CSP Council caps 2023 subscriptions increase at five per cent

The cost of CSP membership will increase for most members by five per cent from January 2023.

Council, CSP's elected governing body, has confirmed it will cap the increase at close to half the current rate of inflation, to reduce the impact on members' already stretched finances.

For the past two years, subscription rates have tracked inflation, but Council felt anything approaching the current 9.9 per cent Consumer Price Index rate would be too much of a burden for members struggling with the cost of living crisis.

While Council would have preferred not to increase subscriptions at all, it needed to ensure the financial sustainability of the society. Like most organisations, CSP's operating costs are rising at or above the rate of inflation in most areas, and even a below-inflation increase will impact on the amount of money available to support and represent members across the profession.

With a new five-year strategy due to launch in January, Council has reviewed the society’s direction and priorities to make sure that members’ money is used as productively as it can be over the period ahead.

Chair of CSP Council, Alex MacKenzie, said:

"In making this decision, Council wanted to protect members as much as possible from the spiralling costs that the CSP is facing. We know that members are dealing with really challenging cost of living increases, while most are seeing their hard-earned income decreasing in real terms. Being part of a supportive and influential community is more important than ever in these tough times."

The changes will mean that a chartered member, practising in the UK, will pay an extra £20.04 per year, while a working associate member will pay an extra £6.24. Members are due to receive individual emails on Wednesday setting out their payment for next year.

Any members facing financial hardship should contact us to talk about support options, including the Members’ Benevolent Fund.

Questions about the subscriptions increase

What increased costs is CSP facing?

CSP's professional liability insurance (PLI) premium has increased by 40 per cent over the last two years. General costs are increasing in line with those faced by most organisations. CSP staff are facing the same cost of living increases as members. Meanwhile our asset values have fallen, while our pension liability has increased – we have little control over this, but have already closed our defined benefits pension scheme. We have had to increase payments against this liability to reduce the shortfall, as a legal obligation.

Why is the increase more than members’ current pay increases?

The current pay awards and offers for NHS/HSC staff are nowhere near sufficient for members in these sectors. We are working with members to challenge this, with ballots on potential industrial action a difficult but necessary situation.

NHS pay awards and offers vary across the UK. This means different members are seeing anything from under three per cent to nearly eight per cent dependent on banding and country. We are enabling members to fight for more, and that itself is costing the CSP more. Our aim is to secure a fair pay rise which will be more than five per cent.

Why is CSP doing this while condemning HCPC’s proposed rise?

HCPC’s currently proposed increase is double the current rate of inflation. That is effectively four times the size of the increase CSP believes is required and we think that is unrealistic. Council wanted to set the lowest rates it could for hard-pressed members while dealing with the spiralling inflations costs the society is having to cover.

Why does CSP keep sending paper copies of Frontline?

We keep the format and costs of Frontline under regular review. But Frontline is one of the top three most-used methods of members getting information from the CSP. A majority still prefer to have a hard copy. Advertisers still want to target magazine readers and so Frontline provides a valuable source of commercial income. Members can opt out of receiving the hard copy by contacting our enquiries team.

Why is CSP membership more expensive than some other unions?

CSP is the only body providing physio-specific advice, support and advocacy, and is the only physio-led union. CSP provides not just union, but professional and insurance cover in one fee, so it is not a like for like comparison. CSP PLI is designed for physios so does not rely on people being covered by employers too, it covers members working voluntarily and for themselves as well as protecting employees against claims from their employer insurers.

We can only spread our costs across our physio community and this means it is more expensive than for bigger professions or multi-professional unions who spread costs across more people.

How does CSP spend its income?

Our income is spent on member services such as PLI, legal advice and employment advice, advocacy for the profession and enabling members to come together. We publish accounts each year in the financial accounts presented to the AGM. This year’s one will be on 16 November. The 2021 report is in our annual impact report.

Couldn't CSP hold back any rises for a year or two? Why is CSP not freezing fees when members are struggling?

The financial pressures CSP is facing are happening now. Our Finance, Risk and Audit committee (external finance experts and appointed CSP members) advised an increase in line with inflation to manage costs and risks. While Council wanted to set subscriptions as low as possible, in recognition of the pressure members are facing, it concluded a freeze would leave CSP unable to deliver for members sustainably.

Is CSP planning efficiency savings for next year?

A below-inflation increase to our members subs means the CSP will have to do more with less next year as our costs are rising at a higher rate than our income. The CSP is always looking at ways to improve our efficiencies and effectiveness. Since the pandemic the CSP has reduced its office costs in three of four countries and greater opportunities for virtual working.

Why did CSP not consult with members on the increase?

Council members are elected with a remit to make certain decisions on behalf of the membership. The rise settled on by Council is far below the current rate of inflation. The decision was made with reference to the Finance, Risk and Audit committee who provide expert advice on the CSP’s financial health and sustainability.

Why is CSP still based in London? Why not sell the Bedford Row headquarters and move somewhere cheaper?

The CSP is selling Bedford Row and has already made cost savings by not occupying such a large building. Most staff are working from home for the majority of the time. We have staff teams supporting members in all regions and countries. The CSP is able to rent and run a smaller, more modern office for London staff using the savings of not occupying Bedford Row. While the property is for currently for sale, selling it will not increase the value of the CSP’s overall assets. It will just allow the CSP to invest to seek better returns in addition to reducing the operational costs of maintenance and upkeep.

Why can't CSP use its reserves or operating surplus to absorb costs?

CSP faces long-term liabilities relating to the previous staff pension scheme. We are legally obliged to hold sufficient assets to meet the theoretical future call on us if the pension funds were inadequate to pay pensions.

Our reserves are part of the assets we need to offset and reduce this future liability, so we cannot use them to subsidise subscription rates without compromising the CSP’s future sustainability.

What benefits do I get as a CSP member?

Our membership section sets out the benefits you receive according to your membership type.

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