The Standing Orders outline the way the ABSW is organised and its democratic process (formerly known as the ABSW's constitution). The ABSW is now a company limited by guarantee so these need to be read in association with the Memorandam and Articles of the Association
Standing orders of ABSW Limited
1. These standing orders amplify the articles of association of the ABSW. They may be varied by a simple majority at a Special General Meeting or at the Annual General Meeting (AGM), provided that such a meeting has been duly called and is quorate as provided below.
2. ABSW members entitled to vote are Life Members, Full Members who have paid the correct subscription within the previous 18 months, and the Honorary President. Student, Associate and Corporate members may not vote. Executive Board 3. The ABSW shall be managed by an Executive Board comprising a President , Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, who shall all be directors of the company, and a European Representative (who may be the President), plus up to seven other members elected at the AGM, and up to four co-opted members appointed under Standing Order 8.
4. Executive Board members shall be elected annually for a term of one year and shall take up office immediately after the AGM at which they are elected. The President and the Vice- President may hold office for no more than three consecutive years.
5. Elections for the Executive Board shall take place by postal ballot or electronic vote of the Full and Life Members every year. Nominations for posts will be open until five weeks before the date of the AGM, and any Full Member may be nominated for any of these posts by two other Full or Life Members. After nominations close, ballot papers or electronic voting codes will be communicated as quickly as possible. All ballot papers received at the Association’s address or registered on the electronic voting website by noon on the day of the AGM will be scrutinised by two tellers, who will not be eligible for election to any post and who shall be appointed by the Executive Board. The result of the ballot will be announced during the AGM.
6. The Executive Board shall meet at least six times a year. There shall be a quorum of three. Voting shall be by a simple majority of Full and Life Members. In the event of a tie, the President shall have a second and casting vote.
7. The Executive Board may appoint individuals from their own number or elsewhere to fill any vacancy on the Executive caused by a member ceasing to act between AGMs for any reason. Those so appointed shall serve to the next AGM when they shall be eligible for election.
8. At its discretion the Board may co-opt up to four further members (including Associate and Student Members) to contribute relevant special expertise. They would serve for one year from the date of appointment.
9. The ABSW will have the following categories of member. All new members must be approved by the Executive Board.
Honorary President The AGM shall appoint a President of the Association, who will hold office for a period of three years. The Honorary President can be re-appointed for further terms of three years.
Life members The AGM shall be entitled to appoint as a Life Member anyone who has done outstanding service to science writing, or to the ABSW itself.
Full Members Individuals who can show that science writing provides a substantial part of their income.
Student Members Individuals who are studying for a qualification relevant to a career in science writing.
Associate Members People working in fields such as public relations and who have an interest in science writing.
Corporate members Organisations with an interest in improved science writing.
10. The subscription for each category of membership shall be determined annually by the Executive Board. The Board has the power to waive subscriptions. The Honorary President and Life Members will not pay a subscription.
Annual General Meeting
11. The AGM of the Association shall be held in January of each year in London or at such time and place as the Executive Board shall determine. Members shall be notified at least three weeks in advance of the date of the AGM together with the agenda.
12. A quorum at a general meeting, whether annual or special, shall consist of 10 voting members of the ABSW Voting shall be by simple majority, including votes submitted electronically. In the event of a tie, the President shall have a second and casting vote.
13. The Treasurer will prepare for the Executive Board and submit on the Board’s behalf to the AGM a statement showing the financial state of the Association up to December 31st each year, by which date all subscriptions are to have been paid. This statement shall have been approved by the auditors, elected as below. Subject to the discretion of the Executive Board, the membership of any member who has not paid their annual subscription within one month of the due date will be held to have lapsed. Two auditors shall be elected at the AGM from members of the Association who are not members of the Executive Board
Special General Meeting
14. A Special General Meeting of the Association may be called by a quorum of the Executive Board at three weeks’ notice or within two months from the receipt by the Secretary of a written request from any six Full or Life Members. A statement of the general business of any Special General Meeting shall be communicated to all members at least three weeks before the date of the meeting.
15. Members of the Association are expected to observe the highest professional standards. Wilful or frequent misrepresentation or inaccuracy, wilful breach of confidence, or behaviour in any way prejudicial to the interest of the public in accurate scientific reporting, or of the professional interests of the membership of the Association, shall be considered in breach of these standards. A member against whom a formal complaint of infringement of this rule is laid shall be invited to meet the Executive Board, which will meet with at least five members present. A copy of the written complaint shall be communicated to the respondent at least three weeks before the hearing. An adequate record shall be kept of the hearing. The Executive Board has the power to warn, suspend or expel the member complained against. A written statement of the reasons for any suspension or expulsion shall be made to members of the Association at or before the next AGM of the Association. A formal complaint must be in writing and duly signed by the complainant. If the complaint originates from within the Association, it shall be signed by not fewer than three members.