AGM 2020 Minutes

Updated: Sep 14

Psychotherapy and Counselling Union Annual General Meeting (AGM)

Saturday, 25th April 2020


Present: Jamie Giles, Sophie Atkinson, Alix Otten, Karen Adler, Rebekah Bailey, Ras Ruby Singh, Lucy Watt, Riva Joffe, VS, Claire Symons, Shelley Assiter, Charlotta Mason, David Blowers, Paul Colley, Janet Tolan, Kris Black, Bogumila Malinowska, Gavin Robinson, Annie Warburton, Carole Shadbolt, Dr Philip Cox (CPsycol), Cabby Laffy, Cat Chappell, Debbie Roberts, Jay Beichman, Z. Kartal, Sally Quill, Dick Blackwell, Yvonne Gordon, Louise King, Francesca Gore, Fiona Goldman, Shally Ghadhoke, Ruth Grier, Carole Buxton, Suzy Henry, Mandy Coghill, Yuko Nippoda, Michelle Harwood, Cath Cheshire-Neal, Elle Hull, Charlotte Wilcox, Martin Sawyers, Catherine Henshall, Dr Penny Rawson, Jo Cass, Juliet Davies, Sana Zehra, CD, Libby Kerr, Sue Winter, Effy Westenra, Kirsty Horne, Viviane Carneiro, Adrian Scott, Kate Shayler, Milton Sattler, Richard Bagnall-Oakley, Juliet Lyons, Reem Shelhi, Audrey West, Andrew Price, Sasha Kaplin, Eleanor Lindlar, Victoria Childs.

Speakers: Susie Orbach, Navya Shekhar (Truth Legal)

Apologies: Mary Garner, John Goss, Andrew Samuels

AGM led by the Committee:

Richard Bagnall-Oakley (outgoing General Secretary), Juliet Lyons (incoming General Secretary), Reem Shelhi, Audrey West, Andrew Price, Sasha Kaplin, Eleanor Lindlar, Victoria Childs.

Welcome and introductions – ground rules and technical issues

· It was noted that the meeting was quorate, with the largest number of attendees for an AGM the Union has ever had. The meeting was held over Zoom, enabling more members to participate.

General Secretary's report, presented by Richard Bagnall-Oakeley (sent previously). Presentation and discussion included:

· Question was asked regarding how we are working with bodies such as BACP and UKCP. The Gen Sec spoke about working with them regarding complaints, and issues such as changing the system of unpaid work. The Gen Sec highlighted the need to have a dialogue with these bodies, treading the balance between being critical and maintaining engagement.

· Discussion was had around the terminology of these bodies and the importance of getting it right. Not calling them ‘professional bodies’ or ‘governing bodies’ as they are not governing the profession.

· Explored the wish to have a more decentralised way of working and communicating to get a better idea of members’ opinions - to keep an open dialogue and create more ways for members to engage. Setting up Union branches was suggested, as well as more open meetings for members to meet and discuss issues/ideas - like the recently set up IAPT workers meetings organised by Sarah Cantwell. It was suggested that the Union must embrace some bureaucracy in order to allow better inclusion.

· It was noted the need to address and discuss the question: ‘What are the barriers to involvement’ as we did not have time to explore it in the meeting.

Finance Report, presented by the Treasurer, Andy Price (sent previously). Presentation and discussion included:

· Treasurer noted that these are not audited accounts. The audited accounts will be sent out to members as soon as they are ready.

· The major cost is the Administrators fees. Other expenses include Committee expenses, admin costs, insurance, AGM costs for 2 years, London group expenses.

· There has been a growth in subs of £7,931 due to our growing membership.

· The Treasurer will move to put 20% to go into reserve, as opposed to the previous 30% as we have built up savings, whilst still being careful how much we are spending. He is budgeting £20,000 spend this year.

· The Treasurer spoke to some points from last year’s report including:

o confirming we now have GFTU affiliation

o we are continuing to look into the Administrator’s employee status

o the executive committee will use an expenses form

o training towards GDPR will be looked into being done through GFTU

o the committee are looking into paying Sasha Kaplin for the tremendous work she does coordinate casework

o the auditing and accounts for the Union will be outsourced to the GFTU.

