Rules

1. These rules

These Rules complement and are to be read in conjunction with the Statutes and Policies of the ESC.
There is a glossary of abbreviations at the end of this document.

2. Member’s rights and duties

All ordinary and honorary members as defined in Articles IV of the Statutes, are entitled to:

  • receive a newsletter and the Journal of the ESC (electronically)
  • receive information about congresses and other meetings organised or supported by the ESC,
  • preferential registration rate at ESC congresses, attend and vote at the General Assembly (GA) and suggest items for the agenda,
  • be represented on the Board of Directors, (hereby called The Board)
  • vote for the Board
  • apply for membership of certain ESC committees and groups
  • apply for ESC grants and nominate members for ESC awards
  • receive minutes of the GA and a summarised financial statement.

All members will:

  • inform the Secretary of any change of address or email
  • pay a yearly subscription (Statutes: Article IV, 1)
  • not knowingly bring the ESC into disrepute
  • inform the Treasurer of any suggested or actual financial support, be it monetary or in kind, which they have received in the name of the ESC
  • not commit the ESC, either directly or via the local Congress organising committee or other ESC committee to any expenditure without getting prior authorisation from the Treasurer
  • provide information on any Conflict of Interest. See section 15 below
  • be aware of Social Media guidance as outlined in Section 16 below.

3. Finance

3.1. Financial arrangements

The Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer are responsible for keeping accurate and up to date financial records.
The Executive Committee (EC) is empowered to agree any expenditure under 20.000 Euro, however any cost over 20.000 Euro on any one meeting/item (other than congress) should be ratified by the Board.
The annual membership fee shall be reviewed regularly by the EC, discussed by the Board and voted on at the GA.
The publishing costs of the proceedings /abstract book of a congress should be part of the costs of the meeting.

3.2. Payment of yearly subscriptions

The annual subscription is due on 1st January. The Treasurer will send out a reminder no less than a month after the due date. A second reminder is sent when the fee is at least two months overdue and, if no response is received within three months, membership can be deemed to be cancelled.
When a new individual member joins after 1st October, their subscription will, in the first instance only, last up to 15 months rather than the usual 12. The contract for affiliated societies state that bulk payment should be received by the ESC not later than 1 May.

4. The Board of Directors

4.1. Qualifications

Individuals belonging to a wide range of disciplines (for example: doctors, nurses, midwives, counsellors, psychologists, researchers, sociologists, academics, educators) who have an interest in any aspect of contraception, sexual and reproductive health may become ESC Board Members. The term Sexual and Reproductive Health Care Professionals (SRHCP) will be used in ESC documentation.

They should have the time to commit to the Board and be willing to share their knowledge and skills and participate in ESC activities.

4.2. Appointment of Board Members
  • When a new Board member needs to be elected, all members of the appropriate country will be informed by the Central Office and application forms made available on the website.
  • Only paid-up members in the current electoral year may vote.
  • A country is entitled to one Board member when there are at least 10 paid-up members as of 31st December in the year preceding Board voting and two Board members when there are 50 or more paid-up members
  • A further count will take place on 1st May of the election year to ensure that each country still has its minimum number of paid-up members.
  • When applying or continuing as a Board member, the person will agree that, if at the 1st May there are insufficient paid-up members from that country, they will not be eligible to be a Board member.
  • The election procedure and management of Board representation is dealt with in the Policies.
4.3. Mandate

Board members must have paid their yearly subscriptions and serve for 4 years. They may stand for re-election once: a total of 8 years. A Board member must then stand down for at least 2 years before standing for election again.
There will be no replacement should a board member resign before the end of his/her mandate.
Board members need to be aware of the rules governing whether a person may be a member of more than one committee or group. This is shown in the table below:

EC
SEC
WMC
ET
EB
 
EC
NO
NO
NO
YES
SEC
NO
YES
YES
YES
WMC
NO
YES
YES
YES
ET
NO
YES
YES
NO
EB
YES
YES
YES
NO

EC = Executive committee (a member of the EC is on the SEC and WMC)
SEC = Science and Education committee
WMC = Website and Multimedia committee
ET = Editorial Team
EB = Editorial Board

4.4. Election Procedure for Board Members

The election procedure is included in the Policies. An application form, that details necessary qualifications and criteria, is held at the Central Office and will be made available online. The appointment is by simple majority.

