consensus on the statement through an iterative process.
13.5. The final statement will then be shared with members by email, and uploaded to the ALLIANCE website after delivery.
14. Representation at Major Events
14.1 The ALLIANCE will register for participation in major events of the crime prevention and criminal justice program and other UN relevant events. No funding for individuals participating in these events is available through the ALLIANCE. The number of delegates will be limited according to the need of representation of the ALLIANCE and may vary depending on specific rules applicable to different events.
14.2. In principle, members who intend to participate in events shall register via normal NGO registration channels, as indicated by the UNODC Civil Society Team (and/or the UN Civil Society Unit in New York).
14.3. The ALLIANCE delegation can include: − the chair or other members of the Board for the specific purpose of representing the ALLIANCE; − designated individuals on the basis of specific and justified needs, for example to represent the ALLIANCE, if no members of the Board can attend, or to provide expert inputs to specific meetings.
15. Formulation of Strategy and Policy Papers
15.1. The Board will draft strategy and policy documents at the request of the General Assembly, or on their own initiative.
15.2. In this event, the Board will produce a draft document, which should be shared with members by email. Comments will then be considered from Ordinary Members in good standing within two weeks of the original email. The Board will make every effort to ensure that comments are addressed, while also seeking to balance differing views as much as possible and acknowledging the breadth of positions within the ALLIANCE membership.
15.3. For this purpose, the absence of a response from a member organization will be deemed to indicate consent to the document.
16.1. A resolution to amend these Bylaws or the Statutes of the ALLIANCE must be submitted to the Board by an Ordinary Member organization in good standing, by email at least five weeks prior to the next General Assembly.
16.2. In order to take effect, a proposed amendment to the Bylaws must be adopted by consensus or by a simple majority of the total votes cast. Care must be taken when amending the se Bylaws that such amendments do not contradict or contravene the ALLIANCE Statutes.
16.3. Changes to the ALLIANCE Statutes, if required, must be adopted by consensus or by a twothirds majority of the total votes cast at a General Assembly (para 8.2 of the Statutes).
The Bylaws as adopted by the General Assembly on 13.05.2020