Established in 1982, the Alliance Française de Glasgow (AFG) is recognised by the French government as the official French Language and Cultural Centre for Glasgow and the West of Scotland.
It is one of eleven Alliances Françaises in the United Kingdom and one of 832 Alliances Françaises located in 131 countries over the five continents; it is the world’s largest cultural network in the world.
Having previously been a Limited Company and Scottish Charity, the AFG became a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) in August 2019, managed by a Board of Trustees.
As part of this change, our constitution has been re-written and we have become a two-tier SCIO.
The Board of Trustees
The AFG is registered as a SCIO with OSCR, the Scottish charity regulator, and as such it has a ‘Board of Trustees’.
What should the governing body do?
The Board of Trustees is there to lead, control and supervise the organisation’s activities. It is the part of the organisation with formal power and responsibility which are detailed in the governing document, our Constitution.
Trustees need to be aware of this responsibility of accountability and act in the best interests of the organisation and its beneficiaries, following all requirements of law and regulation. This is sometimes referred to as the need for ‘due diligence’.
To enable the organisation to meet its goals, trustees should perform the following functions:
- Set and maintain the vision, mission and values of the organisation.
- Develop direction, strategy and planning.
- Ensure the organisation has the structure and resources for its work.
- Establish policies and procedures to govern organisational activity, including guidance for the board, staff and volunteers.
- Establish systems for reporting and monitoring.
- Manage risk and ensure compliance and accountability with the governing document, external regulators and the law.
- Make certain that the financial affairs of the organisation are conducted properly and are accurately reported.
A two-tier SCIO
The structure of a membership organisation is probably the most common in the charity sector. With this two-tier structure, the board is elected by and is accountable to a wider body of ordinary members at an annual general meeting (AGM).
Members have ultimate control, rather than the board, which manages and supervises the activities of the organisation, and monitors its financial position. This accountability is favoured by many founders, as it is seen as more democratic and representative of community interests.
Further information on the governance of SCIOs can be found on OSCR’s website and on the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations‘s website.
Members of the SCIO
Members of the SCIO have the right to attend members’ meetings, including any AGM, and have powers under the constitution; in particular, members appoint people to serve on the board and take decisions on changes to the constitution itself.
Membership is open to any person, including representatives of partner bodies, who shares an interest in the development and understanding of the French language and culture, and who wishes to help promote the purposes and objectives of the organisation.
As per the AFG’s constitution, students enrolled in our language courses, participants at our cultural events or other users of the organisation’s facilities such as the library, are not considered members per se.
If wishing to become a member, they must apply to the board.
A partner body can nominate a single representative to attend and vote at the AGMs, and who will have all the rights of a member.
If you are prepared to become a member of the SCIO in the category of students and friends, please submit a short application to Mr Gerry Toner, Chairperson of the AFG.
Your application can be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.