The Chairperson of the CPA and the Constitution

The role and authority of the Chairperson emanates from the Constitution of the CPA. As a document it serves to identify the aims, responsibilities and divisions of power between the various bodies of the Association. Although not the most supreme body of the Association, the Executive Committee is empowered to lead and manage the Association’s affairs and is accountable to the General Assembly of the Association. The role of the Chairperson is, in a nutshell, to be a spokesperson for the Association at relevant forums; provide leadership and direction to the Executive Committee; and provide ongoing support and guidance to the Secretary-General.

This article of the CPA Constitution deals specifically with the role and responsibilities of the Chairperson of the Executive Committee. It also covers the method of electing the Chairperson and the position’s term of office.

Chairperson of the Executive Committee

20. Chairperson of the Executive Committee

(l) The General Assembly shall, on a valid nomination, elect a Chairperson of the Executive Committee.

(2) (a) The Chairperson of the Executive Committee shall be the executive head of the Association.
     (b) Without restricting the generality of paragraph (a), the Chairperson of the Executive Committee shall:
(i) be the official spokesman of the Association on all matters affecting the policy of the Association;
(ii) where both the offices of President and Vice-President are vacant, act as President;
(iii) preside over meetings of the Executive Committee;
(iv) co ordinate the work of, and provide policy guidance to, the subcommittees of the Executive Committee;
(v) provide policy guidance to the Secretary-General;
(vi) perform such functions as are delegated to the Chairperson by the Executive Committee, and
(vii) serve as an ex officio Member of all subcommittees of the Executive Committee, but without right of vote.

(3) Not less than one hundred and twenty days prior to the date of a meeting of the General Assembly at which the election of the Chairperson of the Executive Committee is to take place, the Secretary-General shall, in writing, invite nominations for the office from each Branch, Officer of the Association and Regional Representative.

(4) To be valid, such a nomination shall:
(a) be in writing;
(b) state, and contain the consent of, the nominee, who shall be qualified under Article 33 but shall not be the Chairperson of the Executive Committee then in office;
(c) be proposed and seconded by persons qualified under Article 33 to hold office in the Association, and
(d) subject to paragraph (6), be submitted by a Member of a Branch or by, or on behalf of, a Branch, or by an Officer of the Association or by a Regional Representative, and received by the Secretary-General not less than sixty days prior to the date of the meeting of the General Assembly at which the election of the Chairperson of the Executive Committee is to take place.

(5) A valid nomination shall be placed on the agenda for the meeting of the General Assembly at which the election of the Chairperson of the Executive Committee is to take place.

(6) Where no valid nomination is received within the period required by paragraph (4)(d), the General Assembly may receive otherwise valid nominations from the floor at the meeting at which the election of the Chairperson of the Executive Committee is to take place.

(7) The Chairperson of the Executive Committee shall hold office from the conclusion of the General Assembly at which the Chairperson is elected and thence until the conclusion of the General Assembly in the third succeeding year or, if no plenary conference is held in the third of the three years, until the conclusion of the General Assembly of the next plenary conference held thereafter.

The following articles of the Constitution deal more generally with the Executive Committee, its composition, powers, duties and meetings of the Committee.


The Executive Committee


24. Composition of the Executive Committee
The Members of the Executive Committee shall be:
(a) the Officers of the Association;
(b) the Regional Representatives;
(c) Acting Regional Representatives, and
(d) Alternate Regional Representatives.

25. Alternates
(1) At a meeting of the Executive Committee other than at the time of a plenary conference:
(a) where the President or Vice President is unable to attend, the Branch of which the Officer is a Member shall be entitled to nominate an alternate to attend the meeting in place of the Officer;
(b) where a Regional Representative is unable to attend:
(i) the Branch of which the Representative is a Member shall be entitled to nominate an alternate from its membership to attend the meeting in place of the Representative;
(ii) if that Branch is unable to make a nomination, a stand by Branch of the Region, as determined by the Region, shall be entitled to make such a nomination from amongst its membership.

(2) An alternate nominated under paragraph (l) shall be a person qualified under Article 33.

(3) At a meeting of the Executive Committee held at the time of a plenary conference:
(a) where the President or Vice-President is unable to attend, the leader of the delegation to the plenary conference from the Branch of which the Officer is a Member shall be entitled to attend the meeting as an alternate in place of the Officer;
(b) where a Regional Representative is unable to attend:
(i) the delegation to the plenary conference from the Branch of which the Representative is a Member shall be entitled to nominate a Member of the delegation to attend the meeting as an alternate in place of the Representative;
(ii) in the absence of that delegation, the delegation to the plenary conference from the stand by Branch of the Region shall be entitled to make such a nomination;
(iii) in the absence of a delegation from the stand by Branch, the delegates to the plenary conference from the Branches of the Region shall be entitled to nominate one of their number as an alternate to attend the meeting in place of the Representative.

