The Advisory Committee on Organic Standards (ACOS) Research and Development Committee was established in 2004 with the following Terms of Reference (full details can be found in the Organic Certification Body and Inspector Approval Control Manual at http://www.defra.gov.uk/farm/organic/standards/index.htm : Scope Describes the terms of reference, operating procedures and membership of the Research and Development Committee. Responsibility Chair of the Research and Development Committee, Secretary of ACOS & Secretary of the Research and Development Committee. Status 316.1 The Research and Development Committee is a sub-committee of ACOS. Function 316.2 The function of the Committee is to establish priorities for organic research in the UK. The Committee will pass its recommendations to ACOS and Defra. The Committee will make such recommendations in the knowledge that Defra is the main funding body in the UK. The Committee will take into account the wider European context. The Committee shall be able to consider all aspects of production from the farm to final delivery to the consumer. The committee will consult with key stakeholders in reaching its recommendations. Tasks 316.3 The Committee's key tasks are: 1. advising on immediate research priorities; 2. developing long term recommendations for organic research policy in the UK. The Committee will make an initial report to Defra by early 2005. Personnel 316.4 The Committee will comprise of a Chairperson and not more than  members. In addition, consulting members may be appointed who would not normally be expected to attend meetings but may be asked to advise on specific issues. The normal term of office for members of the Committee, is one year provided that: 1. any member of the Committee may retire by notice in writing to the Secretary of the Committee or the Secretary of ACOS; 2. a member whose term of office expires shall continue to act until a successor is nominated or appointed. Appointments will be based on recommendations by the Chair and will include representation from the England Organic Action Plan Group and representatives from other parts of the UK. Frequency of meetings will depend on requirements but are not expected to exceed six per year. 316.5 Any person whose term of office expires shall be eligible to be re-appointed to the Committee, although in keeping with standards governing public appointments a member shall not normally serve for more than two terms. Re-appointment shall be confirmed on an annual basis. 316.6 The Chairman of the Committee may ask ACOS for an incumbent member to be replaced if the member fails to attend meetings of the Committee regularly. 316.7 Members must make a declaration regarding any item under discussion in which they have a personal or pecuniary interest. If necessary, the Chairman may request the member in question not to vote on the issue. 316.8 On their appointment, members must sign a declaration confirming that they will not reveal outside the Committee any details prejudicial to persons or businesses under discussion. 316.9 The Secretary of the Committee shall convene meetings by notice in writing to each member at such times as ACOS or Defra shall direct. 316.10 A quorum at such meetings shall consist of not less than four voting members of the Committee. 316.11 Each member of the Committee shall have one vote. The Chairman or other person presiding shall in the event of an equal division have a casting vote. 316.12 In the absence of the Chairman at any meeting of the Committee an appointed member selected by the Chairman shall preside, failing which the Chairman shall be elected by a majority of those present. 316.13 Members of the Committee shall be entitled to receive reimbursement of reasonable travelling and associated costs. In addition, an attendance allowance (currently £129 per day) shall be made available to members. Consulting members shall normally be paid the preparation allowance in connection with advice given. 316.14 Provision is made for the Committee, exceptionally, to commission from its members, or from outside persons or institutions, reports and studies which it considers may be necessary to ensure proper consideration of an issue. If necessary, the Committee shall be authorised to offer payment for the preparation of such reports. The Committee shall seek advice from the Secretary regarding the availability of funds. 316.15 With the consent of the Chairman, other specialist advisers or consulting members, may attend meetings of the Committee but they shall not be entitled to vote. Remuneration and costs as in paragraph 316.13 shall be at the discretion of the Chairman in consultation with the Secretary. 316.16 These terms of reference and rules of procedure may only be altered by ACOS in consultation with Defra. Code of Practice 316.17 Each Member must agree to observe the Code of Practice set out in the procedure 316 – Code of Practice for Members of ACOS. Confidentiality 316.18 Each Member must observe the procedure 306 – Confidentiality and sign the document 642 – Confidentiality Agreement prior to taking their place. Conflict of Interest 316.19 Each Member must complete and sign the document 643 – Declaration of Conflict of Interest, prior to taking their place and annually thereafter when requested by the Secretary. Performance Measures 316.20 Members of the Research and Development Committee will be subject to an annual assessment under the procedure 317 – Performance Assessment for the Members of ACOS. This will be carried out by the Chair.