Our Constitution

Download our constitution here … The Constitution of Transition Town Eastbourne

This Constitution was adopted at our first General Meeting held on the 29th August 2013

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Transition Town Eastbourne is an Unincorporated Not-for-Profit Association

  1. 1.       NAME

The name of the Association shall be “Transition Town Eastbourne” (TTE).

  1. 2.       AREA

The initial area covered by TTE shall be Eastbourne District, (East Sussex) and its surrounding areas.

  1. 3.       AIMS

The Aims of TTE shall be:

We exist to introduce people to local Transition Initiatives, use creativity, motivate, offer information, ideas and resources in order to mobilise a community response to peak oil, climate change and environmental and economic uncertainty. Specifically, we will be:

  • Raising awareness in the Eastbourne area about the Transition Movement and our own Transition Town
  • Providing a framework for an effective response to climate change and peak oil, including facilitating the creation of an Energy Descent Plan
  • Working with projects, people and groups already engaged with these issues
  • Encouraging and enabling people in the Eastbourne area to respond positively to climate change and peak oil
  • Initiating and supporting  projects that help to make Eastbourne more resilient to economic and environmental uncertainties

We do this because a community using less energy and resources will be healthier, more abundant, closer-knit and more pleasurable than at present.

General ethos/ guiding principles:

  • We work in a collaborative way because we get better results with less effort. Collectively we are greater than the sum of our parts
  • Individuals take responsibility for their own decisions, actions and results in TTE.
  • The leadership for TTE is shared by everyone and we have a democratically controlled Steering Group, open to all members. Steering Group Procedures are hosted on the EastbourneTransition.org website
  • We trust that those who step forward have good intentions and we give autonomy and support to those who wish to be part of TTE
  • We are accountable to ourselves and to each other in keeping to our core principles.
  • We are open and transparent in everything we do.
  • We don’t have a blueprint. We believe in multiple paths, guiding principles, ideas sharing and possibility. We think an honest search for answers is as important as the conclusions gathered. It’s fine to make mistakes and learn from them.
  • We are open to working with everyone. We welcome diversity and see it as a strength, not a problem. We aim to be socially inclusive and try to avoid ‘them and us’ statements and thinking.
  • We recognise that we are students, not scholars and remain open to new thinking; we value professional and practical contributions to our initiatives.
  • We acknowledge other initiatives and seek to find ways to collaborate and further the aims of TTE.
  • We give what we can and ask for what we need.
  • Individually and as a group we work on the things we enjoy, so that we do them well.
  • We work with a natural momentum, driven by our passion and positive approach.

The above principles guide the way TTE works and will continue to evolve and deepen.

Organisation:

There are also some specific principles that deal with our organisational structure and method:

  • TTE Groups form as needed to do what needs to be done: make decisions, take action; they dissolve when the need is gone
  • Each Group is responsible for raising and acquiring its own money and resources – and for using those wisely.
  • Groups exist to deliver the aims of TTE in a positive and tangible way.
  • It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure the free flow of information and knowledge throughout our network.
  • We will always try to consider the effects of our actions on our combined public reputation.

4. POWERS

In pursuance of these aims, TTE may:

  1. Publish and distribute information and comment
  2. Undertake, support or promote, education and research
  3. Raise funds
  4. Run events
  5. Recruit volunteers
  6. Employ staff
  7. Buy or lease premises and equipment
  8. Enter into contracts
  9. Undertake any trade, business, enterprise, project or venture which could contribute to the delivery of the aims and objectives.
  10. Participate in any other legal activity that could help deliver the stated aims and objectives.

5. MEMBERSHIP

  1. All TTE members shall be individuals or organisations admitted without reference to wealth, politics, religion, sex, disability, age or sexual preference, and who live, work or operate in the area described in rule 5.2 below and who are in agreement with the stated aims.
  2. All TTE members shall support and uphold the provisions of the The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted and proclaimed by United Nations General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948.
  3. Membership shall be free but shall be confirmed by a formal entry on a Register of Members.
  4. A member shall cease to be a member if she/he:

i.    resigns; or

ii.    is requested to resign by three-quarters of members voting to this effect; or

iii.    dies

Any members expelled shall be entitled to appeal against the expulsion at an Extraordinary General Meeting.

6. NOT FOR PROFIT

TTE shall not trade for profit. Any surplus funds shall:

  1. be deposited in a general reserve for the continuation and development of TTE;
    or, subject to a formal resolution of the TTE general meeting,
  2. be paid, in part or in full, as payment to any member in return for services rendered, for reasonable wages, bonuses and repayments of expenses, interest on money borrowed, or reasonable rent on premises let to TTE;
  3. be donated, in part or in full, to another organisation or community group in pursuance of the aims of TTE

Fundraising for projects:

There are also some specific principles on fundraising for projects. These guidelines are being developed by our Finance & Funding Group. Below are the proposed guidelines so far:

  • Members of TTE can earn money from doing TTE work, if there is funding available, but total transparency and openness is expected at all times.
  • Projects for which funding is sought, need to be agreed with the relevant TTE groups.
  • The project must support the aims of TTE and be in line with the other principles and be designed to deliver on key objectives of the group.
  • If the proposer, or a group member, of the project is the intended beneficiary of the funding then the group must open it up to wider competition within TTE or beyond if appropriate.
  • The TTE group which obtained the funding, or the TTE Finance & Funding Group, or another partner organisation will hold the budget for the project and account for it publicly and regularly.
  • The TTE group members who developed the project are responsible for monitoring the project, its process and outcomes.
  • If anyone in TTE does not agree that the project is in line with TTE aims and principles, then that person can take the project to the TTE Forum for discussion.

Detailed finance and funding procedures will be developed by the Finance & Funding Group and will be posted on the EastbourneTransition.org website.

7. MEETINGS

Meetings will be held as at present monthly on alternate days of the week and dates posted no less than 1 month in advance on the EastbourneTransition.org website

  1. The Annual General Meeting shall appoint a treasurer and a secretary.
  2. The treasurer shall be responsible for keeping a true record of accounts
  3. The secretary shall be responsible for:

i.    giving proper notice of all general meetings

ii.   receiving items for inclusion on the agenda of general meetings up to three days before

said meeting.

iii.    keeping proper records as stated in rules 14(1) and 14(2)

  1. These meetings would as now be open to everyone interested in TTE to attend
  2. Contact details will be given on the website for information on dates, venues, agendas and minutes.
  3. However, only steering group members at the meeting would be involved in decisions to spend funds.
  4. Agendas with any decisions to be made would be sent out in advance to steering group members.
  5. Decisions would be made by consensus.
  6. Quorum shall be at least 50% of steering group members, but 4 people at minimum.
  7. The chair will be rotated. Draft minutes will be circulated to all members for approval and sent out within 14 days of the meeting.
  8. The steering group would encourage the setting up of working parties including other non-steering group people as and when necessary to consider issues on which decisions need to be made and take their considered advice in making decisions.
  9. The steering group will regularly review the way it is working.

