Working Group Handbook


2.1 Formation, operation and dissolution of Working Groups
2.2 Constitution Template
2.3 Status of Working Group convenors
2.4 Suggested Working Group Committee structure and roles
2.5 Dissolution of Working Groups
3.1 Annual Business Meeting (ABM)
3.2 Annual report on activities
3.3 Annual statement of accounts 
3.4 Review of Working Groups by BISA
4.1 BISA membership
4.2 Joining a BISA Working Group 
4.3 Working Group membership lists
5.1 BISA support of research communities
5.2 Activities of Working Groups 
5.3 Communications – mailing lists, websites, social media and other mechanisms
5.4 BISA principles for communication to Working Groups and the wider research community
5.5 Working Group presence on BISA website
5.6 Nominations for awards and prizes
5.7 Use of BISA logo and/or name on Working Group activities and communications 
5.8 Working Group archives
6.1Start-up funds
6.2 Annual funding
6.3 Working Group bank accounts and university accounts
6.4 Working Group funding terms and conditions 
6.5 Reimbursement
6.6 Contracts for books series, journals, publications and any other working group matters
7.1 Research Committee 
7.2 Research Network Forum
7.3 Social inclusion, diversity and equal opportunity statement
8.1 Proposing sessions for the Annual Conference 
8.2 Guidelines for participation at the Annual Conference
8.3 Working Group panel quota
8.4 Working Group guests
8.5 Non BISA conferences
9.1 Background
9.2 Rationale
9.3 Guidance
10.1 Template working group constitution
10.2 Eligible and non-eligible expenses for working groups

This Handbook brings together the various policies, procedures, documents of BISA that relate to Working Groups.
Working Groups are central to BISA’s promotion of innovative research in International Studies. Working Groups develop specialist research agendas, foster dialogue and promote International Studies to a wide audience. 
Groups are formed by members who have a collective interest in a particular area of International Studies. A Working Group typically develops a programme of events over time intended to further specialist study and to disseminate its findings.
Working Groups are part of the Association and are accountable to its policies and codes of conduct. Working Groups are regulated by the Executive Committee.

1. BISA Working Group Guiding Principles (Summary)
Below is a summary of the most important points contained in this Handbook 
The aims of the Working Group should be clear, with a well-defined set of activities Required Section 2.1.
Working Groups should have at least one annual business meeting (ABM) per year ideally at the BISA Annual Conference or at a BISA Working Group event Required  Sections 2.1. and 3.1.
As a norm (although there will be exceptions)  activities of the Working Group should occur in the UK in order to ensure maximum participation Desirable  Section 5.2.
Working Groups should invite BISA members to take part in its activities by issuing an open call for participation. (The BISA office must be involved in this circulation to ensure that all members are alerted;  this does not preclude the convenors making additional circulations to alternative email lists) Required Section 5.2.
The Working Group should actively encourage the participation of experienced, early-career and postgraduate researchers and the involvement of policy makers and practitioners Desirable Sections 6.4.6. and 8.3.
The Working Group will have an active online presence via social media or a website utilising free platforms Required  Section 5.3.4.
The Working Group should have at least one, and ideally two, research meetings and workshops per annum Desirable Section 2.1.
Working Groups participate in the BISA Annual Conference – two panel/roundtable slots are guaranteed for each Working Group, but up to four panel/roundtables can be proposed Desirable Section 8.3.
Working Groups are encouraged to participate in other large conferences through submitting proposals for the BISA -guaranteed slots at ISA and EISA conventions/conferences. Desirable  Section 8.5.
Working Groups are encouraged to establish an email list for members utilising platforms such as JISC Mail; and to distribute materials to members via cloud-based providers Desirable Section 5.3.1.
Working Groups should provide written reports and photographs (if available) of each separate event or activity in a format suitable for publication (for instance, on the Working Group website) Required  Section 5.3.3.
The Working Group will include the BISA logo on all publicity literature, newsletters, website etc. Required Section 5.3.3.
BISA will be acknowledged in publications that arise from the activities of the  Working Group Desirable  
Working Groups will contribute to BISA publications Desirable  Section 6.4.9.
Role of Convenors
Working Groups will assign the role of Convenor(s) from its membership but typically Convenors will be drawn from the office of Chair, Secretary and Treasurer   Required
Section 2.3.
Working Groups must have at least one Convenor who is a permanent academic member of staff based in a UK HEI. Required 
All Convenors must be members of BISA throughout their convenorship of the Working group. Required 
Each of the Working Group conveners will carry out their work  with the knowledge and support of their own institution Required 
The establishment of new Working Groups
The establishment of a Working Group requires the support of 20 current BISA members. Required Section 2.1.
A new Working Group will be distinct from current and previous Working Groups Required
The formation and mantenance of a Working Group is predicated on a sound scholarly rationale. Required
The decision on whether to establish new groups is a matter for the BISA Executive Committee informed by a recommendation of the Research Committee Required
Proposals for new Working groups should include a coherant budget for the initial year of activity. Required
Proposals to establish new Working Groups will require that all members of the group are also current members of BISA Required Section 2.1.