4.5. Duties and Responsibilities of Board Members

New members and re-elected members will be announced at the GA and will take up their positions at the following Board meeting. New members will receive a pack containing the following:

  1. Introduction
  2. Membership details
  3. Duties and Responsibilities of Board Members (these are listed below)
  4. Expenses claim form and instructions
  5. Form to complete regarding any Conflict of Interest
  6. Form detailing the member’s areas of Interest
  7. Commitment form

A Board member is entitled to:

  • be invited to a (virtual) Board meeting once every calendar year
  • If there are two representatives for a country, only one is paid for by the ESC when attending an in-person Board meeting or congress. If the other wishes to attend, they would need to fund themselves. Board members would decide between themselves who would be funded by the ESC. The non-attending Board member will be allowed to vote by proxy. See 17.3 below
  • apply to sit on committees and groups that require ESC Board members
  • elect or ratify the members of various committees (see appropriate committee documents)
  • receive a summary of the discussions at each Executive Committee meeting
  • to discuss any proposed changes to the Statutes prior to ratification at the General Assembly
  • to vote on any proposed changes to the Rules
  • be made aware of any significant changes to the Policies
  • receive renumeration for costs incurred in attending meetings etc as agreed by the Treasurer EC and Board. An expenses form plus receipts must be provided.

A Board member will:

  • complete the form of commitment (see Policies document) within a month of being appointed
  • complete a Conflict of Interest form
  • pay their annual subscription
  • attend at least one Board meeting every two calendar years, but should attempt to attend all Board meetings, either virtually or in-person
  • attend the General Assembly. If a country has two Board members and only one is attending the GA, the other may complete a proxy vote form
  • keep themselves up to date with Society activities
  • ensure they read all Society correspondence and respond as requested
  • represent all the views of their country’s members and take the appropriate action to increase membership in their country
  • inform all those eligible to vote when an election is due and request nominations in time for this to be sent out with the agenda for the GA
  • ensure that all those eligible to vote who are present or represented in the GA are given the opportunity to do so
  • assist from time to time with translations of short letters into their own language
  • undertake peer–reviews of articles for the journal as requested
  • assist at congresses and other ESC meetings
  • provide feedback to the EC on issues that may affect the Society
  • inform the Society of any other new organisations in the field so that links may be made
  • inform the Society if they are aware of any clashes with major meeting dates
  • ensure members are aware of the following:
    a. they have access to ESC Grants when available
    b. may make nominations for the ESC medals
  • the ESC may ask Board members to undertake other duties from time to time.

5. Executive Committee (EC)

5.1. Terms of Reference
    • The Executive Committee (EC) comprises 6 individuals: The President, Treasurer, Secretary, Vice President, Assistant Secretary and Assistant Treasurer
    • All must be fully paid-up ESC Board members
    • The mandate is 2 years, renewable twice, if re-elected: a total of 6 years
    • All voting is by secret ballot using absolute majority
    • The committee is quorate if either the President or Vice President is present together with 2 other officers
    • Members should be aware of which other committees or groups they may join. See table at 4.3
    • An EC representative is appointed to all committees.

 

5.2. Election Procedure for EC Members

The election procedure is included in the Policies. An application form is held at the Central Office. Voting occurs in the order shown in 5.1 above.

5.3. Duties and Responsibilities

All Executive Committee members will:

  • attend a minimum of half the EC meetings a year. In exceptional circumstances, the EC may waive this rule
  • review the Society’s statutes, rules and policies as necessary
  • assist in the overall planning of the Society, including congresses and other meetings organised by the ESC. An EC member is entitled to attend any local organising committee meeting
  • sit on ESC committees as the EC representative
  • consider medal nominations put forward by the Board and the SEC
  • if these duties cannot be complied with, the functions of the EC member will be delegated to a co-opted Board member.

The following is a list of some of the duties of individual officer positions. These may vary depending on the needs of the society.

 

a) President 

The President will:

  • actively promote the Society and its aims
  • build bonds with other related bodies
  • seek sources of money for the furtherance of the Society’s aims
  • convene and chair at least two-yearly Executive Committee meetings as well as regular Board meetings.

 

b) Vice President 

The Vice President in collaboration with the Central Office will:

  • assist in all presidential duties
  • deputise for the President when requested.

