Meeting of minds

In the first of his new quarterly column, CSP chief executive John Cowman on why meeting with members will be at the heart of his leadership 

CSP chief executive John Cowman [Photos: David Harrison]
CSP chief executive John Cowman [Photos: David Harrison]

Having now been in post for just over four months, my experience has surpassed all expectations and I have felt very welcomed by CSP staff and members alike. I have used the time to listen, to orientate myself to the great work in the strategy previously developed by the CSP Council and former chief executive Karen Middleton. I continue to be struck by how well it articulates our ambition for the coming years.

Dialogue and debate 

As an organisation ultimately operated for our members, I have prioritised understanding our members, our networks and our wider community of stakeholders and discussing what is important to you.  

We are getting a lot of things right, but I am also enjoying understanding those areas and agendas where members have strong opinions and wish to challenge our thinking.

I’m comfortable with this form of dialogue and through the right conversations and debates I am intent on serving all members in the best way possible, particularly on my passion of equity, diversity and belonging. I see this as fundamental to a CSP that effectively serves our members. 

The CSP has an ambition to drive forward changes for those directly involved with us and has a wider system outlook on how we can inspire change wherever our members work, whether in the NHS, private practice or other settings. We’ve made significant progress and I am keen to continue speaking with those who share this ambition. 

Strengthening relationships 

I have spent time travelling to meet members and will continue to do so during my time as chief executive: it’s by meeting and sharing views with members that I can truly understand the value and potential of our work.  

Recent visits to Northern Ireland and Oxford Brookes University offered a great opportunity for me to meet members and I am now planning in person attendance at a range of network events, stewards events, and to meet members in Wales and Scotland in the coming months.  

I have also built on the important relationships that Karen established. I have spent time with the chief allied health professions officers in all four UK nations and I am involved with the Allied Health Professions Forum and other collaborative groups seeking to enhance the agendas of workforce, community rehabilitation and advanced practice. I also have a dialogue with the HCPC as the regulator. 

Making the CSP’s voice count 

I am also speaking regularly with those in the profession that are pushing boundaries of practice and developing modern approaches to data and information usage to influence the system. We have an excellent reputation with stakeholders which allows me to influence on your behalf.  

CSP chief executive John Cowman meeting with CSP members
CSP chief executive John Cowman meeting with CSP members

With an impending election I am working to ensure we have a seat at the table regardless of which party is elected: vital if we are to continue to build on the progress we’ve already made. I have engaged with World Physiotherapy and will be chairing the European CEO group when we meet in Latvia this month, providing an insight on the picture worldwide that has an influence on the work of the profession across the globe.  

In short, it has been a thrilling, busy journey so far. My role is here to serve every member and to advance the work of the CSP in its widest context, so please contact me directly and I look forward to meeting many more of you in the year ahead. 

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