8. STEERING GROUP MEMBERS AND COMMITEES

The steering group manages and makes decisions on matters that affect TTE generally, including decisions regarding unallocated funds/donations, broad communications issues, strategic issues, helping groups to work in accordance with TTE principles and agreed procedures, supporting the formation of new groups and providing guidance on current projects to ensure they fit with TTE principles and strategy.

The steering group cannot change the system by which the steering group members are chosen, or deselected, but rules can be changed by a majority vote of all members who care to vote.

9. RESPONSIBILITIES OF STEERING GROUP MEMBERS

Members should be prepared to:

  • Commit for a year initially
  • Attend monthly meetings on a regular basis
  • Read minutes and the agendas
  • Be prepared to contribute and to take responsibility for helping keep the rest of TTE informed and involved

10. FORMATION AND COMPOSITION OF STEERING GROUP

The steering group is comprised of:

a) A named representative from each core and support group (defined below)

b) Any other person from the TTE network who applies when the steering group asks for new members. At least once a year (or other period to be agreed) the steering group will ask the TTE membership for nominations or offers from people wishing to be involved. Potential steering group members would be asked if they wished to stand. Those willing to stand would provide a short summary of who they are and what they feel they could contribute (no more than about 150 words), and they would have seen and read the steering group criteria. The existing steering group can decline applications by consensus. Should the potential steering group member wish to proceed, then they should attend two meetings. After that their application will be considered by the existing steering group members.

The steering group can ask members to resign, preferably giving at least two months’ notice. A steering group member can be asked to stand down if requested by consensus between the other members of the steering group.

11. CRITERIA FOR STEERING GROUP MEMBERSHIP

Members of the steering group should:

  • have understanding of Transition principles and agree to operate by them
  • have no history of defamatory or negative behaviour towards TTE or the transition movement
  • agree to abide by the principles by which the steering group works
  • actively seek to contribute to and enhance the good name of TTE

12. PRINCIPLES BY WHICH THE STEERING GROUP WORKS

  • Confidentiality – members of the group are free to share whatever they wish but whatever is shared in the group stays in the group.
  • Respect – all members should feel their contributions are valued and be sensitive to others concerns
  • Commitment, responsibility and participation – be clear about whether you want to be involved and how and stick with it
  • Make clear requests and agreements
  • Equal access to power – ensure that all in the group are able to participate fully
  • Patience – listen carefully and let others finish
  • Cooperation – try to build a shared decision rather than getting one point of view to win
  • Accountability – we give reasons for our decisions

13. OTHER CORE AND SUPPORT GROUPS

These are defined as:

  • having a minimum of three people
  • be active i.e. should have met and discussed actions purposefully within the last six months
  • have an identity
  • be appropriate topics to TTE
  • avoid duplication (with boundaries)
  • have clear aims
  • acting in accordance with TTE aims and principles and those of the Transition movement

14. RECORDS

  1. TTE shall keep a register of members stating when members were admitted and when they relinquished membership and any members appointed roles or committee memberships held.
  2. TTE shall keep minutes books in which the dates, times and places of general meetings, along with decisions reached during those meetings and members present at those meetings are noted for all members to refer to.

15. ACCOUNTS

  1. TTE shall keep a record of the sum and nature of expenditure and receipts of monies, all sales and purchases of goods and all its assets and liabilities.
  2. The records, including accounts, shall be kept in a place decided by the general meeting, and shall always be open to the inspection of all members at reasonable hours and by other persons authorised by TTE in general meeting.

16. INDEMNITY

Every Member or Auditor or Officer of TTE shall be indemnified out of the assets of TTE against all losses or liabilities incurred by him/her in or about the execution and discharge of the duties of his/her office, except to the extent that such losses or liabilities shall be attributed to either:

  1. fraud or other matters in respect of which such person concerned shall be convicted of a criminal offence; or
  2. negligence; or
  3. actions knowingly beyond the scope of a specific authority or limit thereon on the part of such person.

17. SECONDARY RULES, BYLAWS AND STANDING ORDERS

Rules, bylaws and standing orders can be made by TTE in general meeting and/or by those officers or committees that have been delegated authority by general meeting so long as any rules, bylaws and standing orders do not conflict with this constitution.

18. CHANGING RULES

  1. Any rule in this constitution can be dropped or changed or a new rule made at a General Meeting where all members have been given 21 clear days prior notice of the change proposed and the date, time and location of the general meeting.
  2. A General Meeting that will consider a new or changed rule cannot be called with less than 21 days notice.

19. DISSOLUTION

In the event of winding up or dissolution of TTE, after the satisfaction of all its debts and liabilities, the assets remaining shall be given or transferred to some other not for profit organisation chosen by the members and having aims similar to those of TTE.

 

10 thoughts on “Our Constitution

  1. Anna Powell

    Hi,

    much work gone into this. Good stuff.

    I have a few suggestions to add;

    1. That TTE members discuss the decision making process. Decisions made by consensus are , I believe the way to achieve a more equal society, and we are gently moving towards consensus decision making. But the process is neither widely known or practiced yet and clear guidance will be necessary to begin with. (ie: listen to others, take care not to dominate a discussion, have, as you say, the patience to wait for the right decision to emerge from the discussion, etc.) Perhaps room for some training here? Otherwise Consensus may get lost in the battle of Egos for dominance. ..

    2. The Permaculture Ethics of; Earth Care, People Care and Fair Shares are a very effective tool for checking that what is undertaken is good for everyone and every thing on the planet. If all undertakings are checked by the steering group using these three ethics our decisions and actions will be as good as we can get them I reckon.

    3. “The steering group cannot change the system by which the steering group members are chosen, or deselected”. I am part of The Tribal Earth Festival committee and we have changed our system recently. I think change should be possible, so as to be able to deal with an issue that was not foreseen.

    4. Am not sure what decisions are to be made by the steering group alone. Not all of them I hope. For members it is important to have the opportunity to influence the decision making process. This is what is so lacking in our present political system, and is why so many are defecting from the political process.

