LMS-EMS meeting on BMC

Notes of meeting re BMC, 13 June 2003

Present: Garth Dales (Chair, BMC Scientific Committee), Nick Woodhouse (Treasurer, LMS), Peter Cooper (Executive Secretary, LMS)

  1. Warwick BMC

    The accounts were still not resolved. The LMS and EdMS, as honorary auditors, could not get the information they wanted. But it was debatable how far the BMCs, or Scientific Committee, should have audits beyond the procedures of the institution hosting the BMC (see below). The LMS, in its role of providing a grant for a BMC, sought only information that confirmed its grant had been used properly.

  2. Relative roles of the BMC Scientific Committee and the BMC Organising Committees

    To avoid the possible assumption of a VATable service, the Scientific Committee must not be 'contracting' the host institution or Organising Committee to run the BMC. The BMC Organising Committee must be independent, self-managed and responsible for the financial management of the BMC (including audit to the levels required by the host institution).

    The Scientific Committee could not accept responsibility (and possible financial liability) for BMCs. Setting itself up as an independent, charitable body could make matters worse; it should be just an advisory body representing the maths community, aiming to ensure continuity of the BMC, and for recommending speakers and topics to retain a comprehensive coverage of mathematics over time.

    The Scientific Committee acted to discuss informally with potential hosts and to offer the AGM (the maths community) advice on proposals from organisations to host BMCS. It had no legal standing or responsibility with regard to the selection or the chosen host. The AGM decided whether and which proposal to accord the title 'BMC'.

  3. BMC finances

    The money originally held by the EdMS on behalf of the BMC had, with the agreement of the Glasgow AGM, been given to the LMS in exchange for assurances on the continuing support by the LMS for future BMCs. Those assurances still remained.

    There was, therefore, no 'buffer' to absorb slight losses or surpluses from BMCs.

    Recognising the longer planning horizon of BMCs, the LMS had agreed to consider requests for grants for BMCs up to three years ahead and to allow BMC organisers to call on elements of the grants outside its normal three month rule.

    The LMS could not guarantee to make a grant - that was always a judgement of the quality of the application. Nor could the LMS make a commitment to underwrite a BMC or give other guarantees. It would, however, accept a moral responsibility to fund BMCs more generously than other conferences, and to look sympathetically on a request from a BMC that had made a loss for reasons outside the reasonable control of the Organising Committee or host institution.

  4. BMC-BAMC relations

    It was proving difficult to establish a continuing, working relationship with the BAMC as it appeared no equivalent to the BMC Scientific Committee existed.

    The LMS agreed to help to broker a meeting, and engage with the IMA, to bring together those responsible for the BMCs and BAMCs. That might take place in January 2004, to look at the 2005 joint meeting, alongside the BMC meeting on 22 January 2004.

The structure of the British Mathematical Colloquium

  1. The British Mathematical Colloquium (BMC) is the title accorded by the BMC Annual General Meeting to a series of independent conferences organised for the community of pure mathematicians based in the United Kingdom. It is expected that just one British Mathematical Colloquium shall be held annually, usually in the Easter vacation of UK universities for approximately four days. A British Mathematical Colloquium is expected to consist of lectures given by invited speakers and of appropriate other meetings and activities.

  2. All those participating in a British Mathematical Colloquium in a particular year convene to form the BMC Annual General Meeting for that year. The BMC Annual General Meeting is chaired by the Chair of the BMC Organising Committee, who is designated Chairman of the BMC. The Chairman of the BMC holds office from the end of the BMC Annual General Meeting held at the meeting of the BMC immediately preceding the BMC at their institution to the end of the BMC Annual General Meeting held at the meeting of the BMC at their institution.

  3. The BMC Annual General Meeting is responsible for:
    1. The procedures of the British Mathematical Colloquium and of the BMC Scientific Committee (The last discussion of these procedures took place at the Annual General Meeting of the 54th meeting of the BMC, held at Warwick University on 8 April 2002.)
    2. The designation of a proposed conference as the British Mathematical Colloquium in a particular year.
    3. The appointment of the Chair of the BMC Scientific Committee.

  4. The BMC Organising Committee is appointed by and responsible to the organisation hosting the British Mathematical Colloquium in that year. The host organisation will be a Department of Mathematics at a UK University, or a similar institution. The BMC Organising Committee is responsible for, inter alia:
    1. The financial management of that particular British Mathematical Colloquium, including application for financial support and underwriting of costs.
    2. Invitation of plenary and other speakers, and arrangement of all meetings within its British Mathematical Colloquium.
    3. Development and coordination of satellite meetings.

  5. The BMC Scientific Committee is responsible for advising the BMC Annual General Meeting on the medium and long-term development of the British Mathematical Colloquia and for strategic issues including liaison with potential and agreed host organisations.
    The BMC Scientific Committee will:
    1. Discuss with particular Departments of Mathematics their offers to the BMC Annual General Meeting to host future British Mathematical Colloquia.
    2. Commend to the BMC Annual General Meeting appropriate dates and formats for British Mathematical Colloquia; these meetings could be joint meetings with other organisations.
    3. Meet twice a year, once after the BMC Annual General Meeting, and once in September/October