Duties of Officers and Council members

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Duties of Council members

  1. To attend as many meetings of the Society as possible and work enthusiastically for its well being.
  2. To participate fully in Council meetings, keeping a watching brief on the activities of Council in order to ensure that it operates in the best interests of the Society.
  3. To be prepared to serve on a reasonable number of Committees at the request of Council.
  4. To deal promptly with correspondence (including electronic communications) relating to the affairs of the Society.
  5. To ensure that the Society operates in accordance with the requirements of the Charity Commission.

Additional duties of officers

  1. To be arbiters in their areas of responsibility subject to the Rules of the Society and decisions of Council.
  2. To work within annual budgets of expenditure for their areas of responsibility, as agreed with the Treasurer.
  3. To render annual accounts of any expenditure incurred on the Society’s behalf.
  4. To submit annual reports to the Spring Council meeting through the General Secretary.
  5. To provide the Website Editors with the material needed to keep the website up to date.

Duties of specific officers


  1. To preside at all Council and General meetings of the Society, and at meetings of the Executive Committee and the Honorary Membership Committee.
  2. To liaise with the General Secretary in the preparation of Agendas for meetings.
  3. To prepare Council’s Annual Report of the Society’s activities which complies with the requirements of the Charity Commission in time for inclusion with the AGM papers circulated to members.
  4. To present the Annual Report, together with other relevant updates, to the Annual General Meeting.
  5. To liaise with the Past President in making the required submissions to the Charity Commission, in consultation with the General Secretary.
  6. To welcome foreign bryologists and distinguished guests attending meetings.
  7. To introduce speakers at paper-reading meetings and offer thanks at the conclusion of lectures and proceedings at such meetings.
  8. To communicate with individuals and societies, and otherwise represent the Society in matters where the prestige of the Presidency is considered desirable, in consultation with the General Secretary.
  9. To write letters of condolence to next-of-kin on the occasion of the death of a member.

Vice President

  1. To deputise for the President where necessary.
  2. To serve on the Executive Committee.
  3. To prepare for taking over the Presidency, thus ensuring continuity in the conduct of presidential duties.

Past President

  1. To deputise for the President on occasions when neither the President nor the Vice-President is able to attend.
  2. To maintain continuity over matters under discussion on stepping down from the Presidency.
  3. To convene the Honorary Membership Committee, and continue to serve on this Committee for a period of four years after stepping down from the Presidency.
  4. To make the required submissions to the Charity Commission, in consultation with the President and the General Secretary, including updates to the Charity Details as necessary and the “Annual Return”.

General Secretary

  1. To act as Chief Executive Officer of the Society, and to serve on the Executive and Honorary Membership Committees.
  2. To maintain a list of Council members, to make arrangements for election of Officers and members of Council.
  3. To deal with correspondence and enquiries relating to the operation of Council and core BBS business.
  4. To prepare agendas for Council and general meetings in consultation with the President and to circulate background notes on agenda items prior to Council meetings.
  5. To take and maintain minutes of Council and general meetings and circulate them to Council members.
  6. To prepare for inclusion in appropriate issues of Field Bryology (‘the Bulletin’) notice of general meetings and calls for nomination of officers and elected members of Council.
  7. To prepare the papers for the AGM meeting, and, in collaboration with the Past President, ensure that they are distributed to members along with the Annual Report of the Trustees, the Treasurer’s Report and Accounts..
  8. To ensure that all necessary annual submissions to the Charity Commission are made.
  9. To liaise with the Treasurer to ensure that appropriate insurance policies as determined by Council are in place.
  10. To maintain a list of BBS Local Groups and their contact person(s).


  1. To keep the accounts of the Society and prepare an annual statement which has been approved by an Independent Examiner of the Accounts nominated by the Council.
  2. To prepare an annual budget, estimating expenditure in each area of activity in consultation with the appropriate officer.
  3. To submit to the Spring Council meeting:
  4. the current year’s budget estimate together with the previous year’s estimated and actual expenditure and
  5. preliminary accounts for the previous year.
  6. To make a financial report to the Autumn Council meeting.
  7. To submit a full account for the previous year and the budget for the current year for publication in the Trustees’ Annual Report.
  8. To receive the Society’s income, to keep watch on expenditure, and to invest surplus funds within the appropriate CCLA account or such account as Council decides.
  9. To pay all reasonable bills rendered to the Society, and to ensure that insurance premiums are paid so that all necessary insurances are up to date.
  10. To recompense officers for their expenditure on behalf of the Society.
  11. To serve on the Executive Committee.