    That’s my input…
    x Anna

    1. Spencer Ede

      Hi Anna,
      Thanks for the input, they’re good points too. Speaking for myself, I think your first point has already been answered by this draft constitution, however, in answer to your points…
      1) as this document evolves I’m sure there’ll be more scope to improve on consensus driven decision making – even though this would be difficult and time consuming, this is definately the direction we intend to go. We have also sought to place some barriers within the constitution to prevent any hierarchies appearing within the wider community group by making all processes as open as possible.
      2) I really like the idea of having the Permaculture Ethics as a backdrop to these aims and objectives, definitely one for discussion.
      3) one of the fail safes written into this document is the rule that Steering Group members can’t move the goal-posts and make it impossible to remove them from the power they have been given, but I take your point.
      4) I agree, all members involved in Transition would, I would hope, have the get-up-and-go to make their own decisions and not to feel they must wait for permission to do so, but realistically at this early stage when we need to develop structure in order to allocate/ manage/ develop funding, for example, we need to have a group of people who are ultimately responsibility for these issues and have rules for them to work within. I feel the best we can do is to make those processes as democratic and open as possible. The disengagement of the masses from mainstream politics is because they aren’t directly involved in the process and the chances of their points being heard are slim, but this is what happens when millions of people vote for something, but not what happens when a small group of people take that power back into their own hands in small, local ways.

      …but… Hopefully you will bring these points along with you when the first General Meeting is called, this is our shared initiative after all. Kind Regards

    2. Sunny Soleil

      Anna, I think we should incorporate all of your suggestions and we will discuss it all at the meeting this Thursday. As a steering group, our intention is not to own anything. OUr first official project goes under the aegis of Eastbourne Orchards which we see as one of the many satellite groups around Transition.

      We are going to likely put on various open days around the topics of Transition – Water, Energy, Food, Green Spaces, Inner Transition, Education, Youth and Economics. This will, we hope, lead to people coming forward and wanting to be involved in different satellite groups, each focused on a particular topic. We will see. All this grows organically.

      Our aim is not to dominate anything or tell anyhone what to do, but rather to be a resource. We will spread the word, promote different initiatives in the town, create a bond with every other group that is already doing stuff, like Town Team, Eastbourne Can etc, build a resource section on the website for things like funding sources, volunteers [wanted and offering] and report on the successes of everyone else. We will also be blogging on Transition Network’s official site once we become official.

      So really decisions about those things are kind of moot because that’s all we really do, other than being involved in our own projects.

      We are going official with Transition Network and I’m doing the course in Totnes so will be feeding back on 29th September and also writing a report for the website. There are quite a lot of things that are in their ‘how to become official’ page as well and I suggested that we discuss both this and the forming of a voluntary group that has a bank account etc.

  2. Andy Durling

    Very interesting constitution which is for the most part workable, although pretty clunky and complex to begin with. I would have one major reservation: no rule should be inviolate, not even rules 19 and 20. I have learnt from bitter experience that attempts to make parts of a constitution impossible to change just leads to conflict and inflexibility, and can even be used as a weapon to avoid democratically authorised change. As long as a big majority of valid members have to vote for any constitutional change, whatever it is, then that should be a sufficient safeguard against a minority using the constitution in their own interests. Nothing in a constitution should be set in stone at the outset, especially given that unexpected things can arise, as Anna quite rightly says. The steering group should, I feel, be allowed to propose changes to the way it operates and put it to a vote of all members, and again if a large majority (however defined) approve that change then the steering group has a mandate to make the change. Also, to ensure that decisions can be made if they are absolutely essential, then if a consensus cannot be reached at a meeting and deadlock is preventing any chance of a consensus, the provision should be available for a simple majority vote to be called for in order to get that decision. Relying wholly on consensus in all cases is perhaps a bit risky. Just my opinions, anyway! Great to have a draft constitution to work with!

    1. Spencer Ede

      Hi Andy, Great feedback, very constructive. Like Anna and yourself I’m starting to think that an article set in stone wouldn’t be the best way forward. I’m happy to change this draft to say those types of change need to be thrown out to a majority vote of the members. I agree, this is as good a safe guard as we could get. Also, I’m happy to slash lots back and simply leave our ‘guiding principles’ rather than rules and regulations, but we could do that at a general open meeting. I thought it would be easier to take things out, than think of things to include.
      Thanks to both of you & watch this space!
      Spencer

  3. karen

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consensus_decision-making

    just found this on a consensus definition, cant wait to work on this should be fun

    Consensus decision-making is a group decision making process that seeks the consent of all participants. Consensus may be defined professionally as an acceptable resolution, one that can be supported, even if not the “favourite” of each individual. Consensus is defined by Merriam-Webster as, first, general agreement, and second, group solidarity of belief or sentiment. It has its origin in the Latin word cōnsēnsus (agreement), which is from cōnsentiō meaning literally feel together.[1] It is used to describe both the decision and the process of reaching a decision. Consensus decision-making is thus concerned with the process of deliberating and finalizing a decision, and the social and political effects of using this process.
    Contents [hide]
    1 Objectives
    2 Alternative to common decision-making practices
    3 Historical examples
    4 Decision rules
    4.1 Agreement vs. consent
    4.2 Near-Unanimous Consensus
    5 Consensus blocking and other forms of dissent
    5.1 Dissent options
    6 Consensus Process
    6.1 Specific models
    6.1.1 Consensus decision-making with consensus blocking
    6.1.2 Quaker-Based model
    6.1.3 Modern Large-Group Quaker Processes
    6.1.4 CODM Model
    6.1.5 Overlaps with deliberative methods
    7 Roles
    8 Tools and methods
    8.1 Non-verbal techniques
    8.2 Functional Consensus Flowchart
    8.3 Colored cards
    8.4 Hand signals
    8.5 Dotmocracy sheets
    8.6 Fall-back methods
    9 Specific Applications of Consensus
    9.1 Japan
    9.2 IETF rough consensus model
    9.3 Decision Making in Psychology and Counseling: The Social Constructivism Model
    9.4 BLM Collaborative Stakeholder Engagement
    9.5 International Standardization
    10 Criticism
    10.1 Consensus blocking
    10.2 Consensus is not Groupthink
    10.3 Majority voting processes
    11 See also
    12 Notes
    13 External links
    Objectives[edit]

    As a decision-making process, consensus decision-making aims to be:[2]
    Agreement Seeking: A consensus decision making process attempts to help everyone get what they need.[2]
    Collaborative: Participants contribute to a shared proposal and shape it into a decision that meets the concerns of all group members as much as possible.[3]
    Cooperative: Participants in an effective consensus process should strive to reach the best possible decision for the group and all of its members, rather than competing for personal preferences.
    Egalitarian: All members of a consensus decision-making body should be afforded, as much as possible, equal input into the process. All members have the opportunity to present, and amend proposals.
    Inclusive: As many stakeholders as possible should be involved in the consensus decision-making process.
    Participatory: The consensus process should actively solicit the input and participation of all decision-makers.[4]
    Alternative to common decision-making practices[edit]

