RHS Council is the governing body of the Society and, in accordance with the Charter and Bye-laws, is responsible for:

  • The future direction of the Society
  • The investment and disposal of Society assets
  • The strategic management and performance of the Society

Boards and committees

Although RHS Council takes all major strategic decisions and those expressly reserved to it, some decision-making powers are delegated to a number Boards and Committees:

Horticulture Board – responsible to Council for all activities relating to the encouragement and improvement of the science, art and practice of horticulture in all its branches within the Society.

Commercial Board – responsible for advising Council in relation to the Society’s commercial and financial affairs and resources and is responsible for representing the Society as the “employer” in the funding and support of the RHS (1974) Defined Benefit Pension Scheme and the provision of alternative pension arrangements if appropriate.

Audit and Risk Committee – responsible for making, and monitoring, recommendations to Council relating to the effectiveness and appropriateness of all aspects of the Society’s financial and risk management procedures and controls.

Nominations, Appointments and Governance Committee – responsible to Council for governance of the Society and identifying and recommending candidates for election and appointments to Council and advisory, governance and decision-making boards and committees. 

People and Remuneration Committee – responsible for reviewing and setting the salaries of senior staff, including the Director General. The salaries of the Director General and the Leadership team are considered annually by this Committee in February; in carrying out its review, the Committee takes into account a range of factors, including the role and responsibility of each senior member of staff and his or her performance against agreed objectives and, where possible, seeks to identify and take account of appropriate salary benchmarks for equivalent roles in comparable organisations. The Committee also reviews and monitors People policies, processes and practices; and reviews and approves appointments to and terminations from the Leadership Team.

Investments Committee – responsible for the review and maintenance of the Society’s investment portfolio including bursary funds.

Council also has two Groups which maintain oversight of the Society’s Key Investment Projects and Key IT and Digital Projects (and their operation within agreed budgets).

Plant committees

There are seven specialist RHS plant committees, some of which are operated jointly with the relevant plant society. They are responsible to the Horticulture Board for encouraging excellence in cultivation, the introduction of new plants and the maintenance of selected plant material and trials.

  • Bulb Committee
  • Fruit, Vegetable and Herb Committee
  • Herbaceous Plant Committee
  • Joint Rock Garden Plant Committee
  • Orchid Committee
  • Tender Ornamental Plant Committee
  • Woody Plant Committee

Other committees

There are five other committees, reporting to the Horticulture Board and providing advice on specialist areas:

  • Awards Committee
  • Bursaries Committee
  • Education Committee
  • Gardens Committee
  • Science Committee

Advisory groups

Council also appoints advisory groups, reporting to committees but sitting outside the formal governance arrangements of the Society. These include:

  • Narcissus Classification Advisory Group
  • Nomenclature & Taxonomy Advisory Group
  • Orchid Hybrid Registration Advisory Group
  • Qualifications Advisory Group

For more information about the governance arrangements of the Society, please contact: secretary@rhs.org.uk


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We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.