Prospectus

Prospectus

 

DRUG EDUCATION FORUM PROSPECTUS

 

CONTENTS                                                  

 

A.        BACKGROUND   

 

B.        MISSION

 

C.        VALUES

 

D.        AIMS  

 

E.        STRUCTURE

 

F.        THE FORUM COORDINATOR  

 

G.        MEMBER ORGANISATIONS      

 

H.        RESPONSIBILITIES OF MEMBERS 

 

I.          ADVISORY GROUP   

 

J.         MEETINGS  

 

K.        HOW THE FORUM WORKS  

 

L.         DISSOLUTION OR CHANGE OF STATUS  

 

M.        APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP  

 

N.        SUBSCRIPTION DETAILS

 

O.        ELECTION PROCEDURES     

 

 

A. BACKGROUND

 

The Drug Education Forum (The Forum) was founded in 1995 and promotes the provision of effective drug education for all children and young people. The term drug encompasses alcohol, tobacco, prescribed and non-prescribed medicines, volatile substances and illegal drugs. The Forum brings together a range of national organisations from health, education, police and voluntary sectors that deliver or support the delivery of drug education. The Forum’s geographical remit is England, although it is recognised that member organisations may have a wider remit. Through the Forum, members work together to carry out work that falls under four themes at the centre of which is improving the involvement of children and young people: 

 

Policy & advocacy – members work together to influence government policy on drug education and related issues.

Information Dissemination – the Forum endeavours to keep member organisations up to date with each other’s work and inform those who deliver or support drug education on changes to policy and practice.

 

Practice Development – the Forum seeks to facilitate joint working and the sharing of expertise in order to develop best practice.

Young People’s Involvement – a central theme of the Forum’s work is to ensure that children and young people have opportunities to participate in the development of drug education policy and practice at local and national levels.

 

B. MISSION

 

The mission of the Drug Education Forum is to improve the profile and quality of drug education in England.

 

C. VALUES

 

The Forum believes that drugs education should:

 

  1. Be an entitlement for all children and young people, including those with physical, learning or emotional difficulties;
  2. Include legal, illegal and illicit drugs and substances;
  3. Involve not only schools, youth organisations, children and young people, adults and professionals working in a range of settings but also families and the wider community;
  4. Take account of individual children and young people’s culture, beliefs, religious background and their social and family situation;
  5. Be responsive to children and young people’s needs, views and opinions;
  6. Identify children and young people’s knowledge and experience and use this as a starting point for further learning;
  7. Use appropriate methods that are subject to evaluation;
  8. Be a continuous part of the learning process from childhood through to adulthood;
  9. Be an integral part of a planned programme which includes personal, social and health education within schools, the youth service and other services to children and young people as appropriate;
  10. Provide information, develop knowledge and understanding, and encourage the exploration of attitudes, values and issues;
  11. In common with other health themes, develop communication, decision-making and other life skills, promote self-esteem and self-confidence and explore alternatives to drug use;
  12. Be provided by people who have had appropriate training and who are adequately supported; and take place in a supportive atmosphere;        

The Forum believes it is important that there should be adequate and appropriate resources to support the welfare of those children and young people who are misusing drugs.

 

D. AIMS

 

The Drug Education Forum aims:

 

  1. To bring together a broad range of organisations to develop a shared understanding of the nature and scope of drug education for children and young people and their families.
  2. To establish more effective practice, improve coordination of activities and bring more resources into drug education.
  3. To provide an authoritative voice to influence policy makers at local, national and international levels, in order to promote the provision of relevant and appropriate drug education for all children and young people and their families.
  4. To promote and facilitate effective and meaningful involvement of young people in the development of drug education policy and practice, and the delivery of drug education at national and local levels.
  5.  To ensure that drug education provision is a high priority for all government departments and promote a joined-up approach locally, regionally and nationally.
  6. To encourage appropriate initial and in-service training for teachers, youth workers and other professionals involved in providing drug education.

E. STRUCTURE

 

The Forum consists of member organisations supported by a Coordinator and an Advisory Group of Elected Officers. The Coordinator is central to the running of the Forum and is responsible for carrying out the Forum’s work plan with the support and assistance of the Advisory Group and other Forum members. The Forum is hosted by Mentor UK which is responsible and legally accountable for Forum resources, and employs the DEF Coordinator. The Chair of the DEF Advisory Group will meet regularly with the Coordinator to review progress against the Forum’s Work Plan.

 

F. THE FORUM COORDINATOR

 

The DEF Coordinator is the Forum’s only paid officer and takes the lead role in guiding and implementing the work of the Forum. The Coordinator works closely with the Chair and Advisory Group and ensures meetings are planned and organised well; encourages and supports national and local policy development, supports media work and lobbying, and manages projects. The Coordinator is not a member of the Forum but an employee and consequently does not have voting rights at Forum meetings.

 

G. MEMBER ORGANISATIONS

 

Membership of the Forum is open to national organisations that provide drug education to children and young people or offer a service to those who do. Organisations must apply for membership, must agree to and support the Forum’s aims and values and must pay an annual subscription fee. A list of current members is attached to this document.

