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Member Network Rules

The establishment of formal networks has been approved by the Board of Trustees according to the rules of the society.

Each Branch, Section, Division and Special Group is required to have rules under which it operates which are approved by the Board of Trustees.

For reasons of simplicity and transparency, the Board of Trustees approved standardised rules for all of the Member Networks in January 2024, which include advice and guidance to support the running of the network.

These rules are set out below. They should be read in conjunction with the Member Networks Operations Manual which provides guidance on best practice and operational processes.

1. Legal status

1.1. These Rules are subject to the Royal Charter, Statutes and Rules of the British Psychological Society and should be read in conjunction with the policies and procedures of the society.

1.2. Proposed alterations to these Rules must first be approved by the Board of Trustees or its delegated body, and then, if the change is considered significant, by the Board of Trustees, and be presented for consultation with the other Member Networks. Any Member Network wishing to suggest changes should contact the Legal and Governance Team who will co-ordinate any requests. Any agreed changes will apply to all networks.

1.3. The Member Network is not a legal entity and accordingly is not able to enter into contracts, employ staff or own property. The network does not have authority to enter into any legal obligations on behalf of the society or to commit the society to expenditure without authorisation from the Board of Trustees or its delegated body, in line with the society's scheme of delegation.

1.4. The network and its members should be constantly aware that any views expressed may be interpreted as the official position of the British Psychological Society and could, in some circumstances, cause reputational harm. They should be cautious about making statements or issuing publications which may be interpreted in this way and should seek advice from the society if they are in any doubt, before doing so. They should also ensure that the content of events is carefully considered so as not to cause offence or appear to contradict the publicly stated policy of the society.

1.5. The society may request that the Member Network or members of the Member Network make public statements or issue publications on particular issues, according to their expertise and specialism.

2. Purpose and Membership

2.1. The purpose of Member Networks is to connect members around areas of psychological practice, research, and interest, and geographical regions, in order to: provide community; advance psychological knowledge and practice; support professional development; promote psychological education; and raise the profile and impact of psychology and psychologists, including their contribution to wider society.

2.2. Membership of the Member Network is open to members of the society who meet the criteria for the Member Network published on the membership area of the society website.

2.3. The Board of Trustees grants the Member Network permission to incur expenditure and expenses to deliver its purpose. The amount of such expenditure will be based on the provision of an annual activity plan outlining the network's proposed services and activities for the year for its members.

2.4. To help the Member Network keep track of its expenditure and plan the use of any uncommitted budget, the society will provide information on a regular basis which will include expenditure to date, planned expenditure and uncommitted funds.

2.5. The Member Network will set fees at a level that cover the cost of the services that the Member Network will provide and will review these each year.

2.6. The Member Network will set or vary its fees with the agreement of the Board of Trustees. Any setting or change of fee will be submitted for approval by the Trustees prior to implementation from 1st January of the next year. The society advises that the Member Network considers increasing its fee each year by a minimum of inflation to maintain its services to its members.

2.7. For society or divisional branches which do not charge fees, an allocation of funds will be made from the society or divisional subscription each year to fund their activities. This will be reviewed on an annual basis.

2.8. The society expects each network to spend its funds on its planned activities, usually in the same financial year although, with agreement, accruals can be made for the following year for items in activity plans.

2.9. If the Member Network has unspent funds at the end of a financial year, they will be transferred to the society's reserves but may be accessed for network use with the approval of the Board of Trustees or its delegated body. Decisions to approve requests will be taken in the context of the financial position of the society and the Board of Trustees' policy on the retention of society reserves.

3. The Network Committee

3.1. The Member Network will have a committee. The role of the committee is to ensure that the Member Network provides activities and services which are in line with its purpose and the expectations of its members. The committee will be responsible for the allocation and use of network funds.

3.2. The committee will develop an activity plan, ensuring that the Member Network provides effective services in support of the purpose of the network, including events, continuing professional development, networking and communication, and ensure that the costs of the activities are within the networks income.

3.3. The committee will encourage members to take an active role in the running of the Member Network and to volunteer to serve on its committee. Usually, no payments will be made to members undertaking committee roles but if any payment is made, it will be transparent to the members of the network and the society and will appear in the Trustees Annual Report and Accounts.

3.4. The size of the committee will be determined by the members of the network and will be proportionate to the services and activities provided to its members. The minimum number of committee members will be four. The committee will have a Chair and may have a Deputy Chair or Co-Chair. Other roles will be determined by the committee, according to the needs of the network and the committee.

3.5. The Chair and Deputy Chair or Co-Chair will be the society's contact persons within the Member Network. The Chair will ensure that contact details provided to the society are up to date.

3.6. The Chair or Co-Chairs of the Member Network will be elected. All other members of the committee will be appointed. The appointment process will be visible to its members. It is the responsibility of the committee to ensure appointment processes are without bias and that appointments can be justified if challenged.

3.7. All committee appointments will be confirmed to the members of the network.

3.8. Members of the committee are collectively responsible for the effective running of the Member Network.

3.9. The committee will meet as often as necessary to ensure that the Member Network is meeting its purpose. If a member of the committee misses three consecutive meetings, the Chair will confirm if the member has any issues in continuing in the role and may ask them to resign, so that other members have the opportunity to fulfil the role.

