Constitution of the Society

(as revised 2014 and implemented in April 2015)

1. Name

The Society shall be called the Society for Social Medicine, and is hereinafter referred to as the Society.

2. Object

i. The object of the Society shall be to advance knowledge for population health and to promote the development of scientific knowledge in social medicine, social medicine being defined as epidemiology and public health, the study of the population health needs of society, the study of the provision and organisation of health services, and the study of the prevention of disease.

ii. The Society shall undertake any such things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of this object, and in the process thereof shall:

a. purchase, take on lease or in exchange, receive by way of gift, grant or otherwise, hire or in any other manner acquire any real or personal property and any rights or privileges which the Society may think necessary or desirable for the promotion of its object, and to construct, maintain and alter any buildings or erections necessary or desirable for the work of the Society;

b. sell, let, mortgage, dispose of, or turn to account all or any of the property or assets of the Society as may be thought expedient with a view to the promotion of its object;

c. borrow or raise money for the purpose of the Society on such terms and on such security as may be thought fit;

d. invest the moneys of the Society not immediately required for its purposes in or upon such investments, securities as may be determined by the Society.

3. Membership

i. Membership of the Society shall be open to those who contribute to the object of the Society.

ii. Membership of the Society shall be in two classes:
a. Honorary Members, elected by the Society on the nomination of the Committee, as a mark of respect in recognition of distinguished contributions to social medicine.Honorary Members shall be entitled to attend all meetings and other activities of the Society, and shall enjoy the full rights of membership of to the Society;

b. Ordinary Members: the procedure for nomination to, privileges of, and subsequent subscriptions due from Ordinary members shall be determined by the Society’s Bye-Laws.

iii. Ordinary members who are three months in arrears shall be warned by the Honorary Treasurer that unless their subscriptions are paid forthwith, the privileges shall be withdrawn. An Ordinary member who is more than twelve months in arrears and has been duly notified thereof by the Honorary Treasurer shall, unless immediate payment is made, cease to be a member of the Society. Ordinary Membership may be restored at the discretion of the Committee on payment of arrears of subscription.

iv. Candidates for Ordinary Membership of the Society shall require nomination in writing by one member of the Society.

v. Lists of eligible candidates for membership, identifying the name of the Member making each nomination, shall be considered by the Committee. If no objection is made, the person nominated shall be deemed duly elected. If there is any objection then the Committee shall vote. Names of new members shall be announced to the membership in the subsequent Newsletter.

4. Scientific Meetings

i. An Annual Scientific Meeting shall be held in every calendar year.

ii. Additional Scientific Meetings shall be held at the discretion of the Committee. Additional Scientific Meetings may be arranged in conjunction with other organisations, and may be held in countries outside the British Isles.

iii. The business transacted at Scientific Meetings shall consist of scientific communications.

iv. Formal notice of each scientific Meeting, together with a programme for the meeting shall be sent to all Members at least twenty-one days before the scheduled date of the meeting.

5. Business Meetings
i. An Annual General Meeting shall be held on the occasion of the Annual Scientific Meeting, and the business to be transacted shall include:

a. consideration of reports from the Committee and the Honorary Treasurer including the Society’s Annual Report and Statement of Accounts;

b. election of Members;

c. election of Officers and members of the Committee;

d. items of business as shall have previously been notified to the Honorary Secretary in writing no less than six weeks before the date of the meeting.

ii. An Extraordinary General Meeting may be convened by the Committee whenever it thinks fit, and by the Honorary Secretary if so required by the President, or within one month from the receipt of a requisition in writing signed by not less than twenty Members stating the purpose for which an Extraordinary General Meeting is being requisitioned.

iii. The Committee shall be empowered to conduct a postal or electronic ballot of any issue that it considers appropriate. The notice of ballot shall specify the period, not being less than twenty one days from the date of the notice, within which members shall be required to cast their votes. The results of a ballot shall not be binding on the Society unless 50% or more Members cast their vote.

iv. Formal notice of and agenda papers for each Business Meeting shall be sent to all members on or before a date on which it is reasonable to expect that members will receive the papers at least twenty-one days before the scheduled date of the meeting. The meeting is invalidated if the notice and agenda papers are sent out at a later date.

v. The quorum for a Business Meeting shall be thirty-five Members present in person.

vi. Subject to Article 11 hereof, questions shall be determined at Business Meetings by a simple majority show of hands unless a poll is demanded by the Chair of the Meeting, or by at least five members present in person. A poll should be taken in such a manner and at such times as the Chair may direct.

vii. A casting vote may be exercised by the Chair of the Meeting, or for a postal or electronic ballot by the President of the Society.