    Consensus decision making is an alternative to commonly practised adversarial decision making processes.[5] Robert’s Rules of Order, for instance, is a process used by many organizations. The goal of Robert’s Rules is to structure the debate and passage of proposals that win approval through majority vote. This process does not emphasize the goal of full agreement. Critics of Robert’s Rules believe that the process can involve adversarial debate and the formation of competing factions. These dynamics may harm group member relationships and undermine the ability of a group to cooperatively implement a contentious decision.
    Consensus decision making attempts to address the problems of both Robert’s Rules of Order and top-down models. Proponents claim that outcomes of the consensus process include:[3]
    Better Decisions: Through including the input of all stakeholders the resulting proposals may better address all potential concerns.
    Better Implementation: A process that includes and respects all parties, and generates as much agreement as possible sets the stage for greater cooperation in implementing the resulting decisions.
    Better Group Relationships: A cooperative, collaborative group atmosphere can foster greater group cohesion and interpersonal connection.
    Historical examples[edit]

    Perhaps the oldest example of consensus decision-making is the Iroquois Confederacy Grand Council, or Haudenosaunee, who have traditionally used consensus in decision-making using a 75% super majority to finalize decisions,[6][7] potentially as early as 1142.[8] Examples of consensus decision-making can likely be found among many indigenous peoples[who?], such as the African Bushmen.[9][vague][not specific enough to verify] Although the modern popularity of consensus decision-making in Western society dates from the women’s liberation movement[10] and anti-nuclear movement[11] of the 1970s, the origins of formal consensus can be traced significantly further back.[12]
    The most notable of early Western consensus practitioners are the Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers, who adopted the technique as early as the 17th century. The Anabaptists, or Mennonites, too, have a history of using consensus decision-making[13] and some believe Anabaptists practiced consensus as early as the Martyrs’ Synod of 1527.[12] Some Christians trace consensus decision-making back to the Bible. The Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia references, in particular, Acts 15[14] as an example of consensus in the New Testament. The lack of legitimate consensus process in the unanimous conviction of Jesus by corrupt priests[15] in an illegally held Sanhedrin court (which had rules preventing unanimous conviction in a hurried process) strongly influenced the views of pacifist Protestants, including the Anabaptists (Mennonites/Amish), Quakers and Shakers. In particular it influenced their distrust of expert-led courtrooms and to “be clear about process” and convene in a way that assures that “everyone must be heard” [2].
    Decision rules[edit]

    The level of agreement necessary to finalize a decision is known as a decision rule.[3][16] Possible decision rules for consensus vary within the following range:
    Unanimous agreement
    Unanimous consent (See agreement vs consent below)
    Unanimous agreement minus one vote or two votes
    Unanimous consent minus one vote or two votes
    Super majority thresholds (90%, 80%, 75%, two-thirds, and 60% are common).
    Simple Majority
    Executive committee decides
    Person-in-charge decides
    In groups that require unanimous agreement or consent (unanimity) to approve group decisions, if any participant objects, they can block consensus according to the guidelines described below. These groups use the term consensus to denote both the discussion process and the decision rule. Other groups use a consensus process to generate as much agreement as possible, but allow decisions to be finalized with a decision rule that does not require unanimity. In this case, someone who has a ‘block’ or strong objection will still have to live with the decision made.
    Agreement vs. consent[edit]
    Giving consent does not necessarily mean that the proposal being considered is one’s first choice. Group members can vote their consent to a proposal because they choose to cooperate with the direction of the group, rather than insist on their personal preference. Sometimes the vote on a proposal is framed, “Is this proposal something you can live with?” This relaxed threshold for a yes vote can achieve full consent. This full consent, however, does not mean that everyone is in full agreement. Consent must be ‘genuine and cannot be obtained by force, duress or fraud’ [17]
    Near-Unanimous Consensus[edit]
    Healthy consensus decision-making processes usually encourage and out dissent early, maximizing the chance of accommodating the views of all minorities. Since unanimity may be difficult to achieve, especially in large groups, or unanimity may be the result of coercion, fear, undue persuasive power or eloquence, inability to comprehend alternatives, or plain impatience with the process of debate, consensus decision making bodies may use an alternative benchmark of consensus. These include the following:[citation needed]
    Unanimity minus one (or U−1), requires all delegates but one to support the decision. The individual dissenter cannot block the decision although he or she may be able to prolong debate (e.g. via a filibuster). The dissenter may be the ongoing monitor of the implications of the decision, and their opinion of the outcome of the decision may be solicited at some future time. Betting markets in particular rely on the input of such lone dissenters. A lone bettor against the odds profits when his or her prediction of the outcomes proves to be better than that of the majority. This disciplines the market’s odds.
    Unanimity minus two (or U−2), does not permit two individual delegates to block a decision and tends to curtail debate with a lone dissenter more quickly. Dissenting pairs can present alternate views of what is wrong with the decision under consideration. Pairs of delegates can be empowered to find the common ground that will enable them to convince a third, decision-blocking, decision-maker to join them. If the pair are unable to convince a third party to join them, typically within a set time, their arguments are deemed to be unconvincing.
    Unanimity minus three, (or U−3), and other such systems recognize the ability of four or more delegates to actively block a decision. U−3 and lesser degrees of unanimity are usually lumped in with statistical measures of agreement, such as: 80%, mean plus one sigma, two-thirds, or majority levels of agreement. Such measures usually do not fit within the definition of consensus.
    Rough Consensus is a process with no specific rule for “how much is enough.” Rather, the question of consensus is left to the judgment of the group chair (an example is the IETF working group, discussed below). While this makes it more difficult for a small number of disruptors to block a decision, it puts increased responsibility on the chair, and may lead to divisive debates about whether rough consensus has in fact been correctly identified.
    Consensus blocking and other forms of dissent[edit]

    Groups that require unanimity allow individual participants the option of blocking a group decision. This provision motivates a group to make sure that all group members consent to any new proposal before it is adopted. Proper guidelines for the use of this option, however, are important. The ethics of consensus decision making encourage participants to place the good of the whole group above their own individual preferences. When there is potential for a group decision to be blocked, both the group and any dissenters in the group are encouraged to collaborate until agreement can be reached. Simply vetoing a decision is not considered a responsible use of consensus blocking. Some common guidelines for the use of consensus blocking include:[3][18]
    Limiting the option to block consensus to issues that are fundamental to the group’s mission or potentially disastrous to the group.
    Providing an option for those who do not support a proposal to “stand aside” rather than block.
    Requiring two or more people to block for a proposal to be put aside.
    Requiring the blocking party to supply an alternative proposal or a process for generating one.
    Limiting each person’s option to block consensus to a handful of times in one’s life.
    Dissent options[edit]
    When a participant does not support a proposal, he does not necessarily need to block it. When a call for consensus on a motion is made, a dissenting delegate has one of three options:
    Declare reservations: Group members who are willing to let a motion pass but desire to register their concerns with the group may choose “declare reservations.” If there are significant reservations about a motion, the decision-making body may choose to modify or re-word the proposal.[19]
    Stand aside: A “stand aside” may be registered by a group member who has a “serious personal disagreement” with a proposal, but is willing to let the motion pass. Although stand asides do not halt a motion, it is often regarded as a strong “nay vote” and the concerns of group members standing aside are usually addressed by modifications to the proposal. Stand asides may also be registered by users who feel they are incapable of adequately understanding or participating in the proposal.[20][21][22]
    Block: Any group member may “block” a proposal. In most models, a single block is sufficient to stop a proposal, although some measures of consensus may require more than one block (see previous section, “Decision rules”). Blocks are generally considered to be an extreme measure, only used when a member feels a proposal “endanger[s] the organization or its participants, or violate[s] the mission of the organization” (i.e., a principled objection). In some consensus models, a group member opposing a proposal must work with its proponents to find a solution that will work for everyone.[21][23]
    Consensus Process[edit]

