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Elections

Railfuture is the campaigning name of the Railway Development Society Ltd, a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee (Registered in England and Wales No. 5011634 Registered office: 24 Chedworth Place, Tattingstone, Suffolk IP9 2ND.

The 2017 election results for the three directors who will serve from 2017 to 2020 and the fourth until 2018 were announced at the AGM on 20th May 2017 and are reflected in the list of Board directors shown in Who's Who. Download the Railfuture Election Addresses 2017.

You can still download theRailfuture Election Addresses 2016 for the three directors who serve from 2015 to 2018, along with Railfuture Election Addresses 2015 for 2015 to 2018, and Election Addresses 2014 for directors who hold office from 2014 to 2017.

Elected Positions

There is a maximum of nine elected directors of the company. During the year the Board may co-opt other directors to perform certain roles, but they will only remain in office until the next AGM, and are free to stand for election. The Board has done this only once, in 2017.

Each year the directors will appoint from within their number the posts of Chair, Vice-Chair, Director of Policy, Director of Operations and Director of Finance & Corporate Governance. Individual directors may also take responsibility for Finance, Health and Safety and so on.

Directors are elected for a term of three years (or less if replacing someoone who stood down early); three directors retire each year by rotation.

All current Railfuture members are entitled to vote. Railfuture 'supporters' are not entitled to vote.

Appointed Officers

The following officers of the company are appointed by the Board:
  • Finance Officer (referred to as Treasurer in the Articles of Association)
  • Membership Secretary (New and Renewals)
  • Sales Officer
These three officers do not necessarily have to be Board members, in which case they would report to a specific director. Applications should be sent directly to the chairman.

The Board also appoints a Company Secretary and the Electoral Returning Officer.

Eligibility to Stand as a Director

Anyone who is a fully paid-up member, regardless of how long they have been a member, is entitled to stand for chairman or other director (including both - if elected as chairman this takes precedence). They must be nominated and seconded by a fully paid-up member at the time the nominaiton is submitted, and to be a director they must meet the criteria set for providing Directors’ Insurance.

The Board of Directors welcome new blood, especially from those sections of the community that are currently under represented, including women, ethnic minorities and younger people. Directors with a strong understanding of modern campaigning methods, particularly effective use of social media, would be most useful.

Use of email is essential as most communication between directors is done by e-mail.

Responsibility of Directors

The Board is the executive management. Directors are legally required to act in the members' best interests. They are responsible for corporate governance and defining strategy. It is primarily decision making. It sets the policies for the society to campaign on. Sound judgement and a vision for the future are vital. Detailed knowledge of railways is not essential, but knowledge of what rail users want is very useful.

To retain their position directors must attend at least one Board meeting a year but shoud aim to attend all four (see below), and undertake tasks in accordance with the Business Plan. Travelling expenses are paid to attend national meetings, although guidelines approved by the Board recommend waiving the first £10 for each meeting.  

In September 2013 the Board decided that in order to maximise transparency all directors will be subject to compulsory disclosure of their expenses and these will be published each year on the website. In March 2014 the Board also adopted a mandatory Code of Conduct for Directors, which is based on the Nolan Committee principles for conduct in public life. Failure to adhere to the code of conduct could lead to a director being removed.

All directors are expected to be involved in regular campaign work within the Society, such as being active in their local branch or a member of one or more of the national groups.

The main officer positions require a considerable amount of time to be dedicated to Railfuture business.

There is currently no Sales Officer and the board would like to fill this vacancy.

Electoral Returning Officer

Click here to download the instructions issued by the Board to the Electoral Returning Officer. pdf 211kB

Nomination Forms

The two forms to be completed are:


Election Timetable

Nomination forms must be returned by 1 February each year by post or by e-mail. The end date is final and no excuse (such as mail strike) will be accepted. It is strongly recommended that the completed papers are returned earlier so mistakes can be notified and corrected.

Election ballot papers will be sent out to members in March. Completed papers must be received (or votes recorded online) by late April or very early May (as specified on the paper).

Election results will be announced at the AGM in May, and directors will take up their role immediately, once they have been registed with Companies House.

Prior to the election results have been announced at the AGM candidates may withdraw and the other candidates shuffle up. However, from that point onwards losing candidates have no automatic right to fill any positions vacated even if one of the successful candidates did not become officially registered as a director.

The first meeting of the new Board will be in May/June.

Board Meetings

When elected the Companies House form and a Railfuture director’s interests form must be completed. The latter lists anything that could clash with Railfuture’s independence, such as having shares in, or being a director of, a TOC.

The four Board meetings are in May/June, September, late November/early December and late February/early March. All are on Saturdays, usually 13:00-17:00. They are currently held alternately in London and Birmingham, but location is based on what is most convenient for the majority of the nine Board members.

At the May/June Board people are appointed to the national directorates and groups. The meeting sets the dates for the remainder of the year (the first for the new Board) as it gives new directors a chance to influence the dates.

At the Nov/Dec meeting the budget for the next year is agreed. 

At the March Board the accounts for the previous year are approved. Directors alone are legally responsible for this.

Attending the Board meeting is the only time that you need to give, other than to read and respond to e-mails of which there are quite a few! Obviously you can take part in other activities, according to how much spare time you have. It is good if you can attend the AGM, summer and/or autumn conferences.

Directors do not represent their local branch – they represent the interests of all members equally and must act in the interests of the membership as a whole at all times.

Further Information

For further information about the election process, please contact Railfuture Returning Officer Chris Bates.

Railwatch