The Member's Guarantee - what is it?

When you apply the join RAYNET-UK or reach the age of 18, you are asked to sign the REG-06 form: Individual Member's Agreement and Guarantee.

Members under this age sign a slightly different form, the REG-06J. This omits the members guarantee as it only applies to those over 18.

The agreement is simply that you are in sympathy with the company's aims and objects and that you agree to abide by the rules as circulated by the Committee of Management. It is something that almost any organisation would ask a prospective member to sign to.

Like many other charities, RAYNET-UK is also a registered company “limited by guarantee”. It therefore has to comply with company law. However this allows it to omit the word “Ltd” from its name as it has objectives which are “not for profit”. The Radio Society of Great Britain is another “not for profit” company limited by guarantee and so too can omit “Ltd” from its name. However, because its objectives are for benefit of its members and not the public, it cannot become a registered charity (like RAYNET-UK is).

Being a company limited by guarantee has a number advantages. It provides members with some protection for their rights and with limited liability. Had the organisation not chosen a form which had limited liability, then every member would have been exposed to unlimited liability – something unreasonable in a large voluntary organisation.

The way a member's liability is limited is by means of the guarantee. In the event of RAYNET-UK ever being wound up, each member (and anyone who has been a member within the last year) guarantees to contribute a maximum of £5 (if asked to do so) towards the assets of the organisation.

The Charity Commission suggest in their model “constitution” a guarantee of £5, and that is what our founders chose. However, different company constitutions' (Memorandum of Association) specify different amounts for their members' guarantees. For example, RSGB's specifies £1.05.

The amount of the guarantee is normally kept at a low figure. The intention being to keep it below the cost that a firm of insolvency practitioners would charge to write to every member requesting payment of the guarantee and to bank the money. This hopefully would result in members never being asked to pay their guarantee.

We try to be an open organisation. So we choose to mention the guarantee in our application form, as joining RAYNET-UK means becoming a member of the company.

Copies of the Memorandum & Articles of Association and the Rules are available for download from our website, or may be obtained from our registered office on receipt of a SAE with enough stamps for 200g of A4.

How does this affect groups?

Another part of our constitution (Articles of Association) defines groups and counties. This is to enable the Committee of Management to be properly elected by members voting for controllers, who in turn vote for Zonal Co-ordinators – the directors of the company.

Groups are autonomous in virtually all other respects. This means that groups are responsible for their own funds and their own debts. Their own constitutions define how their money is to be accounted for and how it may be spent. Groups are not members of the company, so if RAYNET-UK were ever to be wound up, it could not call upon any funds held by groups – only members could be asked to pay, and then only to a maximum of £5.

A company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales company number 2771954.
Registered office 9 Conigre, CHINNOR, Oxfordshire OX39 4JY.
Charity registered in England and Wales number 1047725 and in Scotland number SC046184.