Club and Society Management

Welsh Springer Spaniel Sitting

We are here to support you, we have compiled for you information which we hope will be helpful and relevant in the management of your club/society – and which is derived from common and frequent enquiries we receive.

We will continue to update these pages and would welcome suggestions and additions at any time. As ever, if you have more bespoke needs or concerns please contact us via email.

We are committed to improving access to support/advice and information resources for those running clubs.

We are on hand to provide regulatory support by way of advice to registered clubs and societies – to give trust and confidence for those using our services, across all areas including registration and constitutional aspects, licensed activities, breed development, compliance with Kennel Club ‘C’ regulations and procedures.

We do not want clubs and societies to feel over burdened with rules regulations and red tape and our guidance will change over time, to do what we can to allow clubs to run as simply as possible;  nevertheless, a structure and go to set of rules for a club and society is needed for regular management issues and indeed if difficulties or challenges arise.  The rules are there to inform and protect everyone, both the club and its members.   There are of course a number of areas which are dictated by the law as to where compliance is needed, e.g. data protection.

Club constitution - frequently asked questions

What is a club constitution?

This is the set of rules of the club which should be compiled to comply with Kennel Club C Regulations when the club is applying for Kennel Club registration.

The purpose of a constitution is to set out what a club can do, what it cannot do, how it must be managed, and how it must operate for its members.  It is a vital document to help with the management of its affairs, finances, meetings, elections and so on.  It provides a structure and is the go to place when there are questions about how to deal with particular situations – it is essentially a contract for members.

Can changes be made to the constitution?

The constitution and any changes are subject to Kennel Club approval. Once a club is registered, proposed changes to rules must be agreed by members at a general meeting before Kennel Club approval is sought. Any proposed rule changes must be given on the notice of the general meeting so that members are aware in advance.  Ideally, once a comprehensive constitution is in place it should not need constant or regular revision – we will provide templates and advice on rule changes where needed.

Download a template for formulating a club constitution.

Can a club change its title?

A proposed change of title must first receive formal approval by members at a general meeting, with advance (at least 14 days) notice of the proposal having been issued to all members. Then an application can be made to The Kennel Club on the official form, upon request.

What is a Code of Ethics?

A Code of Ethics is, by definition, a set of guidelines or principles on expected levels of behaviour. They are not necessarily hard and fast rules. In general terms, in order to crystallise the committee’s powers to enforce any form of ethical requirements upon members, a qualifying paragraph within the rules would be required to outline the steps which could be taken. Consequently, members must of course be made fully aware of the existence of such measures. 

The Kennel Club requires that breed clubs and societies adopt and include the Kennel Club Code of Ethics in terms of breeding as well as any bespoke provisions for the club.

Committees - frequently asked questions

How is the committee elected?

The rules of the club must set out the election process and terms of reference. Elections are usually at the Annual General Meeting or beforehand, by balloting of members on candidates.

How are officers elected?

The rules of the club must set out the election process and terms of reference. Elections are usually at the Annual General Meeting or beforehand. Some clubs have a process whereby members elect officers, other clubs specify that the committee makes these appointments.

How does the club fill vacancies for officer or committee positions?

If a mid-term vacancy arises, the committee has the option to co-opt to fill the post temporarily until the next election. At the annual election, the post must be advised to members as a vacancy. Anyone who has been co-opted must step down but may seek nomination for election if eligible.

Can one person hold two positions, e.g. secretary and treasurer?

It is expected that a club will have separate individuals holding the specific officer roles. Each role is distinct and carries different responsibilities. Whilst it is acceptable for a club to allow one person to hold two positions as a short-term measure, the club should really aim to have separate people in post. It is appreciated that this is not always possible but the positions should be advertised as vacancies each year so members are aware they can make nominations.

How are committee meetings organised?

Most clubs will have established practices for committee meetings, alongside any formal specifications in the rules of the club. Usually the secretary will convene meetings in consultation with the chairperson. All committee members and officers who are ex officio committee members must be included in the notification.

Can committee meetings be held online?

The committee can agree as to how to hold meetings – in person, online or hybrid –separate guidance on these matters upon request.

However, it must ensure that all committee members have the facilities to participate fully, including voting.

Find out more about running a virtual meeting. 

What does ‘ex officio’ mean?

