2. Composition

2.1   Status and composition

2.1.1 Status

BBRC is a committee of BB 2000 Ltd, and BB 2000 Ltd has the ultimate responsibility for the functioning of BBRC, which must operate to the satisfaction of the directors of BB 2000 Ltd.

2.1.2 Composition

The main Committee comprises ten Voting Members, a Chair, a Vice-chair and a non‑voting Secretary.

2.2   Voting Members

2.2.1 Role of Voting Members

-To assess all records submitted to BBRC

-To help write species accounts in the Annual Report

-To help develop identification criteria for taxa dealt with by BBRC

-To assist in the production of articles and publications arising from the Committee’s work

2.2.2 Qualification and Geographical Spread of Voting Members

The prime qualifications of candidates are:

-A widely acknowledged expertise in identification

-A proven reliability in the field

-A track record of high quality submissions of descriptions of scarce and rare birds to county records committees and the BBRC

-Considerable experience of record assessment

-The capacity to handle the considerable volume of work involved in assessing upwards of 500 records per year.

-The capacity to work quickly and efficiently, and for using internet-based computer technology

-Regional credibility


Membership of the committee should try to provide a reasonable geographical spread with members having a detailed knowledge of the following areas: Wales, Scotland, the Northern Isles, Northern England, the Midlands, Eastern England, the Southwest and the Southeast of England.

2.2.3 Selection of Voting Members

BBRC may nominate its own candidate to fill any vacancy but will also invite further nominations, with a closing date, through an announcement in British Birds and a press release sent to birding information services.

All candidates must be proposed, seconded and their proposal be received, with a letter of agreement from the candidate, by the closing date.

All candidates will be formally announced in British Birds. If there is more than one candidate, an election will take place.

In the event of an election each Recording Area has five votes and each Bird Observatory has two votes (see Appendix II). Candidates will provide a brief (one page) birding CV and this will be made available to all voters.  Term of office usually starts on 1st August, but this is not mandatory.

The Chair is responsible for administering the election of Voting Members

2.2.4       Period of office of Voting Members

All Voting Members will be offered the opportunity to serve on the Committee for a minimum of eight years and a maximum of ten years.  Upon reaching this duration the member will be expected to retire; however, in exceptional circumstances a retiring member may be co-opted to fill a temporary vacancy.

A retiring member shall not be considered for full re-election for at least three years following their retirement.

2.2.5 Co-opting Voting Members

In the event of a temporary incapacity or work overload of a Voting Member, BBRC can co-opt a suitably qualified person to fill the temporary vacancy.  This could be one of the more recent retiring members, the Chair or the Vice Chair. Such a temporary vacancy would not normally extend for more than six months.

If a Voting Member resigns, BBRC may co-opt suitably qualified individuals on to the Committee as a temporary measure. The co-opted member will continue up to the next 1st August. The co-opted member may then stand for election to BBRC (subject to the ‘three-year minimum gap’, see Section 2.2.4)

The procedures above will normally mean co-opted members finish their period in less than one year. However, if any co-opted member is still in place after one year, then any continuation must be reviewed by consultation between the Chair, the Secretary and the Voting Members.

Co-opted members have full voting rights at the AGM.

2.2.6 Voting Members on selected reviews

On occasions, large scale reviews of records may be required (see also 5.5.2). This may involve single-species’ reviews due to new identification criteria, or taxonomic changes that require an overhaul of previous records. The workload involved in such reviews may necessitate a different panel of Voting Members to those on the Committee. Such a panel will include as many current Voting Members as is possible, but will also endeavour to include recognised experts, as well as experienced ex-Voting Members. Such panels will have full voting rights on their review, and their decisions will be published in the Annual Report and form part of the official BBRC statistics. Members of these review panels who are not current BBRC Voting Members will not have any voting rights at the AGM. Membership of these review panels shall be agreed between the Chair and serving Voting Members, either at AGM or via electronic means.

2.3   Chair

2.3.1 Role of Chair

-To report to BB 2000 Ltd

-To oversee the process of judging records of rare birds submitted to BBRC

-To take responsibility for and delegate where appropriate, all non-Secretarial administration.

-To monitor the performance of the BBRC Secretary and alert the Board if the Secretary’s performance has dropped and therefore payment of the stipend should be reconsidered

-To send feedback to observers of all Non-Proven records

-To keep track of and respond, where appropriate to questions on social media, within reasonable expectations

-To take responsibility for and delegate, where appropriate all official external dealings of BBRC, including foreign consultancy

-To act as the conduit for policy development and ideas. All proposals relating to operating policy should be directed through the Chair who, in turn, is obliged to raise these at the AGM

-To administer the process of recruiting new Voting Members. All approaches to potential candidates must be made through the Chair or following delegation by the Chair

-To convene the AGM and set the agenda

-To take members’ views into account when setting the agenda for BBRC’s key decision meetings

-To ensure BBRC policy is applied and adhered to by the Committee

-To act as the BBRC representative on BOURC

-To liaise with BB 2000 Ltd


The Chair will have the casting vote in matters of policy and procedure, which are usually discussed at the AGM.

