Committees: The way ahead
BCA President, Catherine Quinn introduces the three standing BCA committees
The BCA Board has been working hard on developing the way in which members can best contribute to their Association. This has involved the restructuring and development of our committees. The committees are groups of members who take on the responsibility of managing and providing chiropractic input on specific topics, ensuring that the memberships voice is heard and considered in the Association’s decision making.
The way in which members lead this Association is by democratically electing a Board every two years to represent them. The eight BCA members who gain Elected Office then act as the decision-making body of the BCA, working in collaboration with the Staff Team, led by the CEO, to deliver our work in representation, support and guidance. But there is another layer between the Board and the Membership which gives members another opportunity to contribute. Our committee structure!
Whether you want to step forward for any roles or responsibilities now or in the future, it is important that you know there is a place for all members to be heard and have an opportunity to contribute. With nearly 2000 members to consider, it is not always possible to ask each of you to contribute on every decision. However, by having active committees, we are increasing representation from within the Association, by using a structure that allows direct feedback to the Board from these committees. This feedback helps the elected Board to add this input to other wideranging information and then reach decisions.
If you’re interested in taking on some responsibility within the Association or you feel you could contribute to the impact we make for members, then do read on.
What are the BCA Committees?
There are different types of committees which can exist within the BCA. Some committees are formed to solve short-term matters such as the recent Investments Committee, while our three standing committees meet on an ongoing basis to manage our regular topics and contribute to the BCA’s ongoing work:
Student and New Graduate Committee
This committee acts as a liaison point between the BCA and chiropractic students and new graduates. Their role is to understand the needs of both students and graduates and inform the BCA of how these needs can be met, the maintenance of strong communications channels with students and the development of advice for BCA members on training or shadowing by students and, of course, the reception and mentoring of graduates. This committee also works closely with the Royal College of Chiropractors (RCC) to ensure that BCA students/graduates are up to date on Post Registration Training (PRT) matters.
This committee supports clinical and professional input to the PR/Communications programme of the BCA, working in conjunction with BCA communications staff. This involves communications, both internally to members and our chiropractic stakeholders and also externally to the media.
CPD and Conference Committee
This committee advises on the Association’s programme of CPD events, which will enable the membership to gain CPD regulatory house from the BCA at no or reduced cost. They ensure that the content we deliver in CPD and conference settings is relevant and meets the needs of our members.
This committee is convened by the Disciplinary Officer when required to consider cases under the 2006 Code of Conduct, using the 2006 Code of Disciplinary Procedure.
How can a committee build Leadership and Team skills?
BCA committees have a designated chairman who manages meetings and makes sure objectives are met. The chair also represents the committee and reports results to the Board and/or staff team. If you are interested in future leadership roles in the profession, such as chairing a committee, standing for the BCA Board or an RCC Faculty position, then joining a committee is a great place to start! You will start to understand the ‘behind the scenes’ running of the BCA, how our decisions are made and the impact that these have on the wider profession. Committee work is a great place to begin to learn the protocols and procedures associated with leadership and association governance, how the flow of communications work and to witness the responsibility that comes with elected roles.
What does a typical committee meeting look like?
Prior to a meeting, the committee Chair distributes an agenda which should allow members to prepare for the topics they are discussing and the decisions to be made. The Chair calls the meeting to order, reviews the agenda and guides members through the meeting, inviting people to speak in turn. At the end of the meeting, the Chair reviews decisions made, any action items, including deadlines and those responsible, as well as logistics for the next meeting. It’s all very structured but this is how we keep track of our work and make sure everyone has their say.
What happens when you disagree?
Within the BCA we expect the highest standards of conduct from all members and this is true all the way up to the Board. We hold each other to these high standards of conduct, communication and general behaviour and, over the past two years, I have been delighted with the positive and constructive atmosphere we have seen throughout the Board and committee structures. Treating each other with the high level of respect that we would treat our patients with means that everyone feels able to speak their mind, but then back the collective decisions we make. If, as a Board or committee member you feel strongly about a matter, it is vital that you raise it. It is also vital that you understand that not everyone round the table may agree with you. This is called ‘Collective Responsibility’. When working at a committee or Board level, members should be able to have free and frank discussions prior to coming to a collective decision, and these discussions should remain confidential. This means that once a decision or position has been agreed by the Board or committee, all of those involved are expected to support that as they have seen the process that led there and can understand why the decision was made.