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BSI Rules

Rules of the British Society for Immunology ("the Rules”)

The British Society for Immunology’s (the Society) governing instrument is its Articles of Association (the Articles).

Society’s Members

1. The Society shall consist of paying members (‘ordinary, ‘concessionary’ and ‘overseas’) and honorary members, together known as “Full Members”. Individuals of distinction in Immunology and related fields shall be eligible for selection as honorary members by the board of Trustees. Acceptance for membership shall be at the discretion of the Society’s board of trustees. All Full Members of the Society shall constitute company law members and, provided at all times it is in accordance with the Society’s Articles, may attend and vote at the AGM, and vote in trustee and Forum elections.

Society’s Trustees

2. The trustees of the Society are appointed in accordance with the Articles by the membership and shall number no fewer than 8 and no more than 12. They will include the President, the Treasurer, the Clinical Secretary and four Full Members of the Society, all of whom shall be elected to serve as trustees by the Full Members of the Society. The Chair of the Forum shall also be a trustee, ex officio, who shall also be elected by the Full Members of the Society. An elected trustee may be selected by the Board to act as vice-President (deputy). This is not a President-elect role.

3. Up to four trustees, who need not be members of the Society, or have expertise in immunology, but who may have specialist expertise in areas such as finance or governance, may be co-opted by the trustees at the trustees' discretion.

4. The business of the Society shall be conducted by the trustees, who oversee all strategic matters. In any matters concerning interpretation of these Rules, the decision shall rest with the trustees, who will decide any matters concerning the Society which are not covered by these Rules.

Society’s Secretaries

5. Separate to the board of Trustees, the Society will elect four ‘Secretaries’. These Secretary roles are: Public Engagement Secretary, Education Secretary, Groups & Meetings Secretary and Congress Secretary. These roles are elected by the membership from the membership, and have defined areas of responsibility. They will attend one trustee board meeting a year in an advisory role, and will work closely with the Society’s staff team on their particular areas of work. The Secretaries are not trustees or company law secretaries and do not have the powers of the Society’s trustees or secretary under company law or the Articles. They have no legal obligation for the Society, nor do they have the power to make budgetary decisions, without approval from the board of Trustees.

They may however, in the case of the Congress Secretary and Groups & Meetings Secretary be asked to chair relevant committees as required (eg. Congress Committee or Groups & Meetings Committee), and the Public Engagement and Education Secretaries will be part of the Society’s Forum outlined below. Secretaries serve a single term of four years and he or she may not stand again for election as a Secretary until one year has elapsed since their demission from office.

6. All full Members of the Society are entitled to stand in a Secretary election, including serving trustees.  However, holding dual trustee and Secretary roles is not recommended due to potential conflicts of interest and workload.

7. There shall be a representative body, called the Forum, which is a sounding board for discussion of policy, communications, public engagement and education & careers. It is advisory, and makes recommendations to the Board.

8. The Forum shall consist of:

a. the President (ex officio);

b. the chief executive of the Society (ex officio);

c. the Public Engagement Secretary (ex officio);

d. the Education Secretary (ex officio);

e. the Chair of the Forum, elected in accordance with Rule 9;

f. other elected members, representing sectors of the membership, including but not limited to:

i. One regional representative – Scotland;
ii. One regional representative – England;
iii. One regional representative – Wales;
iv. One regional representative – Northern Ireland;
v. Up to three early career representatives;
vi. Two clinical representatives
vii. One veterinary representative;
viii. One industry representative;
ix. One policy representative; and
x. Two PhD representatives.

        g. Representatives of other societies or sectors and other individuals as may be determined and co-opted by the Forum from time to time. Each such member shall serve on the Forum for a maximum of four years.

Subject to Rule 10, an elected member shall serve on the Forum for a single term of four years. He or she may not stand for re-election as a member of the Forum until two years have elapsed;

9.       The Chair of the Forum shall be elected by the Full Members.  Once elected the Chair of the Forum shall automatically serve as a trustee ex officio. The term of office for the Chair of the Forum shall be four years. He or she may stand for re-election but may serve no more than two consecutive terms. If he or she has served two consecutive terms of office as Chair of the Forum, he or she may not stand again for election as a member of the Forum until two years have elapsed.

