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3.1 Basic Guidelines


Advisory Groups are established to conduct specific activities that contribute to the fulfillment of the Management Team's responsibilities or the organization's mandate. Advisory Groups are considered to be agile in nature, given the changing needs and direction of the organization, and therefore each group is reviewed on an annual basis to determine if the group is still required or if changes in the Terms of Reference are required. Advisory Group's members have specific skills and abilities related to that particular group.

The role of each Advisory Group is to provide advice to the applicable Management Team member(s) on specific areas that are included in the Terms of Reference to further the knowledge and direction of the organization. Generally, Advisory Groups develop at the beginning of each year a group work plan, determine whether Task and Finish sub groups are required, outline any resource requirements, and lay out a set of measures in order to measure the progress of the applicable group work plan. All work plans are to be submitted to the CEO annually for review and approval. Some Advisory Groups, such as a user group, do not have work plans due to their nature.

The organization, with the approval of the Management Board, may elect to seek approval for a separate budget item in the annual budget to assist the Advisory Groups in the completion of their approved work plans. 


IHTSDO was founded on the principles of openness, transparency, communication and accountability to its Members. Transparency requires dialogue and participation in a democratic process. While Group members have primary responsibility for the work of the Advisory Group, its meetings are open to experts from around the world.

Members are responsible for supporting the Chair to ensure conflicts of interest relating to matters at the Group are identified, documented and dealt with appropriately.

Whilst it is the intention to support, openness, transparency and communication, abiding by the principle of accountability may require management of matters of a probity nature to be dealt with under specified circumstances.

3.2 Advisory Group Terms of Reference

The Terms of Reference of each Advisory Group will include at least the following elements and must be submitted for approval initially by the CEO with final approval given by the Management Board.

  • Purpose
  • Scope
  • Membership
  • Responsibilities
  • Critical Success Factors

AGs that utilize the expert nomination process must have a skills matrix.

The Terms of Reference will be posted publicly in keeping with the principles of openness and transparency.

3.3 Advisory Group Evaluations

Assessing Advisory Group effectiveness is an important responsibility. Every year by the end of September, the Advisory Group must complete a self-evaluation that examines the progress of the group, achievement of goals against the approved work plan or objectives and a statement to the CEO and Management Board on whether the Advisory Group is still required, should be dissolved or if there are recommended changes.

The Advisory Group Terms of Reference will also be reviewed annually to determine whether changes should be made. 

3.4 Advisory Group Terms of Service

With the exceptions noted below, each appointed Advisory Group Member serves on the group for a period of two years and may be reappointed once. A staggered process is utilized, whereby there is a turnover of members of approximately fifty percent in any given cycle of election.

Terms generally run from from 1 October until 30 September two years later.

When a position is open outside of normal terms of service, the AG chair may choose whether or not to fill that position before the normal May to September recruitment period. For Member-based nominations, this decision may be facilitated by a Member country nominating a new AG member.

Exception to the two-year term: During the initial start-up period of an Advisory Group, approximately half the Advisory Group members will be appointed to a three-year term instead of a two-year term so that their terms can be staggered and the Advisory Group can have some continuity. 

An Advisory Group member, whether selected by IHTSDO or appointed to represent a Member country, may not serve for more than five years cumulative across the Advisory Groups unless granted approval by the CEO and Management Board. To request approval, the AG Chair submits the request and explanation to the CEO. If approved, it should be forwarded to Corporate Services for inclusion in the next Management Board meeting agenda.

3.5 Conducting meetings

Advisory Group meetings will operate under the following guidelines:

  • Regular attendance by Advisory Group members is encouraged in order to minimize the need for repetition of discussions.
  • Face-to-face meetings are held approximately two times a year. IHTSDO offers travel funding for those traveling on behalf of IHTSDO through the "Expert" nomination process; those AG members who represent Member countries ("Member-based" nominations) should seek funding from the Member country.
  • Conference calls are scheduled at intervals determined by the status of the work of the Group, at the discretion of the Chair, taking into account the advice from members of the Group.
    • Timing of the calls is determined based on the time zones of all the Group members.
  • Out-of-session or extraordinary meetings may be called by the Chair to support specific work program activities.
  • Meeting agenda will be made available at least three days in advance of conference calls and one week in advance of face-to-face meetings.
  • Notes of the meeting will be posted on Confluence as a public record of advice provided by the group and other key points. The group may also choose to keep recordings of the meeting, which should be accessible to members of the Group and IHTSDO staff.
  • In accordance with IHTSDO policy, members will declare potential or actual conflicts of interests, and these will be recorded in the meeting notes and on the Declaration of Interests page in the AG's Confluence space. If appropriate, the AG Chair will raise the potential or actual conflict of interest with senior management.
  • Members will respond in a timely manner to requests from the Chair for input to decisions that are required between meetings.
  • The Group will uphold the Articles of Association and conform to the IHTSDO regulations, policies and procedures that apply to the Group activities.
  • The Chair will take responsibility for taking the Group's recommendations to the Management Board/Management Team and providing members with feedback on the outcomes of their contribution.
  • The Chair will work with Chairs of the other Groups to ensure coordination across Groups, Project and Interest Groups and effective joint working when appropriate.
  • Agenda items of each Advisory Group meeting will be posted together at Cross-Group Coordination so that Chairs, Advisory Group members, observers, staff and others will have the possibility of finding out what the other groups are working on.
  • If neither the Chair of the Group, nor any appointed Vice Chair, is able to attend a scheduled Group meeting or conference call, the Chair may appoint another member of the Group as Acting Chair or may instruct the Group members present to select an Acting Chair; the role of Acting Chair is limited to chairing a single specified meeting.

3.6 Observers

Advisory Group meetings are open to non-members, who will be known as observers. Observers are welcome to attend and contribute to meetings. Observer participation is facilitated by making the meeting schedule and joining details publicly available.

Observers must respect the need for the Advisory Group to reach conclusion in its discussions and may not participate in any voting. Observers may be excluded from certain discussions if the majority of the Group members feel that the discussions need to be held in private.

3.7 Yearly AG Calendar

AG terms run from October to September. AG work plans run from January to December.


  • AG work plans due to CEO for approval.


  • Some AGs will hold face-to-face meetings at the April business meeting.
  • Announcement of AG member's terms that are coming to end at the end of the year.
  • Advertise positions that are coming available.

May to September

  • Recruitment for new AG members for terms that are ending in September.


  • When appropriate, AG Chairs submit budget requests for the next calendar year. The IHTSDO work plan and budget are developed after the April conference and approved at the October conference, so budget items for the following calendar year should be submitted for approval mid-year. Whether funds could be allocated to a project at other times of year depends on circumstances. The Advisory Group Chair should contact the Executive Lead - Finance & Corporate Services.


  • AG self-evaluations are due. CEO in consultation with others decides whether the AG will continue for another year (presumably a decision to shut down or significantly change an AG will have been building for some time, meaning the recruitment of new members would have already been altered appropriately).
  • AG Chair reviews the Terms of Reference to see if any updates are needed. If so, the revisions should go to the CEO and Management Board for approval.
  • 30 September marks the end of some AG members' terms.


  • Newly chosen AG members begin their terms on 1 October.
  • Some AGs will hold face-to-face meetings at the October business meeting, where they will try to make significant progress. on work items and begin discussing their new work plans, which are due to the CEO by early January.
  • AGs also must review and update their Declarations of Interests.


  • Finalization of work plans for the next calendar year.
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