 

c) Secretary

The Secretary will:

  • keep an updated list of all members
  • keep accurate minutes of Executive and Board meetings as well as the General Assemblies and ensure their distribution
  • write all necessary correspondence for the Society
  • send all new members an introductory pack, the Statutes, Rules and Policies of the Society
  • organise Executive and Board meetings
  • work closely with the President to ensure that all necessary parties are informed in good time of meetings and decisions
  • review and update statutes, rules, policies and forms as necessary
  • keep a meetings calendar
  • produce a regular members’ newsletter.

 

d) Assistant Secretary 

The Assistant Secretary will:

  • assist in all secretarial duties,
  • deputise for the Secretary when requested.

 

e) Treasurer 

The Treasurer will, with the central Office:

  • oversee the records of all financial transactions
  • review and plan budgets
  • present an up-to-date financial report at each EC and Board meeting
  • send out appropriate reminders for the yearly subscriptions
  • prepare a financial report for inspection by the nominated members of the Society (Article VIII) at least 2 months prior to the GA. A written summary of this report, once countersigned, must be presented to all members of the Society at the General Assembly and be distributed with the minutes of the meeting to all members
  • advise on the level of renumeration of expenses for travel etc
  • review the funding for any ESC grants.

 

f) Assistant Treasurer 

The Assistant Treasurer will, with the Central Office:

  • assist in all the Treasurer’s duties,
  • deputise for the Treasurer when requested.

6. Science and Education Committee (SEC)

6.1. Qualifications
  • Members may belong to any healthcare professional group that has an interest or association with contraception, sexual and reproductive health
  • Experience in one or more of the following: teaching, education, scientific research, guideline development, production of peer reviewed documents
  • Motivation to be a proactive member of the committee.

 

6.2. Terms of Reference
  • The Science and Education Committee (SEC) is composed of 7 members including the Chair and Vice Chair and one nominated non-voting Executive Committee (EC) member
  • All must be fully paid-up ESC members at election
  • Members can be either Board or non-Board members
  • The committee elects the Chair and Vice Chair by secret ballot and using simple majority
  • The mandate is as follows:
    • a. The Chair and Vice Chair serve for a period of 2 years, with a further 2 years if re-elected.
    • b. The Vice Chair does not necessarily become the Chair.
    • c. The mandate of the other members is: 4 years, renewable once: a total of 8 years.
  • Renewal at any level is not automatic – the member must submit an application form and follow the usual appointment process.
  • The committee is quorate if 3 are present, including either the Chair or Vice Chair.
    Members should be aware of which other committees they may join. SEC members cannot be members of the EC. See table at 4.3.
  • SEC will form sub-groups to undertake allocated tasks. These will be set up by the SEC as needed for a fixed term and the SEC will agree the election procedure to these sub-groups
  • The SEC reports directly to the EC.

 

6.3. Election Procedure for SEC Members

The election procedure is included in the Policies. An application form, that details necessary qualifications and criteria is held at the Central Office and will be made available online. The appointment is by simple majority.

6.4. Duties and Responsibilities

To include:

  • produce a regular report to the EC and Board as requested
  • encourage Board and member participation in SEC activities
  • look for SRH skills outside of the Society that could be incorporated into the ESC
  • widen the scope of ESC activities as appropriate and within budgets
  • act as a central point of expertise for those seeking advice on SRH matters
  • support the ESC congress; especially around managing abstracts and arranging expert sessions during the programme
  • support other ESC activities as requested
  • review and update any educational materials
  • arrange educational events using different media (online, face-to-face); including webinars
  • link with the other ESC committees
  • oversee the web libraries
  • manage existing grants and new grants when they are reintroduced
  • identify candidates for the ESC medals and inform the EC
  • create an annual plan based on the event & marketing opportunities
  • be responsive to ESC members’ needs.

7. Editorial Team

7.1. Qualifications
  • Members may belong to any healthcare professional group
  • Editorial experience, experience as a reviewer
  • Good command of English
  • Motivation to be a proactive member of the committee.

