Constitutional Requirements by Swiss Law
Swiss law regulating unions, federations, institutions and associations registered there, is documented in article 60ff of the Swiss Civil Law Book. The law is relatively flexible and there is no obligation upon organizations with head offices in Switzerland to be formally registered there. Approximately 80% of the International Organizations that do have head offices there are not formally registered in Switzerland. If an organization is registered there it is required to abide by the byelaws in Article 60ff above. The most important of these are as follows:
1. A General Meeting of member organizations must be held if 20% of the membership request this.
2. Member organizations must be able to withdraw from the Federation after giving 6 months notice, if they wish to do so.
3. If the Federation makes decisions which contravene its own byelaws, a member may appeal against this in law.
4. A Federation may be dissolved if:
a: It cannot meet its financial obligations;
b: It cannot maintain a quorum for its Committee
5. The Constitution of a Federation must include a proper translation of technical terms and concepts.
6. A judge can dissolve a Federation if he deems its proceedings and activities to be either immoral or in contravention of the law.
The Interim Working Group was left uncertain about the benefits of formal registration in Switzerland, and a decision was taken to leave the matter open. However, the terms of the Constitution have been framed within the requirements of the byelaws above to make it as easy as possible to register, in the event of future decision to do so. Like other non-profit making organizations, the Federation is not liable for tax, whether or not it is registered.
A. Name, Location, Address, Working Language, Currency
1. The name of the Federation will be the European Group Analytic Training Institutions Network, abbreviated as EGATIN. The working language of the Federation will be English, and in calculating subscriptions and other financial matters the currency is Euro.
2. EGATIN will have a registered office address where its bank account is held (§18e) and an address for correspondence which will be the professional address of its current Secretary (§18d)
3. EGATIN is a Federation of organizations which offer training programmes in group analysis which in general consist of personal therapy in a group, theory and supervision.
4. It exists to promote, on a non-profit making basis, scientific, educational and cultural activities, and the Federation has no links of a direct or indirect kind, with governments, states, political parties or other political bodies.
5. Its primary purpose is to provide opportunities for dialogue and exchange, in a European and International context, between the organizations referred to in 3 above, by means of which:
6. EGATIN will encourage high standards in group analytic training programmes, through the sharing of expertise and experience between member organization regarding:
a. professional and other training programmes
b. pre-qualifying, qualifying, post-graduate education and training programmes and activities
c. theoretical, clinical and educational paradigms, models and objectives
d.procedures and criteria for selection in professional training programmes
e. standards and criteria for qualification (graduation)
f. standards and criteria for accreditation to practice
g. curriculum material, texts, papers and projects
h. principles, methods and approaches in supervision
i. principles, methods and approaches in the training group analysis, and in the use and relevance of other forms of personal therapy for training
j. ethical principles and codes of practice
k. committee and organizational structures which support a – j above
7. EGATIN will thus contribute towards the development and extension of training in group analysis.
8. EGATIN will protect and respect the character, integrity and internal affairs of each member organization. Further, EGATIN will aim to facilitate the development and differentiation of individual member organizations, in accordance with their own expressed interests and aspirations, providing these are consistent with EGATIN’s constitution.
9. EGATIN’s activities will include the organization of a range of professional meetings and structures to advance its aims set out in 3 – 8 above.
10. EGATIN will establish and maintain good relations with similar national and international organizations wherever such contact can further its aims.
11. EGATIN will offer its resources to training organizations or individuals who request advice or assistance to further such developments as are in line with its aims.
12. Membership of EGATIN is by organization. One country may therefore have several organizations as EGATIN members.
13. Membership of EGATIN is open to any organization which offers, or plans to offer, a formal training in group analysis.
14. Membership categories are intended to provide a basis on which to include in the Federation, training institutions working at different levels. The three categories of membership will be:
a. Introductory: for organizations which offer Introductory or general courses which do not lead to accreditation to practice.
b. Intermediate: for organizations which have not yet attained the criteria for Qualifying membership (c below) but which are preparing, or have recently begun to offer, a group analytic training which will lead to a professional qualification to practice as a psychotherapist in the country in which the training takes place.
c. Qualifying: for organizations which offer a professional training as described in b above, and which meet the following additional criteria:
i. Qualifying requirements have been completed by at least five graduates of the organization.
ii. The main responsibility for the training and organization has been assumed locally.
iii. The organizations work is based upon its own written constitution.
iv.The organization’s graduates are governed in their practice by a Code of Ethics or Practice.
d. Honorary: The EGATIN Committee might also grant Honorary Membership to former chairs or founding members or other eminent Group Analysts. They will be invited to the AGM, but are not able to take part in the delegates Sensitivity Meetings and will receive any communication on email.
e. Individual members: Professionals who have a commitment to the development of group analytic training programmes may join EGATIN in their individual capacity but without voting right.
15. Admission to membership: organization seeking membership should apply to the secretary giving evidence of those matters which will determine their category of membership and agreeing to abide by EGATIN’s Constitution. The Committee of EGATIN (elected as described in § 18) will decide by a simple majority vote whether to recommend to the Delegates’ Meeting (as described in § 17) that the organization be admitted, and specifying its proposed category of membership.
The final decision for admission and category of membership shall be taken by a simple majority vote at a Delegate’s Meeting. Membership may be awarded provisionally by EGATIN’s Committee but this will need ratification at the next Delegate’s Meeting.
