How we will deliver the International strategy

Here's how our first ever International strategy will be delivered.

We to make a bigger impact on the delivery of psychiatry and wider mental health services across the world. It wishes to do this by:

  • delivering increased services to psychiatrists and other mental health staff, through a sustainable model
  • using surpluses on these services to support an expanded volunteering programme.

The new strategy will only achieve its aims of delivering more services and delivering more base line funded volunteering placements if it is clear and focused.

This means being clear about:

  • what services it will prioritise
  • which nations and regions it will focus its attention on.

To be a success, we need to be clear about what we can and cannot do. Otherwise we run the risk of trying to be all things to all people.

Our new strategy focuses on specific regions where we have existing collaborations and/or allows for potential growth of our services and membership, as well as highlighting the need to increase our volunteering work in low-and-middle income nations. Where appropriate we will consider delivering the strategy alongside other UK providers.

We will prioritise securing a sustainable model in emerging economies in order to support  volunteering work, in low-and middle income countries. 


This means being clear that we will prioritise:

  • nations and regions where the College has strong and existing collaborations – such as India, sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa
  • nations and regions where there will be a strong appetite for charitable services that can be delivered on a sustainable basis – such as India, China and the Middle East and North Africa
  • nations and regions that have resource limitations where the College can add value through volunteer work - such as sub-Saharan Africa.

What we will and won't do under the new model

Under the new model, we will:

  • strive to be carbon neutral
  • ensure that our international strategy is properly resourced, including having a dedicated staff lead and member lead responsible for its delivery
  • ensure that the staff lead and member lead will report to the Board of Trustees on an annual basis as to the efficacy of the international strategy and include a summary of the success of the roll out of the international strategy in each annual report
  • ensure new services offered under the international strategy are evidence led
  • ensure all international workstreams are run according to sound project management principles, in general, and the College’s project management methodology, in particular:
    • ensure that all international workstreams, including visits by Senior Officers, are in line with the overall international strategy
    • only adopt new workstreams where a business case has been presented to the RCPsych International Advisory Committee and signed off by the Senior Management Team and Finance Management Committee
    • manage expectations (internally and externally) around our capacity to deliver international projects
    • prioritise the need to build sustainable models in emerging economies in order to support volunteering work, in low-and-middle income nations
    • decommission activity which has little or no focus, or does not meet our strategic aims
    • resist the temptation to scale-up activities or initiatives prematurely before they have been properly piloted and assessed
    • resist ‘scope creep’ – the temptation to take on projects and pursue initiatives which are not specifically linked to achieving our strategy
    • ensure that we can add value in a sustainable way.
    • seek out partnerships with suitable and appropriate stakeholders, such as health ministries, national psychiatric associations, international psychiatric associations, universities, third sector mental health organisations and NGOs
    • ensure that all new international work is evaluated, and key learning is shared with all stakeholders.

Under the new model, we will not:

  • take on projects that are not specifically linked to achieving our strategy or that expose us or our members to undue risk
  • knowingly place the people we support in significant personal danger
  • breach the Foreign and Commonwealth Office policies and recommendations.
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