PARLIAMENTARY AND SCIENTIFIC COMMITTEE
CONSTITUTION MARCH 2022
CONSTITUTION MARCH 2022
– APPG means an All Party Parliamentary Group.
– ‘the Committee’ means the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee.
– Early Career Researchers are doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers who are employed on fixed term and short-term term contracts.
– ‘P&SC’ means the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee.
– ‘Parliamentarians’ means Members of both Houses of Parliament.
– Research means those activities directed at gaining new knowledge in areas of science, technology and engineering and includes the identification of such new knowledge, its innovation value and application and its development for practical application and commercial purposes.
– ‘Science’ means the life sciences, medical science including social science and the physical sciences including earth science and information sciences and applies to both pure and applied sciences.
– STEM encompasses research innovation, development, education and training in Science (S), Technology (T) Engineering (E) Mathematics(M)
The Schedules to this document form an integral part of this Constitution.
There shall be a Parliamentary and Scientific Committee (P&SC) hereinafter called ‘the Committee’.
The objects of the Committee shall be:
a. to maintain its status as a Registered APPG made up of Members of both Houses of Parliament and non-Parliamentary organisations including learned bodies representing STEM, universities, colleges and schools, affiliated bodies, STEM-based commercial and not-for-profit organisations, as well as individuals from the STEM community;
b. to ensure that Parliamentarians of both Houses of Parliament have proper regard for the importance of the scientific method and evidence-based approaches used by those engaged in STEM when developing public policy;
c. to facilitate a long-term liaison between Parliament and the UK STEM Community represented by STEM-based organisations and individuals and others with an interest in, or affected by, developments in STEM;
d. to provide Parliamentarians with authoritative sources of STEM information in connection with Parliamentary business through regular meetings and other activities on the Parliamentary Estate or elsewhere and opportunities for discussion and making and actioning decisions;
e. to encourage members of the STEM community at all stages of their careers to engage with Parliamentarians and to provide opportunities for this to happen through its activities;
f. to inform Parliamentarians of the broadly held views of members of the P&SC on matters of public interest and relevant legislation and public policy in respect of facilitating and funding of STEM research, innovation, development, education and training;
g. to inform P&SC members, other approved subscribers and members of the public about the activities of the P&SC.
4. OFFICERS OF THE COMMITTEE
a. The Honorary Officers shall consist of:
b. The Honorary Officers of the Committee shall consist only of members of either House of Parliament, two of which, including the Chair, must be members of the House of Commons. At least one Officer must be a member from the government party or parties and at least one from the main opposition party. The Officers shall be elected annually in accordance with the rules laid down for APPGs and the election shall be announced in advance in All-Party Notices.
c. There shall be a Council as defined in Section 7 that will advise on matters of governance, management and operation of the Committee and shall be responsible for the general direction, management and operation of the Committee.
5. THE COMMITTEE
Membership of the Committee will include both Parliamentary and non-Parliamentary members.
a. Parliamentary Members – Any member of either House of Parliament shall be eligible to be members of the Committee.
b. Non-Parliamentary Members – An organisation or individual shall be eligible for membership under this category subject their satisfying the Committee that they are committed to the advancement of the Objects of the Committee. In reaching a decision as to eligibility for membership attention shall also be given to the extent to which the applicant is engaged in STEM activities including research, development and innovation and/or science education and training. This may include organisations and individuals that, although not engaged in scientific activities, represent the interests of those who are significantly affected by STEM and which, in the opinion of the Council, are in a position to contribute positively to the work of the Committee.
c. The Committee shall include a minimum of ten Members from the Government Party or Parties, and also ten from Parties in opposition, Independent Members and Cross Benchers (including at least six from the main Opposition Party) and these numbers may be drawn from both Houses.
d. All applications for membership shall be subject to confirmation through processes established by the Council.
e. In seeking applications for membership the Committee shall have regard to the importance of ensuring that the Non-Parliamentary Membership as a whole is fully representative of those who are engaged in STEM activities and exemplifies the wide and inclusive nature of modern science in all its applications such as those listed in Schedule I.
