PCU Committee Meeting 10/9/17
Present (by Skype): Richard Bagnall-Oakeley, Viviane Carneiro, Jane Clements, Phil Cox, Juliet Lyons, Andrew Price, Robbie Lockwood
1. Considering the connection between PCU and PCSR
a) There have been some email discussions between the two organisations. Richard and Viviane initiating this, conversation with Bea and Keith of PCSR. After this Committee meeting, these email discussions concluded with the following: that PCU and PCSR do not feel a need to formalise a relationship, but are happy to continue to co-sign share information, advertising events and campaigns together where there is overlap.
b) An area of current overlap: Clare is keen on drafting something for both organisations regarding our position towards IAPT. It is felt important that PCU make it clear that we are not anti-IAPT worker/practitioners, but that it is the ideology that is an issue. The Committee need a separate meeting concerning IAPT.
2. Online Communication
a) Facebook. Discussion between Jane and Viviane regarding connecting Jane as the administrator on the PCU Facebook page. Jane expressed concerns about the confidentiality of her own Facebook account. Jane and Viviane concluded to talk about this separately, as it needed some clarification about the technicalities.
b) Viviane has noticed a Facebook group called ‘Counsellors Together’ who have compatible concerns with PCU and would like to make links with this group. Viviane suggested that we could send them a concise version of our last newsletter to let them know about the work that we are doing. Jane will start drafting this.
3. Complaints Update
a) Phil updated us regarding his work and reported that the Union is doing well. The work is intensive and difficult to manage. Insurance companies are keen to involve PCU, as we provide specialist knowledge and advice, which is proving very useful to them. Phil has seen a very clear gap in the complaints process, which PCU has become important in addressing. Committee members expressed the wish to learn more about this work and to be kept informed.
b) Phil has been thinking about an advice page on our website.
4. Workplace Support Update
One case in particular where we need to be updated. Richard informed us that 2 cases that he has been involved in have finished. 1 is in process – complaint to BACP about an organisation. In this work, Richard could see a significant gap in the process of accountability for organsiations – that there are Codes of Professional Conduct for individual therapists, but no accountability for organisations. Richard feels that we could really push this point, giving examples, as this is a significant problem within the system.
b) Discussion about how the Committee keep in touch with what is going on in these cases. Jane expressed the need to know what is going on in these processes. It was agreed that there needs to be a committee member connected to each of these cases, that can report back to the committee. Phil is happy to liaise and provide this line of communication. Andy suggested that we assign a committee member to each case-worker.
5. Future Workshop The above discussion led to the idea of a possible future workshop for members who are interested in supporting the work we do – this could be led by members who have experienced PCU help and might be willing to talk about their cases/experiences. b) Phil has also presented a workshop ‘Transference in the Complaints Process’ – could this be part of a future workshop for PCU?
6. PCU Internal Organisation:
a) Banner. Discussion led to the decision that the committee could get a simple banner printed as a trial. Juliet will organise this. A more elaborate banner made by members is still desirable as well
b) Training offered by Elizabeth Cotton. It was agreed that we should go ahead with this and that she may help us take next steps. Elizabeth has offered to speak with each of us separately to get a picture of what is needed. Jane will coordinate passing our availability on to Elizabeth and Juliet will pass on Elizabeth’s contact to Jane for this to happen. Agreement that expenses for Elizabeth and travel expenses for Committee members could be covered by PCU.
c) Diversity Issues – how to make PCU more inclusive and engage with a wider range of members. Connection with Aashna Centre establishing. Pretish has offered to make the centre available to PCU for future meetings or workshops. All feel that this is a good link for PCU. Committee members will meet with Pretish – meeting established and arranged.
7. Membership map and local organsising
a)Jane reported that no members have engaged with this at present. Jane thinks that we need activity on the website first, then members might engage, looking for local activity. Jamie had suggested that the map is located with member pictures on the front page. Jane wondered if it could be linked to the regional groups, but currently these groups are not active. It was felt that this and the idea of tagging needed more discussion in the committee by email.
8. ‘Reparative/Conversion’ Therapy
a)Following a google group discussion, the Committee felt that some exploration of where we stand regarding this is needed. Committee members feel very uncomfortable with potentially supporting a therapist working in this way. Generally, it was established that we could work with this on a case by case basis. However, it was also thought that we could initiate a discussion on the google group to members. Would we represent therapists working in this area? Would we be unable to accommodate people working in reparative therapy? Would members support us if we were to say we were unable to support members that work in this way? Richard and Phil offered to draft a short statement to put to the members to gage their reaction and initiate a discussion.
9. Campaigns the Committee talked about which campaigns to prioritize. It was generally agreed to prioritize the following:
a) PCU’s Codes of Practice, which give direction and substance to several campaigns. This could then tie in with concerns that have been raised about the Awareness Centre and working conditions for therapist.
b) The campaign by WAR - supporting their continued action against government coerced and forced adoptions, where political targets and agendas take priority over the needs of the child.
c) Campaigns against ‘back to work therapy’ as proposed by the DWP.
d) IAPT. We would like to push forward a statement to clarify PCU’s position regarding IAPT. Viviane has been liaising with Clare and Elizabeth regarding this. The Committee discussed wording that might reflect a position that is supportive of therapists that work at IAPT, but critical of how the therapy is administered and the ideology.
10. Co-opted Roles – Victoria Childs as PCU’s link with WAR’s campaign on the Support Not Separation Coalition. She would like to have a role specifically around children, families and social workers. We need to move forward with this, as this has been side-lined during the Summer break. Co-opted roles could be approved by the membership retrospectively. Richard will contact Victoria again, and Jane will add her to the Committee emails if she agrees.
11. Other– any outstanding issues to be followed up by email.
Next committee meeting – date to be set soon to deal with agenda items not discussed