This term means ‘by reason of their office’ and allows an officer automatically to be a voting member of the committee, or to attend in a non-voting capacity, depending on the stipulations in the club rules.

What is a committee quorum?

The rules of the club should state the required quorum (number of voting members present) for committee meetings. This should be a fixed number, not a percentage. If the rules do not state the committee quorum, the committee should agree on a quorum requirement for its meetings (usually at least half the total number) and propose an addition to the club rules at the next AGM, to formalise this.

How are minutes of committee meetings managed?

The secretary will usually draft the minutes and seek the chairman’s approval. At the next committee meeting the minutes are subject to formal approval by the committee. Minutes should record actions to be taken and decisions (and any appropriate reasoning) rather than a full verbatim account of everything which was said.
Minutes then serve as an important record for future reference when needed.

Can committee minutes be amended?

Any proposed amendments to minutes must be agreed by a majority at a committee meeting. The amendment should then be noted and the minutes updated accordingly.

General meetings - frequently asked questions

What is a general meeting?

All membership organisations must have general meetings. It is a requirement to hold an Annual General Meeting, which must be stated in the club rules. It is also a requirement that the club rules make provision for a Special General Meetings. Some clubs may have other, less formal general meetings of members.

What is the purpose of the Annual General Meeting (AGM)?

The Annual General Meeting must be called in accordance with the rules of the club. It is required annually to process the routine business of the club. Its agenda must include minutes of last meeting, officers’ reports, elections, approval of certified accounts, proposal from committee or by members, and any other business.

What is the purpose of a Special General Meeting (SGM)?

The committee of the club may call an Special General Meeting at any time. A Special General Meeting may also be requisitioned by a given number of members’ signatures (the club rules must specify). Special General Meeting business is for matters which are not routine and outside of normal Annual General Meeting business.

Is there a quorum for a general meeting?

The general meeting quorum should be stated in the club rules. If this is not stated, the committee should propose an addition to the rules for approval by members at the next Annual General Meeting.

Membership - frequently asked questions

How are members enrolled to the club?

Kennel Club Regulations require that societies have in place rules defining the process for membership applications. A committee must jointly agree the acceptance or rejection of a membership application. Such decisions should be recorded in the committee meeting minutes.

Membership applications should be reviewed on an inclusive basis and approach but it is in the gift of the committee to accept or reject an application. The committee is not required to give reasons for refusal to an applicant.

Is a club subject to data protection law?

The club must ensure that it observes the requirements of the 2018. The Kennel Club provides full guidance on the principles of the Data Protection Act 2018.


Is the club required to keep a Membership list?

The Kennel Club requires registered societies to maintain a current list of members’ names and addresses. The list of names must be made available to members and to the Kennel Club upon request.

How are subscriptions managed?

The rules of a registered society should refer to the subscription, the conditions of payment and the status of members failing to pay.

The club must maintain precise records of subscription payments and if possible issue receipts.  Whilst it is not mandatory to issue receipts best practice has indicated that to issue a receipt allows monies to be clearly tracked through a club’s accounts. 

Listed status - frequently asked questions

1. How can payment be made for becoming a listed status club and for annual renewal?

Through direct debit or cheque initially, but payment for annual renewal would be by direct debit only.

2. What needs to be submitted on an annual basis to The Kennel Club?

  • Any changes to trainers and venue.
  • A copy of the third-party liability insurance certificate
  • Renewal fee (payable by direct debit)

3. When is the annual renewal date for submissions and payment?

Each year from the date the listed status club was registered.

4. How many guarantors need to be present at a listed status club show?

The minimum requirement will be the one person as named on the licence.

5. Is there a limit on the number of shows a listed status club or fully registered club may hold?

No, but if there is a significant detrimental effect on the show calendar as a whole, then the Board will reserve the right to review the number of licences issued to a particular show organiser.

6. Will The Kennel Club regulate the cost of entry fees?

No, the KC has never regulated the cost of entry fees.

7. How do we manage entry forms?

Entry forms must be completed for all dogs entered, including those entered on the day. They must be retained by the show organisers for 12 months from the date of the show and forwarded to The Kennel Club on request.

8. When is the closing date and can entries be accepted on the day of the show?

The closing date for entries to classes at shows must be at least 14 days before the date of the show. Entries from competitors claiming that missing entries have been correctly posted must be accepted on the day of the show as per the regulations.

