The Society is managed in a participatory way by the members through an Executive Committee which is supported by a team of administration staff.
The Executive Committee (EC) is SfAM’s governing body, which comprises thirteen trustees, each of whom are responsible for the successful running of the organisation. The EC meets three times a year and is the only decision-making body of the Society: it develops and oversees the progress of SfAM’s strategy, defines policy, agrees the Society’s business plan and monitors the progress of all of SfAM’s activities. Along with the Chief Executive of the Society the EC ensure the effective management and custody of all SfAM assets as they are used to deliver the Society’s charitable objectives. All decisions taken by the EC are reported to Members at the AGM.
The day-to-day operation of SfAM is delegated to the Chief Executive who is accountable to the President and General Secretary. The team are ultimately accountable to the Chief Executive, and each SfAM department is overseen by a designated Officer, to ensure continuity between the strategic direction, the operations and governance of the Society.
There are several subcommittees and groups which provide specific guidance to the Executive Committee.
The Finance, Audit and Risk Subcommittee meets three times a year and is responsible for advising the EC on the application and use of resources, risk management practices and monitors the Society’s planning process. The subcommittee also review the annual management accounts and annual financial accounts with the auditors before recommending them for approval to the EC. The subcommittee is chaired by the Treasurer, and its membership includes the Officers, the Chief Executive, two elected Members of SfAM and one representative from outside SfAM who brings specialist knowledge.
The Policy Subcommittee is responsible for guiding the Society’s science policy and public affairs engagement, ensuring that SfAM’s position on issues and activities align with the Society’s strategic priorities. This subcommittee advises the EC on current science policy topics and provides recommendations on the Society’s policy engagement activities. The Policy Subcommittee meets three times each year and is chaired by the Society’s General Secretary. The subcommittee also comprises the Society’s President, Vice-President, ECS Policy Officer, elected Members of SfAM, the Chief Executive and Policy & Public Affairs Manager. Occasionally, an external policy adviser may sit on the subcommittee as an observer, to provide specialist guidance.
There are also subcommittees and groups that serve as a liaison between the Executive Committee, staff and wider membership.
The Early Career Scientists (ECS) Committee meets three times a year and is responsible for providing the EC with the Early Career Scientists perspective on all the activities the Society takes forward. Members of the ECS Committee are represented on the Policy and Meetings Subcommittees and are in attendance at Executive Committee meetings.
The Scientific Programme Subcommittee meets three times a year and is responsible for advising the EC on the themes, speakers and strategic alignment of all the Society’s scientific events. The committee is Chaired by the Scientific Programme Secretary and comprises the President, Vice-President, General Secretary, elected members of the Society, Head of Communications and Business Development and the Events Manager.
The Microbiologist Editorial Group meets three times a year and is responsible for planning all contents of Microbiologist magazine. The group is chaired by the Head of Communications and Business Development and comprises of elected members of the Society.
The International Conference Committee is a newly established group of 14 mid-career scientists from across the globe. This committee is tasked with organising an online international applied microbiology conference, aimed at a global audience of established, early and mid-career scientists, and creating an online microbiological experience that will be inclusive, modern, educational and enjoyable. The main aim for the conference is to provide an opportunity to hear from the best microbiologists all over the globe and to provide content for a multinational audience.
The Anti-racism working group was created to identify any forms of systemic racism that touch the lives of our team, committees and members. To be truly inclusive, we must ensure all members can be part of this journey. We will need to work without ego and to listen with humility. We can then reflect and take meaningful action.
The working group will:
- examine how historic practices may have blocked equal participation in our work
- learn and improve by facing difficult issues and being self-critical
- have difficult conversations and face the realities of the changes needed to make our work better.
This group will focus on the processes the Society uses to provide good governance and to widen participation in our work. Our equality, diversity and inclusion action plan will be scrutinised, as will all recruitment processes to our team, committees, trustees and membership, to ensure we are genuinely encouraging participation without discrimination. The group will also focus on support for our members and colleagues and ensure we talk clearly about our work in this area and reach out to all in creating a genuinely anti-racist organisation.