6. Officers
i. The Honorary Officers of the Society shall be: a President, a President-elect or an immediate Past President, an Honorary Treasurer, an Honorary Secretary and Communications Officer.

ii. Only members of the Society shall be eligible for election to Honorary Office, and nominations for office shall require the support of two Members.

iii. All Honorary Officers shall be elected at an Annual General Meeting of the Society and shall normally assume their duties on the 1st January following. Upon ceasing to hold Honorary Office, a Member shall not be eligible to serve on the Committee for one year.

iv. President. A President-elect shall be elected in alternate years. After holding this office for one year, the Member so elected shall succeed to the Office of President, which office shall be held for two years. Thereafter the member shall hold the Office of Immediate Past President for one year. The Member, thereafter, shall not be eligible for re-election to the office of President.

v. Honorary Treasurer. The Honorary Treasurer shall serve for up to five years, and shall be responsible for directing the Society’s financial transactions. All cheques shall be signed by the Honorary Treasurer or, in the Honorary Treasurer’s absence, the Honorary Secretary or another designated member of the Society.

vi. Honorary Secretary. The Honorary Secretary shall be elected for up to five years and shall be responsible for conducting the Society’s affairs as directed by the President and Committee and shall keep a register of members and their contact details

vii. Communications Officer. The Communications Officer shall be elected for up to five years and shall be responsible for overseeing all of the Society’s communications activities, including the website, social media activities and promotional material.

viii. In the event of an Officer being unable to complete his/her term of office, his/her duties shall be assumed until the next Annual General Meeting by his/her designated successor or by such other Member as the Committee shall nominate.

7. Committee

i. The governing body of the Society shall be the Committee, and shall consist of the President, President-elect or Immediate Past President, Honorary Treasurer, Honorary Secretary, Communications Officer and nine Ordinary Members.

ii. Only Members of the Society shall be eligible for election to the Committee, and nominations shall require the support of two Members.

iii. Ordinary Members of the Committee shall be elected by ballot and agreed at an Annual General Meeting of the Society, and shall assume their duties on the 1st January following. The period of office of Ordinary Members of the Committee shall be three years, but without prejudice to their eligibility for Honorary Office within or immediately after such period. Upon the expiration of such a term a Member shall not be eligible to serve on the Committee for one year.

iv The Committee has the power to co-opt members to join the committee for specific roles not possible to be undertaken by ordinary committee members. These include co-ordinating the LOC of ASM, acting as liaison of a related professional society, and other roles as required at different times. The length of service of a co-opted member should be related to their role on the society, but not ordinarily be longer than that of an ordinary committee member (3 years). If appropriate co-opted members may serve more than one term of office. Additionally, overall the committee should always have more elected than co-opted members.

v. The Committee shall be responsible for deciding the arrangements for all meetings and other business of the Society. Four shall form a quorum. The Committee shall have the power to set up subcommittees to deal with matters arising from the business of the Committee and matters of interest to the Society.

vi. The Committee shall usually meet on every occasion that a meeting of the Society is held in the British Isles, and on such other occasions, as they or the President consider may be necessary.

vii. The Committee shall determine the Society’s representation on other bodies.

8. Elections

i. The Honorary Officers and Ordinary members of the Committee due to retire at the end of the year shall be notified to members at least eight weeks before the Annual General Meeting, and nominations invited.

ii. On receipt of such notice, any Members of the society may propose candidates for Honorary Office or for Ordinary membership of the Committee by sending in writing the name of each candidate supported by the endorsement of another member of the Society and the consent of the candidate to the Honorary Secretary to arrive not less than six weeks before the scheduled date of the Annual General Meeting. Proposals received after this date will be declared invalid.

iii. If candidates for office are nominated in excess of the number of vacancies available, the Honorary Secretary shall send a ballot to each Member not less than twenty-one days before the scheduled date of the Annual General Meeting. Voting members shall record their votes and return the form to the Honorary Secretary. Votes returned after the commencement of the Annual General meeting shall be void. Scrutineers may be appointed at the Annual General meeting to count the votes, and the result shall be announced at the meeting. The candidates securing the largest number of votes shall be elected to the vacancies that exist.

9. General Business

i. A calendar year shall be used for the Society’s business and the Accounts shall be made up to 31st December in each year.

ii. The income and property of the Society shall be applied solely towards the promotion of the object of the Society, as set forth in this Constitution, and no portion thereof shall be paid or transferred, directly or indirectly, by way of dividend, bonus or otherwise howsoever by way of profit to the Members of the Society, providing that nothing shall prevent the payment in good faith of reasonable and proper remuneration and out-of-pocket expenses to any officer or servant of the Society, or to any member of the Society in return for any services actually rendered to the Society.

iii. The Society’s accounts shall be audited each year by an Auditor. The Auditor’s report shall be published with the Society’s Annual Report and Statement of Accounts.

10. Affiliation

i. The Society shall be affiliated to any other organisation that the Society shall deem appropriate.

