How to form a new working group

How do I form a working group?

Working groups may be established upon petition of twenty or more current BISA members to the Research committee via the BISA office. The proposal will include a statement of purpose & organisation. The proposal needs to explain why the existing community of BISA working groups offers inadequate coverage of this research area. The proposal should outline proposed research activities, workshops, bids, possible publications etc. and indicate preliminary officers (all groups are required to have at least 1 UK based academic Convener).
BISA prefers that working groups do not charge membership fees but that they encourage their members to become members of BISA, from January 2016 all new groups approved can only have a membership formed of current BISA members, non BISA members will not be able to participate in events or benefit from BISA funding support.
Proposals can be received at any point during the year, but proposals for the establishment of new working groups are placed before the research committee at their quarterly meetings in February, May, September & December. 
Please note that the Convener(s) of the working groups as well as any other officers MUST be members of the BISA throughout their time in post. If the proposal is approved, the applicant is also sent a welcome email, indicating the procedures for maintaining a working group. Approved groups can apply for up to £1000 initial funding in the first year. Please use the form below as a basis to draft your proposal.

New Working Group Proposal Form

What is required by the BISA after a group has been approved?

All working groups are expected to adhere to the working group guidelines and which is available on the BISA website. In short, all working groups are required to set up and maintain webpages and/or social media site. These should be updated regularly. They must also set up a bank account or a university account in the name of the specialist group. Most groups put on panels at the BISA’s annual conference each year and hold their own annual or biennial conferences and workshops. Most also produce newsletters for members. BISA News provides monthly opportunities for groups to publicise themselves and their activities. Working group convenors are encouraged to submit material on recent events.
Working groups must have written constitutions filed with the BISA Office within two years of the establishment of the group. These constitutions must provide for democratic election of officers and must prohibit the same person from serving in an office for more than two consecutive years and also acknowledge that the working group is a sub group of BISA.
At the end of each calendar year, the BISA research committee chair requests an annual report from each group convenor. This should provide information about the group’s activities during the previous year and information about its officers and members.
The annual report must be accompanied by clear and detailed evidence of the group’s financial situation, income and expenditure, including copies of invoices, receipts, account statements, etc. Annual reports must be submitted by end of November, and late submissions will be ineligible for funding for the subsequent year.

How are working groups funded?

From 2015, the level of BISA membership in a working group will be taken into account when allocating funding. BISA will set a basic threshold that all groups can apply for each year. This will decrease over the next 5 years if the proportion of BISA members in the group does not increase. Those WGs whose membership has in excess of a certain number of BISA members will be able to apply for extra funds in addition to the base funding.  The amount of extra funds available will increase in the next 5 years and will vary depending on the number of working group members who are also BISA members. Groups are encouraged to seek additional sources of funding bu this must be clearly accounted for in your annual report & accounts. The amount awarded to each group is determined by the research committee on the basis of the previous and proposed levels of activity indicated in annual reports, whether sufficient evidence of expenditure has been provided, and on the overall state of the group’s finances.
All non-members of BISA must be charged to attend working group events if these events are funded (or part funded) by the BISA. The income from this should be separately detailed in the annual accounts. The funding thresholds are indicated in the table below. 
Funding Year Base amount No of members Additional amount Total funding available Increase in funding on 2014
2015 £1500 30 £1500 £3000 +£500
2016 £1500 40 £2000 £3500 +£1000
2017 £1500 45 £2000 £3500 +£1000
2018 £1000 45 £2000 £3000 +£500
    <50 £2500 £3500 +£1000
    <60 £3000 £4000 +£1500
2019 £500 50 £2500 £3000 +£500
    <60 £3500 £4000 +£1500
    <70 £4000 £4500 +£2000

Calculating BISA Membership

In order to reduce the burden on conveners, the recording of working group membership among BISA members will be automated via the BISA website. When BISA members complete their membership payment online they will be offered the opportunity to indicate membership of up to 3 WGs. BISA will then have the information to know which BISA members are WG members and calculate the appropriate funding entitlement. Convenors should ensure they remind WG members who are BISA members to declare their WG affiliations.


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