10.    In the event of a vacancy arising among its members, the Forum shall have the power to  co- opt members of the Forum who shall remain in office until the end of the calendar year or the election of a new member, whichever is earlier. The quorum of any Forum meeting shall be ten. Any decision by the Forum shall be by decision of a majority of the members of the Forum present and voting at a quorate Forum meeting.

Vacancies and Elections

11.    If there is a vacancy among the elected trustees, secretaries or members of the Forum, the Society shall advertise such vacancy to the Full Members of the Society. A candidate to be appointed or reappointed as an elected trustee, secretary or member of the Forum must be nominated. The nomination must be made in writing and reach the President by the deadline stipulated in the notice advertising the vacancy. Each such nomination must be   accompanied by a written intimation from the nominee that he or she is willing to serve as a trustee or member of the Forum (as appropriate) if appointed, and include confirmation of the support of at least two Full Members for the nominee’s appointment or reappointment as trustee or member of the Forum. Nominees for election to membership of the Forum, including regional group members, must be Full Members of the Society, and resident in the United Kingdom. Serving trustees are not permitted to nominate candidates.

12.    If there are more nominees for election than vacancies among the elected trustees, elected Secretaries, or elected members of the Forum, elections will be held by ballot (which, for the avoidance of doubt, may be carried out by electronic means) with the full breakdown of results to be announced by the Society as soon as practicable thereafter. Every Full Member shall be entitled to vote in a ballot and for this purpose papers shall be sent by the Society to each such member. On ballot, each Full Member shall not be entitled to cast more than one vote for any candidate, and shall only be entitled to such number of votes as shall be equal to the maximum number of trustees or members of the Forum (as appropriate) that may be elected or re-elected. Should the post come up for election but no candidate is identified and appointed, and the holder of the post is willing to continue, the Trustees may at their sole discretion agree to temporarily extend the term of office for up to 12 months or until a replacement candidate can be identified and appointed.

13.    In the event that a committee member or secretary must take a period of extended leave (such as parental leave or sickness), their post would remain open, (if agreed by the Board), and they would retain access to committee papers. The rules regarding meeting attendance (as per the individual committee Terms of Reference) would be relaxed in this instance, but the committee member would be expected to advise the Board of their likely return to post.


14.    In addition to the board of trustees and the Forum, the Society shall also have committees which may include, but are not limited to: the Congress Committee, the Clinical Committee, the Patient Advisory Panel, Journals Committee, in addition to any sub-committees of the board of trustees, for example, relating to finance and governance.

Member subscriptions

15.    Paying members shall pay on request by the Society each year the appropriate annual subscription. Such members will receive in advance a reminder subscription notice which should be completed and returned to the Society with the appropriate remittance. Members may choose to pay by direct debit or other form of continuous payment in which case a reminder notice will be sent to them advising that payment will shortly be collected. Members granted a reduced subscription shall abide by the same rules, and will only be granted concessionary subscription upon receipt of a satisfactorily signed and completed concessionary certificate.

16.    Members who have not paid their subscription or other sum payable within three months after the due date shall automatically cease to be a member of the Society. The trustees may re- admit to membership any person who ceases to be a member on this ground on such person paying such reasonable sum as the trustees may determine.

Political Devolution

17.    For the avoidance of doubt, any future political devolution in the United Kingdom will not affect the membership criteria prescribed by the trustees of the Society from time to time under Article 28.3

18.    The proceedings of meetings of the Forum, the board of trustees and committees may only be communicated to the press or media with the consent of the trustees.

Society’s Journals

19.    Immunology and Clinical and Experimental Immunology are the official journals of the Society and any person may receive these on payment of the appropriate subscription. On-line versions may be made available to members as part of the benefits of membership. The editorial policy of each journal shall be in the hands of an editorial board which shall comprise the editor-in- chief and associate editors.

Society’s Diversity

20.    The Society is committed to promoting equal opportunities and diversity and aims, in addition, to ensure that the board of trustees, the Forum and the committees are, so far as possible, representative of the membership.

Rule Changes

21.    Any changes to these Rules, as opposed to the Articles of Association, may only be made by decision of the trustees.


Updated; December 2016

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