Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for IFST Petition for Chartership

What are the benefits of IFST becoming Chartered?

Becoming a Chartered body is a huge honour and a demonstration of confidence by the Privy Council that IFST is a competent professional body. It brings into focus the importance of food science and technology as a profession in its own right.

What differences will becoming Chartered make to the Institute’s activities?

In one sense, it will not make a big difference – we are already performing as a competent professional body. You will see from the draft Charter that there is more of an emphasis on IFST’s role on supporting governments and we will therefore continue to maintain our already strong relationships and dialogues with governmental departments and agencies.

What does IFST becoming a Chartered body mean to me?

By raising the status of the profession as a whole, this will, in turn, raise your standing as a food technical professional. We hope that you will be proud to be a recognised professional of a Chartered body.

Will IFST becoming Chartered mean my subscriptions will go up?

No.  We will not need to make any changes to our current financial model as a result of becoming Chartered and so you will be pleased to hear there will be no financial impact to you of the Institute becoming Chartered.

Why do we need to hold an EGM?

You will see that our current constitution consists of a Memorandum and Articles. As a Chartered body our constitution will need to be described instead, by a Charter and Bylaws. In 2010, we re-wrote our constitution to be structured such that a conversion to becoming Chartered would be relatively straightforward.  That said, you will see that we have used the opportunity to update some of the language and also introduce some important changes. All of these constitutional changes need to be agreed by our voting members.

Why are only Members and Fellows entitled to vote at this EGM?

Our current constitution defines that voting rights are restricted to ‘professional members’ i.e. Members (MIFST) and Fellows (FIFST). To encourage more diversity and inclusion, you will see that the Board is proposing that we open up voting rights to Associate Members including Student members. This will be much more inclusive – especially to ensure we take into account the views of younger members. Please note that this inclusion of Associate and Student members only relates to voting at General Meetings. We would still normally require that Board members are professional members. We would also require that scientific review of technical content is undertaken by professional members.

What will the Institute’s new name be?

You will see that we are proposing that the Institute’s new name is ‘Chartered Institute of Food Science & Technology’ or CIFST. We could have left the Institute’s name as IFST but it seems a shame not to reference and be proud of our new chartered status. This change in name will, inevitable require us to review our current branding – but that’s a step further down the line!

What letters will I be entitled to use if the Institute becomes a Chartered body?

As you will see set out in the draft Bylaws, current Members will become MCIFST or ‘Members of the Chartered Institute of Food Science and Technology, and Fellows will become FCIFST. The Institute will still offer Chartered Scientist professional recognition under licence through the Science Council.

What happens to the old name – Institute of Food Science & Technology?

You will see that if and when the Institute becomes Chartered the Institute transfers its business and activities to the new Chartered body. This leaves behind the original name and company, IFST. The Board will then need to decide what to do with the old name. We will probably want to preserve this so that the name cannot be adopted by anyone else.

Does this mean we will no longer be a charity?

The new chartered body will still be a registered Charity and will still maintain its original charitable status with the Charity Commission.

Why, within the Charter, are you opening up voting rights to Associate members and Student Associate members?

Currently, only ‘professional members’ (MIFST and FIFST) are entitled to vote and general meetings. As an institute, we are committed to the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion and so believe that we should open up the rights to votes to all members of the Institute including Associate and Student members who represent a significant proportion of our membership. It will still be the case that professional members only, will be entitled to hold positions of office which ensures that appointments are filled by professionals who have proven experience in the food sector.

Why are you introducing the facility for the Board to appoint two non-members to the board?

The Board has ultimate responsibility for the strategic direction of the Institute and for ensuring it is governed and operates effectively and within the law. In most cases, the make-up of the board  has, within it, sufficient experience and diversity to undertake the responsibilities expected of it. However, from time to time, the Board may decide it lacks specific capability or perspectives which it has not been able to find from within the IFST membership. In these situations, the new Bylaw will enable the Board to find the right experience from outside of the membership. It should be noted that this facility only allows for up to two non-member appointments and so the Board will still largely consist of professional members, elected by the membership.

How long will it take to become Chartered and what are the next steps?

This is a difficult question to answer because the process from this point on is very much driven by the Privy Council. Assuming the resolutions at the EGM are passed, we aim to submit the formal Petition, which includes the draft Charter and Bylaws, in January 2022. We will then need to wait for the Privy Council to consider our Petition There then follows a period of public consultation, during which time any interested parties may lodge objections. Assuming there are no objections or issues raised, the Petition is then bought back for consideration and, hopefully, our Charter will be granted. This process may take up to a year – or longer if any objections need to be clarified.

What can I do to support the petition?

Firstly, of course, if you are a voting member (MIFST or FIFST), we need your support and approval of the Special resolutions being brought forward at the Extraordinary General Meeting on 9 December. The meeting is not expected to take long but your positive vote is important.

Please spread the word to professional colleagues and encourage them to become members of the Institute. One important factor considered by the Privy Council is the size of the membership. We will be running campaigns over the next few months encouraging members to introduce new members.

I can’t attend the meeting – can I still vote?

Yes, as with all our General meetings, Professional members may vote by Proxy. Details of how to vote by Proxy are provided in the notes section of the formal Notice.