As readers of this Blog may have realised, one of my favorite reference sites is the “Urban Dictionary”. (As all good clinical scientists I have to declare any conflicting interests and I can honestly say I have no shares in the UC Company or know nothing about its organisation. I just like its irreverence!). I looked up its definition of a “Committee” and it certainly lives up to its impertinence. A committee is: “A group of people that forms when the stupidity of one person won’t suffice”; and for good measure “Committees are the foundation of bureaucracy”.

Why was I interested in the delineation of Committee? Had spending 2 days on behalf of ISPAD locked in windowless rooms becoming more and more tired, snappier and at the end downright difficult something to do with it. Yes, it was the occasion of the ISPAD Executive Committee Annual Spring Meeting in Berlin with my fellow officers and the event did not fail to live up to its reputation.

ISPAD Steering Committees are legendary. Ask any past Executive member and their eyes roll, they become weak at the knees and offer lashings of sympathy. “Well done, keep doing the job, best of luck” they offer, grateful that their time is over, or so it seems. But I have a sneaky feeling that they value their time in the Executive and Advisory Board Meetings and appreciate that at the end of the day they have helped shape and form ISPAD and move the organisation forward.

In Berlin you will be pleased to here that your Society Officers, together with representatives of the K.I.T. Group (our administration organisation) produced an enormous effort over 48 hours reporting on, debating and determining on all of the current issues before ISPAD with significant decisions being made on the breadth of matters concerning a Society with such a world-wide portfolio.

To develop a smoother running of future meetings and activities of ISPAD, the Executive agreed on the details of an “ISPAD organisation chart”, which will soon be posted on the Website. This might seem a minor action but it is something new and helps encapsulate the range of responsibilities and undertakings ISPAD. It will, I believe, help in keeping track of ISPAD activities and tasks and help in the smoother transition of information and actions of future Executives. We also wish to be more transparent in how we choose to support various activities, particularly the many Post Graduate courses that we are involved in around the World and have devised a new application and reporting process. These are all itemised in the minutes of the meeting that will be posted on the Website.

So, far from being a collection of stupid people absorbed in developing bureaucracy, the Executive Committee meetings are highly productive, stimulating and interesting. They are still tiring, aggressive and emphatically argumentative but we all kiss and make up at the end and live to fight another day on behalf of ISPAD. May long this continue.