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BGS Regions and Branches

There exist a number of branches, known as ‘Regional Groups,’ of the Society in England. The Regional Groups are an integral part of the legal entity of the Society and as such the Society is accountable in law for their conduct and financial affairs. In consequence the Regional Groups shall conform to the requirements of the Society’s Committee of Management, and whilst it is not the practice for the Society’s directors and trustees to involve themselves in the routine running of the regions, the Officers retain the right to intervene where this becomes necessary to protect the corporate interests of the Society and ensure compliance with the law of each United Kingdom nation.

Article 48E of the Society’s Articles of Association refers.

To participate in the activities of a Regional Group a person must be a paid up member of the Society as defined by the Articles of Association. Honorary Members and Associate Members may participate in the activities of a Regional Group, but are not voting Members of the Society and may not take office within a Regional Group.

On joining a new member is allocated to a Region according to the location of their hospital, but may apply to be re-allocated if they move or if it is otherwise more expedient to belong to another region.

Members are asked to keep the Membership Secretary at the BGS office, and if requested the Regional Hon Secretary informed of any changes of address. It is important that the Society keep accurate records as, apart from in its own administration, it is often asked to assist in collating/verifying workforce statistics. Where called upon regional officers are therefore required to assist the BGS office in verifying membership details.

The Regions exist to

  • provide a forum to promote the medical care of older people and related issues
  • offer peer support to members and their departments (*1)
  • be a an active medium in facilitating training for junior doctors and providing programmes of further education related to geriatric medicine
  • in connection with the objective above, to liaise with the regional deaneries and other medical training organisations to enhance and facilitate regional training in geriatric medicine
  • provide a forum for the presentation of research and the exchange of information
  • make representation to the regional authorities on behalf of patients and on behalf of members
  • provide representatives and support to their national BGS Council and feed back to that Council matters of regional concern
  • provide a means of communication between the UK Committee of Management and the national Council and regional members
  • provide a network of communication amongst regional members
  • provide a forum for the discussion of Society business and for nominating national Council and UK officers - provide a link to retired members **
  • liaise with regional voluntary organisations
  • provide a source of nominations for the posts of Regional Service Advisers appointed by the Royal College of Physicians London (*2)

(*1) The Peer Support guidelines 2002 refer

(*2) Nominations for RSAs; BGS Office letter 11 December 2002 refers

** It is likely that each Region will want to make appropriate arrangements to mark a members’ retirement, to keep in touch with him/her afterwards and to assist the BGS Office in providing an obituary in the event of the death of a member, be it in service or retired.

The above list is not intended to be comprehensive. Likewise the extent to which a given region can pursue all the objectives may be limited by available resources and the constraints on members’ time.

Structure and composition
The size, location and composition of each Region shall be as agreed with the UK Committee of Management from time to time. The geography of the region, the medical education structure, the administrative areas of the NHS and other authorities are factors which will influence the structure of a Region.

Regional Officers and Committee of Management
Each Region shall determine the number of officers and the role of the officers, in relation to regional circumstances, providing always that there is a minimum of three officers in each region.

Article 48E of the Society’s Articles of Association provides for a minimum structure, which must include a chairman, a secretary and one other officer and a Committee of Management (of which elected officers will be members ex officio). Other elected officers in addition to the chairman and honorary secretary may be Deputy Chairman, Treasurer, Meetings Secretary, Council Representative and Trainee Representative according to the traditions, requirements and practice of the region. Where no members other than the elected officers are appointed to the regional committee of management, the officers collectively shall collectively form the regional committee of management. (RCOM).

No one single person may serve simultaneously as chairman and secretary, or chairman and treasurer.

In the event that the number of officers falls below three, the UK Management Committee must be informed in order that it may decide how the Region shall be administered.

The RCOM shall be responsible for the effective pursuit of the objectives within the Region and in particular to

  • ensure that the concerns of regional members related to the practice of geriatric medicine are being addressed.
  • provide a programme of medical education
  • keep proper accounts
  • convene regional meetings to meet local and statutory requirements
  • generally ensure the smooth running of the Region within the Society

Officers are expected to meet regularly to oversee the Region’s affairs, but such meetings may be effected by telephone or electronic mail, and will be deemed to have taken place where the largest group of participants is located, or where there is no such group where the chairman is located. The Honorary Secretary shall keep a record of all significant decisions taken. A minimum of two officers is required to provide a quorum. In an emergency one officer alone may take executive action but must seek to have this endorsed by the other officers at the earliest opportunity.