3.10. No business will be transacted at any meeting unless there is a quorum of three committee members, including either the Chair, Co-Chair or Deputy Chair.

3.11. The Chair will ensure that, where appropriate, a clear decision in reached through the building of consensus or the taking of a vote. In the event of a tie, the chair will have a second or casting vote.

3.12. The terms of office for members of the committee will be up to three years and will be determined by the members of the committee.

3.13. The committee will ensure that no individual serves for more than six consecutive years on the committee, after which they must take a break from office for one year.

3.14. The committee may invite non-members of the Member Network to attend committee meetings for a particular purpose. The Chair of the meeting will decide what (if any) information about the committee will be provided to invitees. Invitees may not vote at committee meetings.

3.15. Members of the Member Network can raise an item for discussion or decision by the committee by contacting the Chair of the Member Network, or Co-Chair or Deputy Chair if appropriate, at least seven working days before the meeting.

3.16. The decisions and actions from committee meetings will be made available to network members.

3.17. The Chair of the Member Network is a member of Senate which is the advisory body to the Board of Trustees, representing the views of its members. Where there are Co-Chairs of a network, they will decide which one will be the representative for Senate.

3.18. The Chair of Senate is elected by Senate members and is a member of the Board of Trustees.

3.19. Where there are Co-Chairs of a network there will be one vote allocated as part of the election process and the representative for senate will determine where that vote will be placed.

4. Nomination and Election of Chair

4.1. Two Members of the Member Network may nominate candidates for election to the position of Chair or Co-Chair of the committee.

4.2. Nominations, together with the written consent of the candidate to serve if elected, must be received by the date specified on the nomination form.

4.3. Upon being nominated for any elected committee role, the candidate must complete a Declaration of Interest form and, by signing the nomination form, will agree to comply with the policies and procedures of the society.

5. Nomination and Appointment of Committee Members

5.1. Other committee members will be appointed. Vacant positions will be advertised, and expressions of interest will be requested.

5.2. An appointing panel made up of a subset of no less than two members from the committee will select appropriate candidates for interview and the successful candidate will be appointed.

5.3. The committee is responsible for ensuring that nomination, election and appointment processes are properly followed, adopt principles of equality, diversity and inclusion and are fair and defendable if challenged.

5.4. If the number of members of the Member Network committee falls below four, the continuing members may only act within their previously agreed activity plans until the minimum number of committee members is met.

5.5. If, following reasonable efforts to increase the number of committee members, the number of committee members remains below four, network members or the society may take steps to dissolve the Member Network.

6. Annual Reporting

6.1. At the end of each year the committee will develop a report reviewing the activities undertaken on behalf of the members of the network and associated expenditure against its activity plan. This will be included in the Trustees Annual Report and Accounts prepared for the Annual General Meeting of the society.

6.2. The report will be accessible to members of the network.

7. Issue resolution

7.1. From time to time, issues may arise between members of the committee, members of the network and its committee or other individuals. All interactions should be respectful and in line with the Code of conduct for members undertaking activities on behalf of the society (CCMUA). Where issues arise an informal resolution should be sought where appropriate.

7.2. If this is unsuccessful, the CCMUA suggests that they may raise the issue with the Chair of the Committee (or another committee member if the Chair is involved) who will arrange a meeting with relevant parties to try to resolve the issue.

7.3. If resolution fails, in exceptional circumstances, any member of the committee may be removed from the role by a vote in favour by at least two-thirds of the other members of the committee. Any member of the committee threatened with removal will have the right to circulate written representations and/or address a meeting of the committee, prior to a vote being held.

7.4. Concerns from members of the network which have not been resolved, should be raised in writing with the Head of Legal and Governance, supported by not less than one percent or 20 members of the network, whichever is lower.

7.5. Depending on the issue, committee members may also wish to raise a concern under the society's Member Conduct Rules. In such cases, Trustees may request that a member stands aside from their role during the investigation, as set out in the CCMUA.

8. Member Network Groups

8.1. The Member Network Committee may bring together groups to progress work or discussion, such as task and finish groups, working groups, or committees to organise events. It is the responsibility of the committee to ensure such groups have clear terms of reference, objectives and will be time-limited and self-supporting.

8.2. At the discretion of the Board of Trustees, the Member Network Committee may also establish permanent special interest groups, often known as faculties or divisional branches. The committee may delegate responsibilities and funds to these groups but will retain ultimate accountability for their activities.

8.3. The role, responsibilities and criteria for membership of special Interest groups will be defined and documented in their operating practices, developed by the Member Network Committee based on a standard template. The activities and impact of special interest groups will be reported as part of the Member Network Annual Report.

8.4. The numbers, structure and criteria for membership of special interest groups will be reviewed on an annual basis by the Board of Trustees or its delegated body. If appropriate, a Special Interest Group may, after consultation with the parent network, be redesignated as a formal, independent network.

9. Support for Networks

9.1. Networks can access specialist support and advice from various teams within the British Psychological Society, including committee and appointment support, communications, policy advice, advocacy, EDI, governance and issue resolution. There may be times when requests will be prioritised to ensure an equitable balance of services across all networks.

9.2. An annual services charge will be levied by the society as a contribution towards its costs and will be reviewed annually.