Only BISA members who affliate to a Working Group via the members online dashboard will be regarded as members of the Working Group. Required Section 4.2
Relationship to BISA
Working Groups are affliated to BISA and so are subject to oversight by the BISA Research Committee and Executive Committee Required Section 7.1
The Research Committee maintains links to Working Groups through a designated Working Group Liaison Person. Required Section 7.2
Working Groups are part of BISA's overall charitable activity. Consequently, the Association's name and the phrase 'The British International Studies Associaiton is a regsitered charity (no. 1151260) and a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales (No.08422260)' should appear on all correspondence and publicity material that is sent to, or may be read by, a third party (for example on a letter to venue regarding room hire), whether in hard copy or electronic form. If the Working Group omits this information, it is committing a criminal offence and may liable to prosecution. A legal disclaimer needs to cover any web-based communications (for example if the Working Group has its own website)  Required Section 5.7.3
New Working Groups will have a constitution within two years of being established. Working Group constitutions are subject to approval by the BISA executive Committee. Existing Working Groups should have constitutions in place (or under review by the BISA Executive) no later than the end of 2015. Required Sections 2.1 and 2.2 
Working Groups operate within the overall policy and legal framework set by the Executive Committee, including sound financial management and the members' Code of Conduct Required Section 6.4
Working Groups cannot execute contracts without prior review and agreement from the BISA office, and as required by BISA trustees Required Section 6.6
Working Groups are prohibited from creating their own journals or annual publications. Such publications require Executive Committee approval and oversight by the BISA Publications Committee and will be regarded as Association publications. Required Section 6.6
Financial support for Working Groups will be determined annually through liaison between the Working Group convenors and the BISA Research Committee. The decisions of the latter on financial support offered by the Association are final.  Required Section 6.2 and 6.4
Working Groups should provide an annual report and detailed statement of accounts. All receipts and invoices shall be sent to  the Association office for the reimbursement of funds along with the appropriate claim form. Required Sections 3 - 3.3, 6.5
Working Groups should publicly acknowledge the financial support of BISA at their events. Required Section 6.4.12
Working Groups should inform all event participants of the rules relating to claims and reimbursement prior to a Working Group event taking place. Desirable Section 6.5
BISA has a clearly-articulated position on advocacy. As a charitable organisation, the Association does not align itself with any specific political position. It is also required to avoid campaigning on explicitly political issues. The rationale and specifics of this policy are articulated in a dedicated section of the Handbook and Working Groups are expected to observe its provisions.  Required Section 9


2. Formation and Dissolution of Working Groups
2.1.  Formation, operation and dissolution of Working Groups 
Working Groups are collective bodies of researchers within BISA. They undertake some or all of the following activities:
  • collaborative research
  • hosting and co-hosting activities within the framework of the BISA Annual Conference
  • convening workshops, seminars and small one day conferences (the Working Group should have at least one, and ideally two, research meetings and workshops per annum)
  • encouraging postgraduate participation in their particular sub-discipline
  • maintaining websites which promote their work
  • distributing e-newsletters and/ or e-bulletins
  • promoting undergraduate and postgraduate activity through dissertation prizes and grants for young researchers and postgraduates to attend their events.
Working Groups are normally formed by researchers working in a particular sub-discipline or area of International Studies. BISA seeks to encourage diversity in the research being conducted within and across Working Groups, and also wishes to positively embrace new developments and initiatives in the discipline as a whole. As sub-disciplines develop over time so we expect the profile and concerns of Working Groups to change in parallel. Just as new Working Groups form in line with shifts in disciplinary interests, so it is anticipated that, on occasion, certain Groups may dissolve as interest in their work diminishes.  
All Working Groups are able to claim annual funding from BISA (see Section 6.)  BISA members can join up to three Working Groups free of charge; postgraduates, meanwhile, automatically belong to the Postgraduate Network (PGN) when they join BISA. Some Working Groups may make additional charges for specific events or services. Members are encouraged to join Working Groups only once they have gained BISA membership. Existing Working Groups may include non-BISA members. However, in line with the broader professionalization of the Association, new groups will be required to draw their membership exclusively from BISA. 
All Working Groups should have an approved written constitution within two years of formation, should hold an ABM (normally at the BISA Annual Conference), and should present an annual report and statement of accounts to the Association. Working Groups are expected to use their funds appropriately (see Section 6).
Working Groups are directly represented on the BISA Research Committee by a designated member of the BISA Executive Committee (referred to hereafter as the Working Group Liaison Person). 
New Working Groups may be established through the submission of the following, to the Research Committee:
  • name of the proposed new Working Group
  • a statement of purpose and the reasoning for any overlap with existing Working Groups where this might exist. The statement should demonstrate clearly the distinctive contribution the new Group will make to International Studies research.
  • a two-year plan of proposed activities with anticipated outcomes
  • the names of 20 BISA members who agree to belong to the Working Group
  • nominated Chair, Secretary and Treasurer – ( these officers will act as the group convenors and will be the main points of contact for the group)
  • a draft Constitution (model provided); this should become an adopted text of the Working Group within two years of its establishment (see above). 
If the proposal is agreed, the Research Committee will recommend the creation of the Working Group to the BISA Executive Committee whose decision is final.
New Working Groups will be required to report on their activities to the BISA Research Committee at six-monthly intervals for the first two years after their formation. One such report will form the annual report.
A Working Group may be dissolved by the Research Committee upon discussion with the relevant convenors in light of the following circumstances:
  • a decision has been taken by the ABM of the Working Group to cease its activities
  • Working Group membership  has consistently been fewer than ten  full BISA members
  • the Working Group has failed  to present its annual report and statement of accounts at least two reminders having  been sent to the Chair, Secretary and Treasurer
  • a Working Group has not held an ABM for two years
  • a view is taken at the five year review (see Section 3.4) that the Working Group has undertaken only limited activities
  • activities of  the Working Group are in contradiction with policies of  BISA (this may include the  inappropriate use of Working Group funds or activities at odds with guidelines on advocacy – see Section 9).
2.2.   Constitution template
2.3.       Status of Working Group convenors 
Working Group convenors are comprised of the Chair, Secretary and Treasurer (see above). At least one of the convenors should be a full-time academic based at a UK HEI. The Group Chair will normally act as the lead convenor. All Convenors must be members of BISA throughout their convenorship of the Working Group and should carry out their duties with the knowledge of their home institution. 
2.4.  Suggested Working Group committee structure and roles
The template constitution (Appendix 10.1) defines the minimum committee size and the roles of Chair, Secretary and Treasurer . Working Groups may recruit as many members to their committee as are needed to fulfil the Group’s activities.
Specific responsibilities are likely to be as directed by the Chair. Based on existing best practice, the table below suggests the responsibilities that Working Group committees may wish to adopt other than those assigned to the Chair, Treasurer and Secretary. These are advisory only: not every Committee will need all of these roles, and some Groups may need others.
Working Groups may form their committees either by appointment or election. Such provisions should be outlined in the Working Group constitution. 
Committee Role Example responsibilities
Ordinary Member Responsible for: supporting the activities of the Working Group and providing feedback and input at relevant committee meetings including those listed below.
Postgraduate Member Responsible for: promoting postgraduate interests to the Working Group, and maintaining connection with the wider postgraduate community through the BISA Postgraduate Network.
Membership Coordinator
Responsible for: working with the BISA office to manage changes to the Group’s membership list. This role may be combined with that of Website/Newsletter/Mailing List Coordinator if that person manages the mailing list.
This position is only recommended for groups where membership is greater than 100 and/or there is a high turnover rate such that the Working Group Secretary cannot manage the changes.
