The Institute is a charity registered in England and Wales (no. 293851) and Scotland (no. SC040092).
Charities are organisations set up for the benefit of the community and, to qualify as a charity, the Institute must demonstrate that all its purposes are charitable and are for the public benefit. The Institute meets the public benefit test in the following ways:
- advancement of education
- advancement of science
- advancement of community development
Royal Charter & Bylaws
The Institute’s governing documents are its Royal Charter, Bylaws and Regulations.
The Institute was granted a Royal Charter in 1970. Royal Charters are normally reserved for bodies that work in the public interest (such as professional institutions and charities) and which can demonstrate pre-eminence, stability and permanence in their particular field. The Royal Charter sets out the Institute’s charitable objects, which are:
- to promote the advancement and dissemination of a knowledge of and education in the science of physics, pure and applied, for the benefit of the public and the members of the Institute
Amendments to the Royal Charter and Bylaws, which must be approved by corporate members at a general meeting, require assent from the Privy Council, the Charity Commission and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator. Amendments to the Regulations may be made by Council.
An elected Council governs and controls the affairs of the Institute
Council currently consists of 20 members who are elected from, and by, the corporate membership, as well as 3 co-opted members. The rules for the election of Council members are set out in the Bylaws.
Council has a number of standing committees with delegated powers, thus ensuring that the required time and attention is applied to overseeing specific areas of interest. Committee membership is not limited to Council members, allowing for both wider representation from the membership and receipt of specialist external advice where appropriate. The terms of reference, delegated powers and membership of these committees are set by Council. These standing committees are also empowered to set up sub-committees or their own mechanisms for wider consultation.
- Committee organogram (PDF, 74 KB)
The governance framework does not relate to Company Boards set up to manage the affairs of wholly owned subsidiaries of the Institute of Physics, for which formal documents exist regarding the appointment of Directors and reporting relationships. The formation or dissolution of subsidiary companies and the appointment or renewal of Directors is the sole responsibility of Council.