    There are multiple stepwise models of how to make decisions by consensus. They vary in the amount of detail the steps describe. They also vary depending on how decisions are finalized. The basic model involves
    collaboratively generating a proposal,
    identifying unsatisfied concerns, and then
    modifying the proposal to generate as much agreement as possible.
    After a concerted attempt at generating full agreement, the group can then apply its final decision rule to determine if the existing level of agreement is sufficient to finalize a decision.
    Specific models[edit]
    Consensus decision-making with consensus blocking[edit]

    Flowchart of basic consensus decision-making process.
    Groups that require unanimity commonly use a core set of procedures depicted in this flow chart.[24][25][26]
    Once an agenda for discussion has been set and, optionally, the ground rules for the meeting have been agreed upon, each item of the agenda is addressed in turn. Typically, each decision arising from an agenda item follows through a simple structure:
    Discussion of the item: The item is discussed with the goal of identifying opinions and information on the topic at hand. The general direction of the group and potential proposals for action are often identified during the discussion.
    Formation of a proposal: Based on the discussion a formal decision proposal on the issue is presented to the group.
    Call for consensus: The facilitator of the decision-making body calls for consensus on the proposal. Each member of the group usually must actively state their agreement with the proposal, often by using a hand gesture or raising a colored card, to avoid the group interpreting silence or inaction as agreement. The number of blocks is counted to determine if this step’s consent threshold is satisfied. If it is, dissenters will be asked to collaborate on a minority position or statement so that any unique or shared concerns with proceeding with the agreement, or any harms, can be addressed/minimized. This can happen even if the consent threshold is unanimity, especially if many voters stand aside.
    Identification and addressing of concerns: If consensus is not achieved, each dissenter presents his or her concerns on the proposal, potentially starting another round of discussion to address or clarify the concern.
    Modification of the proposal: The proposal is amended, re-phrased or ridered in an attempt to address the concerns of the decision-makers. The process then returns to the call for consensus and the cycle is repeated until a satisfactory decision passes the consent threshold for the group.
    Quaker-Based model[edit]
    Quaker-based consensus[27] is effective because it puts in place a simple, time-tested structure that moves a group towards unity. The Quaker model has been employed in a variety of secular settings. The process allows for individual voices to be heard while providing a mechanism for dealing with disagreements.[28][29]
    The following aspects of the Quaker model can be effectively applied in any consensus decision-making process, and is an adaptation prepared by Earlham College:
    Multiple concerns and information are shared until the sense of the group is clear.
    Discussion involves active listening and sharing information.
    Norms limit number of times one asks to speak to ensure that each speaker is fully heard.
    Ideas and solutions belong to the group; no names are recorded.
    Differences are resolved by discussion. The facilitator (“clerk” or “convenor” in the Quaker model) identifies areas of agreement and names disagreements to push discussion deeper.
    The facilitator articulates the sense of the discussion, asks if there are other concerns, and proposes a “minute” of the decision.
    The group as a whole is responsible for the decision and the decision belongs to the group.
    The facilitator can discern if one who is not uniting with the decision is acting without concern for the group or in selfish interest.
    Dissenters’ perspectives are embraced.[27]
    Key components of Quaker-based consensus include a belief in a common humanity and the ability to decide together. The goal is “unity, not unanimity.” Ensuring that group members speak only once until others are heard encourages a diversity of thought. The facilitator is understood as serving the group rather than acting as person-in-charge.[30] In the Quaker model, as with other consensus decision-making processes, by articulating the emerging consensus, members can be clear on the decision, and, as their views have been taken into account, will be likely to support it.[31]
    Modern Large-Group Quaker Processes[edit]
    FUM/FGC Friends conduct business in yearly meetings of perhaps 100 to 500 participants. Over the last three centuries they have evolved a number of practices peculiar to their aims. The following practices are traditional in both New York Yearly Meeting and in New England Yearly Meeting:
    A typical yearly meeting session has a presiding clerk, one or two recording clerks and a reading clerk on stage. Partitioning the work load with extra clerks lowers the stress level on the presiding clerk.
    Business sessions start with a period of corporate silent worship.
    A period of silent worship, perhaps thirty seconds, is allotted by the presiding clerk after each person speaks. This slows the pace of the business meeting down and allows people to contemplate people’s messages.
    The use of wireless microphones helps to slow down the pace of the meeting. Volunteer microphone runners are instructed to walk at a reasonably slow pace toward someone standing and waiting to be recognized.
    The clerk often recognizes who speaks first, then second, then third.
    A pastoral care team upholds the presiding clerk, or simply the clerk, in prayer.
    Attempts are made to take minor editing functions off of the floor of the meeting. Minutes are polished by a committee before presenting them on the meeting floor. All suggested small corrections are incorporated either on the spot by the caucusing clerks, or at a special impromptu meeting after the current business session ends. Corrected minutes are then brought back onto the floor of the meeting at a later date.
    Major, complex concerns result in a called threshing session, a meeting of people most concerned about the issue.
    New England Yearly Meeting has discovered the benefits of anchor groups, groups of about ten participants who meet every day during a multi-day yearly meeting. People sometimes need to vocalize their personal opinions on issues to a few other people, in part because people think aloud.
    Every 20 or 30 years, each yearly meeting’s consensus practices are re-codified in a new edition of that yearly meeting’s Faith and Practice book.
    CODM Model[edit]
    The Consensus-Oriented Decision-Making[32] model offers a detailed step-wise description of consensus process. It can be used with any type of decision rule. It outlines the process of how proposals can be collaboratively built with full participation of all stakeholders. This model allows groups to be flexible enough to make decisions when they need to, while still following a format that is based on the primary values of consensus decision making. The CODM steps include:
    Framing the topic
    Open Discussion
    Identifying Underlying Concerns
    Collaborative Proposal Building
    Choosing a Direction
    Synthesizing a Final Proposal
    Closure
    Overlaps with deliberative methods[edit]
    Consensus decision-making models overlap significantly with deliberative methods, which are processes for structuring discussion that may or may not be a lead-in to a decision.
    Roles[edit]