f. Membership of the Committee shall consist of:-
(i) The Officers of the Committee as defined in Clause 4 a
(ii) Other members of both Houses of Parliament
(iii) Patrons appointed by the Council who are likely to bring particular visibility to the Committee and its activities
(iv) All Members of the Council as defined in Clause 7.1 b
(v) Co-opted Council Members who otherwise are not members of the Committee or are not in member organisations but are included in an advisory capacity
(vi) Organisational Members representing the interests of science and scientists and of those who benefit from scientific research. These include learned societies, charities, universities, schools and colleges, and businesses engaged in research and development activities
(vii) Representatives of stakeholder groups whose interests are deemed by Council to require specific representation. These will include Early Career Researchers and groups that benefit from the outputs of scientific research.
(viii) Life Members, who are deemed to have made an exceptional contribution to the Committee or are nationally or internationally recognised for their contributions to science.
(ix) Individual Members
(x) Honorary Members who by virtue of their expertise may be appropriately engaged in the activities of the Committee.
5.2 MEETINGS OF THE COMMITTEE
a. The Committee shall normally hold a meeting each month while Parliament is sitting in which experts in the field address a current STEM issue involving Research, Development, Innovation and Exploitation of Science.
b. Meetings will be normally held on the Parliamentary Estate but every effort shall be made to involve speakers and audience members who may not attend in person by using electronic methods where possible.
c. The Committee may coordinate external visits for members organised by STEM organisations and facilities outside Parliament.
d. The Committee shall hold an Annual General meeting (AGM) each year to receive reports on its activities, agree the election of Officers and appointments to the Council and to approve budgets and financial accounts.
e. The Committee may hold Extraordinary General Meetings (EGMs) from time to time should the need arise.
f. Only Parliamentarians are allowed to vote at meetings of the Committee save that, prior to such a vote, an indicative show of hands may be taken of all members present. The quorum for such an indicative vote shall be 20.
g. The Committee in a General Meeting has the power to amend this Constitution subject to the votes of the Parliamentary members and the Rules of All-Party Parliamentary Groups.
h. Matters included in the Schedules hereto may also be amended or replaced from time to time where necessary by decision of the Council.
Rates of annual subscriptions for the various membership categories of the Committee shall be proposed by the Council and ratified by the Committee membership at the Annual General Meeting.
7. THE COUNCIL
7.1 MEMBERSHIP OF THE COUNCIL
a. The maximum total size of the Council shall be 35.
b. The Council shall consist of:
(i) The Officers as described in Clause 3.a
(ii) The Chief Executive Officer (ex Officio)
(iii) A maximum of 10 Vice-Presidents shall be appointed who shall take responsibilities for specific activities of the Committee such as those contained in Schedule Il.
(iv) Up to 10 additional Parliamentary members and 10 additional non-Parliamentarian members. The non-Parliamentarians shall be appointed for their expertise and to ensure that the Council represents the widest range of STEM disciplines and activities and diversity of talent of those involved in UK STEM activities.
7.2 APPOINTMENT TO THE COUNCIL
a. Any member of the Committee may be nominated for membership of the Council.
b. The Committee shall create an “Electoral College” comprised of Officers of the Committee and five non-Parliamentarian members. The College will examine the nominees to ensure that STEM disciplines and other interests are evenly represented on the Council.
c. The recommended candidates shall be appointed by the agreement of the Committee Chair and the Chief Executive subject to ratification at a General Meeting of the Committee.
d. Non-Parliamentary members shall cease to be eligible for re-appointment after five years of consecutive service on the Council. They may be re-appointed after the elapse of a minimum of two years.
8. RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE COUNCIL
a. In pursuance of the Committee’s Objects the Council shall advise the Committee on a full range of activities such as those listed in Schedule III.
b. The Council shall be responsible for the operation of the Committee. In discharging its role the Council may make recommendations to General Meetings of the Committee and to Officers of the Committee. The Officers of the Committee shall have the final responsibility for executing any decision that may be made.
c. To ensure that the Committee adheres to good practice it shall maintain up-to-date policies covering its activities as listed in Schedule IV.
d. In the interests of transparency and maintaining integrity, communications to and from Parliamentarians relating to P&SC business shall be carried out through the P&SC secretariat. The details and content of these communications shall be logged and should be accessible to all Officers.
e. This Constitution and Schedules shall be binding on all members of the Committee.
f. The Council shall adopt such means as it considers to be sufficient to bring these Rules to the notice of members of the Committee.
9. MEETINGS OF THE COUNCIL
a. The Council shall meet not less than two times a year.
b. In matters requiring a vote all members present may take part in an indicative vote by a show of hands the outcome of which will provide guidance for the Parliamentary members of Council in casting their vote. The quorum for such an indicative vote shall be 10 members.
a. The Council shall ensure that all monies raised through subscriptions and other activities of the Committee will be applied to furthering the Objects and activities of the Committee
b. The Treasurer shall ensure that up-to-date financial records are kept and shall make interim financial reports to meetings of the Council.
c. A full, independently audited, annual financial report shall be circulated to all members of the Committee in advance of the Annual General Meeting and shall be ratified at the meeting.
d. Council shall nominate at least two but no more than six authorised signatories for the Committee Bank Account(s), one of whom must be the Committee’s Treasurer.
e. In the interests of transparency, the audited annual report will contain clear information about sources of income and conflicts of interest, and will be made public.
AREAS OF STEM ACTIVITIES TO BE CONSIDERED IN RECRUITMENT OF MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL
• Academia and other education including colleges, schools and academic and non-academic research institutes
• The Charity Sector
• Early Career Researchers
• Industrial and commercial organisations and the not-for profit sector
• Professional and Learned Societies
• Recipients/Users of the results of STEM research
• Individual members
RESPONSIBILITIES OF VICE-PRESIDENTS
• Compliance with requirements for All-Party Parliamentary Groups
• Communications/Media Publicity, website and related social media, publications
• Register of Interests of Council members
• Compliance with regulatory policies:
– Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
– Health and Safety
– Privacy and Data Protection
• Membership and recruitment
• Institutional P&SC memory
• Representation from the Programme Committee
THE AREAS OF WORK OF THE COUNCIL
• Employment of staff and consultants and recruitment of volunteers
• Opening and operating such bank and other accounts as the Council consider necessary
• Selling, leasing or otherwise disposing of all or any part of the property of the Committee
• Establishing or supporting any charitable trusts, associations or institutions formed for any of the charitable purposes included in the Objects of the Committee
• Receiving contributions through a membership fee
• Raising funds; in doing so, the Council shall comply with Parliamentary regulations and statutory requirements
• Setting aside income as a reserve against future expenditure but only in accordance with a written reserves policy
• Obtaining and paying for such goods and services as are necessary for carrying out the work of the Committee
• Leasing, hiring or purchasing property and equipment and maintaining it for use
• Taking out insurance
• Liaising and working in partnership with other organisations, statutory authorities and exchanging information and advice with them
• Acquiring, merging with or entering into any partnership or joint venture arrangement with any other organisation formed for any of the Objects of the Committee
• Establishing sub-groups or sub-committees to address specific purposes or responsibilities
• Conducting public meetings and events
• Producing, distributing and selling publications
• Holding meetings and events
• Promoting and advertising its activities and membership
• Conducting research
• Leading, conducting and contributing to public inquiries
• Doing all such other lawful things as are necessary for the achievement of the Objects of the Committee
• The admission of members to the Committee (including the admission of organisations to membership) and determining the rights and privileges of such members, and any entrance fees, subscriptions and other fees or payments to be made by members
• The conduct of members of the Committee in relation to one another, and to the Committee’s employees and volunteers
• The procedure at General Meetings and meetings of the Council in so far as such procedure is not regulated by this Constitution
• Keeping of archives and authenticating of records.
• Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
• Health, Safety and Safeguarding
• Privacy and Data Protection
• Reputational risk
• Register of Interests of Council Members