The Inter Faith Network for the UK (IFN) is a Registered Charity (number 1068934) and a Company Limited by Guarantee (number 3443823, registered in England and Wales). The present body formally took over the activities, assets and liabilities of its unincorporated predecessor of the same name on 1 July 1998.
IFN is governed in accordance with its Articles of Association, Bye-Laws and relevant provisions of charity and company law. Members of the Board of Trustees are Trustees of the Charity and Directors of the Company.
IFN is made up of its member bodies.
IFN's decision making bodies are its Board of Trustees and the General Meeting of representatives of its member bodies which meets as a 'council' (normally once a year, currently on the same day as the separate National Meeting), to which the Board of Trustees is accountable. IFN staff carry out, in support of the Board and AGM, the general day-to-day running of the activities of IFN.
Decision making bodies
IFN holds an Annual General Meeting (AGM), usually in June or July. The AGM:
- considers the report and accounts for the previous calendar year and a report on activities to date in the current calendar year;
- elects members of the Board of Trustees, including IFN's Officers;
- considers and decides on any applications by organisations for IFN membership, in the light of recommendations from the Board;
- appoints the auditors for the coming year
- considers any other items of business put before it (such as consideration and endorsement of key policies)
The Board has up to 22 members, including two Co-Chairs and an Honorary Treasurer (collectively 'Officers'). One of the Co-Chairs is drawn from the national faith community representative bodies in IFN membership, and one Co-Chair is drawn from one of IFN's other three categories of membership.
Trustees are nominated and serve as individuals strongly committed to IFN's vision and work, although they are nominated by IFN's different membership categories. They are advocates for its work and they seek to ensure that its aims are being met appropriately and effectively as is required of their governance role. IFN's Bye-law on the nomination and appointment of Trustees provides that the Board must include at least 1 Trustee drawn from each of the six largest faith communities in the UK at the present time directly linked by IFN in the membership category of national faith community representative bodies; 4 Trustees drawn from the smaller faith communities linked in that category; 1 Trustee drawn from the national inter faith linking bodies of each of the UK's devolved nations; 3 Trustees drawn from the local inter faith organisations category; 2 Trustees drawn from the national and regional inter faith organisations category; and 1 Trustee drawn from the educational and academic bodies category. Trustees do not represent particular organisations on the Board, but are elected on their own behalf.
The Board nominates to the AGM candidates for election to the roles of Co-Chair and Hon Treasurer.
The Board currently has two subcommittees reporting to it: the Finance and General Purposes Subcommittee, which handles a range of financial and management matters, and a Membership Subcommittee, which advises the Board on matters relating to membership, including on new applications.
In addition to the yearly National Meeting (which is open to representatives of all IFN member bodies), the AGM, and meetings of the Board, separate meetings are also held of the different categories of member body. These enable discussion on matters of mutual concern and may make suggestions to the Board for action but are not, themselves, decision making bodies.
One of these category meetings is the Faith Communities Forum, which enables discussion between member faith community organisations at a national level on issues of common concern and thereby promotes the development of closer working relationships between them. The Forum, which was established by the Board of Trustees, is not authorised to issue statements on behalf of the faith communities collectively or to take policy decisions on their behalf, although in some circumstances its Moderators may issue statements in the name of the FCF. Informed by discussion together, individual faith community organisations themselves put forward their own views separately, as may be appropriate, whether to Government or more generally.
The organisations entitled to be represented at the Forum are national faith community representative bodies currently in IFN membership. Representatives are also invited to attend, if they wish to do so, from the Northern Ireland Inter Faith Forum, Interfaith Scotland and the Inter-faith Council for Wales, which normally deal, separately, with matters relating to the policies and work of the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The FCF keeps under review matters dealt with by the Westminster Government both on a UK wide, England and Wales, and England-only basis. The Terms of Reference of the FCF can be found here.
The Inter Faith Network for the UK, as noted above, is governed by its Articles of Association, Bye-laws and relevant provisions within company and charity law. It also has a number of policies, both internal and external. Documents with a particular relevance to the public are listed below.