The Royal Pharmaceutical Society is incorporated by Royal Charter. As the governing document, the Charter sets out in broad terms the Society’s purpose, its membership and how it is governed by its members.
The objects of the Society are:
- to safeguard, maintain the honour, and promote the interests of pharmacists in their exercise of the profession of pharmacy;
- to advance knowledge of, and education in, pharmacy and its application, thereby fostering good science and practice;
- to promote and protect the health and well-being of the public through the professional leadership and development of the pharmacy profession; and
- to maintain and develop the science and practice of pharmacy in its contribution to the health and well-being of the public.
The Charter defines eligibility for membership of the Society as persons currently or formerly registered as pharmacists in Great Britain (Members and Fellows). Control of the Society’s affairs is vested in the Members and Fellows. It is the Members and Fellows who stand for and participate in elections to the National Boards and from the Boards to the governing body, the Assembly. Major changes to the Society require a Special Resolution passed with the support of at least two thirds of the Members and Fellows in order to:
- petition the Privy Council to amend the Charter
- alter the composition of the governing body (the Assembly)
- create additional categories of membership (however, persons in the categories so created would not have the powers reserved to Members and Fellows).
The Charter requires that more detailed provisions with respect to governance and membership are set out in a subordinate document and that members should be able to make representations on its content. The main features of the Regulations concern governance and membership.
The main governance bodies are the three National Pharmacy Boards for England (including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man), Wales and Scotland. They provide strategic leadership, advocacy and support for pharmacy practice development within their countries. National Boards are thus the main drivers for Society policies on professional practice and services to members. The current Boards were directly elected by the membership and their compositions cover the various sectors in which members practice.
The National Pharmacy Boards maintain contact with the membership at large through members’ Local Practice Forums.
The National Pharmacy Boards elect on an annual basis the governing body, the Assembly, which has fiduciary responsibility for the Society, agrees and co-ordinates the Society’s overall strategy, allocates resources, monitors performance and accounts to the membership. The Assembly appoints the Society’s President and Treasurer from amongst its membership.
The Assembly has the power to appoint other governance bodies. There is a board to oversee the Society’s publishing activities.
The Regulations provide for the Assembly to account to members through an annual report and an Annual General Meeting. They also make provision for the Assembly, or the membership at large, to requisition Special General Meetings to consider matters of importance at other times.
Regulations specify the Society’s membership categories and define admission criteria. These are Members and Fellows (ie persons current or formerly registered pharmacists in GB) who hold voting rights, Student, Associates and a small number of Honorary Members and Honorary Fellows
Student Membership is for undergraduate students in higher education studying for a degree in pharmacy at an institution recognised by the Society, and Associate Membership for a person with a degree in pharmacy from an institution recognised by the Society who is not (yet) eligible to become a Member. These categories enable the Society to bring student and pre-registration pharmacists into membership.
The nurturing of prospective new entrants is critical to the health of any profession and key to the development of its professional body. The Assembly has created these two categories of membership so that the Society can offer services and guidance to the pharmacists of the future. Student and Associate Members are not be eligible to stand for or vote in elections, so control of the Society will remain with the Members and Fellows.