2.3.2 Qualification of Chair

The Chair should have:

– Served as a Voting Member for at least three years before they can be appointed as Chair

– Up-to-date expertise in bird identification and record assessment

– An ability to think and act in a strategic capacity

– Excellent organisational and communication skills

– Familiarity with IT, both in terms of daily usage and its potential for development

2.3.3 Selection and Appointment of Chair

On or before reaching their retirement year (see Section 2.3.4) the current Chair will consult with Voting Members to select a new Chair.

If no agreement can be reached, or if a Chair has not been re-appointed at an AGM (see Section 3.1) then any Voting Member or Members can put forward nominations (which must include a proposer and a seconder) for a new Chair to the directors of BB 2000 Ltd. The board of BB 2000 Ltd will then inform the current Chair and Secretary of the nomination(s).

Where a valid nomination has been received the Chair of the directors of BB 2000 Ltd is required to find out whether the current Chair of BBRC wishes to continue to stand. If so, a straight vote of the ten Voting Members will be taken by secret ballot at the earliest convenient date, and a simple majority is required for the Chair to be changed.

The Secretary or acting Secretary will act as returning officer. Votes can be submitted electronically or by post to the Secretary.

Where there are more than two nominations for Chair, each Voting Member will be able to vote for a first and a second candidate. A second round of voting will take place between the two candidates with highest scores in the first round, and again a simple majority is required if the standing Chair is to be replaced. In the event of a tie in votes, the standing Chair will have the casting vote.

The selected Chair will then be subject to approval by, and formally appointed by, the board of BB 2000 Ltd.

2.3.4 Period of office of Chair

The Chair is reappointed annually by the Voting Members at the AGM. The maximum term of office is ten years.

2.3.5 Appointing a Vice-chair

The Chair can appoint a Vice-chair, following consultation and agreement with Voting Members. The role will normally be taken by an ex-BBRC Voting Member,

If the Chair temporarily cannot carry out their duties (for example through work/holiday commitments or ill-health) then the Vice-chair can take over the role of Chair, if delegated to do so by the Chair.

The Vice-chair may also help the Chair and the Committee, especially in roles associated with developing and writing identification criteria for poorly known taxa, correspondence about individual records, policy development and correspondence with individual observers.

The Vice-chair is reappointed annually by the Voting Members at the AGM. There is no maximum term of office.

2.3.6 Temporary Chair

If a Chair resigns or cannot discharge their responsibilities, then if there is a Vice-chair (see Section 2.3.5) they will take over the role until the next AGM. If no Vice-chair exists, or if the Vice-chair has declined being a replacement Chair, then any Voting Member can be nominated by the Chair, or in the absence of a Chair’s nomination by the Voting Members, to take over the role of Chair until the next AGM.

This arrangement cannot persist beyond the next AGM when a formal replacement will be appointed.

2.4   Secretary

2.4.1 Role of Secretary  

-To receive and circulate submissions of records

-To collate results of voting

-To ensure the safe archiving of all submitted documentation and Voting Members comments

-To liaise with observers and County Recorders where necessary for further information

-To coordinate re-circulations and record reviews

-To deal with correspondence as required

-To liaise with the Chair as appropriate

-To provide information for the website as appropriate

-To announce significant developments in relation to the Secretarial role, in consultation with the Chair

-To provide statistics and data for the annual report, and co-ordinate its production in conjunction with the Editor of British Birds


Note: The Secretary is a non-voting position on all record assessments, and cannot be a Voting Member of the Committee.

2.4.2 Qualification of Secretary

The Secretary should have:

– Experience with IT systems, including working knowledge of databases

– An ability to manage large volumes of data from a variety of sources to pre-determined timescales

– Excellent written communication skills

– Excellent organizational skills

– An ability to think and work strategically

– The ability to liaise with other members of the Committee, County Recorders and observers

– Experience of data collection, preferably relating to bird records

– A knowledge of rare birds and the BBRC

2.4.3 Selection and Appointment of Secretary

The Chair will select the Secretary on behalf of the Committee; this appointment will be subject to approval by, and formally appointed by, the board of BB 2000 Ltd.  The Secretary will be required to sign a contract provided by the board of BB 2000 Ltd.

An annual appraisal will be held, conducted by the Chair and a representative of the board of BB 2000 Ltd.  

2.4.4 Period of office of Secretary

On appointment, the Secretary will work initially for 12 months during which period the appointment may be terminated by either party giving one month’s notice. Thereafter, if the appointment is confirmed, it will be subject to termination by either party giving at least six months written notice.

The Secretary is reappointed annually by the Voting Members at the AGM. There is no maximum term of office.

2.5   Other roles

2.5.1 Support provided to the Committee

Other non-voting positions provide support to the Committee and will often be performed by former members of the Committee. Positions such as Archivist, Museum Consultant, Genetics Consultant and Media Officer would be typical of the activities required. The definition of any such role will be determined by the Chair and Secretary, and appointments will be made by the Chair in consultation with Voting Members.

2.5.2 Work for outside Organisations   

A small group of experienced members of the Committee may be selected to help the Chair and Secretary with matters outside the general remit of BBRC. This work may include the assessment of rarities from other countries at the request of either the rarities committee of the relevant country or the Association of European Rarities Committees (AERC).

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