British Dietetic Association (BDA) Country Board Constitution


Aims (Terms of Reference)

In accordance with the BDA Articles of Association and the By-Laws the overall aim of the country boards is:-

To lead the profession in each respective country by:

  1. Identifying areas of policy or care pathways where dietitians can make a difference and actively influencing decision makers and promoting the role of the dietitian and the dietetic profession
  2. Being the expert voice of the BDA, the dietetic profession and nutrition and dietetics in the country
  3. Leading the BDA and the profession and influencing relevant public policy or national strategies on health and social care
  4. Engaging with external stakeholders and cross-border organisations, lobbying parliament / assembly / government where appropriate, responding to relevant public consultations.
  5. Assisting (with interpretation relevant to each Country) in the implementation of UK-wide BDA strategies and other key policies, such as the Chairman’s theme.
  6. To communicate effectively with BDA members in each respective Country

By doing 1 – 6 above, the country board will enable the profession to grow and strengthen in each respective country.

Key functions of the country board

A. Identify the key stakeholders in the country

B. Engage with the stakeholders that are relevant to the country board activity and ensure that there is BDA representation on, at and in key stakeholder committees, events and meetings

C. Take every opportunity to promote the dietetic profession to stakeholders within the country

D. Develop a work plan each year for the following year that states the 3 main objectives for work by each respective Country Board. The work plan must be in line with the BDA Strategic Plan and other four country BDA activities

E. Deliver the work plan objectives during the year

F. Report on achievements and outcomes from the workplan

G. Keep abreast of changes happening on the horizon that have an actual or potential impact on the profession and its workforce in that country i.e.

  1. The national, political environment and parliamentary/assembly activity
  2. Government policy and legislation
  3. The way in which health and social care are provided
  4. NHS Strategic direction and key policy drivers
  5. Developments in dietetic practice
  6. The requirements for dietitians and dietetic support workers
  7. The provision of higher education and developments in the ways in which it is possible to qualify as a dietitian
  8. The provision of medical nutrition products
  9. Developments in food and drink policy, its provision and its manufacture
  10. Activity in the media including social media
  11. Interactions with external stakeholders
  12. Food, nutrition and dietetic policy activities of the other three UK nations 

The aims are reviewed at least bi-annually to establish whether the Board is still ‘Fit for Purpose’ and adjusted/updated accordingly.  Updates and amends to the Terms of Reference need to go to a Board of Directors meeting – Agenda B – for endorsement.


Each Board will consist of the following Core Members:

  • A Chairman
  • A Deputy Chairman
  • A BDA Director
  • A BDA Trade Union Representative who is a member of the Employment Relations Committee for the Country
  • Representatives from the Allied Healthcare Professional Federation (England, Scotland and Northern Ireland) or Wales Therapy Advisory Committee as appropriate.
  • Other members with or without portfolio as agreed by each Country Board on an annual basis and in line with a Country Board’s business needs. The Board may wish to include representative managers and / or representatives from some or all local BDA Branches

The total number of Core Members for each Country Board shall be no less than six and no more than ten.

Co-opted members

In addition to Core Members or other defined member roles, each Country Board may co-opt non-voting members who will be identified according to the work priorities of that Country Board. The remit of a Co-opted Member shall be agreed by the Core Membership prior to co-option. Co-opted Members can play a full part in a Country Board’s proceedings, but shall not be able to vote. There shall be no more than 2 Co-opted Members on a Country Board.

Co-opted members will be appointed by simple majority of a Country Board’s Core Membership, subject to approval by the Board of Directors.

The BDA Director

A Director from the BDA Board of Directors will be allocated a seat on each Country Board. This Director will act as a conduit through whom information about what the Country Board is doing (its activities and any concerns) will be represented at BDA Board and also information about relevant decisions, taken at the Board of Directors, is reported back to the Country Board.

The Chairman and the Director will work closely together to ensure that BDA strategy and work is consistent across all four nations yet allows flexibility of each nation.

Terms of office

The terms of office for a Core Member shall be for three years. These will be ‘staggered’ to ensure that not all posts are changed at the same time. 

The limit to the number of the terms of office that a Chairman, Deputy Chairman and Core Member or Co-opted Member may serve shall be two consecutive terms of office.

Selecting the Chair

Details about being a Country Board Chairman can be found on the BDA website along with a job description and Person Specification for the role.

For an informal discussion about the role potential candidates can contact either the Chairman [email protected]) or the Chief Executive.

Application is via a CV and a covering letter (no more than 2 sides of A4 each), explaining how and why the potential Chairman believes they meet the criteria and what they would add to the role of Country Board Chairman.

Candidates’ CVs are reviewed and a shortlist of candidates are interviewed by the BDA Selection Committee. The successful candidate is selected based on their ability to meet the requirements on the Job Description and Person specification and their performance at interview.

Becoming a core member of the country board

The Trade Union Representative, will be appointed by the Country’s BDA Employment Relations Committee.

The Deputy Chairman and all other Core Members will have their appointment approved by the BDA Board of Directors, following selection by a Country Board. The process for selection should be as follows:

  1. The Country Board identifies that a vacancy exists and outlines the skills/experience (if applicable) required.
  2. The vacancy is promoted to BDA members through official channels (website, email newsletters, Dietetics Today, BDA social media etc) for not less than 4 weeks. A closing date should also be identified.
  3. Applicants should be asked to submit a brief CV and supporting paragraph to the Country Board as to why they should be appointed.
  4. The Country Board will then consider all applications and make (a) recommendation(s) to the BDA Board of Directors
  5. Successful applicants are notified of the approval by the BDA Board of Directors by the Country Board Chairman.

