Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network Rules, Constitution, and Roles

Adopted 30 June 2007, amended on 13 April 2013, and 18 July 2020

Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network is a national network of Quakers with a concern about people seeking asylum, refugees and others in need of international protection. QARN is a Quaker Recognised Body within Britain Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers.)

Aims:

  • To support each other as Friends acting under concern;
  • To keep Friends in our meetings up to date with developments and to work to convince British Quakers that a principled critique of current asylum policy and practice grounded in experience and action should be part of our corporate Quaker witness in keeping with our testimony to equality.
  • To guide Britain Yearly Meeting now that Sufferings have accepted that Asylum is a concern, to help them to work for justice and compassion in our asylum and immigration system.

Activities: As required to meet the above aims.

Membership: Any Friend or attender is eligible to attend our meetings. Others may be invited to attend, normally as observers.

Meetings: These are held as and when required, normally quarterly, and at least once a year. (Annual General Meeting).  These are publicised through the E-mail group at least a month in advance, and must be attended by at least 6 Friends or attenders to be quorate.

Officers: The meeting appoints a Steering Group of 4* people, and a Treasurer. Each officer normally serves for 3 years. However, the meeting may end any appointment at an earlier date, or reappoint at the end of a 3 year period. No-one may serve in the same post for more than 6 years.

The meeting may appoint any sub-committee as and when required, and may also lay down any sub-committee.

Accounts: The financial year runs from 1 January to 31 December. Accounts are presented to a meeting in the following year, and are sent to Britain Yearly Meeting for information. Information on our finances is also given to Britain Yearly Meeting on request.

Bank accounts: We have an account with Reliance Bank. We have four signatories. Two signatures are required on all payments. Those present at the Annual General Meeting should be reminded of the names of cheque signatories, and changes can be agreed at the AGM, or by officers and confirmed at a quarterly meeting if changes are needed at other times.

Winding up: If the Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network ceases to exist (i.e. does not have at least one meeting a year) or it is decided at a meeting of Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network to cease to exist, then any funds go to Britain Yearly Meeting. BYM are asked, if practical, to use the money for work on asylum.

Contact details: Website – www.qarn.org.uk


Additional information:

Other contact details that may be subject to change:

E-mail address – info@qarn.org.uk

Phone: 07751 888391 (Sheila Mosley)

Postal address: c/o Sheila Mosley, Leicester Quakers, 16, Queens Road, Leicester LE2 1WP

Email Group: We keep in contact through an E-mail group – Anyone wishing to join the group should email Sheila Mosley at info@qarn.org.uk

As at January 2018, Rosemary Crawley became our Treasurer. In April 2018 we moved from Nationwide Bank to the Reliance Bank.

In line with modern technology, we are now able to process transactions over the internet, and one of the following signatories are required, to approve any expenditure in addition to the Treasurer: Fred Ashmore, Barbara Forbes and Sheila Mosley



Roles of Steering Group members, accepted at the QAN meeting 23 January 2021:

Treasurer

Governance

QARN is a Quaker Recognised Body, formally an unincorporated association.   This means that competent administration is expected and the group should provide an orderly annual report which includes financial matters and examined accounts.  Another member of the Steering Group will draft the annual report and present it to the AGM.

The network is coordinated by a Steering Group, and the Treasurer is automatically a member of this group.  There are no Trustees. 

Period of service  ‘We manage ourselves in a Quakerly way, and so people are appointed to a role usually for a three year period, with the possibility of this being renewed, but no-one is expected to stay in a particular role for longer than 6 years”.

[The eGroup is just for people who consider themselves attached to a Quaker meeting, and the Treasurer currently participates in discussions and decision-making – would this change if someone came forward who is not linked to Quakers]

Nature of role

The finances of QARN are simple.  Annual income and expenditure varies between £2,000 – £10,000.  There is no regular commitment of expenditure and the Treasurer is not expected to raise funds. There is regular reimbursement of expenses to Steering Group members.  QARN has historically organised conference meetings, usually in collaboration with a Quaker establishment (Friends House or Woodbrooke).

The Treasurer:-

  1. Runs our two online bank accounts (current and savings) with Reliance Bank, supported by three other signatories,
  2. Report on finances to the quarterly meetings of the Steering Group
  3. Draft end of year accounts and collaborate in their examination. 

Skills

  • Basic competence in financial administration, particularly knowing when to seek help.
  • An interest in refugees and asylum and related issues is essential, but substantial experience is not expected. 
  • No specific Quaker experience is demanded, but we think it likely that this role would suit someone with a few years experience of Quakers and our work. 
  • Competence in business matters and enough IT skills to take part in a group where most communication and information is electronic. 

Core Member of QARN Steering Group

Nature of group

All QARN members are people who consider themselves attached to a Quaker Meeting, and so all Steering Group members are Quakers. 

Our Steering Group has four posts for Core Members who are nominated and appointed at our AGM or other members’ meeting.  In addition, we have ex-officio members: the Treasurer, any QARN member appointed to represent us on another co-journeying body (which could also be a core member), also the person appointed to manage the website and eGroup

Period of service

We manage ourselves in a Quakerly way, and so people are appointed to a role usually for a three year period, with the possibility of this being renewed, but no-one is expected to stay in a particular role for longer than 6 years

Nature of the work

The Steering Group works to ensure that work is being taken forward as agreed at meetings, and to set the agenda for the quarterly meetings.  If urgent decisions need to be made between meetings, the Steering Group will take that forward. It is hoped that Steering Group members will be available to attend Steering Group planning meetings which take place between the quarterly meetings of QARN, and the quarterly meetings themselves.

Core Members are appointed to hold an overview of the work of QARN, to keep the Steering Group grounded in the work we do, and to ensure that we set an agenda for the quarterly meetings, which includes the AGM. All Steering Group members share this responsibility but as the other members are on the Steering Group due to their roles within QARN, they may be otherwise absorbed

.

Skills

A strong interest in the matters with which we work is essential, but great experience is not.  Resources for developing knowledge and skills are plentiful and learning will come from doing, possibly with the guidance of a mentor.

Significant experience of Quakers and our ways of working is desirable.

Competence in modern ways of working is necessary in this environment where most communications and information are electronic.

Challenges and joys

We believe this is profoundly important Quaker work in which a Friend can grow in the spirit as well as accompanying and offering support to some of the most vulnerable  in our society.  It can be frustrating and dispiriting to watch the poverty of spirit of government and the harsh treatment of vulnerable people.  But there can also be joy from this work, sometimes in unexpected ways.