Website/Newsletter/Mailing List
Social media coordinator
Responsible for: managing and moderating communications on behalf of the group across a variety of media (including, but not limited to, the Group’s website, any manual mailing lists or automated list-servers and newsletters). This task may also be undertaken by the Secretary.
Awards and prizes coordinator
Responsible for: coordinating the judging and awarding 
of prizes for essays, books etc.
Conference/event coordinator
Responsible for: coordinating Working Group sponsored sessions at the Annual BISA  Conference and acting as a central point of contact with the conference organisers; coordinating (with assistance from the rest of the committee), any Working Group organised conferences and events.
Note: depending on the calendar of events that the committee proposes for a given year, these responsibilities might be shared among two or more people.
2.5.   Dissolution of Working Groups
If a decision is taken by either the Working Group convenors or the BISA Research Committee to dissolve a Group (see 2.1. above ), the following activities should be undertaken by the convenors at the time of closure:
  • formally notify the Research Committee of the intention to close the Group. This action can then be formally recorded in the minutes of the Committee
  • close any remaining Working Group communications and website
  • close the Working Group bank account and return any remaining funds to  BISA
  • return a closing-balance financial report and annual report documenting any activities  undertaken since the date of the last report delivered to BISA.
In addition, the BISA Research Committee will:
  • communicate the closure of the Working Group to members and update membership records; and
  • update the BISA  website and other records to show the status of the dissolved Group.

3.  Requirements of Working Groups
In addition to being active (as evidenced by a programme of activities and a minimum threshold of 10 BISA members belonging to the Group),  there are three essential requirements of Working Groups: to (1) hold an ABM; (2) submit an annual report (and (3) submit an annual statement of accounts  (In addition, all Working Groups are subject to a five year review (see Section 3.4 ).
3.1.  Annual business meeting 
Upon request each Working Group will be allocated a time and room, during the BISA Annual Conference, to hold its  ABM 
3.2.  Annual report on activities
Each Working Group must submit an annual report to the BISA Research Committee via the BISA office during November of the relevant calendar year. The report should include details of committee members, activities carried out during the year, and future plans. Reports are usually short; of the order of one or two pages.
3.3.  Annual statement of accounts
Working Groups should submit to the BISA Research Committee at the end of November full annual accounts including details of matched funding, funding in kind or any other income such as donations. These returns allow BISA to fulfill its financial reporting requirements to the Charity Commission and Company House.  To ensure compliance with anti money laundering provisions, no anonymous donations or funding are permitted.
It is suggested that Working Groups use the format shown in Section 3.3.1 for reporting annual accounts (also available as an Excel spreadsheet for download from: weblink for form). This information is the minimum that is required. The opening and closing balances at the relevant bank or building society must be shown clearly if the Group has an activate bank account . Those Working Groups who want to report on an income and expenditure basis including monies due but not yet received, commitments made but not yet received, and commitments made but not yet paid, are encouraged to do so. Please contact the BISA office if you require any help or have any questions on annual reporting.
In the annual statement of accounts it is important to explain instances  where funds are being held in the Group’s account . Are such funds to be used for a forthcoming meeting or conference, for example? Similarly, if a large amount has been spent from the account in a given year, an explanation should also be provided. 
3.3.1.  Working Group Financial Reporting Form
3.4.  Review of Working Groups by BISA 
The membership, activities and expenditure of all Working Groups will be reviewed once every five years by the BISA Research Committee.
These reviews are undertaken in a fair and transparent manner, and are conducted in dialogue with the Working Groups themselves.
If there is evidence of inactivity, dwindling membership, or contravention of the conditions and policies of BISA then, following consultation with the convenor(s) of the Working Group, the Working Group Liaison Person may make a recommendation to the Research Committee that the Group be dissolved (see also Section 2.1.).

4.  Membership of Working Groups
4.1.  BISA membership 
Membership offers the opportunity to network and to support the dissemination  of knowledge in International Studies broadly defined. Details of membership are available here
BISA members enjoy the following benefits:
  • attendance at the annual conference
  • participation in Working Groups
  • online access to BISA’s two academic journals, Review of International Studies and European Journal of International Security
  • access (through application) to BISA research grants and funding
  • the chance to nominate colleagues for Association awards and prizes
  • the opportunity to participate in the governance of BISA and to vote in elections for representatives to its Executive Committee
4.2.  Joining a BISA Working Group
There are two ways to join a BISA Working Group:
  • BISA members inform the Association of the Groups that they wish to join via the member’s dashboard on the BISA website. Membership is  limited to three Working Groups, and additionally members can join the Learning and Teaching Working Group. Membership is free but some Groups may make charges for specific services, such as distribution of newsletters/publications. Postgraduate members are automatically added to the Postgraduate Network when they join BISA.
  • Non-BISA members can contact the convenor of the Group they wish to join and request to become a member and/or be added to the mailing list. Working Groups may choose to make an additional and/or higher charge to non-members for any services provided. (Please note, however, that proposals to establish new Working Groups require that all members belong to BISA – see Section 2.1.). 
Email contacts and website details for all Working Groups can be found on the BISA website here
4.3.  Working Group membership lists
The BISA office maintains a list of all members of each Working Group. Please contact the BISA office for an updated list. 

5.  Activities of Working Groups and BISA Support
5.1.  BISA support of research communities
The Association’s support of research communities is not limited to its own Working Group funding. BISA offers support through multiple routes and at multiple levels, summarised as follows:
5.2.  Activities of Working Groups 
Working Groups meet at the Annual BISA conference at which they also hold their ABMs. Throughout the year there are varying levels of activity for each Working Group. The activities of Groups are managed by their elected officers and committees although the BISA office can help with advice and guidance. Activities should have an academic research focus related to the relevant disciplinary area. Working Groups are not intended to provide (and BISA will not fund) professional development activities.  Typically, Working Groups undertake a combination of the following:
  • collaborative research
  • the hosting and co-hosting of activities linked to  the BISA Annual Conference
  • the convening of specialist workshops, seminars and conferences
  • the promotion of postgraduate participation in their activities
  • the promotion of undergraduate and postgraduate activity through dissertation prizes as well as grants for young researchers and postgraduates to attend relevant meetings
  • the maintenance of Working Group websites
  • the distribution of  newsletters and/ or bulletins
  • the nomination of colleagues for awards.