 

Role of members

 

The Forum is driven by the active participation of member organisations via their representatives. Members are able to draw on the resources and expertise of the Forum and can benefit from working with other member organisations. The Forum utilises a range of methods of involvement in order to meet the needs of different member organisations.

 

Each member organisation may nominate one representative to the Forum. Members should have the authority to speak on behalf of their organisation and have the authority within their organisation to disseminate and effect action on Forum matters. Members should try to ensure continuity of membership but if they are unable to participate fully in Forum meetings, they can select a Deputy to attend in their place. Member organisations should ensure that their representative is briefed and advise the Coordinator prior to the meeting of any change in representation.  If a member organisation changes its representation, it is the responsibility of the organisation to ensure the new representative is thoroughly briefed.

  

The representative or deputy is responsible for:

 

  • Attending at least 2 out of three meetings annually
  • Attending occasional seminars.
  • Representing the interests, concerns and knowledge base of their organisation to the Forum.
  • Reporting back to their organisation on the work of the Forum.
  • Undertaking necessary work to secure endorsement of any policy or statement from their organisation
  • Advising the Forum of their current activities in relation to policy and advocacy, gathering and disseminating information and practice development through Forum meetings, the Forum directory, the e-mail network and Forum website.

Member representatives have a wide range of opportunities to contribute to the work of the Forum and to utilise the Forum in developing their own work. They can take part in or lead discussions at Forum meetings, sit on project steering groups or working groups formed for particular issues; assist with the development of Forum responses to consultation documents; representing the Forum at meetings or responding to the media when invited to do so by the Advisory Group.

 

Role of Observers

 

Relevant Government departments and offices can join the Forum as Observers. Observers are not required to undergo Application Procedures and do not pay subscription fees. Observers may attend and speak at meetings but do not have a vote.

 

H. RESPONSIBILITIES OF MEMBERS

 

Member organisations are expected to act consistently with the aims, objectives and values of the Forum. If it is brought to the attention of the Advisory Group that a member organisation has behaved in such a way which is deemed to go against the aims, objectives and values of the Forum and/or which brings the Forum into disrepute, the Advisory Group reserves the right to review and if appropriate recommend that the Forum suspend their membership.

 

I. ADVISORY GROUP

 

The Advisory Group is elected by members of the Forum; and comprises the Chair and Vice-Chair, plus up to three other elected representatives. The Election Procedure for the Advisory Group is outlined later in this prospectus. The Advisory Group can decide to co-opt non-members with specific skills to advise on particular issues.  If unable to attend Advisory Group meetings, elected officers cannot nominate another representative to take their place.

 

Role of the Advisory Group

 

The role of the Advisory Group is to support and advise the Coordinator and aid the development and implementation of the work plan.  The Advisory Group is guided by terms of reference which are reviewed bi-annually.

 

The Advisory Group will:

 

  • Advise on the development of the work programme and funding submissions and oversee implementation.
  • Advise on the preparation of agendas and papers for Forum meetings.
  • Publicly support Forum staff and decisions agreed by the Advisory Group and Forum.
  • Consider all matters relating to membership including applications for membership, and will make recommendations to the Forum in this respect.
  • Formulate and issue public statements within agreed Forum policy.
  • Liaise with Forum members by providing regular, formal feedback at Forum meetings and between meetings where appropriate.
  • Liaise with Mentor UK, the host agency, on behalf of the Forum.

Role of the Chair and the Vice Chair

 

The role of the Chair is to lead Forum meetings and Advisory Group meetings, ensuring they keep to task and that all voices are heard.  The Chair will provide a formal report for each Forum meeting following an Advisory Group meeting and will delegate this duty to the Vice Chair or another member of the Advisory Group if s/he is unable to attend the meeting.   The role of the Vice-Chair is to support and when necessary deputise for the Chair and to attend Forum meetings and Advisory Group meetings. 

 

J. MEETINGS

 

Full meetings

 

Forum meetings take place three times a year. Meeting dates for the coming year will be set at the last meeting of each calendar year. To be quorate one third of the Forum’s full voting membership (or Deputies) must be present at a meeting including the Chair or Vice Chair. All resolutions will be decided by majority vote.

 

Advisory Group meetings

 

The Advisory Group will meet at least four times a year, at least 4 weeks prior to each full Forum meeting and will consist of the five Elected Officers of the Forum, together with the Co-ordinator and any Co-opted Members. To be quorate four of the members of the Advisory Group shall be present at any meeting.

 

Annual General meeting

 

The annual meeting of the Forum is held at a time determined by the Advisory Group, but will normally be the autumn Forum meeting.  Standard items for the annual meeting are:

  • Report from the Chair
  • Agree Work Plan for forthcoming year
  • Approval of Accounts
  • Approval of Budget for forthcoming year
  • Election of officers
  • Review of Subscriptions
  • Review of arrangements with host agency

Ad hoc meetings

 

In addition to the planned quarterly meetings, the Chair may call additional meetings to address specific issues. The Forum may also decide to establish fixed term working groups to take on identified pieces of work.

