The Committee

The BCA Committee serves as the guiding body of British Cichlid Association and with its members work together to develop, promote and advocate the husbandry and conservation of cichlids throughout the globe. The Committee is chaired by Brian Downing and is comprised of other members as listed below. All members, inclusive of the chairman, follow the The Committee Code of Conduct.

The committee members

Prof. George Turner





Vacant - Nominations welcome. Contact Brian Downing on or




Vacant - Nominations welcome. Contact Brian Downing if you're interested

Trevor Greenfield


Peter Clarke



The following list provides a description of each Officer's job as it now stands. Although the workload may seem heavy, like all tasks it is easily tackled providing you keep on top of it. The Committee must ensure that the business of the Association is carried out properly and efficiently, but at the same time the arrangements must be sufficiently flexible to allow the Committee to work effectively, and to deal with any unforeseen circumstances.

General requirements

We live in an electronic age and the majority of BCA business is now conducted using personal computers and email. Accordingly, all committee members should own a PC, be reasonably familiar with basic software (eg Microsoft Word or a Word-compatible word-processing package) and any software specific to a particular job. They should be prepared to communicate by email - BCA email addresses are available if required.

All Officers should maintain proper records and ensure important documents are archived (electronic copy) and passed on to their successor.

All Committee Officers are required to provide an annual report for the September/October Newsletter


The Chairman is ultimately responsible for the BCA. The post involves a mix of diplomacy and firm management to ensure that the Association delivers all the services it offers and is run in a professional manner, and in accordance with its Constitution and Rules and statute law. It requires a good knowledge of how the Association is run, and is best reserved for members of many years standing, who will ideally have previously held a lesser Committee post. The Chairman may need to make difficult decisions, and to find solutions to new situations where the Rules and precedent are no help.

The main duties of the Chairman are:

  • To chair all meetings, General and Committee, ensuring they are conducted according to the Agenda and in a proper manner.
  • To motivate the Committee and other Officers, providing inspiration and new ideas.
  • To take decisions using his/her casting vote where the Committee are equally divided on an issue, or in emergencies where the Committee cannot be consulted.
  • To ensure all Officers perform their jobs properly and to resolve any disagreements between them.
  • To delegate work not assigned to any specific post or where an Officer is unable to fulfill their duties for any reason.
  • To remove an Officer from office should this become necessary and to appoint a temporary replacement as an Acting Officer (normally only with the backing of the majority of the Committee).
  • To deal with any complaints from both members and non-members, and ensure the Association presents a professional and credible face to both.
  • Ideally attending other organization’s events to promote and answer questions about the Association.

The Chairman should be available for contact by telephone.

Honorary Secretary.

The BCA Honorary Secretary position has changed hugely in recent years with many tasks now being allocated to the Events Manager. He/She now solely deals with the formal business and correspondence (paper and electronic) of the Association.

This includes:

  •  Producing official announcements (eg. for meetings) for publication in Cichlidae and on the Website.
  • Preparing and publishing agendas for General Meetings and Committee Meetings.
  • Taking minutes at meetings, and preparing them for publication.
  • Updating the Constitution and Rules when necessary, and arranging publication and distribution of the amended version.
  • All official internal and external correspondence and communication.
  • Creating, maintaining, and archiving definitive documents such as these job specifications and the committee code of conduct.
  • Designing and printing promotional material such as posters, flyers, leaflets etc (or arranging for this to be done) and liaising with Treasurer where such material and printing requires outsourcing.

The Secretary should be available for contact by telephone.


The Treasurer is the ultimate authority on finance for the BCA and has the final say on what can be spent - except where limits are imposed by the Rules - and may impose additional limits on expenditure by other persons from time to time.

Duties include the following:

  • To be aware of the Association's financial position at all times, and thus able to budget and regulate cashflow.
  • To determine the membership subscription required (this must be ratified by an AGM), entry fees for events, and other prices and charges.
  • To advise the Committee on the affordability or otherwise of any unusual expenditure, i.e. on capital items such as computers, photocopiers, etc. To veto any expenditure beyond what can be reasonably afforded.
  • To deal with day-to-day financial matters such as payment of expenses and invoices; to formulate policy for the regulation of such matters; to ensure adherence to such policy, and to the financial regulations laid down in the Association's Constitution and Rules.
  • To inform the Membership Secretary of subscription payments made by PayPal, Standing Order and other bank transfers.
  • To organise and supervise the financial arrangements at the Association's events.
  • To provide cash floats where necessary - e.g. for the Association's and other events.
  • To liaise with the Association's bankers where necessary, for example to obtain banking stationery, query any charges levied, notify any changes in signatories, etc.
  • To keep a proper and up-to-date record of income and expenditure for accountancy purposes, also all paperwork relating to these matters.
  • To submit these financial records, together with an explanatory report, to the members at the end of each Financial Year and to publish said accounts and report thereon on the website (Members pages) and in Cichlidae; to report on the accounts at the AGM.
  • To ensure all financial paperwork is retained safely for the statutory period required, and that the accounts and other important documents are also archived.

Cichlidae Editor.

The Cichlidae Editor is responsible for the publication of the Association's bi-monthly journal Cichlidae. This is probably the most time-consuming Committee post and requires meticulous attention to detail in order to maintain the high standard required. Scheduling is important to ensure the journal is published on time. Ideally the Cichlidae Editor will be organised, highly literate with good spelling and grammar, up- to-date with aquatic science and cichlid taxonomy, familiar with the laws of copyright and defamation, able to lay out text and photos in Microsoft Word to produce a professional-looking lay-out, and enjoy communicating with writers and photographers. However, most material now arrives ready-typed as a Word file. The Editor is responsible for ensuring all necessary tasks are performed properly and on time.

