Council, the Trustees of the Society, met for the last time in 2019 with a packed agenda.
The President, Deborah Ashby, noted that after eight years of service, the Society’s executive director, Hetan Shah, is stepping down in January 2020 and moving on to run the British Academy. She thanked Hetan for the considerable contribution he has made to the Society, and said that RSS fellows looked forward to continuing to collaborate with him in his new role at the British Academy.
There was a discussion about proposed changes to update and simplify the Society’s supplemental Charter and Bylaws. Keith Lawrey, a lawyer based at the Foundation for Science and Technology who is assisting with this work, spoke to the draft Charter and Bylaws which had been circulated to Council in advance of the meeting. Members were in principle supportive of the proposed changes, discussed some revisions to the current drafts, and agreed that the Executive Committee should take forward the next stage of work on these documents. Council noted that once a final draft has been prepared, this will be discussed at a General Meeting of the fellowship.
John MacInnes, the Society’s vice president for professional affairs, spoke to a paper on the Professional Affairs Committee’s review of RSS accreditation procedures. He explained that a number of member consultation events had been held to discuss the proposed amendments. He added that one of the changes being recommended was the creation of a junior category of professional membership, titled ‘Data Analyst’ or similar, for applicants who could demonstrate a sufficient level of competence and continuing professional development training. Council approved the proposed changes to processes for universities and individuals seeking to meet the RSS’s professional development standards.
Council discussed the Bond Review’s proposal for the creation of an Academy of Mathematical Sciences. There was a consensus that an Academy of this type could be useful, but those present gave some feedback on what would be needed from a body of this kind from an RSS perspective.
Council agreed the budget for 2020, as well as several other finance-related items including the Society's reserves policy. Council also approved the appointment of trustees to number of posts, including: Kevin Barnes as Honorary Treasurer from summer 2020; Rachel Hilliam as Vice President for Professional Affairs from autumn 2020; and Johanna Hutchinson as Honorary Officer for Staffing from January 2021.