As a norm (although there will be exceptions) activities of the Working Group should occur in the UK in order to ensure maximum participation. Working Groups should invite BISA members to take part in its activities by issuing an open call for participation. (The BISA office must be involved in this circulation to ensure that all members are alerted; this does not preclude the conveners making additional circulations to alternative email lists)
5.3.  Communications – mailing lists, websites, social media and other mechanisms
5.3.1.  Mailing lists
Each Working Group is advised to set up a JISC mail account (or similar mailing list function) to communicate with its members:   
One of the real challenges for Working Groups and BISA is keeping email lists current. We strongly recommend that Working Group membership coordinators maintain close contact with the BISA office.
The master lists of Working Group members who are BISA members are maintained by the BISA office and are shared with Working Group committees via email. Working Groups should incorporate the BISA office list into their own membership list(which  may also contain non-members) 
5.3.2.  Data protection and data confidentiality
Working Group membership lists are subject to data protection requirements and should be kept securely with access limited to Working Group committee members. Lists may be posted on the Working Group website only if the permission of each member has been obtained.
Working Groups are asked to take care when sending bulk emails or communicating in other formats that might make public the personal details of their members.  Services such as or email bcc fields should be used to mask the email addresses of individuals.
5.3.3.  Websites
Working Groups are encouraged to set up an independent website. These websites must clearly acknowledge the support of BISA on their home page and use the appropriate logos and descriptions of the Association. The BISA office can provide advice in this regard as well as  a set of web-ready logos. 
Working Groups should provide written reports and photographs (if available) of each separate event or activity in a format suitable for publication on the Working Group website.
5.3.4.  Social media
If Working Groups choose to use social media, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogging, etc. to communicate with their members, they are asked to advise the BISA office when they establish a social media channel and ensure that the support of BISA is appropriately acknowledged, including the use of the BISA logo if appropriate.
  • Communications on behalf of or about the Working Group should be managed by its elected committee members with discretion and integrity, and with appropriate security applied to electronic accounts. Data protection/data confidentiality principles (with respect to members’ information) and suitable ’netiquette’ should be observed.
  • Although Working Groups are affiliated to BISA, communications should not purport to represent the views of the Association as such. Working Groups are encouraged to contribute to debates in an engaging manner, but communications should not cause offence, be provocative, or undertake advocacy, lobbying or campaigning in the name of the Association (see Section 9. below).   
  • Communications from Working Groups should through dissemination and discussion, build networks between interested individuals and groups, and represent a sub- disciplinary presence within the wider scholarly community. 
5.4.  BISA principles for communication to Working Groups and the wider research community
  • General BISA news will be sent via the monthly BISA newsletter
  • Working Group committee members are asked to subscribe to the BISA newsletters and to forward individual news items to their own mailing lists as appropriate (each committee should nominate someone to do this). To sign up, for the BISA newsletters log in to your member dashboard and click on the tab ’Subscriptions’
  • Working Groups should add the BISA office to their mailing lists so that BISA is kept up to date with events, plans, information and discussions.
  • BISA will not post to a Working Group mailing list directly.
  • Working Groups are encouraged to send news and announcements of events to the BISA office for publicity via the newsletter or BISA website.
5.5.  Working group presence on BISA website
5.5.1.  Working Groups’ dedicated pages on the BISA Website
Each working Groups is provided with a dedicated page on the BISA website here.
These pages contain a brief overview of the Group’s aims and activities, a link to the Working Group website and details of its convenors. Working Groups are encouraged to regularly check their page and inform the BISA office,  if any information is inaccurate.
5.6.  Nominations for awards and prizes
Many Working Groups actively nominate members and colleagues for BISA awards and prizes. Details of all the awards and prizes, as well as examples of recent recipients can be found here.
5.7.  Use of BISA logo and/or name on Working Group activities and communications
5.7.1.  Use of Association logo on working group websites
Working Groups are encouraged to place the BISA  logo prominently on their website and to make reference to their status as a working group of the Association. For example:
5.7.2 . Use of the Association logo for other purposes
Use of the BISA logo is restricted to projects which have the official approval or endorsement of the Association. The process for obtaining such approval may take some time and Groups are encouraged to get in touch with BISA office as soon as a project is being considered.
5.7.3.  BISA name in Working Group communications
Working  Groups are part of BISA’s overall charitable activity. Consequently, the Association’s name and the phrase ‘The British International Studies Association is a registered charity (No. 1151260) and a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales (No. 8422260)' should appear on all correspondence and publicity material that is sent to, or may be read by, a third party (for example on a letter to venue regarding room hire), whether in hard copy or electronic form. If the Working Group omits this information, it is committing a criminal offence and may be liable to prosecution. A legal disclaimer needs to cover any web-based communications (for example if the Working Group has its own website).
5.8.  Working Group archives
Working Group archives form an important part of the institutional memory of the Association. BISA is interested in ensuring that the activities and business of Working Groups   are documented and archived such that future generations of scholars will see the impact the Groups have had on the landscape of International Studies research and activity.
Working Groups already provide the bulk of essential records by submitting to BISA their constitution (and any subsequent changes to it), and ABM minutes, annual reports and statement of accounts.
Individual Working Groups may choose to maintain their own archives of records, extending to publications, websites, newsletters, conference reports, correspondence, committee lists, and other files. However, BISA should be considered the central archive for Working Group records and so encourages Groups to provide the Association with copies of materials linked to the formation and operation of the group.

6.  Working Group Finances
(see also Appendix 10.2)
6.1.  Start-up funds
Working Groups are entitled to a start-up payment of approximately £1000 to cover their first year of operation. This funding will be held by BISA in the Group’s budget area.
These funds must be accounted for in the same way as any other income for the Working Group, in the annual accounts submitted to BISA by the end of November each year.
6.2.  Annual funding
In October of each year BISA calculates the annual funding for which Working Groups might apply.
Once notified of the funding available, the convenors of each Group need to submit a funding proposal (by November) based on its intended activities in the following year. The Working Group Liaison Person will initially assess all funding applications and then make recommendations to the BISA Research Committee on how funding should  be allocated. Subject to the volume and complexity of applications received, Working Groups will be advised of their annual award in early January following a decision of the Research Committee (endorsed by the BISA Executive). These deadlines are tied to the meeting schedule of the BISA Executive Committee and so late applications cannot normally be considered. 
