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A more effective and efficient Council for the College of Podiatry

A more effective and efficient Council for the College of Podiatry

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Steve Jamieson, CEO

 

     

Dear members

The last couple of years have seen a lot of change at the College, as we have worked to strengthen our position as an organisation and as a profession. This work is bearing fruit. The College is playing an important role on a number of fronts, including training and development, education, recruitment, and the profile and representation of podiatry in the UK health system and internationally.

The overhaul of the College is as much about how we work internally as what we are doing externally. How we are organised and managed is critical to how effective we are as a professional body. That is why we have reformed our committees and management structure. We now have five strategic committees that focus on the key areas of activity crucial to achieving our goals: membership, employment relations, finance and governance, strategic communications and influencing, and clinical leadership. These are big changes. Having achieved these, the last piece of the puzzle is to make Council into a more effective body by reducing its size to 12-15 members. We are asking you to enable this by supporting a Special Resolution at the AGM in June.

I’d like to explain this change to you now.

       

First of all, I want to thank all Council and committee members for the work they do to support the College’s activities. The changes we are presenting now do not indicate in any way that Council isn’t working hard for us. They have bravely overseen a whole raft of changes at the College. But the current Council and Executive Team recognise that we need to think differently about how Council operates; that it can be more effective and efficient if we improve its structure and size; and that by becoming more effective and efficient we will be better placed to represent podiatrists’ interests.

Changing the way we think about Council and committees

At present we have a large Council – currently 18 – who are elected by College members.

This is quite a large group, relative to many other boards, and this presents a number of challenges. It takes a lot of administration to manage and schedule meetings. Facilitating meetings is difficult as a large number of people need to speak – and yet often the size of the group makes discussion quite formal, not as open and creative as we might want, and it is hard to reach consensus. This can create a barrier to moving work forward.

What will be the impacts of the change, and how will they be beneficial?

Research into boards has shown that smaller boards tend to outperform larger ones. There are several reasons for this: decision-making is faster, while smaller numbers mean members are more committed, candid and engaged with one another. Smaller boards are more accountable to each other and to their members. The number also allows for more engaged management of the CEO and Executive team.

With that said, a Council of 12-15 would still have enough members to ensure coverage across each of the five committees, and there will still be scope for individual members to work on their own initiatives and lead activities. We don’t want to lose the benefit of Council members’ efforts to lead projects that can make a difference to our members, and with a baseline of 12 members, we will protect this.

We also think that 12-15 members is enough to ensure a good mix of skills across the board, and to make sure podiatrists are represented across their geographic regions. It’s important, for example, that the board contains people with knowledge and experience of the operation of different health systems around the UK.

Another benefit of the smaller structure is that the administration of the Council will cost less for the College, and therefore enable members’ fees to be spent on other activities. Governance is vital for any democratic organisation – but we don’t want it to cost more than it needs to. All our member surveys indicate that the things that matter to you are representing the profession, provision of services, and value for money. Reducing the cost of governance will have a direct impact on our ability to do these things – as well as the effective leadership to do them better. That represents better value for your membership fees.

More effective governance

Alongside a smaller and more efficient Council, we want to change how Council works with committees. In the past we largely populated our strategic committees with Council members, which meant that the committees may not have always had the right skills they needed to lead on their areas of work. The new structure will have Council champions sitting on each committee, to ensure a strong link, but the committees will also have non-Council members, drawn from the wider membership of the college, or co-opted members with particular skills such as finance or communications. This will create a stronger relationship between Council, committees and membership that we think we need going forward.

We’ve come a long way in developing the governance and leadership structure for the College. I hope you will help us to make this final step by supporting the resolution to re-constitute Council. The move is supported by the current Council and Executive team, but we can’t enact it without your votes.

If you have any questions about this resolution, please don’t hesitate to get in contact via feedback@cop.org.uk. This will come directly to me so I can respond, but we will also publish questions on a Q+A page on the website.

 

Best wishes

 

Steve Jamieson