 

7.2. Terms of Reference
  • The Journal will be managed by an Editorial team consisting of an Editor-in-Chief (EiC), one or two Deputy Editors-in-Chief (E(s)iC) and up to 8 Editors. The Editorial Team may co-opt members to serve on the Committee when their contribution will play a vital role in the running of the Society or where an Editorial Team member can no longer carry out their role. This co-option will be ratified by the EC and will last until the next round of applications.
  • They will be supported by an Editorial Board (EB). They will work in very close collaboration with:
    a.     Each other.
    b.     The ESC Board, Executive Committee (EC), other ESC committees and the Central Office
    c.     The publisher.
  • Members of the ET must be fully paid up ESC members.
  • Members should be aware of which other committees or groups they may join. See table at 4.3.
  • Mandate for
    a.     Editor-in-Chief is 4 years renewable on application for a further 4 years. In exceptional circumstances, the EC may allow the EiC to apply for a further 4 years.
    b.     Deputy Editor-in-Chief is 4 years renewable on application for a further 4 years. The EiC and Editors appoint the Deputy E(s)iC using simple majority voting; that appointment is ratified by  the Board. A deputy does not automatically become the EiC.
    c.     Other team members is 4 years, renewable once on re-election.
    d.     To ensure continuity, the past EiC can be nominated as Honorary Editor-in-Chief.
  • Renewal at any level is not automatic – the member must submit an application form and follow the usual appointment process.
  • The ET reports directly to the EC.

 

7.3. Election Procedure for the Editorial Team

The election procedure is included in the Policies. An application form, that details necessary qualifications and criteria. is held at the Central Office and will be made available online.

 

7.4. Tasks and duties of the Editor in Chief (EiC), the deputy E(s)iC, the Editors and the Editorial Office

 

Editor-in-Chief

  • decides ultimately whether a submitted manuscript will be published in the Journal
  • decides on changes in the number of pages and/or issues in consultation with the publisher
  • meets at least annually with the Publisher and the EC of the Society to review the performance of the Journal and to agree on future action and policy. The aim of such meetings shall be to formulate and maintain good working practices and to establish a clear and agreed editorial and promotional focus to enable accurate targeting of expenditure and effort
  • delivers the contributions in good order to the Publisher, on or by the agreed deadlines set in the Journal’s production schedule, to enable the Journal to be published on time.

 

Deputy E(s)iC

  • supports the Editor-in-Chief in the accomplishment of his tasks and duties and can stand in for the Editor-in-Chief.

 

Joint tasks and duties of the EiC, the deputy E(s)iC, and the Editors, together with the Central Office:

  • procure and select manuscripts for the Journal
  • coordinate the peer review of or evaluate independently all submissions for consideration for publication
  • comply with the Journal’s policy on the ethics of the Journal
  • create an annual plan based on the event and marketing opportunities
  • manages the non-scientific secretarial matters pertaining to the Journal, particularly the receipt of manuscripts, the forwarding of the latter to the EiC and to the publisher
  • organises the meeting between the EiC, the EC and the Publisher
  • supports the Editor-in-Chief in the management of the non-scientific related tasks.

 

8. Editorial Board

An Editorial Board (EB) is formed by the Editor-in-Chief, Deputy E(s)iC and Editors from experts in different fields in order to facilitate the peer-review process.
If any member of the EB is unable to complete their remit, the Editor-in-Chief will appoint a replacement.

8.1. Qualifications
  • Members may belong to any healthcare professional group
  • Experience as a reviewer
  • Good command of English
  • Motivation to be a proactive member of the committee

 

8.2. Terms of Reference

The EB will support the Editorial Team (ET). They will work in very close collaboration with the Editor-in-Chief, Deputy E(s)iC and the Editors.

  • Members of the EB must be fully paid-up ESC members.
  • Members should be aware of which other committees or groups they may join. See table at 4.3.
  • Mandate for EB members is four years, renewable twice. The number of EB members depends on specific needs with regard to expertise in different domains
  • The ET, after due consideration, will appoint the new members of the EB
  • Renewal is not automatic. The member must submit an application form and follow the usual appointment process
  • The EB reports to the ET.

 

8.3. Selection Procedure for the Editorial Board

The election procedure is included in the Policies. An application form, that details necessary qualifications and criteria. is held at the Central Office and will be made available online.

 

8.4. Duties and Responsibilities

The tasks and duties of the EB are as follows:

  • to contribute an editorial or an article pertaining to the field of expertise of the EB member (at least one in four years)
  • to actively and regularly participate in the peer-reviewing process of manuscripts (at least two every year), when asked to do so by the Editors
  • undertake other tasks as required for the Journal.

9. Website and Multimedia Committee (WMC)

9.1. Qualifications

Demonstrate:

– motivation to be a proactive member of the group
– an understanding of different types of marketing and communications media, including electronic and social media (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube)
– effective communication skills – responds to communications (emails)
– writing skills: ability to transform pieces of information/articles to social media posts etc.