6.3.  Working Group bank accounts and university accounts
Ongoing and repeated issues with Working Group bank accounts, funding held in university accounts and lack of clear and detailed accounting has required BISA to review  how  Groups manage their finances. BISA will no longer allow funding to be held in individual bank or university accounts. For those Groups with open accounts, when the current conveners end their term of office, the relevant account should be closed and residual funds returned to BISA to be held centrally. BISA should then be notified that the account has been discontinued. In order to fund their activities, Working Groups will draw down on their budgets via the BISA office. Conveners will be notified of how they may access their funds. Joint funding applications from Working Groups are encouraged, but normally one Group will take the lead and be the agreed point of contact. 
6.4 Working Group funding terms and conditions
6.4.1 Working Groups may use their funds to support conferences, seminars and symposia. Pump-prime support which stimulates or co-ordinates existing research activities is also encouraged. Given the limited funds available to BISA , however, it will often be the case that only part funding of an  activity is possible. In such instances, Working Groups should attempt to secure financial and other forms of support from alternative sources.
6.4.2 Where Working Groups are seeking funding from BISA for inviting guests from outside the UK to a sponsored event they should state in their funding application the name of the intended speaker. Awards cannot be made if this information is absent.
6.4.3 Working Group funding should not be used for attendance at the BISA Annual Conference and BISA PGN events.
6.4.4 If a Working Group obtains funding to support members’ attendance at other conferences/meetings/seminars etc., they are encouraged to use a fair and open method for the competitive onward distribution of funds. The method that the Group intends to use should be specified in the funding application to BISA. 
6.4.5 Working Group funding should not be used to fund the personal research of members of the Group . (see Appendix 10.2)
6.4.6 The BISA Research Committee will give priority to activities likely to benefit a large proportion of the Working Group’s membership. Further, priority will be given to travel and registration costs for participation in Working Group events that benefit PhD researchers, those early in their career and the unwaged. 
6.4.7 Groups may not apply retrospectively for activities that have already taken place.
6.4.8 The amount of funding held by the Working Group at the end of November each year will be taken into account when making the annual funding award for the following year. Funding cannot be rolled over unless specific permission is obtained from BISA following a request in the annual statement of accounts. Any residual funding not specifically identified for a particular purpose will be deducted from the funding requested. 
6.4.9 Working Groups are encouraged to publish the results of their funded activity in one of BISA’s  short publications i.e. BISA News, International Studies Today Blog etc. 
6.4.10 Funding awards will be made only if the annual Working Group report has been received. 
6.4.11 BISA does not guarantee continued funding of Groups especially with the impact of open access on our future income being uncertain.
6.4.12  Working Groups should publicly acknowledge the financial support of  BISA at their events.
6.5. Reimbursement 
Working Group convenors should nominate an individual who is responsible for submitting funding requests on behalf of the Group to the BISA Trustees. That individual will be responsible for all the claims submitted on behalf of the Working Group. 
That individual acting on behalf of the Working is expected to send to the BISA office the names of all participants awarded travel and accommodation bursaries and to detail the value of the awards approved. Participants who have been agreed by the organisers to receive a bursary will need to forward their signed claim forms and their original receipts (scanned copies are fine) to the person who will be corresponding with the BISA office for all such claims.
BISA holds Working Group funds and reimbursements are made via the claim form or invoices, both supported by original receipts. It is important that invoices are made out to the British International Studies Association and that invoices are sent to the BISA office for direct payment. BISA undertakes to make prompt reimbursements.
Delegates to Working Group events are not to claim for refunds directly from the BISA office. These are to be processed by Working Groups and then forwarded to the BISA office. Refunds will be made only if all the delegates are members of the Association and once the report of the event has been received by the office together with supporting materials.
At the end of the annual funding period, all unspent monies revert back to BISA. All funding claims should be made before the following February of the funding year in question i.e. 2016 funding shall be claimed by February 2017 etc. at the latest. Should extenuating circumstances lead to a late claim being necessary, this will need to be pre-approved before the February deadline and exact figures provided for the BISA accounts.
Working Groups should seek assurances from host institutions that appropriate insurances and levels of cover are in place to cover Working Group events. 
Please note that if a Working Group does not claim any refund within 3 months of the event to which it relates, claims will not be reimbursed.
6.6.  Contracts for book series, journals, publications and any other working group matters
Working Group convenors do not have delegated authority and are therefore not authorised to enter into contracts in the name of the Working Group or BISA. Only a minimum of two BISA trustees/ directors can sign contracts in the Association’s name, following prior approval by the full Executive Committee. As such, expenses for any publishing commitments will only be eligible where a Working Group has BISA approval for that commitment. No other contractual commitments should be entered into by Working Groups without BISA approval.

7.  Committees of BISA
7.1.  Research Committee
The Research Committee is a standing committee of BISA’s Executive Committee and is responsible for the Association’s research relationships and activities. The Committee is chaired by the BISA vice-chair. It has formal oversight of BISA Working Groups and is, in turn, responsible to the BISA Executive Committee. 
7.2.  Role of the Working Group Liaison Person
The Working Group Liaison Person is a member of the BISA Executive Committee and reports to the Research Committee. S/he is responsible for: liaison with Working Groups and, where appropriate, providing recommendations for the approval of new Working Groups. S/he serves to encourage and support Working Groups in their activities and to provide advice to conveners when necessary.  
The Working Groups Liaison Person is both reactive and proactive with Working Groups and aims to enhance their role within the Association.
7.3 Research Network Forum
The Association hosts an annual meeting for representatives of the Working Groups to meet and network. The purpose of the forum is to share best practice, gather research and Working Group input to Association initiatives, and to encourage greater networking and cross-working opportunities between the groups. This forum will have its first meeting in 2015.
7.4 Social inclusion, diversity and equal opportunity statement
BISA  is committed to the promotion of social inclusion, diversity and equal opportunities across all its activities and throughout the International Studies professions.  It is opposed to direct and indirect discrimination on the grounds of social class, race, ethnic origin, sex, age, religion, sexual preference, and disability. Equality of opportunity is a matter which concerns the full range of activities and membership of the Association. These commitments also apply to Working Groups and their activities.

