Governance refers to the system of structures, rights, duties and obligations by which organisations are directed and controlled. Charities are generally governed by a trustee board that takes overall responsibility for the charity’s work, including:
•the long term direction of the charity, including its objectives or purposes
•implementation of policies and activities to achieve objectives
•compliance with legal requirements.
A core strength of the Foundation is its governance structure (described in the Articles of Association), which comprises a Board of Trustees and a Council, on which serve senior/experienced individuals in the field of food and nutrition from many walks of life, known as Governors. The composition is deliberately weighted towards the scientific ‘academic’ community based in universities and research institutes. The inclusion of General and Industrial Governors provides balance, objectivity and challenge to the Foundation from a range of perspectives, including education, journalism and the food sector (agriculture, manufacturing, retail and food services). In addition, BNF has a series of advisory committees that advise and provide feedback on particular aspects of our work. All those who serve on BNF committees do so without remuneration, with the exception of travel expenses.
We are privileged to have a Royal Patron, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, who takes an active interest in the work of the Foundation and its events. We also have an Honorary President, who chairs Council, two Honorary Vice-Presidents (one from the academic community) and an Honorary Treasurer. There are also Honorary Members and Governors Emeritus, who are listed in our Annual Reports.
The core values of the Foundation are scientific integrity, objectivity and impartiality, underpinned by an evidence-based approach to the synthesis of information.
Our core charitable purpose is to make nutrition science accessible to all, through the generation and communication of clear, accurate, accessible information on nutrition, diet and lifestyle, which is relevant to the needs of diverse audiences. Click here for more information.
The Council, under the chairmanship of Honorary President Professor Alan Shenkin, directs the Foundation’s strategy, which is couched within the context of BNF’s Articles of Association and its core values.
The Council comprises 30 members (Governors): 16 Scientific Governors, six General Governors and eight Industrial Governors from the food sector, supported by four Honorary Officers (Honorary President, two Honorary Vice-Presidents and the Honorary Treasurer). The Council’s composition is deliberately weighted towards the scientific ‘academic’ community, with General Governors from a range of backgrounds, e.g. teaching, journalism, agriculture and consumer representation. The Council meets three times a year, reviewing the work of the Foundation against the strategy, providing constructive feedback, advising on impact measures and ensuring independence and accountability. A code of conduct and a declaration of interests policy are in place.
The mix of complementary skills and competences available to the Foundation via its Council and other committees contribute constructively to BNF’s success and profile. Furthermore, the work of Council provides a focal point for complementary disciples within the wider nutrition community to learn from one another and to challenge preconceptions.
The Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees, has a total of 12 members, all of whom are BNF Governors. It comprises the Chair of the Board of Trustees and a Vice-Chair, the immediate past Chair, the Honorary Treasurer plus 8 additional Trustees. Of the latter, the distribution is again purposely weighted towards the scientific community (four), with two General Governors and two Governors from the commercial food sector. The current membership of the Board of Trustees can be found here. It meets four times a year, overseeing financial stability, monitoring strategy implementation, advising on risk and ensuring compliance with the law. Code of conduct and declaration of interests policies are in place. It has become the custom for the chairmanship to rotate between a trustee from the scientific community and a trustee with food industry experience. The same applies to the Vice Chairs, in a reciprocal manner.
BNF’s Trustees are charged with:
•Ensuring that BNF has a clear vision, mission and strategic direction and is focused on achieving its objectives
•Being responsible for the performance of BNF and its corporate behaviour
•Ensuring that BNF complies with all legal and regulatory requirements
•Acting as guardians of BNF’s assets, both tangible and intangible, taking all due care over their security, deployment and proper application
•Ensuring that BNF’s governance is of the highest possible standard
•Determining the outcome of all applications for corporate membership
BNF’s Staff Establishment Committee, led by the Chair of the Board of Trustees, holds responsibility for setting the salaries of senior staff.
To support our work, BNF has a number of Advisory Committees that advise on, reflect on, and provide constructive feedback on the Foundation’s work, resources and training activities.
The Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) is chaired by Professor Martin Wiseman, with Vice-Chair Professor Brian Ratcliffe, and comprises 13 additional academic members from leading UK university departments specialising in nutrition. The Industrial Advisory Committee (ISC), which is chaired by Ms Anne Heughan with Dr Stephen French as Vice-Chair, has 12 additional food industry members and one observer, the majority of whom have a background in nutrition and/or regulatory affairs. These two committees meet twice a year at the same time. The rationale for the SAC and ISC is to provide the Foundation with scientific and technical sounding boards to support its work, discuss current nutrition science topics, critically appraise research, jointly examine new reports and consider dietary change required to improve public health. Together these provide a key resource which lies at the heart of the collaborative approach that underpins the Foundation’s work.
The Nutrition Bulletin Editorial Advisory Board is chaired by Dr Juliet Gray and oversees the scientific integrity, quality and direction of the peer-reviewed journal. The Board comprises 25 members from around the world, all of notable nutritional scientific standing. The Board meets twice a year and ensures that Nutrition Bulletin continues to publish high quality papers, further promoting nutrition science to a variety of audiences.
The four Education Working Groups, which are based in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, comprise a mix of practising teachers, HMIs (Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Schools), awarding organisations (exam boards) and government observers. These four regional Groups each meet once a year and contribute to the constructive development of the education programme and its reputation for independence, trustworthiness and quality. Their input ensures that BNF stays focused on the curriculum, understands the issues faced in the classroom and helps children learn.
BNF day-to-day Management
The day-to-day management of BNF is directed by Professor Judy Buttriss, supported by a senior team that includes two Programme Managers. BNF’s two main areas of work are managed by Mr Roy Ballam (Education Programme Manager) and Ms Sara Stanner (Nutrition Science Programme Manager), each with a dedicated specialist staff. The Foundation is overseen by its Council and Board of Trustees. Its programmes of work and outputs are aligned with the Foundation’s objectives, its values, strategic direction (overseen by the Board of Trustees) and the Information Standard. Of particular importance to the Foundation and its stakeholders are its scientific integrity and its independence (overseen by Council) and the extent and quality of its charitable work targeting schools, the general public, and health care professionals.
Our broad funding base, networks and governance structure are inherent strengths that ensure we work with a diverse range of groups and talented individuals within the food and nutrition world. As a result we are ideally placed to understand the nutrition challenges faced and the opportunities and context for activities associated with delivering improved public health.
The BNF Senior Leadership Team
Professor Judy Buttriss, Director General
Roy Ballam, Managing Director and Head of Education
Sara Stanner, Science Director