Monthly Archives: February 2012

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting 2012

The meeting was held at GfK NOP on 16 February 2012


  • John Curtice, President
  • Nick Moon, GfK NOP, Secretary
  • Antony Wells, YouGov
  • Simon Atkinson, Ipsos MORI
  • Nick Howatt, TNS-BMRB
  • Pru Shelton, ComRes


  • Martin Boon, ICM
  • Jonny Heald, ORB
  • James Endersby, Opinium
  • Phil Stubington, RS Consulting
  • Michael Simmonds, Populus


The minutes of the last meeting were agreed

The website has been partially updated, but the AGM minutes have not yet been uploaded and this will be done shortly, along with the 2010 accounts, and the 2011 accounts when complete.

John Curtice reported that he had not felt there was any need for a press release on polls in the AV referendum.

Officers’ Report:

There has been one application for membership since the last AGM. This was received fairly recently and is still in progress. An application was pending at the time of the last AGM, from Survation, which has now been approved and they have now become members.

There have been no complaints since the last AGM concerning BPC rules of disclosure. There have been complaints about polls conducted by members but concerning matters outside the BPC’s jurisdiction, such as question wording, and these have received a response outlining what the BPC does and does not set out to do. There was also a complaint (not about a member) about a survey research ’scam’, which was passed to the MRS.

However, John Curtice did point out that on two occasions he had written to member organisations asking them for information that should, under BPC rules, have been on their websites, and the information was never supplied. One request was never acknowledged and on the other occasion the information as promised but never received. It was noted that if members delayed in supplying information to the BPC President, other people may have to wait longer. Members are thus reminded to ensure they respond promptly to requests for information covered by the disclosure rules.

Financial Report:

Bank statements have now been received covering the period from Jan 2010 onwards, though for the last few months only notices of advice of charges have been received, despite the Bank being chased, and so the 2011 accounts are still provisional.

The 2010 accounts show membership income of £2,150 and outgoings of £495.71 — travel expenses for the Chair for the 2009 and 2010 AGMs. This produced an excess of income over expenditure of £1,654.29 and a bank balance of £2,875 at the end of the year.

There are some membership dues outstanding for 2011 and copy invoices have been issued for these. Assuming all are paid, and there are no unexpected expenses on top of bank charges and the Chair’s expenses for the 2011 AGM of £90.55, the estimated excess of income over expenditure is £2,089.95, leaving the BPC with funds of £4,964.74.

Our outgoings have been limited since the AGM was switched to GFK NOP, thus avoiding considerable cost. The BPC needs to have funds in hand so it can run educational conferences both pre and post the next general election, but there seems little benefit in building a mountain of cash. It was agreed, and notice is hereby given, that a motion will be presented at the 2012 AGM to reduce membership fees for the calendar year 2013 to a nominal £25.

Sub-Committee on Disclosure:

At the last AGM it was agreed that members of the sub-committee would be approached to see if they were still willing to be on the sub-committee, it being some years since they first agreed.

This has now been done and all but two agreed to continue. David Butler and Peter Riddell have stood down.

It was agreed that Patrick Sturgis would be invited to replace David Butler, and John Rentoul to replace Peter Riddell. Nick Moon will write to them.

John Curtice will write to both David and Peter thanking them for their service.

Pro-Activity re New Members:

It was agreed that the BPC’s aims were best met by it being as broad a church as possible, and it was agreed that we should approach non-member organisations that had conducted more than one-off polls to invite them to join.

Election of Officers:

John Curtice was re-elected unopposed as President

Nick Moon was re-elected unopposed as Secretary

Simon Atkinson was elected unopposed as member of the Management Committee.

Elections and Referendums:

John Curtice reminded members of the resolution from the 2010 AGM about the 18 hour disclosure rule. This will come into effect on 5 April 2012 for the London Mayoral and Assembly elections. He asked members having polls published in Sunday newspapers to make sure they had made arrangements to ensure the rules are complied with.

Any Other Business:

John Curtice drew the meeting’s attention to recent GB-wide polls that had been used to provide figures — and often headlines — for Scotland only. Members are reminded that included in the information that must appear in any press report of a poll is not just the sample size, but also the universe covered. If a national poll is used as the source for publication of Scotland-only figures it is not sufficient for the technical details section of the poll write-up to read “{company} interviewed 1,000 people by telephone from {date} to {date}.” It must read “{company} interviewed 1,000 people across Great Britain by telephone from {date} to {date}.” If the whole story is only about Scotland then ideally the actual Scotland sample size should be given, but as a minimum it must be possible for people at least to deduce the broad scale of the Scotland sample.