Membership Report, presented by Sasha Kaplin (sent previously). Presentation and discussion included:

· Sasha praised the work of volunteers doing support work, and how they are increasingly attending hearings to support members.

· Questions noted included: whether casework can be paid? Whether we can monitor how people hear about us; whether we can monitor members in terms of equal opportunities/ inclusion, and monitor casework outcomes.

Proposal to ratify all Reports (Gen Sec’s, Finance and Members Reports)

  • Passed with 47 votes – yes,

  • 7 abstentions

Proposal to adopt the Minutes of the 2019 AGM (sent out previously)

  • Passed with 35 votes - yes

  • 24 abstentions


1. The Executive Committee propose that members ratify:

a) the Rule Book, 2020

The Rule Book was introduced. It was made clear that this is a working document, and therefore amendments can be made on an ongoing basis.

Dick Blackwell proposed an amendment for the Rule Book to change “governing bodies” to “registering bodies”. “Registering bodies” it was agreed felt like a more accurate description of bodies such as BACP and UKCP (follow on from the previous discussion after the Gen Sec’s report).

  • Passed with 43 votes - yes

  • 15 abstentions

b) the Members Guidebook, 2020

Members guidebook was introduced as a guide for members seeking support from the union. It was also noted that the Members Guidebook is a working document.

  • Passed with 40 votes – yes

  • 17 abstentions

2. The Executive Committee propose that we pay for the member support co-ordination work by the Membership Secretary as an honorarium. The Executive Committee will calculate the honorarium to ensure it is within the yearly financial budget, subject to yearly review

· It was clarified that this would only cover specific member support work, and not all the executive committee work Sasha does as a volunteer.

· It was noted that she would be paid the London Living Wage (currently set at £10.75) as a minimum – the same as the Administrators are paid. It was acknowledged that the committee are continuing to look into sick pay and paid leave as an option etc.

· Sasha was thanked for all her hard work.

  • Passed with 44 votes - yes

  • 13 abstentions.

3. The Executive Committee propose that,

to reduce administrative costs, the student/concessionary membership fee of £12 per year is required to be paid as a lump sum, rather than £1/month, starting from 1st May 2020

· It was noted that there would always be room for exceptions to enable the Union to be accessible to everyone, and as such members can always speak to us if they are in hardship or difficulty in order to arrange reduced or staged payments.

  • Passed with 46 votes - yes

  • 11 Abstentions

4. The Executive Committee propose that the wording of the Constitution is ratified as proposed at the 2019 AGM (see accompanying Constitution) that conforms with the 1992 Trade Unions Act, and confirms that PCU is in line with our listed status. The main changes are where office-bearers are named as:

· General Secretary, instead of Chair

· Assistant General Secretary instead of Vice-Chair

· Membership Secretary instead of Secretary

  • Passed with 42 - yes

  • 15 abstentions

5. The Executive Committee propose that to make clearer it’s meaning in the Constitution, the word ‘minimum’ is inserted into the statement ‘Members of the Executive Committee shall serve for a two-year term’ to read ‘Members of the Executive Committee shall serve for a minimum two-year term’ (Terms of Office, 6a)

· It was noted that the wording was never intended to restrict how long those could serve on the committee.

  • Passed with 40 - yes

  • 17 abstentions

Election of Officers

Juliet Lyons is standing as General Secretary

  • Passed with 42 votes - yes

  • 15 abstentions

Election of the Executive Committee

Richard Bagnall-Oakely, Juliet Lyons, Sasha Kaplin, Andy Price, Audrey West, Reem Shelhi, Victoria Childs, Eleanor Lindlar, to remain on the committee. Stepping down is Maxim Ilyashenko. It was noted that Jayne Crowter stepped down earlier in the year.

Standing for election as new Committee Members: Kris Black, John Goss, Sarah Cantwell, Sana Zehra

  • Passed with 42 votes - yes

  • 15 abstentions

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