2016 IFSW Constitutional Review – Final Draft



In the 2014 General Meeting a resolution was passed stating the need to review our Constitution and Bylaws. The constitutional review process which involved two extensive consultation rounds has now been completed and has resulted in a final draft which will be presented and voted on at the 2016 General Meeting.

Please find here the Final Draft of the Proposed Constitution and the Final Draft of the Bylaws.

The Constitutional Review Committee and the Secretariat wishes to thank all the members that provided feedback and comment throughout the consultation process.

Summary of Changes in Final Drafts


Preamble: rewritten to capture background and history of IFSW

Art 1 : delete reference to name of Federation which could be translated in more languages

Art 3: Delete Bern as seat maybe in other city

Art 4: Re-write of Aims of federation following consultation with members and in line with new definition of social work.

Article 5: propose to maintain clause c) in this article which calls for current member to endeavour to reach an agreement to form a Coordinating Body. Add a paragraph to specify that current member retains their membership status until there is defacto an agreement among the parties to form a coordinating body and until this is approved by the General membership majority vote . This is added in order to alleviate any concerns that a current member might have if and when there was difficulty in obtaining agreement on the formation of this new Coordinating Body.

Art 6: delete article as is no longer relevant

Art 7: re-numbered Art 6 . re-written for clarity. In good standing is added and defined.

Art 8: Deleted as is no longer relevant

Art 9: re-numbered to Art 7. Add word Censor to Title. Clarify process that applies to censor, suspension and expulsion.

Art 10: re-numbered Art 8.

Art 11: delete article as is repetition of parts of article 9 and 13.

Art 12: re-number Art 9 and rewrite for clarity in language and remove reference to staff which is more appropriate for IFSW policy manual.

Art 13: renumber to Art 10. Change in term Regional vice-president to Regional deputy. Also remove repetition such as reference to suspension or expulsion which is included in Art. 9 Also include in clause c) obligation for ratification by General Meeting of IFSW financial policies including method of assessing overall membership fees. Note that we are now referring to membership fees instead of membership dues throughout the constitution and by-laws.

Art 14: renumbered to Art 11. new language throughout the documents for definition of in good standing so that it reflects that membership fees are assessed according to specific financial policies as developed by the Executive committee and ratified by the general meeting. 

Art 15: renumbered to Art 12. Change term fax to electronic means. Delete last paragraph as procedure for minutes will be included in policy manual rather than in constitution.

Art 16: re-numbered to Art 13 . Votes could be electronic ballot as well as postal Ballot. Also clarify that votes are not always by simple majority such as in 5, 7 and 9. Distinguish between votes of General Membership and Executive committee also.

Art 17: re-numbered to Art 14. Overall rewrite to eliminate duplication and to provide more simple and clear language. New clause f) proposes election of Treasurer by executive committee instead of General meeting. New clause h) is for change to two terms of office for a maximum of 8 years instead of 12 years . new clause J) specifies that even if Vice-President and Treasurer have two year terms, they can still serve up to a maximum of eight years as is the case for other Executive Committee members . New clause i) clarifies that the term of office for President is four years. It also clarifies that an executive committee member having served eight consecutive years could still seek to be elected to this office. This ensures that we do not exclude people with experience on the executive to run for the office of president which is not the intention when we specify a maximum number of two terms or eight years on the executive. New clause K) outlines a clear and specific process for filling any and all vacant executive committee positions between general meetings. New clause l) ) : clarifies that interim appointments to fill original existing terms will include number of terms as well as number of years for an effective rotation of executive. New clause m) allows for replacement of absentee member of the executive after a period of 120 days.

Art 18: renumber to 15. Substitute term officers to steering committee and add composition of this committee. Delete reference to role of personnel committee which will be in policy manual rather than constitution. Delete clause i) which is already in Art 9. Delete clause J) which is procedural in nature and can be decided by Executive according to circumstances other than General Meeting.

Art 19: renumber to 16. Rewrite to specify that executive committee will make decision for venue of meeting as well as if and when it can be held by electronic means. Delete clause c) for appointment of alternates as this is not deemed operational and there is already a process to fill vacant positions.

Art 20: renumber to 17. Change term deliberative vote to casting vote.

Art 21: delete this article since it is repetition of article 13

Art 22: renumber to 18  Delete a number of sub articles that refer to candidates, provisional status, or full membership which are out-dated and no longer applicable .     New clause b) Clarifies that the General Meeting makes the decision whether to approve or deny request to belong to different region with a 75% majority vote only when the Executive Committee has denied the transfer by a 75% majority vote of their own. New clause c) allows for circumstances and discretion of each region in regards to the operations and deliberations of their regional committee. New clause d)) clarifies the responsibility of each region to nominate their representatives to the Executive Committee.

Art 23: Delete this article as it is too prescriptive and regions should be able to determine their functions without it being prescribed in constitution.

