How we are run

Information outlining how the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) is run.

Annual General Meeting

There is an Annual General Meeting (AGM) of fellows, known as Comitia, which is combined with the annual presidential election. It is held on the first Monday after Palm Sunday, as required by an Act of Parliament.

RCP officers

The senior officers of the RCP (president, registrar, treasurer, clinical vice president, academic vice president, and vice president for education and training) are all trustees of the RCP and are elected by the fellows. Their involvement in the RCP’s main boards and committees ensures that consideration is always given to our Charter and Bye-Laws, and the views of the membership are represented.

Board of Trustees

This is the RCP’s governing body as a charity, which meets four times a year to:

  • oversee RCP strategy, define RCP policy, agree the RCP business plan and monitor the progress of RCP affairs
  • ensure the proper and effective management and custody of all RCP assets as they are used to carry out our work.

It has the authority to carry out the RCP’s charitable responsibilities and can delegate to the RCP’s boards and committees. It works closely and liaises with the Council but ultimately, all decisions (apart from changes to the Bye-Laws and regulations) are either taken by, or on behalf of, the Board of Trustees (BoT), and reported to the fellows at the AGM.

The BoT comprises:

  • senior officers of the RCP (six)
  • members nominated from Council (four)
  • lay members appointed by the BoT (four).

There are two boards with specific relationship to the BoT:

  • Council
  • Finance and Resources Board.

Council

Council meets six times a year, and develops RCP policy in relation to professional and clinical matters. It gives authority to RCP statements and publications and elections to the fellowship and membership as well as of RCP officers. It also considers and acts on current issues affecting professional practice and standards. Its membership totals 42 and includes the senior officers, directly-elected fellows, and other representatives of those involved in the RCP's work.

There are two boards responsible to Council:

  • Strategy Board – to which 5 management boards report, each focussing on a strategic theme
  • Medical Specialties Board – this brings together representatives of the specialties.

Finance and Resources Board

This meets four times a year and is responsible for advising the Board of Trustees on:

  • the application and use of resources
  • monitoring the business planning process
  • reviewing the annual financial statements with the auditors and for recommending them for approval to the BoT.

The board is chaired by the treasurer, and its membership includes the president and registrar, two elected members of Council, one censor, one fellow and five members from outside the RCP who bring specialist knowledge.

There are three committees with specific responsibility to the Finance and Resources Board:

  • Trust Fund Management Committee
  • Legacies Committee
  • Heritage Management Committee.

Management

The day-to-day operation of the RCP is delegated to the chief executive who is accountable to the BoT. The management and staff are ultimately accountable to the chief executive, and each RCP department is overseen by a designated senior officer (as described above) and a senior manager known as an executive director.