Microbiology Society — Chair of Audit, Risk and Evaluation Committee

The Microbiology Society is looking to appoint a new Chair of its Audit, Risk and Evaluation Committee. The Chair of the Committee will use their experience and knowledge in audit and finance to provide an external perspective on the strategic direction of the Society’s work and report back to the Council. (Deadline: 12th May)

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The Microbiology Society is a membership charity for scientists interested in microbes, their effects and their practical uses. It is one of the largest microbiology societies in Europe with a worldwide membership of ~7000 members based in universities, industry, hospitals, research institutes and schools. The Microbiology Society, previously named the Society for General Microbiology, was formally established in February 1945, with Sir Alexander Fleming elected as its first President.

The Microbiology Society is invested in supporting its members, helping them to connect to its active community, and providing many opportunities to get involved and shape its work. One example is the Society’s Annual Conference, which brings together scientists who work in microbiology and provides a comprehensive overview of current microbiological research and discoveries. The event takes place over the course of a week each April at one of the UK or Ireland’s major convention centres and is designed to maximise opportunities for networking and the formation of new collaborations.

The Microbiology Society is not structured as a traditional fundraising charity, its revenue is largely made from the sale of access to its journal content. It has six journals which are sold to academic and biological institutions around the world. The Society is now focussed on assessing its output versus its impact and how best it can continue to support its members to contribute to its overall mission.

Role specification

The Chair of the Audit, Risk and Evaluation Committee will play a key role by supporting and constructively challenging the executive members of Council but does not sit on Council directly. The Committee Chair will use their experience and knowledge to provide an external perspective on the strategic direction of the Society’s work and contribute by constructively challenging its performance whilst maintaining independence of thought. They will also provide an informal source of independent advice to the Chief Executive, the Chief Operations Officer, and other directors as appropriate and will report to the Council annually.

The Committee is responsible for advising on the Society’s strategic direction with respect to external audit, risk and risk management, and impact and evaluation, which may include:

  • Assessment of the adequacy of Management response to issues identified by audit and other assurance functions
  • Review of the accounting policies, financial statements, notes, and management commentary included in the Business Accounts; and the Statement of Internal Control
  • The appointment and performance of the Society’s outsourced finance service and the purchase of audit services.
  • Review of the Society’s Critical Risk Register and developing the Society’s understanding of risk management
  • Review of and support for the development of the Society’s impact and evaluation plans

More specific duties include:

  • Providing independent challenge and support to the Society’s Council, Finance Committee and Senior Management Team, aiming to maximise return, while minimising risk
  • Chairing the Committee, managing and engaging with people with honesty and integrity and upholding the reputation of the Society
  • Supporting the development of systems for sound risk-based decision making and controls that demonstrate a culture of value for money
  • Supporting the development of processes for assessing the impact of the Society on key stakeholders
  • Engaging with the Society’s accountants and auditors as required to ensure satisfactory delivery of services

Person specification

The new Chair of the Audit, Risk and Evaluation Committee will be responsible for advising the Society using their experience and knowledge of finance possibly gained in a senior financial executive position, for example commercial financial experience as CFO. Whilst some understanding of charity finance is desirable it is not a requirement for the appointment of this position. The Microbiology Society seeks to appoint a candidate who will understand or seek to understand the membership charity sector, with revenue streams from the Society's membership base as well as from its journal publishing.

The Microbiology Society seeks to appoint a new Chair of the Audit, Risk and Evaluation Committee with experience of external audit. The successful candidate will have knowledge of external audits, and will be able to evidence experience of going through processes with external auditing firms. They will also have a good understanding of the process of appointing auditors.

Other desirable, but not required, characteristics for this appointment is previous Chair experience. The Microbiology Society is happy to appoint a first time Chair candidate as long as they have an understanding of good governance. The appointed candidate also does not need to have any professional experience in science, but an interest in the Society's mission and its activities would be appreciated.

Terms of appointment

The basic time commitment for formal Audit, Risk and Evaluation Committee meetings and other activities will be around eight days per year, which consists of four 2.5 hour Committee meetings, ad hoc engagement, and an allowance for meeting preparation time. This post is not formally remunerated but all expenses incurred will be reimbursed. The Microbiology Society is located in London and Council, Audit, Risk and Evaluation Committee meetings are normally held at its offices and / or remotely. An overnight stay may therefore be necessary. The appointment will be for a fixed period of three years.

The deadline for consideration is 12th May.

If you would like to register your interest, please fill in the form below. A member of the Nurole team will be in touch ahead of the deadline to let you know whether it would be worth submitting a full application and to discuss the process further.