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Running a Special Interest Group

Aims and activities

The aims and activities of Special Interest Groups must be in accordance with the charitable purposes of the OR Society, which are:

  • the advancement of knowledge and interest in O.R.;
  • the advancement of education in O.R.

In other words, Special Interest Groups' activities should be directed towards the practical and theoretical development of O.R. and the promotion of wider knowledge and appreciation of O.R.

Special Interest Group committee

The affairs of the Special Interest Group (SIG) shall be managed by a committee. It is the role of the committee to organise the programme of SIG meetings. The committee should attend all SIG meetings.

The committee shall be elected annually by the members of the SIG. The committee shall consist of a Chair and a Secretary (known as the Officers), and not less than two and not more than seven others. Subject to the formal approval of the Board of the OR Society, the Officers, together with any other members who may be nominated, comprise the Special Interest Group Committee. The Officers shall be members of the OR Society. Decisions of the committee shall be by majority vote.  In the event of an equality of votes the Chair shall have a second, casting vote.


The Chair shall ensure committee meetings are called and held in accordance with the Special Interest Group constitution and consult with committee members to establish and confirm an agenda for each committee meeting. The Chair shall officiate and conduct committee meetings, provide leadership and ensure committee members are aware of their obligations and that the committee complies with its responsibilities. The Chair shall ensure there is sufficient time during the committee meeting to fully discuss agenda items, and ensure that discussion on agenda items is on topic, productive and professional. The Chair shall ensure minutes are complete and accurate, retained, included and reviewed at the next committee meeting. The Chair shall develop and maintain the vision and strategy for the SIG.

The Chair shall officiate and conduct SIG meetings, ensuring speakers keep to time and working with committee members to facilitate networking among attendees. Following a SIG meeting, the Chair shall write (email) to the speaker(s) to formally thank them for their time and contribution.


The Secretary shall, in consultation with the committee members, schedule dates, times and location for committee meetings. The Secretary shall keep minutes of all meetings of the committee and shall make them available on request, for inspection by the auditors or the Board of the OR Society.  Minutes of the General Meeting shall be sent to the Secretary and General Manager or the nominated SIG point of contact in the office (currently or The Secretary shall give all members of the committee at least fourteen days’ notice in writing (by email) of every committee meeting and at least twenty-one days’ notice of the General Meeting. The Secretary shall ensure the committee meeting/General Meeting agenda and relevant documents are circulated to the members of the committee 3-5 days in advance of the committee meeting/General Meeting.

The Secretary shall ensure that all planned SIG meetings are added to the Future Meetings page of the SIG’s area on the Society’s website. The Secretary shall provide a list of attendees, preferably including email addresses, and particularly noting any non-members attending, to the Secretary and General Manager or the nominated SIG point of contact in the office (currently or The Secretary shall make speakers’ notes or presentation material from a SIG meeting, if appropriate and not subject to copyright, and the full write-up of the SIG meeting, available in the OR Society’s document repository.

Committee members

Committee members shall provide support for organising SIG meetings by suggesting suitable topics, identifying speakers, sourcing suitable venues and helping to promote the event. It may be appropriate for a member of the committee to be the meeting organiser for a SIG meeting. It will be their responsibility, with the support of the rest of the committee, to book the venue and refreshments, invite and brief the speaker(s), organise publicity, manage attendance registration and provide a brief for the Chair to officiate the meeting. A member of the committee shall volunteer, or be nominated, to provide a full write up of the SIG meeting which will be used for publication in Inside O.R. A summary of the SIG meeting should also be posted on the blog on the Special Interest Group’s page of the OR Society website no later than one week following the SIG meeting.

General Meetings

Each SIG must hold a General Meeting at least once every two years. This meeting must select individuals to be the Officers and Committee of the Special Interest Group, to serve until the next General Meeting.

The Secretary shall give all members of the SIG at least twenty-one days’ notice in writing (by email) of this meeting.  The business of the General Meeting shall be:

    1. to approve the minutes of the previous General Meeting.
    2. to receive reports from the Chair and Secretary.
    3. to elect a committee for the forthcoming year.

Voting at the General Meeting shall be by show of hands, except in the case of (c), where voting shall be by secret ballot. Only fully paid up members of the OR Society may vote at General Meetings. The quorum shall be five, or one-one third of the membership, whichever is less.

Within one calendar month of the General Meeting the Secretary shall send to the Secretary and General Manager of the OR Society or the nominated SIG point of contact in the office (currently or a copy of the minutes of the General Meeting, together with copies of the Chair’s and Secretary’s reports, the names of those who have been nominated as Officers and other members of the Committee.

How to start a Special Interest Group

If you work in, or are interested in, a particular area of O.R. that is not currently covered by an existing SIG then you might like to consider starting one. It is a good idea to sound this out with colleagues or personal contacts, and the Society’s Special Interest Group representative (

The next step will be to call a meeting of people interested in the proposed area. This is best done by putting an announcement in Inside O.R. (preferably accompanied by an explanatory article) and may be supported by starting a discussion group on LinkedIn (or other social media) to gauge interest. The Secretary and General Manager of the OR Society or the nominated SIG point of contact in the office (currently or should be asked to email the Society’s membership to seek interest and possible contributors in any new SIG.

At the meeting you need to decide on:

  • a definition of the area of interest and the aims of the proposed SIG. This should normally be expressed in no more than a page of text, and can be considerably shorter;
  • officers and a committee;
  • an outline programme for the coming year.

You will then need to submit your proposed area of interest, aims, officers, committee, and programme, by email, to the Society’s Secretary & General Manager or the nominated SIG point of contact in the office (currently or

Your proposal will be put to the Education and Research Committee for agreement, then formally approved by the Board of the OR Society. Once approval is obtained, you can go ahead.