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Running a succesful IBMS branch

IBMS Manchester Branch members Michelle Brereton, Chair, and Zonya Jeffrey, IBMS Council Member, share their experiences and advice on setting up and running a branch.

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When the IBMS was founded in 1912, Manchester became one of its first branches, opening just a year later. Today, with the support of local IBMS members, this branch is still actively organising engaging and memorable events for its members.

A local IBMS branch is a great way to promote IBMS activities, encourage members to get more involved in the profession and provide CPD support.

For example, IBMS Manchester Branch recently worked with the Greater Manchester Pathology Network to provide educational events. The branch has also hosted a Curry and Quiz evening, participated in Manchester Pride and held an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) discussion event.

Face-to-face events encourage social interaction but require resources and planning, whereas digitally hosted events provide a greater reach but have reduced opportunities for socialising.

Don’t overstretch yourselves. Anything you achieve as a committee is a win – you are all volunteers. Most importantly, be positive; if you work together and play to your skills, running a branch is enjoyable and productive.

However, if you live in an area that doesn’t have a local active branch and want to get one started, there is lots of support available to you. To start, contact the IBMS who can offer all the information you require and put you in touch with your regional committee or Council Member for guidance. They will provide a good structural link for advice and arrange for a representative from your branch committee to attend regional committee meetings.

A branch committee must be formed consisting of three vital roles: Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. Each of these roles has a one-year tenure, elected by the branch committee annually, and they require active commitment. Members volunteering for the positions must be able to put some time aside.

Every year, the branch must hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM) – this is an essential open meeting that must be advertised locally. A standard agenda can be used, and there should be a chance for the Secretary and Treasurer to present annual reports. The AGM is also an ideal opportunity to invite speakers on a topic of local or national interest, to encourage professional discussion and social interaction for IBMS members in your branch area. The temptation of food is also a good way to boost attendance.

It is also recommended that you draw up a Terms of Reference document. This is used to define the timing, frequency and format of committee meetings (virtual or in person) and helps committee members to understand what is expected of them at meetings. In Manchester, we have enjoyed a steady stream of committee members from varying career positions and workplaces, helping to keep content fresh and relevant for local members. If you feel there is a gap in your committee, ask others to join and consider adding new roles.

We have added the roles of CPD Officer and a Communications team to look after our social media channels and communications to members.

In addition, effective communication between branch committee members helps us get tasks done more between meetings too (we use WhatsApp).

Finally, the IBMS office is always available to provide support and help make the necessary financial and operational arrangements. They are there to support you and will ensure that your branch members receive communications about your events and can also help with ticketing and promotions. For more information, contact [email protected].

Image credit | iStock


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