SOPO Constitution

1. Purpose of this document [top]

The purpose of this document is to detail a set of guiding principles and constitution to be adopted by the Society of Procurement Officers in Local Government.

2. Aims and activities [top]

The Society of Procurement Officers in Local Government (The Society) will engage in a range of activities with the aim of:

  • Promoting the strategic procurement function within local government; (i) provide a forum and network; and (ii) provide guidance and promote best practice.
  • Promoting cooperation among member authorities.
  • Representing the interests and views of member authorities.
  • Advising the local authority associations in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (the Local Government Association (LGA), the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA), the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) and the Association of Local Authorities of Northern Ireland) on all procurement matters as appropriate.

Activities will include:

  • The production of reports and publications on any matter of national/general interest affecting purchasing and supplies.
  • The undertaking of regional and national surveys to establish variations in purchasing policies and practices and as an aid to providing guidance.
  • The holding and supporting of conferences and training activities related to the aims and activities of the society and affecting local government.
  • The monitoring of procurement developments and the assessment of the implications of legislative changes.
  • Liaison with the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) to promote local government procurement, and the principles of the CIPS ethical code.
  • Participation in any relevant commissions or cross-service initiatives arising as a result of contact with local government chief officers societies or as requested by the local authority associations.

3. Membership [top]

Membership of The Society is open to English metropolitan district councils, London boroughs, English shire counties, English shire districts, English, Welsh and Scottish unitary authorities, district councils in Northern Ireland, single service authorities (police, fire and transport authorities) and the Probation Service. Membership of The Society will be open to:

(a) the most senior employee responsible for the corporate procurement function, who will carry voting rights.
(b) any paid employee whose prime function is procurement or who contributes significantly to procurement decisions and/or procurement strategy within an authority.

Where an authority does not have a corporate procurement function but relies upon the services of another authority, the most senior employee responsible for procurement within the servicing authority can be nominated as its representative.

Where an authority does not have a corporate procurement function and does not rely on the services of another authority but has an interest in ensuring that its procurement activities offer value for money, the nominated officer can be another appropriate local government employee within that authority.

Each authority will be entitled to only one vote at the Annual General Meeting (AGM).

The National Executive Committee (NEC) reserves the right to determine in its absolute discretion whether or not an applicant for membership is eligible for membership. The NEC reserves the right to introduce a level of Associate Membership where it is considered appropriate and such membership may be subject to a subscription as determined by the NEC on a case-by-case basis.

4. National Executive Committee [top]

The Society will be represented through a National Executive Committee. Only the most senior employee responsible for the procurement function will be eligible to serve on the Committee. The regional structure of The Society will be in accordance with the regional structure as determined by the NEC.

The NEC shall meet at least quarterly and shall comprise up to 25 officer members including a minimum of 13 regional representatives. The outgoing NEC will nominate the remaining places and the officer positions. The NEC will ensure that, wherever possible, the diversity of the types of authorities that make up membership of The Society is represented on the NEC.

Additional places on the Committee will be reserved for a representative of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply and a paid official from each of the three national local authority associations. None will have voting rights.

Regional representation:

  • North West
  • North East
  • Yorkshire & The Humber
  • East Midlands
  • West Midlands
  • East of England
  • South East
  • South West
  • London
  • Wales
  • Scotland

Northern Ireland Nominations for the NEC shall be approved biennially by the membership present at the AGM. The AGM will approve the nominations for:

  • Chairman
  • Vice-Chairman
  • Secretary
  • Assistant Secretary
  • Treasurer

The NEC will have power to co-opt members to the Committee between AGMs who will be entitled to vote. The Secretary shall make known to the membership within the agenda documents for the AGM the nominations for regional representatives and nominations from the outgoing NEC.

The quorum of members for the NEC shall be seven.

Every question to be determined by the NEC shall be determined by majority voting of those members present. Where there is an equal division of votes, the Chairman of the meeting shall have a second or casting vote.

5. Regions and regional representatives [top]

The regions designated shall remain as electoral entities unless the voting membership within a region exceeds 35 or unless difficulties arise for regional representation due to population sizes, geographical spread or other practical issues in which case the NEC will consider the need for additional electoral regions.