Other appointees
Each region shall appoint a senior member, usually distinguished by their academic prowess or service record, as Father Figure for the Region. The Father Figures do not participate in the management of the region, but may be consulted for advice. The Father Figures are there to offer advice to individual members on any aspect of their career or their work. The Father Figures may also offer advice to the UKMC in respect of such matters as merit awards. The Father Figures may be expected to play a key role in Peer Support. Potential Father Figures should be identified by the regional officers and elected by the membership at a general meeting. The term of office for a Father Figure shall be set at the meeting at which the Father Figure is appointed, but must not exceed 5 years. The appointment may be revoked by a resolution carried by a two thirds majority of members present at a general meeting.

The Royal College of Physicians London appoints Regional Service Advisers, usually acting on the advice of the Society; the RSAs are College appointments but are most likely to be regional members of the Society. It is expected that the RSAs and the Society’s regional officers will liaise closely on service and training issues. In the nlikely event that an RSA is not a member of the Society, the Region will need to appoint a Specialty Adviser whose task it will be to liaise specifically with the RSAs.

Sub groups
The RCOM may appoint sub groups to effect specific tasks, e.g. regional training committee, with such composition, terms of reference and for such period of time as the RCOM requires.

Election of Officers
The Secretary shall notify regional members of positions falling vacant on the RCOM at least one month before the Region’s AGM and invite nominations. Where there is more than one candidate, members shall be elected by a ballot at the AGM; a transferable vote shall apply in the event of there being no clear majority.

Officers shall serve for three years and may then not be re-elected for a period of two years, except that, a junior officer may succeed a senior officer, eg the honorary secretary may on completion of office, be elected as chairman.

The appointment of an officer may be revoked by a resolution carried by a two thirds majority of members present at a general meeting.

Regional Meetings
The Honorary Secretary shall convene a regional meeting (regional AGM) once every calendar year for the election of officers, the election of the Region’s representative on the England Council, the adoption of regional accounts (if any) and to table a report on developments in the Region and to conduct such other routine business as may be necessary. Twenty one days notice by writing or electronic mail shall be given of the AGM.

A Region may wish to hold several meetings in the course of a year for the purposes of pursuing its objectives. Therefore where the majority of members at a general meeting request it, the Honorary Secretary shall convene further meetings of regional members at such intervals during the year as members consider desirable to facilitate communication with the membership and to pursue the Region’s objectives, notably in respect of medical education. Where it is intended to pass a special resolution affecting the running of the Region at a meeting other than the AGM, the meeting shall be considered an extraordinary meeting and requirements appertaining to the AGM apply. The Secretary shall convene an extraordinary general meeting where requested to do so by one third of the regional membership.

Meetings shall be chaired by the regional chairman or another officer designated by the chairman. Where the chairman is not present within 15 minutes of the appointed time, another officer may chair the meeting, or failing this, the members present may elect a chairman for that meeting.

A minimum of 6 members shall constitute a quorum at the AGM or at an extraordinary general meeting. If within half an hour from the appointed time a quorum is not present, the AGM or extraordinary general meeting shall stand adjourned to the same day in the next week, at the same time and place or as near thereto as practical, and if at such adjourned meeting a quorum is not present, the members present shall be a quorum. Resolutions shall be decided on a show of hands, with the chairman having a casting vote. Where two thirds of the membership present at a general meeting request it, a ballot by post or electronic mail shall be held to determine the outcome of a resolution put to the membership.

Continuing Professional Development/Continuing Medical Education
Where regional meetings are arranged for the purpose of providing medical training or continuing medical training/ continuing professional development, the officers shall ensure that the steps required for the accreditation of the meetings are complied with and the attendance records sent to the BGS office, or as may otherwise be required by the RCP.

Regional Accounts
Where a Region raises money from sponsorship, from regional subscriptions, receives donations, or has income from other sources, the Treasurer is responsible for keeping proper books of account and shall provide the regional members with an accounting at the AGM, covering previous twelve month period. Where the total assets or the annual turnover exceeds £5000, the accounts shall be notified to the UK Committee of Management at the end of the financial year or as otherwise require for inclusion in the BGS corporate accounts. The Regional officers may provide for the BGS office to effect the regional accounting on their behalf, in which case the office shall provide such information as the officers need to oversee the region’s financial affairs.

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