9.2. Terms of Reference
  • The committee comprises 4 – 6 people, who can be either board or non-board members plus a non-voting representative from the Executive Committee. Co-options can be considered.
  • Members must be fully paid-up ESC members
  • The committee elects the Chair and Vice Chair by secret ballot and using simple majority
  • The mandate is as follows:
    • The Chair and Vice Chair serve for a period of 2 years, with a further 2 years if re-elected.
    • The Vice Chair does not automatically become the Chair.
    • The mandate of the other members is: 4 years, renewable once: a total of 8 years.
    • Renewal at any level is not automatic – the member must submit an application form and follow the usual appointment process.
  • Members should be aware of which other committees they may join. See table at 4.3.
  • The WMC reports directly to the EC

 

9.3. Election Procedure for WMC Members

The election procedure is included in the Policies. An application form, that details necessary qualifications and criteria. is held at the Central Office and will be made available online. The appointment is by simple majority.

9.4. Duties and responsibilities of the group
  • promote all ESC events, news, materials etc. including supporting all ESC committees and contributing to planning ESC events as requested
  • identify and/or create materials that members and the public would find relevant and interesting
  • promote content: distribute and disseminate through the website and all social media channels
  • create and promote internet-based materials and resources to showcase:
    • ESC activities to members and the public
    • membership advantages (DocMatter, community, journal…)
    • support and improve interaction between members
    • relations between ESC and other appropriate organisations
  • undertake to regularly share and like (via social media) messages, updates and post relevant news items and links relating to ESC activities
  • monitor activity and contribute to the DocMatter forum
  • identify event and marketing opportunities
  • create a general strategy based on event and marketing opportunities – reviewed annually
  • produce an annual report for the Board on all WMC activities (including DocMatter)
  • respond to new and/or significant developments in the field and make suggestions how to implement these.
  • the Central Office will support the group members in the management of these tasks

10. Publications

The ESC may produce publications such as a Newsletter and a scientific Journal, proposed by the Executive Committee (EC) and approved by the Board.

10.1. The ESC Newsletter

The content of the ESC Newsletter will consist of a forum for members as well as Society related and other relevant information. Either the Secretary or the Assistant Secretary of the EC will be the Newsletter Editor and will be appointed by the EC.

10.2. The Journal

Will be published at regular intervals as agreed by the Editorial Team & EC. It is free to paid-up members of ESC.

10.3. Board update

The Secretary General will produce a regular update for the Board.

11. Affiliation by other European societies to ESC

International or national European organisations with similar or related aims may apply for affiliation to the ESC. Members of affiliated societies shall pay a 50 percent reduced annual fee (as suggested by the Executive Committee, approved by the Board). Those seeking affiliation must submit an application in writing to the Secretary. The Board shall ratify the final affiliation. This decision shall be followed by a signed contract including rights and duties of members of affiliated societies. The Central Office of the ESC shall receive a complete list of members including email and postal addresses from the affiliated Society. Members of affiliated societies have the same rights as other ESC members including voting rights.

Members of affiliated societies are entitled to:

  • receive an electronic form of the Journal of the ESC
  • receive an electronic form of the Newsletter
  • receive information about congresses and other meetings organised or supported by the ESC
  • preferential registration rate at ESC congresses

Affiliated societies will:

  • inform the Secretary of the Central Office of any change of address
  • pay an annual subscription

 

12. Congresses, meetings and events

12.1. Congress  

The Executive Committee set up a Congress Management Committee (CMC) in 2019.

 

12.1.a. Purpose/objectives
  • To search for and recommend 2 or 3 venues to host the ESC Congress
  • The proposals should be based on a business model taking into account access, facilities, costs, VAT analysis as well as popularity as a congress venue
  • To include the support of a local/national interested group (organisation, society or institution)
  • No call for bids will be launched but spontaneous bids are welcome and would be evaluated by the CMC
  • The group would consult with the Executive Committee, the Board and any other (ad hoc) group.
  • The CMC will report and provide their proposals to the EC and Board.
  • A presentation on the agreed venue would be presented at the General Assembly.

