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RPS promises independent review of decision-making processes


RPS promises independent review of decision-making processes

By Neil Trainis

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has said it will launch an independent review of its decision-making processes this month as concerns intensify around a lack of transparency regarding the organisation's direction of travel. 

The professional leadership body said the review will look at members’ level of engagement in policy development and whether decisions are made openly and backed up by an explanation and evidence. It will also examine the accountability of elected members for decisions taken at national board and Assembly level. 

Recent developments at the RPS have sent shockwaves through the profession, including the departure of two key senior executives, its decision to end its membership of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) and the revelation that the Society has no plans at present to become a royal college.

These decisions were not officially announced by the organisation. The redundancies of Robbie Turner as director of pharmacy and membership experience and Gail Fleming as director of education and professional development were disclosed by a source to Pharmacy Network News, prompting incredulity and anger on social media.

Former RPS president Sandra Gidley revealed on Twitter the Society had ended its membership of FIP having been a founding member in 1912, while English Pharmacy Board chair Thorrun Govind tweeted that the RPS had "no plans in [its] current strategy to be a royal college".

RPS president Claire Anderson said she was “sorry” that members had “learned about decisions from sources other than RPS” and said she felt this was "unacceptable".

“I know recent decisions taken by the RPS Assembly on our membership of the International Pharmacy Federation and royal college status have caused considerable concern amongst some members,” she said.

“As I have said, perhaps we have been overly cautious in airing these decisions in public, and I freely admit we don’t always get this judgement right.”

Ms Anderson said the review, which will end in June, will be carried out by “an organisation with expertise in managing participation and communications” following “a robust procurement process".

The RPS told Independent Community Pharmacist that it will reveal the identity of the independent body conducting the review once an appointment has been made. It also promised to publish the review and implement its recommendations after discussing it in open business at a meeting of its Assembly in July.

“I would like to emphasise that I want to co-create solutions with you, our members, as well as my colleague elected members and stakeholders,” said Ms Anderson.

“I see the process of creating this new approach to participation to be as important as the new approach itself. I look forward to hearing your views and working with you on building a better relationship between you and RPS.”  

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