15 October 2021

On 9 November 2021, members are invited to vote on bold and far reaching proposals to change how our organisation is led. The aim – to create fairer, more effective leadership for the RCSLT and the profession. Read on to find out more, and register to vote at the AGM.

Why is change needed?

In May 2020, following the murder of George Floyd in the US and the growing momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement, members called on the RCSLT to take urgent action to tackle racism in our own profession. For too long, the profession – including the RCSLT’s leadership – have not reflected the diversity of the communities we serve, with profound consequences for social justice and equity of services.

What is proposed?

In response, the RCSLT embarked on a broad programme of work, with the aim of embedding anti-racism and diversity in the profession.

As one part of this, we took a hard look at the RCSLT’s governance and leadership. We commissioned an external review to identify challenges and possible solutions. The review advised us to move away from our current approach to choosing trustees and committee members through elections, as these carry a risk of unconscious bias.

While those chosen by election are individually well qualified they are collectively not diverse. What’s more, the complexity of the process stops too many members from applying for roles. In reality, few RCSLT elections are contested (ie because only one applicant comes forward) and where there are elections fewer than 10% of members vote.

Instead, we propose to create a Nominations Committee to take the lead on all Board and committee appointments. It will be responsible to the Board for developing a diverse and representative pipeline of future leaders, advertising roles effectively, and ensuring we have the right mix of skills at Board and committee level to take the RCSLT into the future.

New Board and committee members selected would then be ratified by members at a general meeting.

Why is diversity on our Board so crucial?

The Charity Governance Code reinforces our own vision and aspiration – Boards need diversity to stay informed and to navigate the rapidly changing world we live in. Boards whose trustees have different backgrounds and experience are more likely to encourage debate and to make better decisions.

What else is being done to build a more diverse RCSLT?

To help to nurture future leaders, we’re funding members from diverse backgrounds to attend a leadership programme aimed at preparing them for future Board and committee roles.

We’re also working hard to make the Board more open and engaging, and to let members know what the Board does and why its work is important. The new Nominations Committee, if approved, will work to encourage future leaders and get them interested in RCSLT roles.

How can I get involved?

We are asking all members to attend the AGM in November to vote on this important proposal.

If the changes go ahead, there will be lots of ways to get involved. We’ll be looking for members to join the Nominations Committee and Selection Panels. And of course we hope many more members will apply for Board and committee roles when they come up!

For those looking for other ways to be part of our brilliant professional community, there are RCSLT Hubs, Clinical Excellence Networks, research champions and guidance working groups, to name a few. The RCSLT is its members, and we hope you’ll find there’s a lot to gain by getting involved.

Register to vote at the AGM

If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at info@rcslt.org

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