The Meeting was held at GfK NOP on 23 March 2015
- John Curtice, President
- Nick Moon, GfK NOP, Secretary
- Simon Atkinson, Ipsos MORI
- Anthony Wells, YouGov
- Johnny Heald, ORB
- Damian Lyons Lowe, Survation
- Tom Mludzinski, ComRes
- Laurence Stellings, Populus
- Ivor Knox, Panelbase
- Bill White, Lucid Talk
- Harris Interactive
- TNS BMRB
The minutes of the last meeting were agreed.
Mindmetre were approved as new members during this year.
There were two complaints during the year, but only one case where the Executive Committee asked someone to provide information they had not already provided. In the other case clarification from the member showed that the poll was not covered by BPC rules.
John Curtice reported that he had repeated the earlier invitation to Lord Ashcroft to join the BPC, but had not had a reply. There was then a discussion about how much input members had to have to a poll conducted for Lord Ashcroft before they were obliged to make details available under BPC rules. It was agreed that Nick Moon would circulate a note about this, though in most cases the Rule 2.7 outlined below would take Ashcroft polls out of BPC rules.
John Curtice also reported that he had written to the Yes and No campaigns in Scotland, drawing their attention to BPC rules.
An application for membership had been received during the year, which led to a discussion about what exactly constituted a “polling organisation” as in the BPC Rules. It was agreed that there were two conditions that must be fulfilled by an organisation wishing to join the BPC:
- must be operationally independent – eg not itself a proselytising organisation
- must conduct polls for more than one client
One impact of this decision is that Lord Ashcroft would not be eligible to be a BPC member.
At the start of 2012 BPC had £7,089 in the bank. During the year there was membership income of £500 and bank charges of £60. The balance at the end of 2012 was £7,529. However there is cheque for £240 for the website that has not been cashed. Also, invoices for the reduced 2013 membership fees will be sent out with the 2014 invoices, and if all these are paid there will be an additional £350 of income. This means that the balance sheet at the end of the year is £7,646, although Chairman’s expenses have not yet been submitted for the 2013 AGM.
Sub-committee on disclosure:
Nick Moon and Simon Atkinson have both been on the sub-committee since its formation, but as they are now Officers they need to be replaced. It was agreed that Martin Boon and Andrew Cooper would be invited to join. Martin was present and agreed, and Nick Moon will write to Andrew.
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
Nick Moon tabled four amendments to the BPC rules:
5.3. The President will take the chair at the AGM and any EGM. In the absence of the President, members present at the meeting will nominate a chairman for that meeting. Members may also appoint the President, in advance of the meeting, to cast their vote by Proxy according to their instructions.
5.7 subject to the agreement of two thirds of members, amendments to the Objects and Rules may be made via an email vote if there is agreed to be sufficient urgency
2.6.2. The rules of disclosure apply to all polls published in the UK by BPC members, irrespective of where they are conducted. The rules of disclosure do not apply where the survey organisation has no responsibility for the design of the survey or of the analysis, and all weighting of the data is according to client instruction
2.7. Any member of the BPC responsible for conducting a private survey that has entered the public domain, with the BPC member identified by the client, will acknowledge having conducted the survey.
All were passed unanimously.
In the case of 2.7 it was agreed that it would be good practice for members to say “no comment” rather than deny having conducted the poll
Any Other Business:
John Curtice reminded members about the date when the 28 day rule for elections would come into effect, and also said that Sunday polls should ideally be on the pollster’s website on the Sunday.
Nick Moon reported that Companies House were disputing our right to use the words “British” and ”Council” in our name. Members need to write to Companies House to say that the BPC includes all relevant practitioners, and that there was no competing body.
There was some discussion as to whether BPC should hold a post-mortem conference after the election. It was agreed that we would ask for a slot at the Political Communications s conference on 17/18 June.
It was agreed that the BPC table on the accuracy of the polls would define a final poll as a poll that was conducted entirely before the polls open, and included at least some fieldwork on the Tuesday
It was agreed that the Management Committee would decide whether a separate report on any on-the-day or hybrid polls would be necessary.