Amnesty International UK Section
Amnesty International is a worldwide membership organisation. We - Amnesty International UK - are one of over 50 national Amnesty sections based in countries around the world.
We have offices in London, Belfast and Edinburgh. Around 170 staff members and 60 volunteers work across these offices. Along with over 210,000 financial supporters in the UK, we work together to improve human rights worldwide.
Although we work together towards the same aim, Amnesty International UK is in fact two separate legal entities: The Charitable Trust and the UK Section.
What Amnesty International UK Section does
Amnesty International UK Section is the legal entity responsible for the majority of activities carried out by the national UK Section. These include:
- Our communications
- The administration of our work
If you are a member, you are a member of Amnesty International UK Section and we are accountable to you. Every year, at our Annual General Meeting, members get to have their say on the work that we do.
A Board of Directors elected by members governs the work of Amnesty International UK Section.
Amnesty International UK Section also owns and/or leases the offices and shops used by the UK Section and carries out the majority of the Section's trading activities such as our bookshops and online shop.
Amnesty Freestyle is a limited company and the trading subsidiary of the UK Section, accounting for events such as The Secret Policeman's Ball.
For a full list of activities carried out by Amnesty International UK Section, download the constitution below.
How the UK Section is governed
The Board of Directors is our primary governing body – it works through our Section Director, the most senior member of paid staff, to make sure that we take forward decisions made at both the Annual General Meeting by UK members and the International Council Meeting (ICM) by the international movement. It also appoints the Director, holding them accountable for the general management of the section.
The Board is made up of up to 15 unpaid, volunteer members - women and men who are passionate about the work that we do, with the skills and experience to ensure that we do it well. Our members elect 12 of these individuals and they meet a minimum of four times a year. Meet the Board.
Although the Board is our main governing and decision making body, it can choose to appoint Subcommittees to advise on particular areas of expertise.
How the Board is chosen
All of our members have the right to vote on who joins the Board. However, we have certain groups of particularly active members who we allow to nominate particular candidates. Local groups and our networks each nominate two members and our country coordinators nominate one. The remaining seven places are open to any member who would like to put themselves forward for election.
Board members serve a three-year term of office and can be re-elected for one further three-year term before standing down. After a gap of three years, they may stand for election to the Board again if they wish for one further term. The Chair and Vice-Chair may stand again directly for a third term, without the need to take a three year break, up to the maximum of nine years or until they are no longer Chair or Vice-Chair. Where the Board identifies a gap in knowledge or expertise, it may also co-opt up to three additional members.
After a vote, the results of the election of new members to the Board are usually declared within 10 days. At its first meeting after the Annual General Meeting, the new Board elects from within its members a Chair, Vice-Chair and Treasurer.
Rules of Amnesty International UK Section
Over the past few years Amnesty International UK (AIUK) Section has reviewed its governance and constitution to ensure that we are an effective democratic organisation that is truly representative of our members, and focussed on achieving positive human rights changes.
Our 2015 and 2016 AGMs agreed a number of amendments for updating our constitution, then In 2017 the AGM also agreed to adopt Rules to further support AIUK Section‘s governance.
These rules give members greater control over AIUK’s governance. Like the formal Articles they are binding on AIUK Section, but the rules can be amended by an ordinary resolution at an AGM, and thus provide an element of flexibility so that AIUK’s structures and processes can evolve in line with the needs of the organisation.
They are consistent with the Companies Act, AIUK Section’s Articles of Association and the law more generally and largely codify and bring together in one place existing policies. In particular, they:
- Explain the arrangements for holding general meetings
- Explain the role of the AGM Committees
You can read the Rules document here.