8.  The BISA Annual Conference and other Association Conferences
8.1.  Proposing sessions for the Annual Conference
Procedures and deadlines for the submission of panel and roundtable proposals  for the Annual BISA conference are provided on the dedicated conference website. Working Groups are also advised of the process by email.
The timeline for Working Groups to submit proposals is ordinarily as follows:
  • 12 months before the conference: BISA makes the first conference announcement, and issues a Call for Papers to the wider International Studies related communities. All Working Groups are included in this call. The conference organizers set aside a designated number of sponsored panel slots for Working Groups (see 7.3 below). 
  • 10 months before the conference: Working Groups announce a call for sponsored panels. Potential panel conveners apply to the relevant Working Groups for sole or joint sponsorship of their panel at the conference. Working groups liaise among themselves to finalize sole and joint sponsorship once sponsorship is agreed.
  • 7 months before the conference: the deadline for panel proposals to be submitted to the conference organisers by session conveners, following the process announced on the conference website. 
  • 6 months before the conference: The conference organisers confirm acceptance of panels, roundtables and papers and commence the conference timetabling process. 
  • 5-6 months before the conference: The provisional programme is published on the conference website ahead of the ‘early-bird’ registration deadline for participants to view, inviting feedback about potential clashes or other timetabling issues. Wherever possible, the conference organisers will accommodate these requests.
8.2.  Guidelines for participation at the Annual Conference
Working Groups are encouraged to take note of the conference guidelines on the BISA website. These are designed to encourage wide participation and to reduce programme clashes for delegates with multiple commitments.
8.3.  Working Group panel quota
Two panel/roundtable slots are guaranteed for each Working Group, but up to four may be proposed.  A timeslot for an ABM meeting being provided in addition
The generation of the Annual Conference programme is a complex process and in allocating slots to Working Groups the conference organisers are attempting to:
  • create a balanced programme representing both the breadth of Working Group interests and  the conference theme for that year;
  • reduce the likelihood of timetable clashes and difficulties created by multiple Working Group commitments;
  • maintain, within reason, a practical limit to the number of concurrent sessions scheduled, in order to keep costs (room and  AV hire etc) within budget for the conference.
Working Groups may sponsor sessions solely or jointly with other Working Groups, but in either case sponsorship of a session timeslot counts towards the quota.  
If Working Groups are likely to exceed their quota of sponsored timeslots (because, for example, the sessions proposed elicit more paper submissions than can be fitted into one or two timetable slots), they are asked to contact the conference organisers to request additional space in the programme. Where additional sessions can be provided, the conference organisers are nonetheless unable to guarantee the avoidance of timetable clashes. 
In a limited number of cases, there may also be timetable clashes for individual BISA members if they are involved in more than one session.  
Working Group conveners and are encouraged  to advertise conference panels widely, and to  encourage the participation of early-career researchers and international delegates. They are also encouraged a to consider non-standard formats for sessions and presentations so as to foster an environment in which full interaction and discussion is possible. The involvement of policy practitioners, where feasible, is also desirable. 
8.4.  Working Group guests
To encourage participation at the BISA Annual Conference by non-UK based BISA members who have difficulties in paying their registration fee, each Working Group is entitled to request one complimentary guest registration for those who are BISA members.
The conference will pay for registration fees only. Guest(s) should pay for their own travel, accommodation and other related costs. If the nominated guest has already paid for their own registration at the time of being awarded a guest pass, BISA will refund the full fee.
If circumstances for a guest change after the application is submitted and approved, Working Groups must inform BISA promptly.
8.4.1.  Criteria for applications
1) Nominated guests must be making a substantive contribution to the conference programme, e.g. presenting a conference paper.
2) Nominated guests from the UK are not allowed.
3) The nominated guest must be based overseas in one of the following regions: EU transition states, the global South and other economically less-developed countries.  Nominations may be made for individual academics based in HEIs or non HEI based practitioners.
4) Working Groups must inform the nominated guest of the financial arrangements and scope of the guest pass prior to submitting their application to avoid any misunderstandings.
5) Applications cannot be accepted for those who do not fulfill all the above criteria.
Applications should be sent by the conveners of the Working Group to the BISA office by the end of April. Applications submitted by conference delegates will not be considered.
8.5 Non BISA association conferences
As a recognised cooperating organisation, BISA is allocated four panel slots by the International Studies Association (ISA) for its annual convention and two panel slots by the European International Studies Association (EISA) for its conference. These slots are sponsored by BISA and this should be acknowledged as such in the conference programme. BISA offers these slots to Working Groups by issuing a call to the groups once BISA has been notified of its allocated slots and the time frame for submissions. The relevant process for application and allocation is detailed in the call. Panels proposed by the Working Groups should be comprised mainly of BISA members and should also reflect the diversity and gender balance of the Association’s membership. 

9. BISA policy on Advocacy, Lobbying, Campaigning and Activism
9.1.  Background
The BISA Executive Committee has to consider the Association’s position on advocacy, lobbying, campaigning and activism. Such activities are distinct from those by which the Association – as an impartial, independent and authoritative source - provides access to information that might better inform research or policy, or better educate the public and teachers.
The Association takes note of the guidance issued by the Charities Commission on campaigning and political activity and of the purpose and governance of the Association itself. BISA is not a campaigning organisation; the manner in which it has built its standing over 40 years as a learned society is by informing people through promoting, discussing and disseminating knowledge.
Under Charity Commission guidelines, the Association cannot exist for a political purpose. The Association cannot, therefore, give support or funding to political organizations or causes.  It must remain independent and so any involvement it has with political parties needs to be balanced and non-partisan. Trustees must not allow the charity to be used as a vehicle for the expression of the political (personal or party political) views of any individual trustee or staff member or, by extension, any individual member or groups of members. The Charity Commission does allow political activity by charities but only in the context of such activity supporting the delivery of the charitable purposes of the  relevant organization. It is a matter for trustees of BISA to decide whether and how to engage in any such activities and to determine the processes by which that engagement is managed.
The guidance set out below (section 9.3) applies to the Association collectively; to its staff and volunteers, Executive Committee members, members who are acting in the name of the Association and/or any of its branches, Working Groups and any other collective group within the Association.
This guidance does not apply to individuals who have a link with the Association when they are acting in a personal and individual capacity (when, for example, undertaking research, publishing, or presenting at conferences or giving a lecture).
