The Constitution of Influence

Name:  “Influence” – the collective voice of Swindon Business

Legal Status: Influence will be an unincorporated, non-statutory and non-executive partnership.

Purpose: To act as Swindon’s collective business voice, ensuring that the business community’s concerns, issues and aspirations are heard by local, regional and national decision makers.

1. Aims & Objectives

To provide a single channel through which the business community of Swindon can influence plans, strategies and projects at
local regional and national level. Influence exists within Swindon to:

  • support the growth and sustainability of the Swindon economy
  • support competitive and successful businesses in employing more people, on improving incomes
  • ensure the retention and growth of businesses and thus employment within the area

Influence will undertake this by:

  • Ensuring that Swindon’s business community clearly articulates  what is important for the future economic growth and development of the town
  • Discuss the strategies and plans that the Local Authority, Swindon & Wiltshire LEP, Forward Swindon and other pertinent organisations have for the town and wider area, providing appropriate and constructive feedback
  • Help relevant organisations including Swindon Borough Council, the Swindon & Wiltshire LEP and Forward Swindon to prioritise key ideas and plans
  • Being a co-ordinated voice of businesses in Swindon when in communication with Swindon Borough Council, other public sector organisations and the community of Swindon in general
  • Help to shape and influence a long term economic development strategy for the Borough
  • Constructively challenging all stakeholders to make a positive impact on the economy and community of Swindon
  • Providing private sector expertise, leadership and resources into key projects/initiatives alongside the public sector

2. Values

Influence will be governed by the following values:

  • Having the continuing economic success of Swindon as its primary driver
  • Being apolitical
  • Making decisions openly and with integrity
  • Working collectively and collaboratively to add value

3. Representation

Influence recognises the importance of working in partnership, including with the public sector, to achieve its goals and will aim to forge strong relationships with key public sector organisations, including Swindon Borough Council and the One Swindon Partnership Board.

4. Structure

Influence wishes to be as representative of business across Swindon as possible, and to be open and accessible to the wide range of networks, informal groups and individual businesses that exist. Influence will not have a formal membership but will seek to represent a wide business spectrum that gives it validity and credibility. It must also link to membership and representative organisations who will add substance and diversity in executing Influence’s aims.

5. The Management Board

The Management Board will provide direction and shape to the organisation.  It will agree priorities for engagement with the plans, strategies and projects of others by considering how they impact on the aims and objectives set out above. The Management Board will be the guardian of this constitution and will ensure that the organisation reflects the widest possible view of business in Swindon.The Management Board will:

  • Act as the body to oversee the management and development of Influence
  • Represent the collective views of the local business community on matters of significance
  • Champion Swindon by projecting a positive image
  • Communicate Influence activities to their respective organisations and memberships

The initial members of the Management Board will be:

  •  Representative Organisations: GWE Business West, Swindon Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses, In Swindon BID, Swindon Hoteliers Group, Visit Wiltshire, Swindon Property Forum (SNAP) and Old Town Business and Professional Association
  • Individual Organisations:  Honda, Nationwide, Thrings, VOX PR, Intel, Swindon Borough Council, Forward Swindon and Thamesdown Transport

All Board members are to be of sufficient seniority to enable them to act strategically and to make decisions. They should also
have significant authority and influence within their own organisations to be able to make commitments where necessary. There is also an agreement to adopt a co-ordinated approach to Influence activities and communications, supporting the aims and objectives of the partnership. Suitably senior substitutes will be entitled to attend management board meetings, recognising the time pressures that there may be on Board members.

Advisors may be invited to attend part of the Board meetings to support and enhance discussions.

Working Groups may from time to time be established under the Board’s jurisdiction to focus on specific areas or projects, as and when required.

GWE Business West and Forward Swindon have agreed to provide initial administrative support to the Board.  Other members will provide support if possible.

Management Board members are unpaid.

Members, or their organisations, may provide specialist services or advice for the benefit of Influence which involve time and cost implications above and beyond what could reasonably be expected on a pro-bono basis.  Any service provided and charged for shall first be approved by the Management Board.

Influence will hold an annual conference open to the whole business community during which it will provide an opportunity for other representative organisations to be nominated onto the Management Board.

6. Appointment & Role of Chair

The Management Board will appoint a Chair from amongst its membership for a 3 year term, subject to review by the Management Board annually. The appointment will be made on a majority decision and will take place during a Board meeting where a quorum of 5 members are present.

In the event of the Chair being absent from a Board meeting, an acting Chair will be agreed in advance.

The Chair will seek opinion from Board members in the pursuit of the aims and objectives of Influence whilst ensuring that its

values are adhered to.

Specifically, the Chair will:

  • Be the spokesperson for Influence
  • Be the primary link to the Swindon & Wiltshire LEP
  • Be the primary communication link with Swindon Borough Council ensuring Influence’s views are understood within a policy-forming context
  • Represent business at One Swindon meetings
  • Represent business at regional and national level (where appropriate)

7. Meetings
Meetings of the Management Board will be held monthly.

Notification, together with the agenda for Board meetings will be despatched at least 5 working days prior to the meeting taking place. Supporting papers can be despatched up to the date of the meeting taking place.