Write Policies and Procedures Document

We have our Articles of Incorporation and our Bylaws. The next “highest” governance document is our Policies and Procedures, where we will lay out the details of Sociocracy.

Note on Youth Leadership within the structures of our Bylaws and Sociocracy:

Nonprofit law states that only one board member can be under 18, and that they must be at least 16. However, in order to fulfill its mission, #NYCEDU requires the leadership of multiple young people. We do this through what Sociocracy for All calls the Mission Circle

A mission circle pays attention to long-term planning and makes sure the organization stays true its mission (and vision) and connected in its organizational and cultural context. […] The MC gives general direction and support, may have legal and financial responsibilities and supports the operational leader. The mission circle is the link with and to the larger community.

We have no age limit for people in the Mission Circle. The Mission Circle and Board interact in the following way.

The Mission Circle is a Committee of the Corporation. All Board Directors are ex-officio members of the Mission Circle. Any meeting of the Board shall be preceded by a meeting of the Mission Circle. Recommendations of the Mission Circle will be placed on the board agenda as consent items.

As we add more details to our policies and procedures around the Mission Circle, we need to make clear that the Board cannot be constrained by a committee of the corporation. Directors need to be able to exercise their own independent judgment. We can put in policies and procedures that the sociocratic process must be followed before certain decisions, so long as we make it clear that the process does not ultimately bind the board.

Additional Resources
Involving Youth on Your Board

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1PBQDq4n-E-mer8trfVxozR9O0H-QJhTNHyXdHCBRvnA/edit#heading=h.3dy6vkm

An additional element to add to Policies and Procedures document is language about how to appeal.

Appealing a Circle Decision

  1. Method 1: Any individual circle member may appeal any decision made by any circle.
    The appeal will first be heard by the circle(s) to which the individual belongs. If that circle
    agrees with the appeal, they will send elected delegates to the circle that made the
    decision. These delegates will meet with the circle that made the decision. The purpose
    of this meeting is to understand and explore the reasoning behind the original decision
    and behind the appeal. The circle that made the original decision will then confirm,
    amend or withdraw the original decision (within one session, or more if extended by
    consent).
  1. Method 2: Alternatively, four individuals (no two from the same household) can appeal
    any decision to the circle that made the decision. Those appealing will select delegates
    to meet with the circle that made the decision in order to collectively understand and
    explore the reasoning behind the original decision and behind the appeal. The circle that
    made the original decision will then confirm, amend or withdraw the original decision
    (within one session, or more if extended by consent)…
  1. If those appealing are not satisfied with the result of their appeal, they, along with
    delegates of the original decision-making circle, can seek assistance from a mediating
    body to get resolution (within two sessions, or more if extended by consent)
  1. If that is not successful, the issue moves to the next broader circle, but no further than
    the General Circle.

This language comes from the G.A.L.A. Bylaws and Policies and Procedures as shared to Deborah.

Then this is from Austrian Law

Some initial ideas from these examples

  • Include ways for people to unblock decisions
    • Consent not needed to bring in facilitator
  • Binding arbitration of procedure (not content) on whether an objection is reasoned is outsourced to a Sociocracy expert
  • Consent not needed to go to arbitration. Not binding. Put on consent agenda. If not consented to, then 2/3 is enough
  • Add time limit (don’t want things to take too long or too short)
  • Require that anyone being selected onto the Board has to have a certain level of Sociocratic expertise / training

Sample Bylaws from Symbiosym