Terms of Reference for Policy, Education and Professional Affairs
- The Policy Committee is responsible for driving and implementing the Society’s strategy and the more detailed provisions of the Business Plan in so far as they affect science policy and public affairs.
- The Policy Committee will identify areas of science and education policy that could affect the interests of the cellular and molecular life sciences and develop and drive policies to protect and expand those interests. The aim is to consolidate the Society’s position as the authority on these areas of policy. These areas will include, among others: leading the Society’s input into creating a strong and successful Biosciences Federation; science communication, where the prime focus will be on helping Society members to engage with the public, the media and government; and ethical issues.
- The Committee will engage in science policy work both pro-actively and responsively, as appropriate. This requires the Committee to establish good working relationships with key decision-making bodies such as government science and education ministries, parliamentary scientific committees, and the research and funding councils. The Committee will decide whether particular issues are generic across science and are best approached in collaboration with other science organizations, including the Biosciences Federation, or selective to biochemistry and best approached individually.
- The Committee will advise the Executive Committee on the mechanisms and resources necessary for handling key issues and for following them through effectively.
- The Committee will continue to develop methods of consulting the views of Society members on particular policy issues, in order to strengthen the authority of the Committee’s voice in its dealings with external agencies and to promote a sense of ownership of policy activities. Policy Committee will keep Society members informed of the work of the Committee and of its significance.
Method of Working
- The Chair of the Policy Committee is an officer of the Society and ex-officio member of the Executive Committee. The Chair is elected by Council for a 5-year term of office.
- The Vice-Chair of the Society, the Chair of the Education Committee, and the Hon Officer for Membership Affairs, will be ex-officio members of the Policy Committee.
- The Executive Committee will appoint members of the Policy Committee, or endorse the recommendations made by the Policy Committee, for an initial period of 3 years. Renewal for a further period of up to 3 years is at the discretion of the Executive Committee.
- Members of the Policy Committee will be selected to represent the following areas: the whole range of higher education institutions; research institutes, industry; food / plant science; biomedical science; science communication; and young biochemists. The Committee will comprise not less than 6 and not more than 12 members. Members of the Society with special expertise may be co-opted to assist consideration of specific initiatives.
Funding of Policy Committee activities
- The Policy Committee will report to the Executive Committee through its Chair.
- Following approval of the initial business plan Policy Committee will report annually to the Executive Committee on the extent to which the aims and objectives of the Business Plan have been achieved.
- Policy Committee will review the Business Plan each year and make recommendations to the Executive Committee for continuation / discontinuation of activities, or changes in direction.
- The Policy Committee will meet formally twice a year but will conduct its business electronically as far as possible.
- The Chairs of the Policy and Education Committees will maintain close liaison. Each will receive the papers for the other’s Committee meetings and be entitled to attend. In some cases it may be difficult to distinguish whether a matter is of a policy nature or more practically orientated towards the professional standing of biochemistry and / or education and training. The two Chairs will agree the initial forum for consideration of any particular matter.
- The Policy Committee will be serviced by staff in the Society Activities Division. Staff responsible for policy and education will work closely together, and the Director, Society Activities, will have ultimate responsibility for the allocation of duties.
- The Executive Committee, at its normal budget meeting in June each year, will determine an annual allocation of expenditure for Policy matters.
- The Chair of Policy Committee will prepare a budget for the following year and will report it to the Executive Committee, noting in particular any budgetary requests that are likely to exceed the normal increase for inflation.
- Members of the Policy Committee, alongside other members of the Society, will be able to make bids to the Local Scientific Events Grant scheme, and to the Meetings Committee, for funding to support specific initiatives in science communication, for instance, or for colloquia or similar events to promote science policy.
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