16. Termination of Membership
a. A member organization may terminate its membership by giving 6 months notice. Member institutions seeking to leave will be bound by this agreement to settle their outstanding subscription for the full current year.
b. A member organization will be deemed to have terminated its membership of EGATIN if its annual subscription becomes more than 6 months overdue.
c. An organization’s membership can be terminated by a two thirds majority of votes at a Delegates’ Meeting (as described in § 17)
E. Structures, committees and procedures
17. The General Meeting of Delegates: the final authority of EGATIN lies in the General Meeting of Delegates. At least one such meeting will be held in each calendar year as an Annual General Meeting.
a. Each member organisation may send only one delegate to a General Meeting. However, an organization may appoint a reserve Delegate who may attend and vote if the principal delegate is unable to do so. Other interested persons may attend as non-voting observers but may be excluded from any business deemed by the chair to be private.
b. When matters are decided by a vote, Introductory member organizations will have one vote, Intermediate member organisations will have two votes and Qualifying member organizations will have three votes. The Committee Members will vote as delegates not as committee members unless and except in the event of a tied vote when the Chair will have a casting vote.
c. Business may only be transacted at meetings at which a quorum of at least one fifth of the total number of delegates is present.
d. At least two months’ notice of each General meeting must be given to the named Delegate of each member organization; e-mail is an acceptable means of communication. Agendas must be posted at least one calendar month before each General meeting.
e. The Secretary must call a General meeting if one fifth or more of the total number of Delegates request it.
f. The date and location of each Annual General Meeting will be decided by the Committee having taken account of the views of the Meeting of Delegates.
18. The Committee of EGATIN: A Committee of 5 – 7 Delegates, elected in the General Meeting of Delegates, will have the executive authority of EGATIN
a. Election of the Committee will be by secret ballot. Nominations for election will be accepted at the General Meeting. A member organization may nominate its own Delegate to stand in the election. Voting in the election will be as described in parag. 17 b.
b. Business at a Committee meeting may be transacted only if a quorum of three Delegates is present.
c. The committee will elect its chairperson, who will fill the office for not more than two periods of three years. The Chair of Committee will also chair the General Meetings and other Meetings of Delegates. The Committee may elect a Chairperson Elect, who will serve as a Vice-Chairman for 1 year followed by a 3-year period as Chairperson.
d. The Committee will elect a Secretary to keep minutes of Committee and Delegates Meetings, including the General Meeting. The Secretary may remain in office until her term of duty on the Committee comes to an end, as set out in § 18 i.
e. The Committee will elect a Treasurer who will be responsible for the financial affairs of EGATIN. They may remain in office until her term of duty on the Committee comes to an end, as set out in § 18 i.
f. The Committee can elect other committee members for specific functions defined by the Committee as, for example, International Liaison and Webmaster.
g. The Committee will elect a Membership Secretary who will be responsible for applications of new members.
h. The Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer, Membership Secretary and the Chairperson of any Sub-Committee will report to the Delegates at each AGM.
i. When voting in Committee, each Committee Member will have only one vote regardless of the status of the member organization they represent.
j. The Committee will meet at least once a year. A least 2 months’ notice will be given of Committee meetings to those who serve on it; agendas will be posted not later than one calendar month before each meeting.
k. At least one member of Committee must retire every two years. Organizations represented by the retiring delegate, whether retiring when required to do so or by choice, may not be again represented on Committee until a year has elapsed, except when there are no other nominations for Committee.
l. Committee may co-opt up to three Delegates. These co-opted members have no voting rights. The co-option will last until the next AGM only.
m. A member of Committee may be expelled if three fifths of the Committee’s members so decide. In respect of such decision, but of no other decisions, the vote of any absent member of the Committee must be sought by post.
19. Annual subscriptions: Annual subscriptions to be paid by member organisations will be decided at the Annual General Meeting of Delegates, on the advice of the Committee. The three categories of membership will each involve a different membership fee. Upon admission to EGATIN, a member organization or Individual Member will become responsible for the full year’s subscription, regardless of what portion of the subscription year is still outstanding.
20. Revenue and liability: Authority to sign cheques and make decisions about other disbursements on behalf of EGATIN will rest jointly with the Treasurer and Chairperson and in the absence of either co-signatory, the other will be authorised to act if they have consulted the Committee individually or collectively. Subscription will be one source of revenue for EGATIN but the Committee will, in addition, be responsible for putting forward proposals for conferences and symposia which will yield additional sources of revenue. Member organizations will not be responsible for any debts incurred by EGATIN, and if the organization is at any point dissolved or its assets distributed, any surplus funds will be shared between organizations which are members at the time in proportions related to the annual subscriptions prevailing at that time.
a. Any organization more than 6 months in arrears with their subscription will be deemed to have resigned its membership. The responsibility for correcting any such difficulty affecting relations between Committee and individual member organizations, will rest with the organizations’ Delegates and this will be a fundamental part of their responsibility. Where arrears have arisen, for example, and no efforts have been made to correct this, Committee will have acted properly and adequately by conveying notice of intended termination to that organisation’s Delegate.
b. EGATIN will provide financial support, according to its financial resources, to members of Committee attending Committee meetings`, in respect of travel and accommodation only, providing these arrangements have been made as economically as possible. Committee will itself decide, on the recommendation of the Treasurer, the extent of such support. Expenses for other EGATIN functions which involve travel will be borne by the Federation’s own financial resources only if approved by the majority of the Committee and up to a total amount previously approved by the AGM.
c. EGATIN’s treasurer will be responsible for ensuring that Audited Accounts are presented each year to the Annual General Meeting, and for ensuring that they are confirmed in advance by two Delegates who are not members of Committee.
21. No change may be made in this Constitution without the approval of the General Meeting of Delegates, at which a two thirds majority will be required. Notice of any proposed constitutional change must be given with the notice of the meeting and must be sent three months in advance; e-mail is an acceptable means of communication.