Art 24: Delete entire article as it is too prescriptive and serves no purpose in terms of policy governance where the Executive Committee and Secretary General must have ability to make timely and appropriate decisions in regards to all financial matters including the Federation’s income as the situation warrants.

Art 25: Delete entire article as it serves no purpose since liability is not determined by a constitutional article. A policy in regards to liability insurance to cover Executive Committee and staff should be in Policy and Procedures Manual. 

Art 26: renumbered Article 19. Delete phrase as delegated by treasurer since the duties of the Secretary General are not prescribed solely by the Treasurer.

Art 27: renumbered Article 20

Art 28: renumbered to Article 21. increase majority required to amend constitution to 75% rather two thirds.

Art 29: renumbered to Article 22

Art 30: renumbered to article 23. New date proposed for articles to be in force. ( July 2, 2016)


By-Law 1: Delete this By-Law as rather than stipulating only three official languages, At some point we may be required to communicate and/or translate into other languages and decision will be made in consideration of cost or other implications. 

By-Law 2: Delete this By-Law as is too prescriptive and it should be left to the discretion and judgement of the Executive Committee or General assembly to decide when we need to review the document “The Ethics of Social Work–Principles and Standards.

By-Law 3: renumbered to By-Law 1. Propose rewrite of this Article for clarity. Also propose inclusion of role of Regional President and Regional Deputy in assessing the eligibility for membership and recommendation for admittance as a member of the Federation. New members can be admitted ion an interim basis by the Executive Committee since ratification can only be done every two years by the General Meeting.

By-Law 4: renumbered By-Law 2. By-Law was highly prescriptive in regards to appointing committees of enquiry and such. Preference is to leave it to the regions to establish procedures whereby they establish Coordinating Bodies o allow for more than one professional association to join the IFSW Federation. Article 5b)of the Constitution clearly states that there can only be one member association per country and that If more than one Social Work Organisation in a country is interested in membership of the Federation only a national Coordinating Body representing every such organisation may be admitted as a member of the Federation.

By-Law 5: Renumbered By-Law 3 rewrite to add censor and to clarify role of executive committee as well as general membership in relation to censor, suspension or expulsion of members.

By-Law 6: renumbered By-Law 4. propose removing responsibility of the President of the Region to confirm that the organization complies with the Federation’s requirements and to submit a report to the Executive Committee.

By-Law 7: Renumber By-Law 5. Delete reference to 3 official languages.

By-Law 8: Re-numbered By-law 6. Change term of elections committee to nomination committee which will be composed of one representative from each of the five respective regions. Role of nomination committee is outlined in this By-Law.

By-Law 9: Renumber By-Law 7. Delete paragraph a) as is too prescriptive.

By-Law 10: Renumbered to By-Law 8. Delete process for accepting proxy in b) as well as specific form or instrument which is too prescriptive.

By-Law 11: renumber By-Law 9 Elections committee becomes nomination committee and role is clarified in detail. Only the election of the president would be put to a ballot vote of the members in good standing at the general meeting. The secretary would be elected by the executive committee as is the case for the Global vice-president.

By-Law 12: renumber to By-Law 10   For clause f) include term in good standing to exercise voting rights.

By-Law 13: Delete this By-Law since it does not add anything to what is already stated in article 12 of the constitution.

By-Law 14: renumber to By-Law 11. The term dues is changed throughout constitution and by-laws to membership fees.   Also add phrase to clarify that general membership must ratify policies pertaining to membership fees and that a 75% majority vote is required for a general increase in dues. Also clarifies role of steering committee in adjusting dues to particular circumstances as long as they are in accordance with financial policies ratified by the general meeting.

By-Law 15: Delete as terms of office are already prescribed in article 13f) of the Constitution.

By-Law 16: Delete as description of roles of Executive committee members, Main representatives and terms of reference of committees created by Executive Committee to be included in IFSW policy and procedures manual rather than in a By-Law thus they can be more easily reviewed and modified as the need arises.

By-Law 17: Delete as description of roles of Regional Presidents could be included in a policy and procedures manual rather than in a By-Law thus it can be more easily reviewed and modified as the need arises.

By-Law 18: renumber to By-Law 12     b) period to make their views known could be reduced to 30 days since electronic means are available and more accessible. Also include both the regional presidents and the regional deputies in the process for transfer between regions.

By-Law 19: Renumber By-Law 13. Delete reference to other staff as this should not be in by-law as per governance policy. Also delete reference to chief executive officer as the title is Secretary General.

By-Law 20: Delete   This description of duties should be part of a policy and procedures manual as well as in the contract of the Secretary General rather than a By-Law, thus it can be more easily reviewed and modified as the need arises.

By-Law 21: Renumber to By-Law 14. Use term membership fees and prescribe role of steering committee in adjusting fees. Also delete reference to provisional member as there is no such category.

By-Law 22: renumber to By-law 15.

By-Law 23: b) add reference to article 20 a) which stipulates that amendments to By-Laws can also be approved by General meeting with a 75 % majority vote. Delete reference to 29 July 2006