Serious concerns on proposed motions to be voted on, at Fridays’ AGM

It has come to RAPS attention that a number of proposed motions to be voted on, at this year’s AGM, are worrying:

1. The Board has already appointed a CEO (not, as in the past, an Executive Director), and are now asking approval from the membership to undertake this significant governance change. How dare they undertake this change (and already have done so, for this change to continue on a permanent basis!) without consulting members FIRST! While they cite “best-practice governance” in the separation of Director and Management roles (and this may be true in a commercial company setting), this could be very problematic in a member-based Not For Profit organisation like the APS. A few issues of concern, here:
* As a Director on the Board, an ED is (along with the rest of the Board), accountable to the membership. A CEO is only accountable to the Board.
* In most well-run Boards, there are very strict rules / protocols around the relationship between the Board and the CEO. Directors who have issues or concerns about a CEO are rarely able to interact with that person directly – they must go through the Chair (in our case, the President). So we have a CEO who is effectively accountable, not to the 20,000 + members of the organisation, but to the President, who most likely appointed them.
* In an organisation the size of the APS, a pivotal part of the CEO / ED role is advocacy for the profession. We’ve seen many and varied opinions about how well this has been done over recent years, but RAPS is worried about somebody who is not even a psychologist (much less a member of the Society), undertaking this role, on behalf of our profession – from a credibility point of view outside the organisation, and from a “getting it’ point of view inside it, RAPS thinks this is problematic. Our Presidency terms are too short (and some might argue, the leadership in the field too… varied!) to have this shift to the model our medical colleagues use (where the advocacy is done by the President) – it takes them nearly a full term to build relationships!

2. The other amendments proposed for voting in the AGM give the CEO an inordinate amount of power in the organisation (especially when that position is not longer accountable to the membership). Special Resolutions 8, 9 and 10 propose changes to the Generic Rules for all of our member groups – the vehicle within the APS where we can at least try to have a voice! If these resolutions pass, the CEO will be responsible for:
*Approving (“supporting any proposal”) to establish a branch, college or interest group.
*Deciding whether members who wish to change branches, should have such changes approved.
*The Board will now be able to SUSPEND any branch of the Society which does not maintain an “adequate level” of functioning and a minimum activity level, and any suspended Branch must then liaise with… guess who? the CEO, who will decide whether the Branch is “viable” or not. Within the Society, what’s the mechanism through which members who have an issue with the CEO’s behaviour or policy might most effectively complain to the Board? – Through the Branch structure. Who can determine whether a Branch is viable? The CEO. Who is no longer accountable to the membership – just to the Board, but really most directly, to the President (who most likely appointed them, potentially without any direct involvement from the Board, depending on how active the Clinical-dominated Governance committee has been in this process – unknown).

Think about a worst case scenario President, and a worst case scenario CEO – the potential for corruption and issues here is quite scary (especially when the Board is a little more representative than skills-based, and may not have great cohesion, nor experience in managing CEO staff at this level).

Since this Special Resolutions has come to light Jenny Corran will now be attending the AGM. She will be asking some serious questions about these proposed changes, and will vote against the special resolutions – putting way too much power in the hands of someone who is not even a member of the society, and not accountable to members.
RAPS urge you to nominate your proxy to Jenny Corran, Doncaster. Use this link:
https://www.investorvote.com.au/Login?cn=1948&demo=N

Please email us to tell us you have made a proxy. We will be keeping a record of all proxies.

A final reminder to vote in the election for the APS Board of Directors
Please make sure that you vote in the election. These elections are traditionally very tight and a single vote could make all the difference.

We recommended you vote with Care.

If you are in a non-clinical college, you can vote for Division of Colleges (not Clinical). We recommend you vote for Jenny Corran

We recommend that you vote for these candidates only and place a 1 in the box beside their names: that is, you do not place a 2, 3, or 4 in any of the other boxes.