 

12.1.b. Terms of Reference
  • The CMC will comprise 1 or 2 EC representative(s); a Board representative, to be appointed by the EC; 1 of the current or following hosting organisers and a Central Office staff member
  • Reporting process
    • to forward a progress report and to provide the first recommendations to the Executive Committee and to the Board.
    • to provide final recommendations to the EC, Board and General Assembly
  • Members should declare any conflict of interest.
  • Members will not receive any renumeration and there are no budgetary allocations for the functioning of the group.
  • Interaction between members will be virtually. There will be no face-to-face meetings unless agreed by the Executive Committee.
  • Mandate: The members will stand down after the arranged Congress

 

12.1.c. Election Procedure for CMC Members

The election procedure is included in the Policies.

 

12.2. Educational events

 The ESC may choose to organise an educational or other similar event (workshop, webinar etc) as it sees fit. Details will be made available.

 

12.3. ESC session during another organisation’s meeting

Besides its own regular congresses and other events, the ESC may accept to organise a session at a national or international congress of societies with similar aims to the ESC on condition all costs are covered by the organisers.

Requests are collected at the Central Office. The Executive Committee is responsible for the final selection of meetings. The Science and Education Committee is responsible for the preparation of the scientific programme. The selected speakers must provide a short report for the EC and SEC after the event.

The process is included in the Policies.

 

12.4 Meetings or events with which the ESC is associated

Each request to organise an activity under the ‘’auspices’’ of the ESC, should meet the following criteria:

  • the ESC must be involved in the programme
  • the theme and programme must concur with the aims of the Society
  • the request must be discussed and approved by the Executive Committee
  • there should be no costs to ESC

 

12.5. Simultaneous translation

English is the official language of the ESC. Simultaneous translation can be available in 2 languages other than English, and / or the language of the host country, for ESC congresses, General Assemblies and other major meetings agreed by the Executive Committee (EC). The final decision on these languages shall be made by the EC.

13. ESC granted projects and scholarships

Individuals or organisations may apply for financial support from the ESC for activities that are in accordance with the aims of the Society as described in the Statutes. They comprise:

13.1. Process for scientific project

This grant may be used to support an individual, group, institute or organisation with a project related to the aims of the ESC. Examples include: research, audit, review, needs assessment. The money must be used for a definite project within a definite time period.

  • Applicants must be paid up ESC members
  • Applicants should be Europeans. However, a European applicant is allowed to submit a project that will take place outside Europe
  • Applications are considered twice year
  • A time frame will be included; e.g. the project must start within, say 12 months and must be completed within 3 years, with a final report sent to Science and Education Committee (SEC) within 6 months of completion
  • The application would ask for a much more detailed budget including salary costs, overheads etc. This would be attached as an appendix to the application form.

 

13.2. Process for educational course

 This grant may be used to support a regional or local course or meeting within Europe related to the aims of the ESC.

  • Applicants must be paid up ESC members
  • Applicants should be Europeans. However, a European applicant is allowed to submit a grant for a course that will take place outside Europe.

 

13.3. Other ESC Granted projects or Scholarships

 New proposals are discussed and agreed by the SEC & EC. Details are made available on the website and in the Policies.

14. ESC awards

An ESC Medal is established to honour outstanding national or international recognised activity in contraception, abortion, sexual or reproductive health in accordance with the aims of the Society.

An ESC Society Award is established to honour outstanding organisational support and activity within the ESC itself in accordance with the aims of the Society.

Applicants for both these ESC awards should either be current members of ESC or, if retired or not working, a previous member of ESC.  In certain circumstances an applicant who is no longer living may be considered; in this instance the nominator should seek further advice from the Central Office.

One Medal and one Society award will be conferred at the time of the ESC congress. Only in very exceptional circumstances may more than one of each named award be conferred (maximum 4).

Nominations for such honours are put forward by Board members. A written proposal on a nomination form should be signed by at least 3 Board members and the CV of the nominee must be attached. Nomination forms are available from the website or the Central Office. Proposals should be sent to the ESC CO not later than 3 months prior to the Board meeting in the year preceding the congress.

All proposals will be initially scrutinized by the Executive Committee and will then be presented to the Board. Both ESC awards are decided during the Board meeting in the year preceding the congress. Members vote by secret ballot using simple majority for both awards.

Conferral of the ESC awards is carried out by the President or nominated deputy. The awarded person may be asked to present a lecture if its bestowal was based on scientific activities, and the award lecture should be published in the ESC Journal.