    The consensus decision-making process often has several roles which are designed to make the process run more effectively. Although the name and nature of these roles varies from group to group, the most common are the facilitator, a timekeeper, an empath and a secretary or notes taker. Not all decision-making bodies use all of these roles, although the facilitator position is almost always filled, and some groups use supplementary roles, such as a Devil’s advocate or greeter. Some decision-making bodies opt to rotate these roles through the group members in order to build the experience and skills of the participants, and prevent any perceived concentration of power.[24]
    The common roles in a consensus meeting are:
    Facilitator: As the name implies, the role of the facilitator is to help make the process of reaching a consensus decision easier. Facilitators accept responsibility for moving through the agenda on time; ensuring the group adheres to the mutually agreed-upon mechanics of the consensus process; and, if necessary, suggesting alternate or additional discussion or decision-making techniques, such as go-arounds, break-out groups or role-playing.[33][34] Some consensus groups use two co-facilitators. Shared facilitation is often adopted to diffuse the perceived power of the facilitator and create a system whereby a co-facilitator can pass off facilitation duties if he or she becomes more personally engaged in a debate.[35]
    Timekeeper: The purpose of the timekeeper is to ensure the decision-making body keeps to the schedule set in the agenda. Effective timekeepers use a variety of techniques to ensure the meeting runs on time including: giving frequent time updates, ample warning of short time, and keeping individual speakers from taking an excessive amount of time.[24]
    Empath or ‘Vibe Watch’: The empath, or ‘vibe watch’ as the position is sometimes called, is charged with monitoring the ‘emotional climate’ of the meeting, taking note of the body language and other non-verbal cues of the participants. Defusing potential emotional conflicts, maintaining a climate free of intimidation and being aware of potentially destructive power dynamics, such as sexism or racism within the decision-making body, are the primary responsibilities of the empath.[33]
    Note taker: The role of the notes taker or secretary is to document the decisions, discussion and action points of the decision-making body.
    Tools and methods[edit]

    Non-verbal techniques[edit]
    Non-verbal means of expression can also reduce contention or keep issues from spreading out in time across an entire meeting. Various methods of agenda control exist, mostly relying on an explicit chairperson with the power to interrupt off-topic or rambling discourse. This gets more difficult if there is no such chair and accordingly the attitude of the entire group must be assessed by each speaker. Verbal interruptions will inevitably become common, possibly in the form of grumbling, muttering, and eventually sharp words, if there is no effective means of cutting off persons making false factual statements or rambling off a topic.
    The Levi Hand Signal Technique (LHST) employed by Otesha [3] “allows meeting participants to register their intent to make two distinct kinds of comments: those that are directly in response to someone else’s comment (‘reactive comments’) and those that are separate thoughts (‘unique comments’). Intent to register a reactive comment is signalled by a different hand signal than is intent to register a unique comment. We used an index finger for the former and a full hand for the latter.” This allows direct response to a contentious comment to be cleared faster and makes it more difficult to insert it in a long speakers’ list and count on a long delay between the utterance and the challenge to create the appearance of agreement.
    “Twinkling fingers”, similarly, is a nonverbal way of expressing strong agreement, similar to applause but without the interruption and possibly less intimidation of disagreement than applause or cheers can create [4]. The Occupy movement has used these methods.
    Closely related are the human microphone methods, which make a large group less reliant on amplification or other technologies, and may require people to exactly repeat or “amplify” comments they may not agree with, so others can hear. Amplifiers are banned in many public places without permits, so this method allows a group to literally ‘occupy’ a location it would otherwise not be able to meet in. Effectively, the verbal capacity of the people attending is marshalled to amplify one person at a time, with the understanding that any person in the crowd with anything to say would receive a similar courtesy.
    For more detail on these methods and their use in specific processes see the section Hand Signals below.
    Functional Consensus Flowchart[edit]
    What is often wanting/missing in consensus discussions is a means of efficiently moving through the process. A blueprint to powerfully overcome the logistical and social challenges of consensus decisions, making it practical, efficient, and effective in today’s world, is depicted in the consensus flowchart “Game of Consensus.”
    Colored cards[edit]
    Some consensus decision-making bodies use a system of colored cards to speed up and ease the consensus process. Most often, each member is given a set of three colored cards: red, yellow and green. The cards can be raised during the process to indicate the member’s input. Cards can be used during the discussion phase as well as during a call for consensus. The cards have different meanings depending on the phase in which they are used.[21][23] The meaning of the colors are:
    Red: During discussion, a red card is used to indicate a point of process or a breach of the agreed upon procedures. Identifying offtopic discussions, speakers going over allowed time limits or other breaks in the process are uses for the red card. During a call for consensus, the red card indicates the member’s opposition (usually a “principled objection”) to the proposal at hand. When a member, or members, use a red card, it becomes their responsibility to work with the proposing committee to come up with a solution that will work for everyone.
    Yellow: In the discussion phase, the yellow card is used to indicate a member’s ability to clarify a point being discussed or answer a question being posed. Yellow is used during a call for consensus to register a stand aside to the proposal or to formally state any reservations.
    Green: A group member can use a green card during discussion to be added to the speakers list. During a call for consensus, the green card indicates consent.
    Some decision-making bodies use a modified version of the colored card system with additional colors, such as orange to indicate a non-blocking reservation stronger than a stand-aside.[36]
    Hand signals[edit]
    Hand signals are often used by consensus decision-making bodies as a way for group members to nonverbally indicate their opinions or positions. They have been found to be useful in facilitating groups of 6 to 250 people. They are particularly useful when the group is multi-lingual.[37]
    The nature and meaning of individual gestures varies from group to group. Nonetheless, there is a widely adopted core set of hand signals. These include: wiggling of the fingers on both hands, a gesture sometimes referred to as “twinkling”, to indicate agreement; raising a fist or crossing both forearms with hands in fists to indicate a block or strong disagreement; and making a “T” shape with both hands, the “time out” gesture, to call attention to a point of process or order.[34][38][39] One common set of hand signals is called the “Fist-to-Five” or “Fist-of-Five”. In this method each member of the group can hold up a fist to indicate blocking consensus, one finger to suggest changes, two fingers to discuss minor issues, three fingers to indicate willingness to let issue pass without further discussion, four fingers to affirm the decision as a good idea, and five fingers to volunteer to take a lead in implementing the decision.[40] A similar set of hand signals are used by the Occupy Wall Street protesters in their group negotiations.[41]
    Another common set of hand signals used is the “Thumbs” method, where Thumbs Up = agreement; Thumbs Sideways = have concerns but won’t block consensus; and Thumbs Down = I don’t agree and I won’t accept this proposal. This method is also useful for “straw polls” to take a quick reading of the group’s overall sentiment for the active proposal.
    A slightly more detailed variation on the thumbs proposal can be used to indicate a 5-point range: (1) Thumb-up = strongly agree, (2) Palm-up = mostly agree, (3) Thumb Sideways = “on the fence” or divided feelings, (4) Palm down = mostly disagree, and (5) Thumb down = strongly disagree.
    Other useful hand signs include:
    Clarifying Question – using your hand to form a “C” shape to indicate that you have a clarifying question, often this hand sign will mean that a person is invited to ask their question before a vote is taken.
    Point of Information – pointing your index finger upwards to indicate that you have some important factual information that relates to the discussion or decision at hand.
    Process Point – forming a triangle with your hands or hands and arms to indicate that you have an important concern with the meeting or decision-making process.
    Dotmocracy sheets[edit]

