Records of the RCOG Honorary Secretary

Scope and Content

Papers of the RCOG Honorary Secretary, covering all aspects of his role within the College, in particular liaising with other medical, professional and government bodies for the advancement of maternity services in the UK.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Office of Honorary Secretary is elected to Council by Fellows and Members, with the term of office set at a maximum of seven years. The post has been in place since 1926, when William Fletcher Shaw was made Secretary to the Founding Committee. By 2008 the Honorary Secretary's main responsibilities were:

Supporting and assisting the President

The agenda for Council and Finance and Executive Committee

Chairing the Services Board and Services Group

Deputy Chair of the Consumers Forum

Representing the College Officers on the Staff Committee

RCOG Press Officer

RCOG awards, prizes & lectures

Attending meetings of Regional College Advisers, College Tutors and Overseas Chairmen

Fellows ad Eundem selection process

Representation on European Board and College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Ex officio member of all Boards and Standing Committees

Department of Health Workforce matters

The Honorary Secretary works closely with Membership services in respect of approving requests for the purchase of data about Fellows and Members, corresponding with the family members of deceased Fellows and Members, giving advice and approval of applications for Associates and Affiliates, and the organisation of MRCOG and FRCOG Admission Ceremonies

He also works closely with the Communications and External Affairs department in respect of RCOG communications to Associates and Affiliates, communications with Fellows and Members on contemporary issues, Membership benefits, approving publicity material for national and international meetings, and Medical Students’ Evenings.

The Honorary Secretary is a member of various Committees/Working Parties including the Management Audit, Work life Balance, RCOG/APOG Working Group, Clinical Standards Working Party, and Future Workforce in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.


The series is arranged chronologically by term of office of Honorary Secretary. Files may overlap between honorary secretaries; where this occurs the file has been placed according to its earliest date. During the term of office of Professor Dunlop (1992-1998) a joint alphabetical filing system for correspondence of the Honorary Secretary and the Junior Vice President was instituted; this system was followed in the item list as records were processed.

Access Information

Permission is required from RCOG Senior Management for external access to College records less than twenty years old.

Acquisition Information

Internal transfers from the Administration Department and the Corporate Affairs Department.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is held by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and photocopies are available at the discretion of the College Archivist.

Appraisal Information

The records in this series are currently disposed of in accordance with the departmental disposal agreement agreed in 1999 between the College Archivist and the Secretary to the Honorary Secretary.

Custodial History

An identifiable class of Honorary Secretary’s correspondence and papers does not appear before 1960. Records prior to those of I M Jackson (1960) were frequently included in the personal or official papers of the incumbent, for example Fletcher Shaw's papers as Honorary Secretary are mixed in with his papers as College President in RCOG/A4/4 and his personal papers at S34.

The Honorary Secretary's correspondence files are now transferred from the Administration Department (later the Corporate Affairs Department).

Related Material

Related material held at the RCOG include the following references:

RCOG/A2/1 Council correspondence including the Honorary Secretary's correspondence and papers between 1946-1959 relating to Council matters

RCOG/D Records of RCOG Committees with Government and Professional Bodies

S34 Papers of Sir William Fletcher Shaw