9. Who can apply to have a listed status club?

Any club, group or individual.

10. Do you need a committee structure?


11. Will The Kennel Club reduce its governance of fully registered clubs? 

No, we are of the view that the current stipulations are the minimum necessary requirement to safeguard a club's membership.

12. Will I/we be inspected by The Kennel Club? 

No, the reference submitted by a local dog warden/environmental health officer to confirm the safety and suitability of the premises/ground(s) being used for the purposes of dog training, will be the only inspection of the training venue. If you plan to hold a show, field officers will be sent as is the standard procedure for all shows licensed by The Kennel Club.

13. Why are heelwork to music (HTM) shows that hold Kennel Club qualifiers called 'premier'? 

A similar premier type of show already exists in showing and agility and it would be in keeping with current range of shows The Kennel Club has to offer. 

14. There are two different types of HTM shows - what do these entail and what are the differences? 

  • Premier HTM shows:
    This is a new name for shows that have qualifying heats for any of The Kennel Club's major events. This could be for Crufts or any future Kennel Club qualifying event. Organisers can schedule their choice of official categories and classes. Societies running premier shows will be fully registered organisations only. 
  • Open HTM shows:
    Organisers can schedule their choice of official categories and classes, except for qualifying heats for any of The Kennel Club's major events. Societies running open HTM shows will be fully registered organisations or the new listed status club.
Can membership be cancelled if members do not renew?

The rules of the club may stipulate that members failing to pay by a specific date forfeit their membership and must apply anew.  Or, in circumstances where there has been a practice allowing members to pay later than the due date, this must be applied consistently and may not be altered by the committee without full membership consultation.

Can the committee refuse renewal of membership?

The committee must not refuse renewal of membership. Provided the subscription payment is made by the deadline date, or in accordance with practice, renewal of membership must be granted.

How can membership be removed?

The only means of expulsion is via a vote of members at a Special General Meetings of the club, convened in accordance with the club’s rules and the specific Kennel Club Regulation. There is a detailed procedure which must be carefully followed, as the outcome may be challenged on procedural grounds. Specific guidance available from us. 

Can the club have different membership categories?

The rules of the club may specify types of membership The terms of reference for each category should be stated. The following is an example list:

  • Single – subscription payable, one named individual, full voting rights
  • Joint – subscription payable, two named individuals at same address, subscription payable, full voting rights
  • Family – subscription payable, one/two adults at the same address, full voting rights; juniors* at the same address, no voting rights
  • Junior – one named individual under 18 years*, no voting rights
  • Honorary – one named individual – subscription and voting rights are not usually associated with this category but clubs can determine this
  • Life – one named individual, voting rights, no subscription payable

*The club would need to have a mechanism to advise holders of family and junior membership of the need to transfer to the appropriate membership category once the age of 18 is reached.

Can junior members vote or serve on committee?

We advise that junior members should have no voting rights and should not be eligible to serve on or make nominations for committee.

Club accounts and financial management - frequently asked questions

Who manages the club’s finances?

The committee is jointly responsible for club management and this includes the financial administration. Whilst there will usually be a treasurer, the committee must ensure that robust systems are in place and regular oversight is maintained.

Who can authorise expenditure?

The committee must mandate officers (at least two) as signatories of club accounts.

How are accounts finalised each year?

The accounts must be independently certified – either by one qualified accountant or by two unqualified individuals who have accountancy experience, unconnected to the committee. The certified accounts must be approved by members at the AGM, having been made available 14 days prior to the meeting.

Is there a ceiling for expenditure?

In some clubs, a ‘ceiling’ figure is in place for committee spending, so that it is clear to all as to the maximum amount that the committee can spend without the approval of the membership. If this is not in place then it might perhaps be wise for the committee to discuss this and make a suitable proposal to a future general meeting of members.

Who is responsible for club property?

The committee has overall responsibility for managing and safeguarding all property, although individuals can be allocated certain items. The important factor is that a current, accurate record of all property and its whereabouts is maintained and there should be checking and updating of the inventory. It is helpful to have arrangements in place for when keepership changes/exit process to avoid unnecessary disputes or difficulties in any transition period and changeover of officers/committee members.

Club & Society Management related forms and downloads

Contact us

Want to get in contact? Contact our Governance and Legal Service team via email.