9.2.  Rationale
BISA has developed this guidance in the knowledge that advocacy, lobbying, campaigning and activism can present difficulties in a complex organisation with a wide variety of stakeholders. These activities can lead to confusion, lack of a unified voice and can run the risk of misrepresenting and potentially damaging the Association’s reputation, brand and standing.
BISA’s Trustees have taken the decision, therefore, to be explicit in managing carefully and/or limiting all such activities that are undertaken in the name of the Association or any one of its many subgroups, branches and networks across the breadth of its membership.
9.3.  Guidance
1. The purpose of BISA is the advancement of International Studies and related subjects. It achieves this through supporting research, education and learning; through public engagement; and by furnishing evidence that might inform policy. It is on this basis that the Association enjoys  charitable status.
2. The Association in its name, and through delegated responsibility to its staff and Trustees, may act as advocate for the position and status of International Studies in school education and in higher education, including the funding of International Studies teaching, fieldwork and research. The trustees of BISA maintain an overview of such activities at Executive Committee meetings. Delegated responsibility is devolved to the Chief Executive Officer in managing such activities.
3. In acting as advocates for the above activities, BISA’s delegated responsible staff and Trustees may choose to respond to consultations; lobby ministers, MPs and others responsible for formulating policy; commission and disseminate targeted research (resources permitting); and hold conferences, seminars and other meetings to raise awareness of particular issues.
4. For issues of deep concern in terms of the position and status of International Studies this may amount to a ’political campaign’ that is planned in advance, fully approved by the Association’s trustees, and monitored in its execution. The trustees limit such campaigning to support the status, position and funding of International Studies education, fieldwork and research. The trustees do not allow BISA’s work, or that of its associated subgroups, to extend to either campaigning or activism on geographical and other issues or in relation to third parties.
5. BISA  trustees may, from time to time, consider whether the Association wishes to lend its name and weight to the promotion of particular, substantive International Studies research findings that are viewed as being of wide public benefit, such as for example, research on global health. In these instances the Association may publish a position statement that has been approved by the Association’s trustees.  The purpose of such a position statement is solely to inform, making use of the Association’s authority and independent brand. Such statements are not to be used in campaigning or activist activities.
6. BISA does not empower any branch, committee, network, Working Group, or other group within the Association , or any individual member or staff member, to speak on its behalf , or to represent the Association position (or that of any Association sub-group), unless agreed in advance  by the trustees, the Chief Executive Officer, or any person delegated by the Chief Executive Officer. This includes speaking to the media on behalf of/in the name of the Association.

10.  Appendices
10.1.  Template Working Group Constitution 
Constitution of the XXXXXX Working group
1. [Title of the working group, with a reasonable abbreviation to be agreed with the working group liaison person.]
2. [Brief outline of the aims of the working Group and how it is intended they will be achieved, including expected outcomes (maximum 150 words).]
3. Organisational status - The [Working Group] is a “sub-group” of the British International Studies Association and must satisfy the aims and policies of the Association, including Equal Opportunity policy, and the legal and Charity Commissioner Requirements. The working group must deliver an Annual Report and statement of accounts to the Association by the end of November of each calendar year at the very latest demonstrating that these aims and policies are being adhered to.
Guidance is provided in the handbook on suggested content of the Annual Report and statement of accounts. All working groups will be subject to a five-yearly review of activities, membership and expenditure. 
4. Statement of membership - Membership of the [XX Working group] shall be open to all members (including Postgraduate members) of the British International Studies Association who elect to join the working group, but shall never be less than 10. Membership of the [XX working group] will be [free of charge to members].
5. Other interested persons who are not members of the BISA may join the [XX working group], subject to approval of the working Group. The [XX working group] will maintain their own records of these members but must also use the BISA membership lists when undertaking a mailing to members.
6. The business of the [XX working group] shall be conducted by a Committee of no fewer than 3 members. Specified roles within the Committee include the following: Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer. Each of these roles shall only be undertaken by members of the BISA elected by the Group. The Committee will have the power to co-opt [up to two] additional members. The majority of the Committee must be members of the BISA.
Normally working groups have additional elected members on their Committees such as newsletter/website editor, membership secretary for a group of over 100 members, meetings and events coordinator, postgraduate coordinator, and publications coordinator.
7. Terms of office - The offices of Chair, Secretary and Treasurer and other committee members shall be for a period of two years. Officers may stand for a second term of two years, but must relinquish their post after the fourth year of office. Retiring officers shall not be eligible for re-election as an Ordinary Member of the Committee if they have served for 4 years, without first having a two-year break from the Committee.
Ordinary Committee members shall be elected for a period of not more than two years. Ordinary Committee members may stand for a second term of two years, but must relinquish their post after the fourth year of office.
Postgraduate members shall be elected for a period of one year and shall not normally be eligible for re- election to the Committee for more than two terms of office.
The working group should give consideration to the succession timetable of officers serving on their Committees in order that there is an appropriate level of continuity i.e. stagger role election periods.
8. Elections to the Committee will be held at the Annual Business Meeting (ABM) or via a suitable online system such as “Survey Monkey” or “google forms”. Members will be informed in writing (email is preferred) 30 days prior to the ABM of all vacancies to be filled. Nominations for Committee membership will be accepted up to the beginning of the ABM or online election deadline. Nominations must be in writing and include the names of the proposer and seconder.
9. The ABM shall normally be held at the BISA Annual Conference. The [XX working group] must present an Annual Report and Statement of Accounts to the BISA as requested, and normally by the end of November each year. This is to comply with Charity Commissioners guidelines. The working group is expected to manage its funds with due care and for the benefit of the membership of the working group.
An Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) may be called by either the Chair and four members (or all other members if fewer than four in total) of the Committee or by any 20 ordinary members of the [XX working group]. The Secretary (or equivalent convenor position) must give at least 30 days’ notice of an EGM in writing (email is preferred) to all members of the [XX working group].
10. Changes to the Constitution - The constitution can be changed only by two-thirds majority vote of those present at an ABM, provided that the membership has been individually notified of the proposed changes by email at least 30 days in advance. Working group constitutions that have been altered by the ABM of the working group should then be submitted for approval by the working group liaison person of the BISA. If the working group alters its constitution without informing the BISA by the time of its next meeting, the BISA will view this matter seriously and consider whether the group is contravening the aims of the BISA.