Conservation Officer

  1. To promote the conservation of bryophytes and ensure that the Society’s activities are conducted in a manner compatible with conservation.
  2. To advise and collaborate with bodies such as the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, other statutory agencies, local authorities, Non-Governmental Organisations, and individuals on matters relating to the conservation of bryophytes..
  3. To ensure that the Society is represented at hearings and enquiries into proposed developments that pose major threats to important bryophyte floras.
  4. To represent the Society at meetings of Plantlife Link and at other meetings that are primarily concerned with conservation of bryophytes in Britain and Ireland.
  5. To work towards the publication and periodic revision of a red data book on threatened bryophyte species.
  6. To inform the Treasurer of expected budgetary requirements before the beginning of the financial year, and to advise of any unforeseen expenditure as soon as possible.

Editor of Field Bryology (“The Bulletin”)

  1. To edit and prepare for printing at least two issues each year of the Society’s Bulletin, currently titled ‘Field Bryology’, containing information about the activities of the Society, lists of new vice-county records, the Proceedings of the Society, other bryological news items and articles of general bryological interest.
  2. To ensure that business items such as notice of general meetings appear in appropriate issues of Field Bryology in consultation with other appropriate officers.
  3. To regulate the size of Field Bryology having regard to an annual budget agreed with the Treasurer.
  4. To arrange for the printing of Field Bryology and its distribution to members.
  5. To inform the Treasurer of expected budgetary requirements before the beginning of the financial year, and to advise of any unforeseen expenditure as soon as possible.

Education and Training Officer

  1. To organise meetings and keep records in conjunction with the Committee Secretary.

Librarian and Sales Officer, and Assistant Librarian (1, 2 and 5 only)

  1. To curate the Society’s collection of books, journals and separates; to maintain catalogues as appropriate. To include archive sets of the society’s past publications.
  2. To determine and regulate the conditions for consulting library items.
  3. To make acquisitions of books, journals and other material in accordance with an acquisitions policy agreed with Council.
  4. To operate an exchange with individuals and institutions, receiving books and journals with substantial bryological content in exchange for the Society’s publications.
  5. To ensure that the activities of the Library do not contravene the laws relating to copyright.
  6. To stock for sale current, and where available past, issues of Society publications where these are not available on-line and do not contravene publisher agreements.
  7. To stock items such as forceps, hand-lenses, eyepiece graticules, calibration slides, miniblades and microscopes for sale or loan where this service is a convenience to members.
  8. To submit annually a price list of items for sale for inclusion in Field Bryology.
  9. To inform the Treasurer of expected budgetary requirements before the beginning of the financial year, and to advise of any unforeseen expenditure as soon as possible.

Meetings Secretary

  1. To co-ordinate arrangements for the Society’s spring and summer field meetings, the autumn Annual General and paper reading meeting, or other such meetings as Council may determine.
  2. To appoint local secretaries for these meetings and supply them with the necessary information and advice.
  3. To cooperate with the local secretary to find speakers for the annual paper-reading meeting.
  4. To ensure as far as possible that all meetings are conducted in accordance with the Society’s codes of practice regarding conservation and safety.
  5. To supply the Editor of Field Bryology (‘the Bulletin’) and the Website Editor with advance notice of meetings.
  6. To ensure that accounts of the meetings are prepared and forwarded to the Editor of Field Bryology.
  7. To circulate the current insurance document (plus safety code and risk assessment pro-forma) to the organisers of registered BBS Local Groups.
  8. To inform the Treasurer of expected budgetary requirements before the beginning of the financial year, and to advise of any unforeseen expenditure as soon as possible.

Membership Secretary

  1. To respond to enquiries about membership of the Society and explain the benefits.
  2. To welcome new members and supply them with the Rules of the Society and other appropriate information.
  3. To maintain contact with the existing members and get to know as many of them as possible.
  4. To maintain an up-to-date list of members’ names and addresses, email addresses and keep a record of consents to contact.
  5. To issue password information to members for on-line access.
  6. To receive membership subscriptions and pass them on to the Treasurer, together with details of Gift Aid subscriptions.
  7. To prepare annually a reminder that subscriptions are due and to send reminders to members whose subscriptions are in arrears.
  8. To operate, where possible, systems facilitating the payment of subscriptions by overseas members.
  9. To supply the publishers of the Journal and Field Bryology with a mailing list of members.
  10. To arrange dispatch of Society publications to members who are entitled but have not received them.
  11. To operate in a manner permitted by the General Data Protection Regulation.
  12. To inform the Treasurer of any unforeseen expenditure as soon as possible.

