Bee Health Improvement Partnership: terms of reference

Terms of reference for the Bee Health Improvement Partnership.


These terms of reference set out the purpose, membership, responsibilities and reporting arrangements of the Bee Health Improvement Partnership in relation to Scotland’s Honey Bee Health Strategy 2022 to 2032.


The Bee Health Improvement Plan (BHIP) (originally known as the Honey Bee Health Strategy Group) was established in 2010 as part of Scotland’s first 10-year Honey Bee Health Strategy. The BHIP is a forum to allow Scottish Government Officials and stakeholders to discuss, consult and interact on challenges, policies and strategies affecting honey bees and the Scottish beekeeping sector, both from a hobby and commercial perspective.

The main purpose of the BHIP is to implement, deliver and review progress of the actions as set out in the Honey Bee Health Strategy 2022 to 2032: Implementation Plan.


The BHIP comprises of a combination of Government officials and operational partners involved in Bee Health, representatives from key bee health stakeholder groups and observers from the Devolved Administrations as set out below:

  • Animal Health and Welfare Division’s Honey Bee Health Policy Team Scottish Government , Core member, Chair and Secretariat functions
  • SASA Scottish Government, Core member, Deputy Chair function.
  • Rural Payments and Inspections Division, Scottish Government, core member
  • Scottish Beekeepers Association (SBA), Stakeholder, core member
  • Bee Farmers Association (BFA), Stakeholder, core member
  • National Diploma in Beekeeping (NDB), Stakeholder, core member
  • Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), Operational Partner, core member
  • NatureScot, Scottish Government, Optional member
  • APHA’s National Bee Unit (NBU), Operational Partner, Observer
  • Defra Bee Health Policy, Devolved Administrations, Observer
  • Welsh Government, Devolved Administrations, Observer
  • DAERA Northern Ireland, Devolved Administrations, Observer

A maximum number of three members per organisation is recommended.

Core member organisations will be responsible for any rotation of attendance as they see necessary in line with agenda demands. Core member organisations will also ensure that at least one of their representatives attends each meeting.

Optional members who do not have someone who can deputise for them will aim to attend meetings when there is a specific agenda item that is relevant to them or whose subject is related to their area of work.

The Devolved Administrations will be responsible for any rotation of attendance and will commit to sending at least one representative to each meeting. The attendance of the Devolved Administrations will primarily be as observers. There will be, however, a standing agenda item which will allow these attendees to provide any updates that are relevant to the group.

Roles and Responsibilities of the BHIP

To provide a forum for Government officials and stakeholders to collaborate together to steer the implementation, delivery and review of the Honey Bee Health Strategy 2022 to 2032. 

To consider disease and pest control policies to help the Scottish Government Honey Bee Health Team to develop policy options and advice to ministers.

To provide a regular opportunity for early discussion on emerging or developing bee health issues as well as increasing transparency and understanding of respective positions across the range of honey bee health interests.

The BHIP shall ensure that the views of those with an interest in the health of Scotland’s honey bees are taken into account when developing future work.

To allow Scottish Government officials to engage with stakeholders at the start of the policy process to help inform thinking ahead of the formation of new policy proposals.

The BHIP will collectively produce a written annual report detailing what the group have achieved. This will be followed by an Annual Review Meeting to critically review and self-reflect on the work done by the BHIP throughout the past year.

The BHIP may also look to establish working groups and to seek the views of individuals with expertise on specific issues or projects.

To work in the best interests of the public purse.

Membership of the BHIP does not limit organisations’ opportunity for bilateral exchange to inform policy nor does it circumvent stakeholders’ opportunities to continue to input to formal consultations.

Role of the BHIP in the implementation of the Honey Bee Health Strategy

The BHIP will identify and record key issues, challenges and actions required to reach desired objectives for improving bee health in Scotland in the Honey Bee Health Strategy 2022 to 2032: Implementation Plan.

The BHIP will ensure that the actions, key issues and objectives identified in the Implementation Plan follow the SMART principle (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time Bound) and are based on the ways of working outlined in the five pillars of the Honey Bee Heath Strategy.

The BHIP will be flexible and adaptable to new challenges and emerging threats to honey bee health and will carry out regular re-prioritisation reviews during BHIP meetings. Members should also come to meetings with any actions required to improve honey bee health in Scotland that they would like to see added to the Implementation Plan.

Core members of the BHIP are expected to contribute to at least one action per issue under the Implementation Plan. Members should provide updates on the progress of their actions.

The BHIP will monitor, review and report the progress of key objectives at each meeting. The Implementation Plan will be updated following each meeting.

The BHIP will ensure that governance and accountability is maintained by detailing its progress in the annual report.

Meetings and ways of working

The BHIP will meet quarterly (unless there is a need to meet more frequently) at agreed locations or hold meetings virtually. Hybrid options will be available for those who cannot attend in person.

There will be a separate Annual Review Meeting. The attendees of this meeting will be the same as for the BHIP meetings but with the addition of a facilitator, external to the BHIP, who has an understanding of the aims of the group and is able to challenge the BHIP’s actions.

The Bee Health Policy Lead will act as the chair of the group with the Senior Entomologist from SASA as the deputy chair when required. Secretariat functions will be provided by the Animal Health and Welfare Division of the Scottish Government.

Core members are requested to send an update for their organisation and any other relevant documents as well as information on progress of any Implementation Plan action prior to the meeting to the secretariat for distribution to all members. This is to allow correct preparation of the meeting and to minimise the length of the meeting.

BHIP members can raise agenda items to be discussed a minimum of two weeks in advance of a meeting. The chair will decide whether items can be added to the agenda and this will depend on time constraints and previous commitments.

The final agenda and key papers will be sent one week prior to the meeting.

The minutes of a BHIP meeting will be circulated to members within 10 working days following a meeting. The finalised minutes of meetings and updates to the Implementation Plan will be published on the Scottish Government website.

The BHIP is a forum where the interests of the Scottish Beekeeping industry and bee health in general are discussed. No discussion regarding individual businesses or beekeepers should occur. Representatives are asked to remember that their views should represent the organisation that they represent, not their own personal or business interests.

The BHIP will have procedures for dealing with time critical issues, including ensuring decisions that need the BHIP’s input are taken in order to meet the timescales for parliamentary business. This may require rapid consultation, probably via an email network.


The BHIP terms of reference will be reviewed every three years.

The next review date will be October 2025.

Bee Health Improvement Partnership: terms of reference
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