These tasks include:

  • Ensuring sufficient suitable material is available for each issue, by soliciting articles from members and outside authors if insufficient are submitted voluntarily.
  • Outsourcing good quality photos where not provided or available from archive, and writing captions if necessary.
  • Correcting spelling and grammar where required; editing text for style (eg headings, use of italics).
  • Identifying errors of content (eg taxonomy) and liaising with the author to rectify these via text changes or footnotes.
  • Legal responsibility: ensuring that photos are properly credited, that anything defamatory or offensive is edited out, and that anything potentially harmful (to fish or humans) is removed or footnoted with a warning.
  • Writing an Editorial.
  • Creating the layout of the journal.
  • Publishing the journal on the BCA website in electronic format (members only pages) and liaise with Membership Secretary so that Cichlidae can be electronically sent to all members via pdf.

At present Cichlidae carries only occasional back-cover adverts, but in time it may also be necessary to add advertising to the equation. Advertising will normally be provided ready-to-print, and the financial side will be the province of the Treasurer, but there will be implications for the lay-out process and more communication with others required.

Membership Secretary.

The Membership Secretary must maintain an up-to-date and accurate computerised record of details of the membership of the Association. It is therefore beneficial for the post-holder to be "computer literate". He/she must also be patient and tolerant, as complaints and enquiries are often directed his/her way.

Members can join/renew at events, by post, by Standing Order, and via the Website Paypal facility. Membership records are kept active for 14 months, allowing two months' grace for renewing membership, after which the record is terminated. A printed copy is then taken for reference purposes only. On application to join the Association a new record is created, allocating a vacant membership number to the applicant. The applicant must be asked if they have any objections to the method of storing their details, which are then kept in accordance with the Data Protection Act.

Routine duties include:

  • Enrolling new members, recording their details and issuing new Membership Cards and Introductory Letter. Answering any immediate queries or passing them on to the appropriate Officer/expert.
  • Recording membership renewals, updating the relevant expiry date, amending any changes in details, and issuing a new Membership Card and Thank You Note.
  • Deleting all expired memberships at regular intervals.
  • Liaising with the Treasurer regarding Standing Orders and other bank transfers shown on the bank statements.
  • Keeping the Committee informed as to membership numbers, and in particular supplying this information on request to the Chairman.
  • Sending out reminders to members whose membership has expired or is about to expire.
  • Recording and banking all monies received, providing the Treasurer with details of subscriptions and sales monies received whenever a bank credit is made.
  • Creating electronic file of members and forwarding Cichlidae via pdf to all Members, Honorary Members, Contributors and Free Copy holders.

On average three to four hours weekly is required to carry out these tasks. The Membership Secretary should be available for contact by telephone.

Publicity Officer.

The Publicity Officer is responsible for publicising the BCA and its activities to non-members, and together with the Secretary, announcing details of events to the membership - the Secretary announces General Meetings, the Publicity Officer Convention details, but there is a lot of overlap and the two Officers must work hand in hand. A reasonable degree of literacy is required for writing press releases, and the ability to present a lot of information concisely as free press release space is limited. He/she is also responsible for soliciting advertising (for Cichlidae and the Website) and sponsorship although sometimes another Officer's personal contact with a potential advertiser/sponsor may mean that they should make the actual approach. The Publicity Officer should be outgoing, confident, and prepared to contact strangers as well as existing contacts.

Specific duties include:

  • Announcing the Association 's events, and publicising the Association's existence, function, and services, in the aquatic press, maintaining liaison with Editors with regard to copy dates and type of copy required.
  • Announcing the Association's events in its publications and on the Website
  • Ditto the publications and websites of other fishkeeping organisations with whom the Association has links, eg Specialist Societies, Area Groups, Local Clubs, and organisations such as the FBAS
  • Establishing and maintaining such links.
  • To send out details of the Association to members of the public requesting them.
  • To provide information on the Association's events by post, telephone, or email to those requesting it.
  • Soliciting advertising and sponsorship.
  • Maintaining an up-to-date list of contacts for publicity outlets, advertisers, sponsors, and other fishkeeping organizations.
  • Distributing promotional material such as posters and leaflets.
  • Ideally attending other organization’s events to answer questions about the Association, and ensuring suitable promotional material is available.

The Publicity Officer should be available for contact by telephone.

Technical Editor.

The main duty of the Technical Editor is to create, maintain and update the BCA website and social media pages. The job requires specialist IT skills or can be assigned to a suitable professional, but this will, of course, incur charges. The role of Technical Editor can perhaps be seen as Website Editor/Social Media Officer, and has many responsibilities in common with the Cichlidae editor, as it includes news, specimen articles, photos, design and a lot more. Nowadays the Website and Social Media pages are the aspect of the BCA most likely to be seen by the public, and on it will depend the impression they gain of the BCA, so attention to detail is important. The website or social media pages must not contain material of a defamatory nature or which is likely to cause offence. Copyright issues must be considered where material can be downloaded.

Specific jobs include:

  • Create, maintain and update the BCA website and social media pages.
  • Maintaining and keeping secure all relevant access passwords.
  • Uploading any new material provided by the committee.
  • Removing any out-of-date material as soon as possible.
  • Moderating the forum and acting as Admin on social media pages..
  • Promptly passing on emails to official BCA email addresses to the intended recipients, and forwarding replies if required.
  • Performing regular back-ups.
  • Creating links with other relevant websites and social media groups.
  • Implementing new features as the need for or desirability of these becomes apparent.

The Technical Editor should be available for contact by telephone.