Recorders for Liverworts and Mosses

  1. To maintain an up-to-date record of the known distribution of liverworts and mosses in the British Isles based on the vice-county system.
  2. To receive and check the identity of voucher specimens supporting all new vice-county records, sending the specimens annually to the National Museum of Wales for permanent retention in the Society’s herbarium. Voucher specimens may be deposited in other public herbaria,  but only at the explicit request of the collector.
  3. To encourage contributors of new vice-county records to supply National Grid references, and inform the Recording Secretary of the new records.
  4. To revise vice-county distributions where new data, new species or past errors come to light and when taxonomic interpretations change.
  5. To compile annually a list of additions and amendments to the lists of vice county records for submission to the Editor of Field Bryology (the ‘Bulletin’). The details for each record should include the herbarium in which the voucher is deposited, if this is not BBSUK..
  6. To prepare new Census Catalogues from time to time, as approved by Council.
  7. The Recorder for Mosses will be specifically responsible for day-to-day management, maintenance and secure hosting of the Society’s Census Catalogue Database, with expert technical input from other BBS members as required. The master Access-based database will be kept securely in the cloud and regularly backed up; copies will also be periodically distributed to the Recording Secretary and the Recorder for Liverworts. This duty may be transferred to the Recorder for Liverworts in future if appropriate.
  8. To maintain old “recorder’s books” and other archival material relating to the distribution of liverworts/mosses by vice-counties, and to provide information to members and others on request on such matters as the origin of vice-county records that they cannot trace.
  9. To serve as the Society’s Referee-in-Chief for liverworts/mosses, appointing and periodically reviewing a panel of referees to assist members with the naming of specimens, offering a second opinion on the identity of particular specimens at the request of referees, and submitting annually a list of referees to the Editor of Field Bryology and the Website Editor.
  10. To inform the Treasurer of expected budgetary requirements before the beginning of the financial year, and to advise of any unforeseen expenditure as soon as possible.

Recording Secretary

  1. To promote and support an active Regional Recorder network, encourage the submission of records, supply recording cards to members (and to keep such cards up to date to reflect nomenclatural changes), maintain a current list of Recorders and respond, as far as possible, to requests for the supply of, or access to, data.
  2. To act as the collation point for completed recording cards and electronic record; to undertake quality control of these as far as is feasible and to submit cards to the Biological Records Centre at least annually.
  3. To maintain liaison with bodies such as the Biological Records Centre and the National Biodiversity Network, to represent the BBS at meetings with them where appropriate and to explore and promote innovative ways of data access and exchange, and secure storage of data, with these and other key organisations.
  4. To prepare annual reports to inform members of recording projects and to inform the membership at large about the current work of the Society’s recorders and the current recording activities of individual members
  5. To identify and promote the establishment of special recording projects which support the aims of the Society, particularly conservation.
  6. To inform the Treasurer of expected budgetary requirements before the beginning of the financial year, and to advise of any unforeseen expenditure as soon as possible.

Website Editor

  1. To ensure that the website contributes as fully as possible to the Society’s objectives of promoting bryology, facilitating the exchange of information among bryologists and promoting the conservation of bryophytes.
  2. To take appropriate measures to minimise website security risks.
  3. To advise the BBS Council, through the Publications Committee if appropriate, (or any relevant committee upon agreement), on the effective use of the website.
  4. To consult with and take instruction from Council and the above Committees regarding the scope and content of the website.
  5. To keep the structure, format and contents of the website under review and to ensure that it is up to date, informative and attractive for users.
  6. To inform the Treasurer of expected budgetary requirements before the beginning of the financial year, and to advise of any unforeseen expenditure as soon as possible.

Organisation of BBS Committees

Conveners of committees should:

  1. Arrange meetings well in advance, and notify committee members. Contact the local secretary to ensure that there is a room for the meeting.
  2. Circulate an Agenda well in advance along with digital copies of minutes.
  3. Supply proper minutes in a timely manner after meetings have taken place.
  4. Make a report, including any recommendations, to the subsequent Council meeting.
  5. Make a list of Council appointees and their terms of office and arrange for new appointments as necessary; provide the General Secretary with the current list including any co-opted members.
  6. Provide new committee members with all necessary background papers.
  7. Inform the Treasurer of expected budgetary requirements before the beginning of the financial year, and to advise of any unforeseen expenditure as soon as possible.