11. The activities of the working groups should not contravene the charitable aims of the British International Studies Association). The [XXRG] may be dissolved only in accordance with the rules of the BISA.
Other activities of the group may be specified in an Appendix e.g. the preparation of publications, the organisation of x meetings or workshops over a 12-month period, the issuing of a newsletter electronically to members, the creation and maintenance of a website, the creation and maintenance of an email distribution list of non-members of the BISA, and the organising of joint activities with other working groups.

Headline points for conveners:
  • Keynote and plenary speakers can receive up to £1500 from working group budgets towards travel and accommodation expenses only (receipts required).  There is no requirement for the keynote/plenary speakers to be BISA members.
  • Working groups can award travel and accommodation only bursaries to delegates (receipts required). Delegates travelling from within the UK/Europe are limited to £200.  Delegates from outside the Europe are limited to a contribution of £400.  Delegates receiving such bursaries must be BISA members.
Funding provided to Working Groups is at the discretion of the BISA Board of Trustees. Any such funding is intended to assist with Working Group activities aligned to the aims of BISA more broadly. 
In allocating money, the following conditions apply:
  • If the cost of events exceed the awarded sum, the event organisers will be responsible for covering the extra costs. 
  • Where a Working Group event is to be co-funded the applicants should indicate the level or expected level of co-funding and details of the co-funder and any specific conditions laid down by the external sponsor.  
  • BISA Working Group funding is not intended to allow organisers to make a surplus from an event.  
  • BISA will consider applications in which a nominal entry fee may be charged to attendees but prefers that BISA members are not charged or, if this is unavoidable, are charged at a lower rate than non-BISA members. 
  • BISA will not reimburse invoices that exceed the approved funding amount, expenses incurred by non-BISA members (at the time of the expense and of the claim) or invoices that do not follow the guidelines listed below. 
  • Any unused monies from the sum awarded will be retained by BISA. 
  • When budgeting a request, Working Groups should specify all possible expenditures.
  • BISA membership fees cannot be reclaimed by delegates or conveners
  • Conference/event fees (if charged by a working group) cannot be reclaimed by delegates or conveners
Monies awarded under the Working Groups funding scheme can be spent only in ways authorised by BISA.
1. Meeting/event costs
  • Monies can be used to cover the costs of meetings’ refreshments such as tea/coffee/biscuits, sandwich/buffet lunches so long as provision is available to all participants. BISA actively discourages working group funding to be used for dinners, ideally groups should book a table at a local restaurant and open an invite to all participants who can pay for what they consume. 
  • Monies may be used to hire meeting facilities although BISA would expect meeting rooms at host universities to be made available free of charge.
  • Monies may be used to hire audio-visual equipment where these charges cannot be avoided.
  • Monies may also be used to contribute toward field trip costs such as coach hire etc. so long as these relate to a Working Group event.
  • Modest charges for the copying of meeting materials such as handouts and the purchase of badges is permissible (Some materials are available from the BISA office)
  • Travel and accommodation bursaries will be funded for attendance at Working Group events up to a max of £200 per award for UK/Europe and £400 for non-UK/Europe. BISA membership is required.
2. Plenary speaker
  • BISA funds should not be used to pay ‘speaking fees’ for plenary speakers.  But:
  • From within Working Group funding, a maximum of £1,500 per event may be used for travel and accommodation expenses of plenary speakers but not subsistence costs.  Ideally there should be no more than 1-2 speakers.  All participants in an event cannot be regarded as keynote/plenary speakers. BISA membership is not required for reimbursement of keynote/plenary speakers.
3. Delegate Travel/Accommodation Bursaries
BISA will only reimburse economy class transport (train, plane, bus, underground and ferry), and single rate accommodation.  A case needs to be made for petrol/diesel costs to be covered, so we advise anyone with mobility issues to make it known on their claim (if relevant). Claims for subsistence or any other ancillary expenses will not be met (i.e. you cannot claim for food or drink).
Working groups can award travel and accommodation bursaries to delegates (receipts required). Delegates travelling from within the UK/Europe are limited to £200.  Delegates from outside Europe are limited to a contribution of £400.  Delegates receiving such bursaries must be BISA members. Please note that claimants’ membership status will be checked prior to reimbursement by the BISA office.
4. Web support
This is permissible if the request relates to a significant one-off refresh of web materials (e.g. a revamp of the Working Group site). BISA will not fund ongoing web support or web hosting. It would typically seek to limit spend for one-off improvements to no more than £200.
5. Administrative support
Working Group funding allows organisers one-off administrative support (up to a maximum of £500) but does not allow the longer-term employment of staff. 
6. Working group prizes and awards 
BISA will fund these however will not commit to recurrent funding  and asks convenors to think about the sustainability of prizes as it takes money away from other potential activities and has a reputational effect if prizes not awarded on a consistent basis or in an open and transparent way.
7. Preclusions
Working Group funding ought not be used to fund:
• attendance by Working Group members at non-Working Group events (this preclusion also applies to the BISA annual conference and the PGN conference)
social events linked to, or separate from, a working group event i.e. dinners for delegates/speakers, wine receptions etc, a group may wish to charge a nominal fee to cover the cost of such activities
• printing and mailing costs
• Cash prizes
• website hosting or domain name costs, computers/software/phones/postage/ hard copy newsletter printing costs
• editorial expenses for non BISA approved publications
• personal research trips
How to recover costs & expenses from BISA
  • Venue/host university costs i.e. catering, speakers expenses (as described above only) by Invoice addressed to British International Studies Association C/o International Politics Building Aberystwyth University, Penglais, Aberystwyth Ceredigion, SY23 3FE VAT number 982 6566 71 Please ensure copy receipts and/or catering booking sheets are provided along with the Invoice [BISA qualifies for VAT exemption so we ask that you speak to the host university about this when making the event arrangements]
  • Individual expenses should be claimed directly from the BISA office using this claim form. The claims should be clearly scanned images as PDFs and or jpegs. Include receipts for each item claimed and ensure VAT receipts are obtained from accommodation i.e. hotels, B&Bs you may need to ask when checking out. Please ensure all banking information is clearly typed into the form as poorly written forms may lead to payment delays or misdirected payments, especially on international payments.
British International Studies Association


Charity No:1151260
Company no: 8422260
Registered office: University Of Birmingham Room 650, 6th Floor, Muirhead Tower, Edgbaston, Birmingham, England, B15 2TT