PCU Committee meeting 9th June 2018
Present: Jane, Phil, Sasha, Andy, Richard
Apologies: Juliet, Robbie, Viviane, Victoria, Lou
Conversion ‘therapy’: We discussed the feedback from the committee sub-group on CT, and the ongoing concerns. Agreed to issue a clear statement on this asap, as the lack of clear policy means that PCU does not seem like a safe environment for some members. Also agreed to seek to be added as signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU2) on this issue.
Diversity: We need to develop wider policy statements on diversity/discrimination/inclusion. Andy will look for other unions’ statements as examples (Audrey West’s draft is also helpful), but we would like to develop something more in-depth and meaningful. Suggested the CT sub-group could initiate further work on this, including other PCU members in a ‘diversity/equalities’ working group under the direction of the relevant committee members
Banking: Agreed Andy will set up an interest-earning savings account at Unity Trust Bank, and transfer £10 000 of PCU’s current funds. He will also investigate their options for online payment of subscriptions (would need a system which automatically notifies the Administrator when payment is made)
Trade union registration: Agreed to seek registration as a trade union with the relevant government body, at a cost of £150. This will protect the name ‘Psychotherapy and Counselling Union’, and clarify our organisational status (assuming we are accepted).
GDPR/Privacy: Andy and Jane have been liaising on this, and have drafted a privacy statement, to be circulated to the committee and then put on the website
Electronic voting: Completed the voting on the AGM proposals.The process worked well, but was technically tricky to set up. Noted the need for an ‘abstain’ option. We will need to work out any constitutional changes required to use online voting. How to ensure that members have an opportunity to read and be involved in discussions before a vote? Send advance information to the announcements list - though ultimately members also have a responsibility to inform themselves.
Process for following up on decisions: Noted that sometimes, following online discussions or Skype meetings, there has been confusion about what was agreed and who is responsible for acting on it - agreed to develop an ongoing, editable committee document to track this.
Website: Viviane and Jamie’s proposed new website has been previewed to us - all committee members should check, and Jane to check if it will work for the administrator. If we’re all OK, let’s press ahead soon with changing to the new website.
Leaflets: We thought it would be helpful to add ‘trainee’ to the front page of the leaflet aimed at trainees, as there has been some confusion when distributing them. It may make sense in future to move to one standard leaflet - this needs further discussion. Suggested that we print 500 more of each leaflet in the meantime.
Second paid administrator role: Agreed the wording for the advert for the post. Clarified: the post will involve responsibility for updating the website and social media, under the direction of the lead committee member (Viviane), and report back regularly on activities so that we are up to date. Timescale: post advertised to members this week, with a deadline of 29th June. Andy, Jane and Viviane to lead on processing applications. As Jane is away for first two weeks of July, contact short-listed applicants by 4th August. Interviews tba depending on availability of applicants and other committee members (jane and 2 others will be needed).
Local groups: It would be good to have a committee member leading on local groups, to encourage and support their development. Suggested that for now, individual committee members take responsibility for specific regions, to act as a key ‘contact person’ on the committee.. Robbie has already set up East London group, Viviane is involved in West London group. For now, Jane can take on the Midlands, Andy the North. Suggested we ask members if they are willing to be added automatically to the Members map, to encourage members to take the initiative in contacting people local to them (for now, Jane leads on this by contacting everyone in a region by BCC email)
Phoning members: Discussed the evolving ideas about Sasha’s proposals to phone members to encourage more participation and engagement. Currently a very long ‘script’; we discussed the key aims of involving members. Promoting the Codes of Practice to local counselling organisations would be one very useful contribution we could ask for; joining local groups and distributing leaflets also important. Agreed that Sasha do a ‘trial run’ of a few phone calls initially to see how conversations develop.
Campaigns: Given Martin Pollecoff’s support, unpaid work seems a key focus at present. Could we get UKCP (and potentially other organisations) to endorse our Codes of Practice and put on their website? Important to involve more trainees. Suggested we launch a recruitment drive at training institutions in September.
‘Unified profession’ conference: Phil reported back from this conference, involving the main professional bodies and advocating a unified psychotherapy and counselling profession. This links to the ‘competencies’ framework. The professional bodies are seeking to use these frameworks to ward off more rigid statutory regulation, but there are also manoeuvrings to gain power over the field. Noted the need for PCU to maintain a sceptical, critical stance towards these developments.