 

K. HOW THE FORUM WORKS

 

The working methods of the Forum are based on principles of openness and participation.  The Forum facilitates full discussion of the issues with which it is concerned and aims to develop trust and cooperation between member organisations.

 

The work plan

 

The Forum develops an annual work plan, which is first discussed and agreed by the Advisory Group then by members. The work plan is structured according to the four themes of the Forum and is guided by Forum values. Funding submissions will  be discussed and agreed at Advisory Group meetings then by members. The Forum will only undertake work that cannot be done more appropriately by member organisations.

 

Working Methods

 

Methods of working are outlined under the four themes:

 

Policy and Advocacy

The Forum works to influence government policy on drug education and related issues by; holding seminars and discussions, convening working groups as necessary; taking part in consultations; commenting on policy documents; representation at meetings or planning groups, and by working with the media.

 

Seminars, Discussions and Working Groups are held in order to develop a shared consensus on drug education issues. These will inform the development of the Forum’s work influence policy development.

 

Policy Statements: The Coordinator will lead on developing comments on policy documents. Members are expected to contribute either via discussion at meetings or via comments on drafts circulated by the Coordinator.

 

Consultation Responses: Work undertaken by the Forum or comments on work completed by other organisations may contain recommendations that are not policy statements. These are circulated to Forum members and/or Advisory Group members if appropriate. The Advisory Group may be asked to endorse the issuing of public statements if the Chair and Coordinator consider it appropriate.

 

Meetings: Members’ organisations and their representatives may be invited to represent the Forum at meetings or speak on behalf of the Forum. The Chair, in consultation with the Coordinator, will either decide on who should represent the Forum at external meetings or will agree a process for selection. The Coordinator will usually represent the Forum unless not available or the particular expertise of a member organisation is required. Written feedback on all external meetings must be provided to the Coordinator within 14 days of the meeting, who will then report to the next Advisory Group meeting. 

 

Media: The Forum will continue to develop its profile in the media as a national authority on drug education guided by its values and core documents.

 

Information Disemination

The Forum endeavours to keep member organisations up to date with each other’s work and also provide others who support or deliver drug education with up to date information on policy and practice developments.

 

Member organisations can utilise the membership directory, regular update sessions at Forum meetings, the e-mail network and website to keep up to date with other members activities and distribute information about their own organisations including conferences, seminars and publications.

 

The Forum aims to make those who support or deliver drug education aware of its activities and its members via its website and by presenting at seminars and conferences when appropriate.

 

Practice Development

The Forum seeks to facilitate joint working and the sharing of expertise in order to develop best practice and inform policy development.

 

Involvement of Young People

The Forum strives to improve and develop meaningful and effective methods of involving young people in policy, practice and delivery at a local and national level and to share this learning with the Forum members and others who support or deliver drug education.

 

L. DISSOLUTION OR CHANGE OF STATUS

 

In the event that the Forum should agree to dissolve, the Chair will notify Mentor UK and the Forum’s funders, and will ensure that the Forum is wound up in compliance with the contractual obligations into which the Forum has entered.

 

M. APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP

 

The organisation should first declare in writing, its interest in becoming a member of the Forum.

There are pre-requisites for Forum membership, the organisation should:

be a national organisation (i.e. provide services throughout England)

provide drug education to children or young people

or offer a service to those who do

 

All application documents should be addressed to:

The Chair, Drug Education Forum, c/o Mentor UK, 4th Floor, 74 Great Eastern Street, London EC2A 3JG.

 

Following confirmation from the Chair that the organisation meets the above criteria, the Coordinator will send the applicant a membership application package to include an application form and the Forum Prospectus.

 

The applicant will complete the application form and attach the relevant supporting information and return it to the Chair at the Forum.

 

All member organisations must agree to and support the Forum’s values and aims and provide written evidence of their governing body’s endorsement of the Forum’s values.

 

The application will be considered initially by the Forum’s Advisory Group at its next meeting and a recommendation made to the full Forum membership, who must approve the admission at the next Forum meeting. Approval of new member is made if existing member organisations agree that their work falls within the aims and objectives of the Forum.

 

For all new member organisations, the representative will be invited to meet with the Coordinator who will inform them of the current program of work and provide them with a copy of the Prospectus and most recent minutes. An Advisory Group member will accompany the new representative at their first meeting and ensure they are introduced and informed of meeting procedures.

 

N. SUBSCRIPTION DETAILS

 

Member organisations pay an annual subscription to the Forum, the amount of which is determined by the Forum at its annual meeting. The current fee is £50.00.

 

O. ELECTION PROCEDURES

 

The Chair, Vice Chair and Advisory Group Members are elected for 2-year terms. Elected Officers are eligible for re-election. The Coordinator will call for nominations in writing for the Elected Officers’ posts.

 

Members may nominate others or self nominate, and nominations must be seconded.

 

Nominees should provide a short biography and should indicate whether they are interested in the posts of Chair, Vice Chair or Elected Member.

 

Ballot papers will be sent out and members will vote for each post where there is more than one nominee.

 

A Mentor staff member who is independent of the Forum will count ballot papers.