The processes are included in Policies and Procedures

15. Code of Practice

15.1. General

The Executive Committee has agreed that members of the EC, Board, all members of other ESC committees and the members of any groups working under the auspices of the ESC, including those contributing to congresses, and any other event should disclose any perceived conflict of interest. This is a normal request and is common to most organisations.

Such conflicts of interest may arise as a result of receiving sponsorship or payment of expenses by commercial organisations, consultancy fees, editorial fees, research grants, speaker’s fees, travel costs over and above those required to attend a meeting or other benefits in kind. It can also include holding of shares in pharmaceutical organisations or medical equipment manufacturers by yourself or immediate family or membership of charities or pressure groups with conflicting interests.

Having such a relationship or affiliation as noted above does not prevent an ESC representative working on any committee or group, giving a presentation or other activity, provided that the conflict of interest is declared. This declaration may be to either the chairman of the committee or group or to the ESC Central Office or an audience.

ESC officers will be asked to sign that they agree to declare any conflict of interest and provide the ESC Central Office with a current list of any conflicts of interest they have.

 

15.2. Code of Practice

The principles set out below reflect the European Society of Contraception and Reproductive Health (ESC) relationships with third parties to safeguard the integrity and reputation of the Society.

The ESC founded in 1990 and registered in Paris was established to promote sexual health and wellbeing for all.
It offers a platform for all health care professionals working in the area to share, new ideas, research, clinical experience and evidence-based medicine for the benefit of all.

This document should be read in conjunction with:

  • European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) code of practice. https://www.efpia.eu/
  • Medical council guidelines of individual countries affiliated to the Society
  • European Guidelines for the Recognition of Educational Events for External Continuing Professional Development. https://eaccme.uems.eu/home.aspx

 

15.2.a Principle

As the ESC actively pursues its mission and seeks out relationships with others to achieve its goals, any agreements or relationships must enhance and support the ESC, and any activities or relationships that could tarnish the integrity or reputation of the ESC or the trust placed in the Executive Committee and Board must be avoided.

 

15.2.b Agreements with third parties
  • A signed agreement should be consistent with the ESC mission and its statutes, rules and policies
  • Written agreed processes must be in place to ensure that proposed and ongoing activities or relationships are appropriately reviewed to ensure compliance and clear accountability with these principles
  • In line with current regulations the ESC acknowledges that the provision of a signed agreement will not be linked to the promotion of any product or undertaking of the Sponsor and that no commitment or undertaking has either been sought or given in relation to the prescribing, supply, use or promotion of any products of the Sponsor
  • Any changes to laws and regulations will be reviewed and amended dependent on the changes
  • Each party expressly acknowledges that any breach of a signed agreement with respect to said agreement will constitute a material breach
  • In the event that an exit position becomes necessary, it will be agreed and in writing at the outset and will be in accordance with any and all applicable laws.

 

15.2.c Transparency
  • Transparency promotes openness to scrutiny and serves to enhance accountability and to discourage relationships or activities that do not reflect the ethos of the ESC.
  • Professional autonomy and evidence-based medicine must be maintained in any relationship between the ESC and a sponsoring organisation This should be clearly stated in the terms and conditions of a signed agreement
  • Declarations of interest, as stated below, must be clearly stated at the outset of any discussions relating to entering sponsorship agreements.

 

15.3 Sponsorship
  • ESC acknowledges and is appreciative of the support that pharmaceutical companies, medical equipment manufacturers and their representatives provide for educational purposes.
  • The ESC adheres to the principle that no incentive or inducement should be requested, offered or accepted at an educational meeting which is designed to encourage the use of a particular product.
  • Unrestricted educational and research grants are acceptable and will be acknowledged in presentations and programmes.
  • Where there is a contribution from a pharmaceutical company this should be clearly stated and any conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest will be clearly declared according to best practice and recorded in signed agreements.

 

15.4 Declaration of Conflict of Interest

A conflict of interest arises where, under certain conditions, there is a risk that professional judgment may be influenced more by secondary interests than by primary interests.

A conflict of interest may arise as a result of receiving sponsorship, payment of expenses by commercial organisations; consultancy fees; editorial fees; research grants; speaker’s fees; travel costs over and above those required to attend a meeting or other benefit in kind.

It can also include holding of shares in pharmaceutical organisations or medical equipment manufacturers by an individual or immediate family and membership of charities or pressure groups with conflicting interests

In line with the ESC transparency policy all members of Executive Committee, Board and other working committees and groups including ad hoc groups must declare any conflict of interest in advance.