(4) At all meetings of the Executive Committee which the Chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians is unable to attend, the Vice-Chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians shall be entitled to attend the meeting in place of the Chairperson or, in the absence of the Vice-Chairperson, the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians shall be entitled to nominate an alternate.


26. Powers and Duties of the Executive Committee

(1) Subject to Article 11(1) and paragraph (2), the control and management of the Association shall be vested in the Executive Committee, and it shall be competent to exercise all powers and do such acts as may be exercised or done by the Association, except those which are expressly reserved to the General Assembly.

(2) The Executive Committee may determine the venue of the next, or next but one, plenary conference where it has not been determined by the General Assembly and may, for good cause, change the venue of a plenary conference which has been determined by the General Assembly.

(3) In the exercise of its powers, the Executive Committee should seek, as far as is practicable, to maintain a regional balance amongst the Members of its subcommittees and in the staff of the Secretariat.

(4) Without restricting the generality of paragraph (1), the Executive Committee:
(a) shall manage and control the assets of the Association;
(b) shall establish a Finance Subcommittee in accordance with paragraph (5);
(c) shall determine the establishment, and the terms and conditions of employment of the staff, of the Secretariat;
(d) shall present to each ordinary meeting of the General Assembly:
(i) a report on the activities of the Association since the last General Assembly;
(ii) the budget of the Association for the next financial year and a financial projection for subsequent financial years;
(iii) the audited accounts of the Association for the financial year or years since the last audited accounts were presented to the General Assembly;
(e) may establish subcommittees and appoint as a Member any Regional Representative, and
(f) may delegate the exercise of its powers to any Officer of the Association or any Member of a Branch of the Association qualified under Article 33.

(5) The Finance Subcommittee shall have:
(a) in addition to the Treasurer, not more than fifteen Members, including at least one Member, and not more than three Members, from each Region, each of whom shall be a Member of a Branch of the Association, qualified under Article 33, and have appropriate financial experience, and
(b) authority to examine, and report to the Executive Committee on, the financial affairs of the Association.

(6) In addition to the Chairperson of the Executive Committee, the President and Vice-President of the Association, the Vice-Chairperson of the Executive Committee and, subject to Article 22(5)(b), the Treasurer shall be entitled to serve as ex officio Members of all subcommittees of the Executive Committee but without right of vote.

27. Meetings of the Executive Committee

(1) The Executive Committee shall meet during, or within seven days of, each plenary conference and as necessary between plenary conferences.

(2) Except in exceptional circumstances, the Secretary General shall give thirty days' written notice to each of its Members of the date and venue of a meeting of the Executive Committee and of the business to be transacted.

(3) The quorum for a meeting of the Executive Committee shall be eight, provided that the Members present shall be Members of Branches from at least five Regions of the Association.

(4) (a) The Member present who is most senior in the order of precedence set out in
  paragraph (b) shall preside over meetings of the Executive Committee.
(b) The order of precedence shall be:
the Chairperson of the Executive Committee;
the Vice Chairperson of the Executive Committee;
a Member of the Executive Committee elected by the Members present.

(5) Subject to paragraph (6), the Member presiding at a meeting of the Executive Committee shall not be entitled to vote.

(6) In the event of an equality of votes in a meeting of the Executive Committee, the Member presiding shall exercise a casting vote.

(7) (a) The Executive Committee may, when it is impractical to call a meeting, transact
urgent business by a resolution circulated to all Members and approved in writing by two thirds of the Members.
(b) Such a resolution shall be deemed to have been passed at a meeting of the Executive Committee.
(c) The Secretary-General shall, with the agreement of the President of the Association and the Chairperson of the Executive Committee that the business is urgent, be competent to initiate the procedure in paragraph (a).

(8) Where an Officer of the Association or Regional Representative fails without valid reasons to attend a meeting of the Executive Committee during the whole period between ordinary meetings of the General Assembly, the Executive Committee may declare a casual vacancy to exist in the office.


33. Qualification for Office and Participation in Certain Activities of the Association

(1) Subject to paragraph (2), no person shall be entitled to be appointed or continue as an Officer of the Association, a Member of the Executive Committee or its subcommittees, a Regional Representative, or as a delegate to a conference or other meetings of the Association, unless the person is a Member of a Branch which enjoys full rights within the Association and also a Member of the Legislature in which that Branch was formed.  No person shall be entitled to be appointed or continue as a Regional Secretary unless that person is a Member, or other representative, of a Branch which enjoys full rights within the Association.

(2) Where a Legislature is dissolved for the purposes of a general election, its Members at the time of dissolution shall be deemed to meet the requirements of paragraph (1) until the results of such election are declared or until the conclusion of the meeting or conference in which they are participating, whichever is the later.

Please click on the following link for the full CPA Constitution.