Terms of Reference

These Terms of Reference for the National Needle Exchange Forum were last ameded in January 2013.

  1. Role
    1. The role of the National Needle Exchange Forum (NNEF) is to actively promote and support the provision of high quality needle and syringe programmes, therefore ensuring the reduction of injecting-related harm as a key part of the English drugs strategy.

  2. Aims
    1. To identify and promote good practice in the development and delivery of needle and syringe programmes.
    2. To inform policy-makers, partner agencies and the wider community about the benefits of needle and syringe programmes in order to ensure that harm reduction remains central to health policy in England.
    3. To raise awareness, and promote understanding, of the role of needle and syringe programmes.
    4. To establish and maintain a communication network for members of the Forum.
    5. To initiate and facilitate open, informed discussion and debate.
    6. To provide expert advice on issues related to needle and syringe programmes and injecting drug use.
    7. To promote and develop links with relevant national and international organisations, including similar organisations in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

  3. Membership
    1. Membership is open to any individual who supports the mission and aims of the Forum.
    2. NNEF is committed to engaging with those who use needle and syringe programmes, and to forming partnerships with service user groups. We encourage and support the participation of service users in meetings and discussions.
    3. All members join NNEF as individuals, and not as representatives of their employers or any other organisation.
    4. Membership is free of charge.
    5. Members are required to declare any conflicts of interest prior to contributing to discussions (both online and at meetings). Members may not vote on issues in which they have a conflict of interest. Failure to declare a conflict of interest, particularly before voting, may result in removal of forum membership and/or removal from the discussion list. The decision of the Planning Group on this will be immediate, and subject to ratification at the next Annual General Meeting.

  4. Constitution
    1. The NNEF will aim to host a national meeting at least once a year, ensuring that venues are chosen from across the country where possible.
    2. An Annual General Meeting will also be held once every year (normally as part of the regular meetings). Members will be given at least one calendar month notice of the Annual General Meeting.
    3. Any amendments to the Terms of Reference must be approved by a majority of members at the Annual General Meeting.
    4. Whenever possible, decisions of the Forum will be made by consensus. If opinion is divided a vote may be taken, and a motion will normally be carried by a simple majority of those attending and voting. At the discretion of the Chair, a vote by post or e-mail may be called of all members.

  5. Secretariat
    1. HIT will provide basic Secretariat services for the NNEF. The Forum membership list will remain the property of the NNEF.

  6. Election of Forum Officers
    1. Chair, Deputy Chair and Treasurer will be elected by Forum members. These positions may be job shared. In order to ensure continuity of governance, it is expected that officers will serve at least two years in post, and that Deputy Chairs are prepared to offer their services as Chair if needed.
    2. An election of these Officers will be held once every year (or sooner if required by resignation or other exceptional circumstances). Elections will take place at the Annual General Meeting.
    3. Nominations for election will be invited from the Forum membership, not less than two weeks prior to the Annual General Meeting. In the event of more than two nominations for any post, voting will be by show of hands among those members attending the Annual General Meeting.
    4. During their term of office, the Officers will be expected to report to the membership as a whole on any activities they carry out on behalf of the Forum.
    5. The Planning Group may co-opt Officers to vacant positions prior to an Annual General Meeting, with the normal process of elections then taking place at the next Annual General Meeting.

  7. NNEF Planning Group
    1. The Forum Planning Group will consist of the Officers, together with a further group of approximately ten additional members. There will not be a formal election for these positions, but all members of the Planning Group must be approved by a meeting of the Forum, and their names recorded in the minutes.
    2. The role of the Planning Group will be to carry forward the aims of the Forum between meetings. It will seek to represent the views and interests of the membership as a whole. Decisions taken by the Planning Group will be reported to the membership at the next full meeting of the Forum, and/or via the online discussion group.
    3. As far as possible, the Planning Group should comprise individuals from different geographical areas within England.
    4. Other members of the Forum may volunteer, or be invited by the Planning Group, to contribute to the work of the Forum on specific issues.
    5. Planning Group members who neither attend, nor send apologies to, two consecutive meetings of the Forum will be assumed to have resigned, and will be removed from the mailing list.
    6. The role of the planning group is further detailed in Appendix 1 (Role of NNEF Planning Group).

  8. Commercial Organisations
    1. The forum welcomes the support (both direct and indirect) of employing organisations in the drugs field, commercial organisations, charities and social enterprises who share, and can help further, our aims.
    2. The Planning Group will only accept offers of support and funding that do not compromise the NNEF’s integrity and independence, nor our ability to address issues and pursue our aims freely.
    3. The Forum facilitates dialogue with service providers, trainers and suppliers to the field, in order to improve the availability and quality of suitable products and services for needle and syringe programmes.

Appendix 1

Role of the Planning Group

  1. Commitment to membership of the Planning Group
    Anyone considering involvement in the Planning Group should consider how much time and energy they can devote to it. The roles of Chair and Deputy can be particularly time- consuming.

    The main responsibility for achieving the aims of the Forum falls on the elected officers. It is hoped that the above tasks can be shared equitably between them.

    Financial matters will chiefly be the responsibility of the Treasurer. Governance of financial matters will chiefly be the responsibility of the Treasurer, who is custodian of the Forum’s bank account documentation.

    The other members of the Planning Group can take on specific tasks in support of these aims. Before you put someone’s name forward for election, please ensure they are willing to be nominated.

  2. Responsibilities of Planning Group

    • Organising meetings of the Forum, including arranging speakers, venues and refreshments.
    • Representing the Forum at meetings with public bodies, and reporting back to the membership.
    • Responding to consultation papers on behalf of the Forum.
    • Ensuring that decisions made at meetings of the Forum are implemented.
    • Seeking commercial sponsorship for meetings.
    • Applying to public bodies for funding.

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