PCU Committee Meeting 8/10/17
Present (by Skype): Richard Bagnall-Oakeley (Chair), Jane Clements (Administrator), Phil Cox, Jamie Crabb, Robbie Lockwood, Juliet Lyons (Secretary), Andrew Price (Treasurer)
Apologies: Viviane Carneiro, Victoria Childs
Continuing on from our last meeting with items not yet discussed….
1. Members Map - this is ready to launch. It will be available to sign up to via a link sent to all new members and current members which will connect to a simple form. Agreement that we do not need the picture function as this complicates things and is difficult to set up. Jamie will liaise with Jane on final details and then Jane will make an announcement about this feature that is to help facilitate local activity. It can be mentioned in the newsletter as well.
2. Upcoming Meetings
a) Liz Cotton* will be delivering a free training to the Committee. She will be calling each of us to discuss what is needed. Juliet questioned whether as a group we could think of what she needs to know and what could she specifically address. More time needed to think about this. Phil would like to ask about how to manage the balance between the structure of the organisation and its organic growth, while being an effective organisation and managing our time effectively. Finalising the costs for this training - PCU Committee agreed that PCU will cover Liz’s and committee member’s travel costs and lunch costs up to £10.
b) Aashna - Pretish Raja-Helm and Shammi Kohli will be facilitating a meeting for PCU members on How Can We Make PCU More Inclusive? Richard, Pretish and Shammi have put together a flyer for this which will be ready next week. RSVP will be to Richard. Pretish and Shammi had mentioned that there is little representation of diversity on our website front page. Suggestion that pictures could be taken at the diversity event. Permission needed. We could ask the google group about images of diversity - what they would like to see added, as well. This could be part of the message that goes with the event’s leaflet to the membership.
c) Other local meetings - Robbie exploring starting a group in East London. He’d like to discuss ‘what if Labour do get in’ but feels unsure of setting an agenda. Discussion about leaving 20 minutes open at the end for drop-ins. Robbie will put together a template for regional groups to help them structure meetings (if needed) and suggestions about how to get in touch with others from PCU.
Richard informed us that Kate’s artist contact is unavailable at the moment.
Juliet has arranged for the logo to be made into a banner. This will be delivered to Richard in the next week.
‘Back to work Therapy’ as proposed by the DWP. Jane has been trying to get information from Milton Keynes Job Club. She has contacted DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) North Hampton who are interested in a campaign. Jane Spoke with Paul Atkinson of Mental Wealth Alliance in regards to getting information about what is happening. As far as Jane can work out, the ‘therapy’ work is outsourced, so the therapists are not employed by the DWP. She thinks it is possibly ATOS employing therapists as part of an Employee Assistance Programme. Paul suggested a Freedom of Information request and put Jane in touch with SWAN (Social Work Action Network). Jane may look to the membership for help with this.
Awareness Centre - Richard has spoken with the 2 contacts that have placements at the Awareness Centre. He found that he could not identify anything that places the Awareness Centre’s use and treatment of volunteers as particularly different to many other organisations. Suggestion that this then should be part of our wider Codes of Practice campaign.
Codes of Practice Campaign - Jamie says that the page that he has put together for the website is now ready to go. Jamie, Juliet and Jane to liaise on how to move this forward. Juliet suggestion that we need some data - perhaps we could approach BACP, UKCP etc for access to the membership, to ask how big a problem this is. Suggestion that we talk to Liz Cotton about data collection. Again, the suggestion of an event for trainees. An Article in Therapy Today is still being thought about.
Campaign against forced and coerced adoptions, where political targets and agendas take priority over the needs of the child. - Richard, Juliet and Phil would like to be included in the meeting with WAR that Victoria is organising. We would like to know how PCU can help WAR further. Phil explained that they need therapeutic and psychological views of the psychiatric reports being used. Specifically this is around the view expressed that a mother staying with a violent partner is an unfit mother. WAR does not have the finances or expertise in this area. Juliet is concerned that this is a Human Rights issue and wonders what help could be sought on that level. Phil is concerned about the tension in representing our members in dedicating time to this.
At this point Jamie and Robbie had to leave the meeting.
5. Links with Other Organisations
a) Self Employed Union Workers. Andrew did some research on this and found that they had linked up with Community Union (merged). He thinks that their work involves accepting the status quo and negotiating based on that. He therefore thinks that it is probably not for PCU. General agreement.
b) International Workers of the World - Jane spoke to someone at the organisation yesterday. This offers a way to certificate ourselves as a Union. Jane will find out more about this. Suggestion that we ask Liz Cotton about this too and ask her generally about who it would be helpful for us to link with.
7. Subscriptions - Jane needs a list of people to write to regarding subscription renewals from Andy.
6. Networking - Pink Therapy has asked for a member of PCU to be part of the conference panel for Questions and Answers alongside senior representatives of BACP, UKCP and NCS for a workshop on ‘The Intersection of Mental Health and Sexuality’. Phil will be attending on behalf of PCU. Andy will be attending the CYP (Children and Young People) section of BACP, on the Wirral. Taking leaflets. Juliet will be going to the UKCP complaints workshop.
7. Future Workshop - Discussion that there is interest in Phil’s ‘Mapping Transferences in Complaints Procedures: The shadow of therapeutic work’. A very interactive workshop. This could be a workshop for members as part of a larger day. Possibly in London and/or around the country. Numbers could be 20-25, or if more, two groups could take part Phil would ask Robin Shohet to run another group if numbers high. Suggestion of this being early next year. Phil also raised this workshop as being pertinent to what happens in the adoption process.
*Elizabeth Cotton is a writer and educator working in the field of mental health at work. She teaches and writes academically about employment relations and precarious work, business and management, adult education, solidarity and team working, and resilience at work. Elizabeth worked as an organiser and educator for the Miners’ International and has worked with activists from 35 developing and transition economies. She has worked as a psychotherapist in the NHS and her next book Surviving Work in Healthcare: Helpful stuff for people on the frontline will be published by Taylor & Francis in 2017. She runs www.survivingwork.org a free resource on how to do it.
Next committee meeting – date to be set. Continued discussions by email.