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The big issues

With the 27 March deadline for Council elections fast approaching, we look at what’s on the agenda for new recruits to the Society’s policy-making body. Louise Hunt reports

We may live in uncertain times but one thing is for sure, this is an exciting time to join CSP Council, with the opportunity to influence major developments.

One of the main occupations for Council – the Society’s democratic heart – will be to agree on the 2011-13 CSP corporate strategy. This will set out the collective direction and priorities for the organisation in the climate of a fast changing health service and challenging economic conditions. It replaces the current 2005-10 strategy and Council has decided the new strategy should be shortened to three years in response to the speed of change across the NHS.

Louise Jones, vice chair of Council, says: ‘New Council members will have the opportunity to significantly influence the future direction of the priorities for the Society through the next corporate strategy.’

These priorities will need to respond to broad health service policy and consider where physiotherapy fits within it. ‘One of the critical areas for Council will be to think about how self-referral can be implemented nationally now that it is part of the NHS operating framework,’ says Ms Jones.

‘Council can look at where there is good practice and build on and disseminate that information. That is why it is so important Council members can share a whole range of experiences and transfer knowledge

and ideas through their member constituencies.’

Range of Challenges

The implementation of health minister Lord Darzi’s Next Stage Review will also be exercising Council, as the strategic health authorities plan how to integrate care pathways and bring care closer to home. ‘This could change how care is delivered and who delivers this care, so it is important Council and members identify the role that physiotherapists can play, and that we put ourselves forward as solution finders and be confident with where the profession sits within this change,’ Ms Jones adds.

The CSP’s Charting the Future project will play an important part in identifying the range of roles and levels of physiotherapy practice across the whole physiotherapy workforce, including those working in the independent sectors and associate members, while developing tools to help members move forward with their practice and development.

During 2009-10 Council will need to review and comment on drafts of new resources being developed under the project. These include the CSP’s expectations for physiotherapy learning and development, a framework that spells out what physiotherapists and assistants do across all types of work and a resource to ensure the professional conduct of members, along with tools to help members implement these new resources.

Making a difference

Council members will also be involved in implementing the pilot to test the re-development of the CSP England regional boards as regional networks. The different sites will feed information into an England Network Forum, which, it is hoped, will bring members closer to the CSP and enable them to better influence regional

and local health policy.

Dorothy Toyn, who is chair of the steering group for implementing this change, says a project officer had been appointed to help the boards with the transition and some were preparing to launch under the new structure later this spring. Council will have to make a decision on whether to take the new model forward in March 2010 following a report to it of the pilot.

Tina Caldeira, Council representative for the South Central Board, whose seat is up for nomination, says re-establishing a regional network will be a ‘big challenge’ for the new representative, but one that presents plenty of opportunities to improve representation. She adds that she has ‘thoroughly enjoyed’ her nine years as a Council rep. ‘You can be involved and make a big difference for members and patients’, she says.

Liz Cavan, CSP chair of Council, says that potential candidates should not be put off by the big issues that lie ahead. ‘It may seem challenging but new members will be supported. And if you’ve ever said “what has the CSP done for me?” this is the opportunity to see what Council actually does.’

Seats up for election

Four nationally elected members (one educator, one independent practitioner and two NHS-employed), two country board representatives (Scotland and Wales) and four English regional network representatives (London, South Central, South East Coastal and South West) seats are up for election this year. The four-year term of office will begin from October’s annual general meeting. Nomination forms and full details are available from Christine Cox,, 020 7306 6642.


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Louise Hunt

Issue date

18 March 2009

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