Membership Agreement

Bath LETS: Members Agreement NB this document is in draft: for reference see comparison page

1. Bath LETs is a non-profit organization whose rights and authority are vested in the members who delegate that authority to the Management Group who act on their behalf according to the provisions laid down in the Constitution.

2. The Management Group accepts into membership all who seek to join in good faith, normally those who are resident in the locality of Bath and North East Somerset, and others in special circumstances, but reserves the right to deny membership to an applicant in exceptional circumstances at their discretion.

3. Bath LETs provides an information service through which members can advertise and exchange goods and services, and maintains a central account of those exchanges for the benefit of members in an agreed unit of account called olivers.

4. No warranty or undertaking as to the value, condition or quality of services or items exchanged is expressed or implied by virtue of the introduction of members to each other. Bath LETs cannot be held responsible for the actual goods and services offered. Members should therefore seek to determine for themselves the quality or standard of workmanship offered before agreeing a transaction, by asking for references in the normal way.

5. The oliver is valued at 25 units per hour of work. This is the standard rate for those who wish to trade on an equal basis, but is negotiable between members who agree otherwise for a particular trade, and where goods or services being traded are not strictly related to hours of work.

6. Members may be individuals, couples, businesses, voluntary organisations or projects, who can delegate authority to a representative to act on their behalf. Individuals may have an individual and a business account where appropriate. Members of the Management Group will have a separate account for their role in managing Bath LETS, in addition to their own trading account (see below).

7. Members agree to Bath LETs holding relevant personal details on computer and online according to the provisions of the Data Protection Act, and making available to other members only details relevant to the purpose of exchange, including an indication of members' location without giving out their street address. Members also agree to the directory of goods and services being visible to the general public for publicity purposes without names or any other details of individuals being displayed.

8. The Management Group is authorized to charge a joining fee in sterling and to vary the amount of that on a cost-of-service basis as the situation requires in consultation with the advisory group - currently 10 (or 5 concessions), and also to waive or reduce the fee in cases of hardship at the discretion of the membership secretary, and instead to levy the equivalent in olivers.

9. The Management Group is authorized to accept donations from grant-giving organisations or individuals and to place the equivalent in local currency in a project account to be used for community purposes. These project accounts form the basis for LETS Work Together activities and a Project Organiser may be delegated to manage each of these accounts.

10. The Management Group is authorized to charge monthly fees in olivers on a cost-of-service basis - currently five oliver per month. These olivers are paid into the system account, from which payments are made to individual or project accounts to carry out specific tasks in relation to the management of the scheme.

11. No interest is charged or paid on balances but members are expected to manage their personal accounts in a responsible and fair manner in terms of reciprocal activity, and within limits which may be specificed from time to time by the Management Group. A member going outside these limits, may expect to have a voluntary limit placed on their account until it is brought to good order.

12. All accounts start at zero. Members can issue olivers from their own account directly to the account of another member in payment for goods and services, or as a donation at their discretion, and are not obliged to be in receipt of any olivers before issuing another member with olivers. Their account will go minus to the same value as the number of olivers transferred. Therefore all accounts in the system, including administration accounts, some positive and some negative, will have an overall zero sum.

13. All members will have access to the balance and turnover of all other members' account on an ongoing basis, and in order to ensure transparency in the activities of the Management Group, where substantial activities are carried out by individual office-holders on behalf of the scheme, these are recorded in separate accounts for the duration of that office-holding thus enabling budgets for specific activities and projects to be set.

14. Members may engage in any transaction entirely in olivers, or on a part oliver, part cash basis, especially where there are sterling expenses that need to be defrayed, but only olivers are recorded on the system. Transactions may be for the purpose of obtaining goods or services or donating to other accounts, at the discretion of the account holder.

15. Transfer of olivers is normally done online by each individual. The LETS accountant maintains an overview of transactions, and may accept cheques from individuals as an instruction to act on their behalf. Alternatively, the task of managing member accounts and reciving email messages may be delegated to a personal buddy who sets up an email account and password for the member, on a temporary or permanent basis. Anyone who needs help or assistance in managing their account should contact a member of the Management Group for help.