Regional representatives will:

  • call at least one formal regional meeting of members per annum
  • seek nominations for regional representatives every two years

In the event that there is more than one nomination within a region, the regional representative will organise an election of members on the basis of one vote per voting member. Following any necessary elections, regional representatives will forward nominations to the Secretary of the Society for reporting to the AGM.

If during the two-year period of office the regional representative shall vacate the position or shall be deemed by a recorded majority decision of the NEC to be no longer an appropriate person to represent that region, the NEC shall be empowered to:

  • seek nominations and order a new election for a regional representative
  • co-opt another member within that region who is a Head of Service to act temporarily as a regional representative for the remaining period of office.

6. Accountability and reporting responsibilities [top]

This Constitution may be added to, varied, or otherwise amended, by the majority of those members attending an AGM or Special AGM or by the majority of members responding to a postal ballot.

7. Finance [top]

The NEC will decide on the most appropriate method of funding the activities of The Society with the normal probity expected of local government employees.

The subscriptions payable by members of The Society shall be determined at the AGM and the NEC may make a recommendation to such meeting. An individual admitted to membership of The Society in the second half of The Society's accounting year shall in that year be required to pay one half of the annual subscription. If any member fails to pay their subscription within three months after it has become due the Treasurer shall by letter draw attention to the fact, and if the subscription in arrears is not paid within one month from the date of the letter or within such further time the NEC may grant, the NEC may deem such membership to have lapsed.

The NEC may incur any expenditure that it considers desirable for the conduct of the affairs of The Society, including the provision of accommodation and facilities.

The Treasurer, Chairman and Vice Chairman shall be authorised signatories of The Society's cheques and any two of these officers signatures will be required.

The Treasurer shall report on the financial statement of The Society at each NEC meeting and in writing to the AGM.

A suitable person appointed by the NEC shall audit the annual accounts.

8. Representation on other bodies [top]

The Society will seek representation on other procurement-related groups or bodies, e.g. the CIPS Local Authority Committee, and groups set up to consider the impact and development of EU Directives and legislative changes affecting procurement.

9. Legal status [top]

The Society shall adopt and register a Memorandum and Articles of Association for a company limited by guarantee. The Directors of the company shall include among their number the current Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary and two other members of the Society's National Executive Committee.

10. Disclaimer and Indemnity [top]

Please note that the content of interactive sections of the SOPO website contains information, views and opinions of individuals only. The statements made are not necessarily the views of SOPO, and SOPO is not responsible for the material posted or the implications of its use.

By using this website, you accept that you are responsible for ensuring that:

(i) no material you post, nor any activity or communication you make in connection with any SOPO website service will:

(a) infringe the intellectual property or other rights of any person or entity; (b) breach any applicable law, whether commercial, tortious or otherwise, or (c) be offensive, threatening, obscene, pornographic, false, defamatory, unreliable or misleading, or (d) jeopardise the integrity of the computer systems and networks of SOPO including but not limited to introducing corrupt data, viruses or spamming.

(ii) any material you post or any activity or communication you make in connection with any job website service will comply with the following basic standards:

(a) all information and activities must be legal, decent and honest; (b) data protection legislation must be adhered to in order that the collection of personal information is not traded or disclosed illegally; (c) other applicable trading standards and laws and regulations.

If you make use of this website in any way which in the opinion of SOPO is to the detriment of SOPO, SOPO reserve the right to bar access to this website.

SOPO does not have control over nor responsibility for the truth or accuracy of any material made available on the SOPO website whether provided by members of SOPO or otherwise, and the material does not, and should not be construed as constituting professional advice, or recommendation or endorsement of any product or service offered and users should not rely on the information provided in the material.

[SOPO is not responsible for the content of any sites directly or indirectly linking to or linked from any pages on this site.]

Accordingly, to the extent that the law permits, by using the SOPO website you release SOPO, its directors, contractors, employees and agents from all liability arising out of or in connection with the SOPO website service and the material included here by members of SOPO and other third parties. Further, you agree to indemnify SOPO against all liabilities, claims and expense that may arise from any breach of these terms by you or through any machine on which you access the SOPO website service.