Since the lockdown began, we have reduced our number of staff by 17% (43 posts) in order to cope with substantial projected losses this year and in 2021 – while, at the same time, rolling out many new ways of supporting our members.
Over the last four months, we have delivered a comprehensive programme of webinars, web guidance on handling COVID-19 in clinical settings, videos and podcasts for members on dealing with pandemics, Section 12 online training, and a higher number of our popular Presidential emails to all members. We are also currently rolling out digital reviews of mental health services.
In addition, many College staff are currently involved in a project to deliver a digital MRCPsych, so that – in the midst of the current crisis – people can still take the exam remotely and progress to national recruitment. We hope to deliver a digital CASC in September, a digital Paper B in October and a digital Paper A in December.
These initiatives are replacing previous, well-established, face-to-face ways of delivering services.
The annual membership fee is a much valued and important part of our income stream, but two thirds of our income comes from educational initiatives and other activities (for example, face-to-face conferences and events), and this income stream has been decimated due to the ongoing need for social distancing.
As we have substantially reduced our total number of staff, as a way of mitigating the projected losses, there is now very little capacity to take on new initiatives or work.
In fact, because there is such little spare staff capacity, the Officers and SMT have introduced a new business prioritisation process, so that all new proposed pieces of work have to be assessed in terms of how much staff time they would require, whether they are a priority, and, if they are added to our roster of work, what other work could be dropped in order to make way for them.
So, please do bear with our staff if they have to respond to some proposals by saying that unfortunately, at this difficult time, we do not have the capacity to carry out a particular proposed piece of work or facilitate increased meetings on a particular issue.
We remain absolutely committed to providing an excellent service to members in all the ways we possibly can, and appreciate your understanding on those occasions when we do have to say ‘not at the moment’.
Back to 10 July 2020 Members' update.