A conflict-of-interest policy will also apply to those who contribute in an official capacity to ESC Congresses and other events bearing the ESC logo or while representing the ESC. This is particularly the case with respect to sponsored symposia.

Having such a relationship or affiliation as noted above does not preclude an ESC representative working on any committee or group; giving a presentation or other activity, provided that the conflict of interest is declared. This declaration may be to either the chairman of the committee or group or to the ESC Central Office and will be disclosed to other members of the committee or group, as appropriate.

On appointment all ESC officers, committee members and members of any group working on behalf of the ESC will be asked to declare any conflict of interest and provide a signed agreement. Such a declaration should be updated annually or if there is any significant change. The form is available from the Central Office and on the website.

Refs:

European charter of Medical ethics http://www.ceom-ecmo.eu/en/european-charter-medical-ethics-67
EFPIA Code https://www.efpia.eu/relationships-code/the-efpia-code/
Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK22937/
Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice; Lo B, Field MJ, editors.
Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2009.

16. Social Media Guidance

  • This guidance applies to any person who posts or shares items on social media platforms on behalf of the ESC.
  • Be aware that you are representing the ESC. Be familiar with and follow these guidelines. The ESC will remove any posts that it deems to be inappropriate.
  • Confine yourself to relevant and professional information. ESC social media must not be used to express personal opinions
  • Think before you post or share. Assume that what you post could be shared and read by anyone. Anything you say will be available online for a long time
  • Think about who can see what you post or share and manage your privacy settings accordingly. Remember that privacy settings cannot guarantee that something you post will not be publicly visible
  • Maintain appropriate boundaries when communicating
  • Do not post or share inappropriate or offensive material. Use your professional judgement in deciding whether to post or share something
  • Stay within legal frameworks
  • Make sure you consider copyright issues relating to any content you use
  • Privacy is important. Take care not to publish information that should not be made public
  • Content which may be viewed as controversial should be reviewed by at least 2 members of the WMC and, in case of conflicting views, be reviewed by the entire committee. It should be declared that “The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the ESC
  • When in doubt, get advice from the ESC Central Office
  • Keep on posting.

17. Voting

This is covered further in the Policies.

 17.1. Simple or Absolute

 The two types of voting used are defined as following:

  • Absolute majority – where the winner must achieve 50%+1 of the votes. This is used to appoint the Executive committee and the Editor in Chief.
  • Simple majority – where the person or thing with the most votes wins. This is used for all other situations.

 

17.2. Secret or Open Ballot

A secret ballot is used to make all appointments (eg to the EC or SEC). An open ballot, for example, by a show of hands, can be used for non-appointment decisions ie when the Board, for example, is asked to make a decision between 2 or more ideas. However, the President can ask for a secret ballot if s/he feels it is more appropriate. 

 

17.3. Proxy votes

A proxy vote can be used when the second of a country’s two Board members does not attend a Board meeting or the General Assembly in person.

The Board member will need to apply to the Central Office for the form.

The criteria for its use are:

  • The proxy must be a paid-up member of the ESC
  • The non-attending Board member can either appoint the other Board member representing your country who is attending the Board meeting or the President of the Society
  • If no name and address of an individual is inserted on the form, the President will be deemed to be appointed proxy.
  • The form must be returned to the ESC Central Office not less than 48 hours prior to the meeting via email or via post to the Central Office.

 

17.4. Other voting issues

When there is only one applicant:

  • Voting still takes place.
  • Voting should include the following 3 options; For or Yes; Against or No and Abstain.

Counting votes: the following will be recorded:

  • The number of Yes votes; Abstentions and No votes (if applicable)
  • Spoilt votes will be recorded, but will NOT be included in the total vote.

 

17.5. Voting methods

Voting may be undertaken by any method agreed by the Executive Committee. This may include postal voting; voting in person; by internet or e-voting using the ESC or other approved website.

Glossary

Abbreviation                       Name

BM                                     Board Member
CMC                                  Congress Management Committee
CO                                     ESC Central Office
EB                                      Editorial Board
EC                                      Executive Committee
ESC                                   European Society of Reproductive Health
ET                                      Editorial Team
SEC                                    Science and Education Committee
SRH                                   Sexual and Reproductive Health
WMC                                 Website and Multimedia Committee