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Delivering the FIRMS Triennial Conference - Guidance

Version No. 2        Date of Issue: 10 March 2023

1. Introduction

The triennial conference is one of FIRMS’ main deliverables. Its objective is to support the FIRMS Mission by;

  • bringing together all those involved in the forensic process with other scientists who employ IRMS in their own fields and facilitating exchange of information between all parties, and

  • raising awareness among investigators, lawyers and policy makers of the potential of IRMS in forensic science, crime detection and reduction.

The conference is usually held in September and includes the Annual General Meeting. This document provides additional information to complement the task list and schedule. The task list, schedule and this document together constitute the procedure for delivering the conference. 

Provision for a virtual or partly virtual conference should be considered. Any additional costs arising should be planned to be met through increased income; registration fees and sponsorship.    

2. Host Selection

Expressions of interest shall be invited from suitable candidate organisations. To be successful, the candidate organisation shall assure the Steering Group (SG) that it has the necessary resources to host the conference, assuming 80+ registrants plus sponsors.

Before agreeing to host the conference, the host organisation shall be made aware of the financial arrangements detailed in section 4 below.   

3. Conference subcommittee

A conference subcommittee shall be established, and its members appointed by the SG from among SG members.

The subcommittee shall include a representative of the host organisation. If the host organisation is not a member of the SG then its representative shall be co-opted onto the subcommittee.

The subcommittee shall be responsible for delivering the conference to time, cost and quality according to plan. The subcommittee shall report progress at each SG meeting.

The subcommittee shall prepare a conference budget for approval by the SG. The budget shall conform to the financial requirements specified below.  

4. Finances

Income from registration fees and sponsorship shall be sufficient to cover all foreseeable costs and return some income to FIRMS.

The registration fee should be set to ensure a reasonable return to FIRMS to provide funds that might be used to help offset any unplanned expenditure incurred in hosting the conference and generally improve FIRMS’ balance sheet.  

At the completion of the conference the conference subcommittee shall prepare an income and expenditure account for consideration by the SG at the following SG meeting, usually February of the following year. Any income in excess of expenditure shall be returned to the FIRMS Network. Provided the SG have exercised due diligence in the financial control of the conference, and except where unforeseen circumstances have resulted in unplanned expenditure, income should always exceed expenditure.

5. Assessment of Quality

The quality of the conference and any workshops shall be assessed by means of a short and simple questionnaire provided to registrants. The questionnaire shall require them to record whether the conference/workshop did not meet, met or exceeded their expectations and to record what was done well and what could have been done better.

The information recorded in the questionnaires shall be collated and the results reported to the SG by a nominated member of the conference subcommittee. The result of the questionnaire shall be considered by the SG at the meeting following the conference. OFI’s shall be identified and changes made to this procedure and the accompanying task list and schedule as necessary.
An end of conference discussion should be provided and managed to offer an additional means of capturing and recording opportunities for improvement.