    Completed Dotmocracy sheet
    Dotmocracy sheets are designed to complement a consensus decision-making process by providing a simple way to visibly document levels of agreement among participants on a large variety of ideas.[42]
    Participants write down ideas on paper forms called Dotmocracy sheets and fill in one dot per sheet to record their opinion of each idea on a scale of “strong agreement”, “agreement”, “neutral”, “disagreement”, “strong disagreement” or “confusion”. Participants sign each sheet they dot and may add brief comments. The result is a graph-like visual representation of the group’s collective opinions on each idea.
    The Step-by-Step Process and Rules defined in the Dotmocracy Handbook[43] reinforce consensus decision-making by promoting equal opportunity, open discussion, the drafting of many proposals, the identification of concerns and the encouragement of idea modification.
    Fall-back methods[edit]
    Sometimes some common form of voting such as First-past-the-post is used as a fall-back method when consensus cannot be reached within a given time frame.[44] However, if the potential outcome of the fall-back method can be anticipated, then those who support that outcome have incentives to block consensus so that the fall-back method gets applied. Special fall-back methods have been developed that reduce this incentive.[45]
    Specific Applications of Consensus[edit]

    Japan[edit]
    Japanese companies normally[citation needed] use consensus decision making, meaning that everyone in the company is consulted on each decision. A ringi-sho is a circulation document used to obtain agreement. It must first be signed by the lowest level manager, and then upwards, and may need to be revised and the process started over.[46]
    IETF rough consensus model[edit]
    In the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), decisions are assumed to be taken by “rough consensus”.[47] The IETF has studiously refrained from defining a mechanical method for verifying such consensus, apparently in the belief that any such codification will lead to attempts to “game the system.” Instead, a working group (WG) chair or BoF chair is supposed to articulate the “sense of the group.”
    One tradition in support of rough consensus is the tradition of humming rather than (countable) hand-raising; this allows a group to quickly tell the difference between “one or two objectors” or a “sharply divided community”, without making it easy to slip into “majority rule”.[48]
    Much of the business of the IETF is carried out on mailing lists, where all parties can speak their view at all times.
    Decision Making in Psychology and Counseling: The Social Constructivism Model[edit]
    In 2001, Robert Rocco Cottone published a consensus-based model of professional decision making for counselors and psychologists.[49] Based on social constructivist philosophy, the model operates as a consensus-building model, as the clinician addresses ethical conflicts through a process of negotiating to consensus. Conflicts are resolved by consensually agreed on arbitrators who are defined early in the negotiation process.
    BLM Collaborative Stakeholder Engagement[edit]
    The United States Bureau of Land Management’s policy is to seek to use collaborative stakeholder engagement as standard operating practice for natural resources projects, plans, and decision-making except under unusual conditions such as when constrained by law, regulation, or other mandates or when conventional processes are important for establishing new, or reaffirming existing, precedent.[50]
    International Standardization[edit]
    The ISO process for adopting new standards is called consensus-based decision making,[51] In the ISO system consensus is defined as
    General agreement, characterized by the absence of sustained opposition to substantial issues by any important part of the concerned interests and by a process that involves seeking to take into account the views of all parties concerned and to reconcile any conflicting arguments.[52]
    Where decision making is subject to ballot by member bodies, a requirement for super-majority support generally applies.[53]
    Criticism[edit]