16. Members are entitled to some form of handwritten receipt (conveniently on a timesheet downloadable from the website), pending the transfer of olivers. During trading events, trading lists or vouchers can be used as an interim record, pending the updating of members' accounts.

17. The Management Group decides on the roles which are necessary for the functioning of the scheme, and may re-organise roles or co-opt members, or ask members to assist with particular functions. The current management group roles in Bath LETS are: Co-ordinator, Secretary, Treasurer, Membership, Broker, Administrator, Information Officer, Outreach, Project Managers, and Local Representatives. The names of post-holders and brief job descriptions are set out here. Members of the Management Group will, however, give an individual account of themselves, on the basis of which they will either seek re-election, or give prior notice of their intention to resign from the management group at the Annual General Meeting.

18. The Management Group will arrange and publicise the dates of Meetings. The purposes of meetings will be made clear, eg Management Group Meetings, Introductory Meetings, Training Events, Social Meetings, Excursions, Work Sessions, and Trading Days, to be held at such venues as enable as many members as possible to attend them.

19. All Members are entitled to arrange events and charge entrance fees in olivers, by way of their normal trading activities. The Management Group may authorise some such meetings to be counted as official meetings, and instead of the member having to charge entrance fees, will make payment from a designated fund at an agreed rate for the members time, as long as the meeting is conducted in the agreed way. In order to have such meetings made official, the member concerned will apply for this to be considered at a Management Group meeting, and may attend in purpose to explain their proposal and make their case.

20. Members have the right to attend any meeting of the Management Group, to request that items be placed on the agenda and to make their views known, but not to formally vote - nor do they have the right of veto. Any member who has not been able to get satisfaction at a meeting of the Management Group has the right to call an Extraordinary General Meeting, by making a request supported by at least three other members, to a member of the Management Group, who will follow the procedure for conducting such a meeting laid down in the Constitution.

21. No member is obliged to accept any particularly invitation to trade, or to engage in any transaction whatsoever with other members. However, they may be encouraged by an office-holder to engage in trading activities in order to assist them in managing their account.

22. The management group may decline to record (or in extreme circumstances may reverse) an account or directory entry considered inappropriate for legal or other reasons. In the case of dispute between members arising from any cause, they will seek assistance from the LETS Accountant in the first instance.

23. The vast majority of LETS activity is of no interest to the Tax or Benefits authorities. Members who are engaged in business activity are individually responsible for their own personal tax liabilities. They are advised to have separate personal and business accounts and to spend out of their business accounts on items related to the business without generating profit, ie keeping their business account close to zero, as is normal good practice. Bath LETS has no liability regarding members' tax or benefits entitlements, and will not give out information about members to the tax or benefits authorities or collect any payments on their behalf.

24. The Management Group may act on behalf of members in seeking explanation or satisfaction from a person whose activity is considered to be contrary to the interests of the membership. The Management Group, in consultation with the advisory group, may suspend membership in the case of delinquent accounts and as a last resort may remove members from the system.

25. On leaving Bath LETs, members with commitments outstanding are obliged to balance their account (if necessary in sterling). Positive balances may be bequeathed to other member or project accounts. Alternatively, the member may request the transfer of their balance to a group elsewhere, and if this group is willing to accept the individual into membership, the administrators will follow the procedures in place at the time to effect such transfers through the national network.

26. This agreement may be updated, changed or modifiedby the Management Group following normal procedures for communication with members and considering their responses at meetings. Proposals for major changes or innovations in the administration of Bath LETS will benotified to all members for discussion at an Annual General Meeting, or in emergency at an Extraordinary General Meeting, following the procedures laid down in the Constitution.

27. Membership in Bath LETs implies acceptance of the conditions of this agreement.

If you are happy with the above please continue and complete the Joining Form.
If you still have queries, please attend a meeting and raise your concerns - feedback and ideas are always welcomed. Dates are advertised here.