Equal opportunities

The BDA in all four countries abides by the principle that there be no discrimination based on the protected characteristics when selected any BDA member for any of the roles on the Country Boards.


Country Board Policy Function

There will be sufficient policy resource for each country that will enable: 

  • engagement with key stakeholders on behalf of the Country Board either on their own or alongside selected Board members or expert members from the general BDA membership in the country
  • the two-way flow of relevant information between the BDA office staff and the Country Board i.e. keeping the BDA office staff up to date with Country Board activities and concerns as well as keeping the Country Board up to date about relevant news, activity and policy information from the BDA office.
  • liaison with BDA Office staff to secure support from the experts in the office for any relevant Country Board activity
  • the taking of minutes of meetings, organisation of the agenda of meetings (along with the support of the Country Board Chairman) and the making practical arrangements for the meetings


Country Board Work Plans:

Each year in July the Country Boards should develop their work plan for the year ahead.

This is then submitted to the BDA Board of Directors for approval in September

An Annual Report of the Country Board’s work is written by the Chairman and submitted to the BDA Board of Directors in the autumn.

All minutes from any Country Board meetings are submitted to BDA Board of Directors for review at their next Board meeting.

Chairing a meeting

The Chairman will Chair each meeting. In her/his absence, the Deputy Chairman will Chair the meeting. In the event that both are absent from a meeting, the Core Members present will nominate a Chairman for that meeting.

Number of meetings

A Country Board shall meet at least 3 times per year in person (face to face) and has the option to meet virtually via teleconference as well – this may be another three times a year.


The presence of at least 50% of voting (i.e. Core) members is required to establish a quorum. One of these Core Members should be the Chairman or Deputy Chairman or where both have given apologies, by the nominated Chairman as outlined above.

Organisation of the meetings

  • Date of meetings are agreed at the previous meetings.
  • A meeting date reminder will be sent to all Board members prior to the next meeting requesting apologies in order to make catering arrangements.
  • An agenda will be drafted two weeks before meeting by the Country Board Chairman and the BDA policy staff.
  • The agenda and relevant papers will be sent to Board members a week ahead of the meeting.
  • An attendance sheet will be provided for the meeting.
  • Minutes of meeting will be taken by BDA Policy staff.
  • Draft Minutes will be sent to the Country Board Chairman for agreement and then formatted and with a DRAFT watermark added before sending out to the Board members.
  • Minutes will not be finalised ‘as a true record’ until they are agreed at the next Board meeting at which point the DRAFT can be removed.
  • The approved minutes will be added to the Country Board website page.
  • Significant Board activities to be summarised and posted on the specific Country Board webpage on the BDA website by the Policy Officer.
  • All paperwork saved in Country Board folder on BDA system.

Expenses for attending meetings

Expenses for Board members are covered by the BDA. Expenses forms can be accessed from the BDA website. Board members should complete these as soon as possible after a Board meeting. Completed expense forms should be sent to the BDA office, c/o Policy Officer. The relevant finance code should be assigned and forms passed on to BDA Business Support to process. All Board members will comply with the relevant policies and guidelines for submitting claims e.g. to submit claims before the end of the financial year.

Identifying key priorities/action/agenda items for the board

Boards should focus their work and meetings on achieving the agreed workplan. This may involve the convening of task and finish groups or work that needs to be done between Board meetings by Board members or the Policy Officer.

Other pieces of work may come up which are not on the work plan.

These might come from:

  • Items raised at BDA Board of Directors
  • The Chairman
  • Board Members
  • BDA Strategic Plan
  • NHS Strategic Direction/Key Policy Drivers
  • Parliamentary activity
  • Horizon Scanning which highlights a number of advancing issues
  • Meetings attended and/or approaches seeking Board involvement

When deciding whether pieces of work are a priority or whether there is a role for the Board the following points should be considered:

  • The Boards should work at a strategic level 
  • A defined piece of work could be delegated to a ‘Task and Finish’ group overseen by the board
  • What are the current big issues for the profession, how relevant is the subject /issue to the profession? 
  • What contribution/influence/impact can the Board have?
  • What capacity is there to get involved?
  • What is the risk if the Board is not involved?


Board budgets and webpages

The Country Boards have budgets for the running of Board meetings. However, there is money available for specific programmes of work/activity and requests for an allocation to the budget can be made as part of the budget cycle when budgets are being set.

Boards may also write a business case for larger amounts of money. The business case paperwork is available via the Policy Officer. The costed forms are submitted to the BDA Finance and Risk Committee for approval.

The Budget year runs from the beginning of March to the end of Feb-.

The BDA senior management representative is responsible for the management of the Board budget

Budget setting for the next year begins in August/September time. The Policy Officer will ask the Country Board to detail planned activity requiring to be accounted for and included in the next year’s budget. If the activity requires more than £1000 a business case is required to be written by the Chairman and the BDA Policy staff which should be submitted in September / October. 

BDA Website Web pages

Each Country Board has a web page.  This is an important source of information for members and as such a valuable place to put information about the Boards. The up keep of the Country Board web page is the responsibility of the Policy Officer with the support of the Administration officer. The pages will contain:

  • An up-to-date list of the members of the Country Board
  • The latest minutes of the Country Board meetings
  • Updates of the Country Board activities
  • Relevant information for BDA members in that Country