    Consensus blocking[edit]
    Critics of consensus blocking often observe that the option, while potentially effective for small groups of motivated or trained individuals with a sufficiently high degree of affinity, has a number of possible shortcomings, notably
    Preservation of the Status quo: In decision-making bodies that use formal consensus, the ability of individuals or small minorities to block agreement gives an enormous advantage to anyone who supports the existing state of affairs. This can mean that a specific state of affairs can continue to exist in an organization long after a majority of members would like it to change.[54] The incentive to block can however be removed by using a special kind of voting process.[45]
    Susceptibility to widespread disagreement: Giving the right to block proposals to all group members may result in the group becoming hostage to an inflexible minority or individual. When a popular proposal is blocked the group actually experiences widespread disagreement, the opposite of the consensus process’s goal. Furthermore, “opposing such obstructive behavior [can be] construed as an attack on freedom of speech and in turn [harden] resolve on the part of the individual to defend his or her position.”[55] As a result, consensus decision-making has the potential to reward the least accommodating group members while punishing the most accommodating.
    Consensus is not Groupthink[edit]
    Consensus seeks to improve solidarity in the long run. Accordingly it should not be confused with unanimity in the immediate situation which is often a symptom of groupthink. Studies of effective consensus process usually indicate a shunning of unanimity or “illusion of unanimity”[56] that does not hold up as a group comes under real world pressure (when dissent reappears). Cory Doctorow, Ralph Nader and other proponents of deliberative democracy or judicial-like methods view the explicit dissent as a symbol of strength. Lawrence Lessig considers it a major strength of working projects like public wikis.[57] Schutt,[58] Starhawk[59] and other practitioners of direct action focus on the hazards of apparent agreement followed by action in which group splits become dangerously obvious.
    Whatever one thinks of the merits of seeking a unanimous agreement in a particular situation, in general unanimous, or apparently unanimous, decisions have numerous drawbacks.[citation needed] They may be symptoms of a systemic bias, a rigged process (where an agenda is not published in advance or changed when it becomes clear who is present to consent), fear of speaking one’s mind, a lack of creativity (to suggest alternatives) or even a lack of courage (to go further along the same road to a more extreme solution that would not achieve unanimous consent).
    Unanimity is achieved when the full group apparently consents to a decision. It has disadvantages insofar as further disagreement, improvements or better ideas then remain hidden, but effectively ends the debate moving it to an implementation phase. Some consider all unanimity a form of groupthink, and some experts [5] propose “coding systems…for detecting the illusion of unanimity symptom.” In Consensus is not Unanimity, consensus practitioner and activist leader Starhawk wrote:
    Many people think of consensus as simply an extended voting method in which every one must cast their votes the same way. Since unanimity of this kind only rarely occurs in groups with more than one member, groups that try to use this kind of process usually end up being either extremely frustrated or coercive. Either decisions are never made (leading to the demise of the group, its conversion into a social group that does not accomplish any tasks), they are made covertly, or some group or individual dominates the rest. Sometimes a majority dominates, sometimes a minority, sometimes an individual who employs “the block”. But no matter how it is done, it is NOT consensus. [6]
    The confusion between unanimity and consensus, in other words, usually causes consensus decision-making to fail and the group will then either revert to majority or supermajority rule or disband.
    Most robust models of consensus exclude uniformly unanimous decisions and require at least documentation of minority concerns. Some state clearly that unanimity is not consensus but rather evidence of intimidation, lack of imagination, lack of courage, failure to include all voices, or deliberate exclusion of the contrary views.
    The most famous unanimous decision in the Western canon illustrates all those failures; New Testament historian Elaine Pagels cites the Sanhedrin’s unanimous vote to convict Jesus of Nazareth. To a Jewish audience familiar with that court’s requirement to set free any person unanimously convicted as not having a proper defense, Pagels proposes that the story is intended to signal the injustice of unanimous rush to agreement and Jesus’ lack of a defender.[15] She cites the shift away from this view and towards preference for visible unanimity as a factor in later “demonization” of Jews, pagans, heretics (notably Gnostics) and others who disagreed with orthodox views in later Christianity. Unanimity, in other words, became a priority where it had been an anathema.
    Some formal models based on graph theory attempt to explore the implications of suppressed dissent and subsequent sabotage of the group as it takes action [7]
    Extremely high-stakes decision-making, such as judicial decisions of appeals courts, always require some such explicit documentation. Consent however is still observed that defies factional explanations. Nearly 40% of Supreme Court of US decisions, for example, are unanimous, though often for widely varying reasons. “Consensus in Supreme Court voting, particularly the extreme consensus of unanimity, has often puzzled Court observers who adhere to ideological accounts of judicial decision making.” [8]. Historical evidence is mixed on whether particular Justices’ views were suppressed in favour of public unity. [9]
    Another method to achieve more agreement to satisfy a strict threshold a voting process under which all members of the group have a strategic incentive to agree rather than block.[45] However, this makes it very difficult to tell the difference between those who support the decision and those who merely tactically tolerate it for the incentive. Once they receive that incentive, they may undermine or refuse to implement the agreement in various and non-obvious ways. In general voting systems avoid allowing offering incentives (or “bribes”) to change a heartfelt vote.
    Abilene paradox: Consensus decision-making is susceptible to all forms of groupthink, the most dramatic being the Abilene paradox. In the Abilene paradox, a group can unanimously agree on a course of action that no individual member of the group desires because no one individual is willing to go against the perceived will of the decision-making body.[60]
    Time Consuming: Since consensus decision-making focuses on discussion and seeks the input of all participants, it can be a time-consuming process. This is a potential liability in situations where decisions need to be made speedily or where it is not possible to canvass the opinions of all delegates in a reasonable period of time. Additionally, the time commitment required to engage in the consensus decision-making process can sometimes act as a barrier to participation for individuals unable or unwilling to make the commitment.[61] However, once a decision has been reached it can be acted on more quickly than a decision handed down. American businessmen complained that in negotiations with a Japanese company, they had to discuss the idea with everyone even the janitor, yet once a decision was made the Americans found the Japanese were able to act much quicker because everyone was on board, while the Americans had to struggle with internal opposition.[62]
    Majority voting processes[edit]
    Proponents of consensus decision-making view procedures that use majority rule as undesirable for several reasons. Majority voting is regarded as competitive, rather than cooperative, framing decision-making in a win/lose dichotomy that ignores the possibility of compromise or other mutually beneficial solutions.[63] Carlos Santiago Nino, on the other hand, has argued that majority rule leads to better deliberation practice than the alternatives, because it requires each member of the group to make arguments that appeal to at least half the participants.[64] A. Lijphart reaches the same conclusion about majority rule, noting that majority rule encourages coalition-building.[65] Additionally, opponents of majority rule claim that it can lead to a ‘tyranny of the majority’, a scenario in which a majority places its interests so far above those of an individual or minority group as to constitute active oppression. Some voting theorists, however, argue that majority rule may actually prevent tyranny of the majority, in part because it maximizes the potential for a minority to form a coalition that can overturn an unsatisfactory decision.[65]
    Advocates of consensus would assert that a majority decision reduces the commitment of each individual decision-maker to the decision. Members of a minority position may feel less commitment to a majority decision, and even majority voters who may have taken their positions along party or bloc lines may have a sense of reduced responsibility for the ultimate decision. The result of this reduced commitment, according to many consensus proponents, is potentially less willingness to defend or act upon the decision.
    See also[edit]

    Consensus based assessment
    Consensus democracy
    Consensus government
    Consensus reality
    Consensus theory of truth
    Contrarian
    Copenhagen Consensus
    Libertarian socialism
    Liberum veto
    Major consensus narrative
    Nonviolence
    Polder Model
    Social representations
    Sociocracy
    Truth by consensus

    1. Spencer Ede

      Hi Karen,
      There’s always that possibility! It’s definitely a good thing to have a constitution, it will help to protect us all. I’m a pragmatist mostly, so I’m primarily interested in a document that helps us to get things done. A consensus driven approach is an aim worth perusing, but not at the expense of transition itself, in my opinion. So, a majority decision made by a democratic and open group is fine by me.
      Spencer

  4. Sunny Soleil

    Wow, sincerely impressed with all the input.

    Let’s just put in permaculture ethics.. they’re so basic and can’t really be argued with in relation to Transition. We do want to care for humans so that we can care for the earth and who doesn’t want to get a yield and share it!

    Why don’t we incorporate all the suggestions, because IMO they are all good additions to the constitution We can finalise the document at the meeting we’re having to work all this stuff out [as long as everyone reads it beforehand] Not decided yet but we do have to jump through a few small hoops to become ‘official’ don’t we.

    And meanwhile we are doing exactly what Transition is about, just getting on with it – our first orchard project officially under the aegis of Transition as the Eastbourne Orchards Group

    Change is inevitable… so we’d better write a mechanism for it into the constitution. I’ll volunteer to edit it and declunk it once we have the extra bits in.

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