11. The Constitution

i. The Society shall have the power to make, vary and repeal Bye-Laws for the conduct of its general affairs, its officer and servants, and for the despatch of its business, but so that no such Bye-Laws shall be of effect if and so far as they are inconsistent with or repugnant to the provisions of the Constitution. Notice of any proposed change in the Bye-Laws shall be included with the formal notice and agenda papers for the General Meeting

ii. Notice of any proposal to amend or alter this Constitution must be sent to the Honorary Secretary not less than eight weeks before the next ensuing Annual General Meeting. Such proposal will be circulated to all members, and will appear on the Agenda of the said meeting in the form of a motion. The quorum for amendments to the Constitution shall be one-third of all Ordinary members of the Society present in person, and the proposed amendment shall require the support of two-thirds of the Members present to be passed. If a quorum shall not be present, the Committee shall be empowered to conduct a postal or electronic ballot on the motion, and in these circumstances the proposed amendment shall require the support of two-thirds of the vote cast and received by, the Honorary Secretary by a date to be specified on the notice of the ballot. No additions or alterations shall be made to the provisions of Articles 9-ii and 11-iii of the Constitution, nor shall any material alteration of substance be made to Article 2.

iii. The Society may at any time by a resolution passed in General Meeting ask for an amendment to the Constitution in accordance with the terms of Article 11-ii and be wound up and dissolved, and in that event the books and records of the Society shall be disposed of in accordance with directions of the Committee and all other property of the Society shall be transferred to such body or bodies, whether incorporated or not, as shall be specified by the resolution for winding-up, provided that such body or bodies has or have specified objects analogous to the object of the Society. If no such body or bodies be specified by the resolution, then the said property of the Society shall be transferred to such body or bodies as may be determined by a Judge of the High Court of Justice having jurisdiction in regard to charitable funds and if and so far as effect cannot be given to such provision then to some other charitable object.


1. Ordinary Members

For nomination to Membership of the Society, the Committee shall require evidence of eligibility. Such evidence shall be submitted by the proposer on demand and shall usually consist of references to published work or accounts of current research and/or accounts of teaching responsibility and/or position held.

2. Subscription

(i) The rate of subscription shall be determined by the Committee and any change shall be agreed at an Annual General Meeting of the Society. Members shall be informed of any change in the rate of subscription not less than one month prior to their subscription becoming due.

(ii) Subscription rates apply to a calendar year and are due annually on 1st January. Members elected shall be liable for the full subscription in the year which they are elected.

(iii) Ordinary members shall normally be required to pay their subscriptions by Direct Debit for the year in which they are elected and b for subsequent years. Each candidate for membership shall forward a Direct Debit Mandate for this purpose with the form of nomination. These documents shall be destroyed if the candidate is not elected. Alternative means of payment may be agreed in exceptional circumstances such as when the member does not have a UK bank account.

3. Attendance at Business Meetings

(i) Every member attending and voting at Business meetings shall be required to record his/her attendance by signing the register provided.

4. Scientific meetings

(i) The Committee shall determine the programme for Scientific Meetings and may co-opt persons to assist them with this function or may delegate responsibility to a sub-committee composed wholly or partly of Members of the Society with the Committee represented by at least one Officer or Elected Member.

(ii) Scientific communications for presentation at Scientific Meetings shall be prepared in accordance with such instructions as the Committee may from time to time determine.

(iii) The Committee shall assess all abstracts submitted to them on merit and shall make their decision on the acceptability and relevance of the material within the programme of the meeting.

(iv) A Scientific Meeting may have a President who shall be nominated by the host department. For a joint meeting with another society, the Committee shall invite an appropriate person to act as President for the whole or part of such a meeting.

(v) Visitors may, by permission of the President, be introduced by Members. Their names shall be entered in a book provided for the purpose. They may make communications and shall take part in discussion subject to the same rules as Members.

5. Locations of meetings

(i) The initiative for inviting the Society to hold a Scientific Meeting at a particular location rests with individual members. The Committee shall accept such invitations and make sure arrangements for scientific meetings as they consider within the interests of the Society and its Membership.

6. Publications

(i) The Committee may make arrangements for the publication of the proceedings of its Scientific Meetings, original contributions in the field of Social Medicine or such other matters as it may determine.

7. Sections

(i) Sections are open to all members of the Society for Social Medicine. Society for Social Medicine members can participate in more than one section.

(ii) A proposal for a section has to be submitted to the Committee by submitting a proposal, covering a list of agreed criteria. A proposal for a section has to be approved by the Committee. Each Section must have more than 20 members.

(iii) Sections will provide the Committee with a yearly membership list, the names of the Section officers and an annual report of their activities. Representatives of Sections may be co-opted onto the Committee. The Committee will monitor the appropriateness and viability of Sections.

(iv) Sections can request to organise a parallel session at the SSM annual scientific meeting. SSM Section meetings may be held.

(v) All aspects regards the Section(s) will be laid down in rules approved by the Committee.

This constitution is available in pdf here