The College’s Council discuss the affairs of the organisation and make recommendations to the Board of Trustees on many of the biggest decisions the College has to make.

What is Council responsible for?

Council has overall responsibility for education and psychiatric training, policy, professional practice, professional standards, public engagement, quality improvement and research.

Other responsibilities include:

  • to elect people to fellowship and membership of the College
  • education, policy, professional practice, professional standards, public engagement, quality, research, and training in psychiatry
  • considering and approving applications for pre-membership psychiatric trainees (PMPTs), affiliates, mental health associates, specialist associates and international associate membership
  • to make recommendations to the Board of Trustees for new faculties
  • to make recommendations to the Board of Trustees about the nature, scope and extent of the privileges of membership, including changes
  • making, changing or cancelling regulations about the examinations. (The council has no power to make other regulations but may make recommendations to the Board of Trustees.)

There are 11 Committees of Council.

See our notice to Members about the re-election of the Honorary Officers.

Headlines from the most recent meeting on 12 April 2024

First meeting of the Council rather than the UK Council 

The President welcomed attendees and congratulated the International Division Chairs who officially became full members of the Council, following approval of the changes to the RCPsych Bye Laws, agreed at the AGM, by the Privy Council. It will now formally be known as the Council, rather than the UK Council.

It was acknowledged that a number of Council members’ terms would be coming to an end, including the three Chairs for the Devolved Nations.

Annual Re-Election of the President  

The Honorary President is elected by the members for a 3-year term and the other Honorary Officers for 5-year terms. The Bye Laws of the College require annual elections for the Honorary Officers. Nominations for the re-election of the Honorary President were sought at the January Council meeting and remained open for four weeks to give all members an opportunity to submit. Lade has been re-elected as the President as no further nominations were received.  

Treasurer updates  

The Treasurer Professor John Crichton’s items included a reflection of the publishing portfolio’s achievements. College Editor Professor Gin Malhi mentioned the appointment of a new Head of Publishing and two new Editors-in-Chief for the journals. He also mentioned the intention to incorporate representation of people with disabilities on the Editorial Board. Additional updates included information on the development of special issues, podcasts, and the BJPsych Journals app. 

During the Treasurer’s updates it was acknowledged that we need to improve understanding of the processes and training for financial management across the faculties. The current position is resulting in some faculties experiencing financial difficulty and challenges in recruiting and retaining a finance officer. The Treasurer emphasised the importance of planning and balancing finances while recognising the need to raise money from events. It was agreed that more could be done in collaboration to improve understanding of the processes and develop clearer communications. The Treasurer requested Faculties reach out to him if they are continuing to have difficulties. 

President update 

The President, Dr Lade Smith CBE, informed Council members that Ms Sonia Walter has successfully passed the very rigorous recruitment process, and has now been appointed into the substantive post as CEO of the College.   

Sharing details of progress that had been made over the past year in terms of engagement with decision makers, Lade spoke of progress made in the establishment of a national Medical Director for Mental Health reporting into Professor Sir Stephen Powis at NHS England.  

Lade also spoke of the economic argument for improving mental health services while acknowledging the challenges in the healthcare industry, including the increase in patient numbers and demand, and the lack of investment in workforce, training, and research. 

There was a discussion held on the need to work with other organisations to bridge the gap between evaluation and innovative policies. The importance of indemnity insurance and sufficient training was raised in relation to working with children and young people. 

Council Members were reminded of the opportunity to work with Young Minds and to consider any work that would benefit from hearing the voice of young people.

The President informed Council Members that this year’s AGM will take place on Tuesday 18 June in Edinburgh, during International Congress. It will be a hybrid meeting with online as well as in person voting facilitated should it be necessary. 

Annual Re-Election of the Honorary Officers  

The Bye-Laws of the College require annual elections for the Honorary Officers.  

The current Registrar, Dr Trudi Seneviratne OBE, is in her fourth year of her term of office and is eligible for re-election. Nominations were proposed by Dr Jon Van Niekerk and seconded by Professor Rafey Faruqui.

The current Dean, Professor Subodh Dave, is in his third year of office and is eligible for re-election. Nominations were proposed by Dr Jon Van Niekerk and seconded by Professor Rafey Faruqui. The current Treasurer, Professor John Crichton is also in his third year of office and is eligible for re-election. Nominations were proposed by Dr Mani Santhanakrishnan and seconded by Dr Jane Morris. 

Nominations will remain open for all three Honorary Officer roles for four weeks, until 10 May, and if uncontested, they will be re-elected. 

Faculty and Division update 

It was acknowledged that working with the media to provide an expert view and comment on issues being reported on can be challenging, particularly when they change their minds at last minute. President Lade Smith talked through how the media works and the importance of continued engagement. It was identified that training for members and faculties would be beneficial.   

A discussion was held on the topic of assisted dying including the different views of the membership, the developing legislation in Scotland and the implications for psychiatric practice. GMC guidance is expected for doctors in Crown dependencies. 

Devolved Councils update 

Dr Pavan Srireddy, vice-chair of RCPsych in Scotland, provided updates about activity in Scotland including the State of the Nation report and its recommendations, which was well received by Government and NHS Scotland. Pavan also spoke about the expansion of higher specialist training posts, retention in remote and rural communities, local spends, and funding for mental health.  

College response to The Cass Review 

Dr Maria Atkins, chair of RCPsych Wales raised a discussion on the College's response to the final report in The Cass Review – the independent review of gender identity services for children and young people in England.  

President Lade Smith talked through the College process of publishing a holding statement to allow time for a more detailed and considered response which would be published in the coming weeks, with the help of an advisory group of members, including the College Registrar, Chair and representatives of CAP Faculty, Chair of GAP Faculty, representatives of the Rainbow Special Interest Group, Presidential Leads for Equity and Equality and Presidential Leads for Women and Mental Health. 

Lade also reported on the influencing work the College had been doing behind the scenes, ahead of the publication of the report. The College, alongside many psychiatrists and other healthcare professionals, had regular discussions with Dr Hilary Cass about the areas covered in the review. The final report reflects this engagement which took on board several of the College’s recommendations. The College also helped to develop refresher training with the AoMRC for the practitioners working in the new gender service hubs.  

Chief Executive Officer update  

The CEO Sonia Walter delivered a presentation on her vision, main priorities and key deliverables of the 3-year strategy, as Chief Executive of the College. The priority areas include membership engagement, staff engagement, organisational excellence and financial stability. She explained that these priorities will be underpinned by robust governance, the College’s CIRCLE values and organisational competencies. 

Discussion on Physician Associates 

President Lade Smith and the College Dean, Professor Subodh Dave, provided a recent history of the issues surrounding Physician Associates (PAs) and an update on the College review along with details of stakeholder discussions on PAs. This was followed by an opportunity for Council members to discuss member views, raise concerns and ask questions. Key points of discussion included the role of PAs, job descriptions, competency frame works and pay bands, experiences of those already working with PAs, the title of the role and public understanding. Regular updates will be provided to Council and the wider membership.  



Council minutes

Council minutes are not classified as public records. Access is restricted according to the RCPsych Access to Archives Policy.