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Organising Special Interest Group Meetings

Putting on your programme

In practice, most SIG programmes consist largely of afternoon or evening meetings, each addressed by one or two UK-based speakers, held between two and four times a year. These events are free of charge to those attending (including those who are not members of the OR Society), any reasonable costs being met by the OR Society.

Each SIG committee should agree the topics for forthcoming SIG meetings. You are encouraged to consider including a joint event each year, either with another Special Interest Group, a Regional Society or a relevant external body.

If the venue has only a limited number of spaces, or if attendees need to be notified in advance to comply with the venue’s security or reception processes, then organisers will need to request advance registration. This can be done easily and free of charge by using services such as Eventbrite (https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/support/GettingStarted?lg=en_GB) or Meetup (the OR Society has a Meetup account, please contact felicity.mcleister@theorsociety.com or hope.meadows@theorsociety.com for more details).

Templates for items such as advertising flyers, feedback forms, attendance sheets and signposts, etc. are available in the Special Interest Group section of the document repository.

The Society provides a number of administrative services which you may make use of, please contact the point of contact in the office (felicity.mcleister@theorsociety.com or hope.meadows@theorsociety.com). Services can include:

  • Use of the Society’s logo in presentations and on promotional literature
  • Production of publicity material
  • Publicising on social media
  • Production of name badges
  • Membership literature for those attendees who are not members of the OR Society

Virtual meetings

Alternatively, a SIG may wish to organise a virtual meeting (video conference / webinar) using appropriate software (please contact the point of contact in the office (felicity.mcleister@theorsociety.com or hope.meadows@theorsociety.com) for more details).  Whilst this is encouraged, some experimentation will be needed to determine the most appropriate format for the group’s membership. 

Advertising Special Interest Group meetings

The Secretary shall post details of the planned meeting(s) in the Special Interest Group’s area of the Society’s website on the ‘Future meetings’ page (https://www.theorsociety.com/DocumentRepository/Browse.aspx?DocID=611). The committee have editing access to these pages (must be logged in to the website to use). The meeting is also added to the Meetings and Events Schedule on the website. You may also wish to post additional details on the Blog page (https://www.theorsociety.com/DocumentRepository/Browse.aspx?DocID=612). This includes the ability to automatically send an email to the group’s email distribution list.

Details of the SIG meeting should be submitted to insideor@theorsociety.com no later than the 6th of the month to be included in the next issue of the magazine. The meeting will also be included in the e-bulletin that is sent to members once a fortnight.

Use of Social Media

SIGs are encouraged to make use of social media to both promote planned SIG meetings and encourage discussion around topics.

The OR Society has a presence on the following platforms: LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

The LinkedIn OR Society Group provides a good platform to promote upcoming meetings or start a discussion around a certain topic. Please note, this is a closed group and if you are not already a member you will have to request to join the group. Also, you may want to post to other LinkedIn groups that you or other committee members or speakers belong to.

Twitter is a good way to stay up to date on current events and hear about what other people are doing professionally – for example, papers, blogs, comments and opinion-pieces. Twitter can be a good way to have an interaction with your favourite commentators, it’s a good way of networking and staying abreast of the latest trends in O.R./Analytics. Please encourage all committee members, speakers, and other members with Twitter accounts to tweet from their own accounts. The OR Society will retweet any tweets it is aware of. Further guidance is available from the document repository (https://www.theorsociety.com/DocumentRepository/Browse.aspx?DocID=614).

Posts can also be made to the Society’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/TheORSociety) to promote meetings and generate discussion. Send your post request to the Society’s Marketing and Communications Manager, rob.chidley@theorsociety.com.

The Society’s YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/user/TheORSocietyUK) allows videos from meetings and events to be shared with attendees and wider membership. Videos should be submitted to rob.chidley@theorsociety.com with an appropriate description and keywords.

After a Special Interest Group meeting

The nominated member of the committee shall provide a full write up of the meeting which will be used for publication in Inside O.R. A copy should be sent to the Secretary to add to the document repository.

The committee member shall post a summary of the meeting on the blog (https://www.theorsociety.com/DocumentRepository/Browse.aspx?DocID=612) of the Special Interest Group’s page of the Society’s website, no later than one week following the meeting. This includes the ability to automatically send an email to the group’s email distribution list. This is a good way to share information with those that couldn’t attend and members of the Society are able to comment on the post.

Posting a summary of the meeting on social media should also be considered, with links back to the SIG’s section of the Society’s website.

The Secretary shall make speakers’ notes or presentation material from a SIG meeting, if appropriate and not subject to copyright, available in the OR Society’s document repository (https://www.theorsociety.com/DocumentRepository/Browse.aspx?DocID=619).

A list of attendees, preferably including email addresses, and particularly noting any non-members attending, should be provided to the nominated point of contact in the Society’s office (currently felicity.mcleister@theorsociety.com or hope.meadows@theorsociety.com).  Attendance will be noted in membership records, and non-members added to the database.

Costs and expenses

Costs may include room hire, visual aids and refreshments. Speakers are normally assumed to give their time for free, but may have reasonable travel expenses (within the UK) reimbursed. In exceptional circumstances, overnight accommodation may be provided for a speaker if the timing of the meeting makes this essential. Groups are expected to use low cost venues and provide refreshments (such as tea and biscuits) for attendees.

The OR Society has a central budget for all Special Interest Groups’ activities and approval for expenditure needs to be sought in advance. Expenditure approval will be confirmed in 1-2 business days. Individuals incurring expenses must submit original VAT receipts in order to reclaim costs. If expenditure is required, approval must be sought from the Society by emailing the point of contact in the office (felicity.mcleister@theorsociety.com or hope.meadows@theorsociety.com).

Any speakers' expense claims, supported by receipts, should be sent to the point of contact in the office (Felicity McLeister or Hope Meadows) at The OR Society, 12 Edward Street, Birmingham, B1 2RX). Note that the Society reimburses standard class rail or equivalent, except where no reasonable public transport is available, in which case mileage at 45p per mile may be claimed. Alternatively a speaker (or speakers, if there are two) may be taken for a meal after the meeting, in which case the cost of the meal for the speaker and one other person may be claimed, up to a maximum of £20 per head.