The proposal, by the RCPsych officers, to extend voting rights to College Affiliates fell at this evening's Annual General Meeting (AGM) after only 44.2% and 43.9% of those expressing a clear view in two related ballots voted in favour of the change – whereas a majority of two-thirds in each vote was required.
For the change to go ahead, motions to amend the Supplemental Charter and the Bye Laws both had to be carried by a sufficient majority.
The need for two-thirds majorities to bring about any change is stipulated by the terms of the RCPsych’s Royal Charter.
On the vote to amend the Supplemental Charter in order to extend voting rights to Affiliates, 44.2% voted in favour, 55.8% voted against and four people abstained. There were 387 votes in total on this resolution.
On the vote to amend the Bye Laws in order to extend voting rights to Affiliates, 43.9% voted in favour, 56.1% voted against and four people abstained. There were also 387 votes in total on this resolution.
The proposal to extend voting rights to Affiliates had been put forward by the now former RCPsych President Dr Adrian James, as well as Registrar Dr Trudi Seneviratne, Professor Subodh Dave and Treasurer Professor John Crichton.
The decision to put forward the proposed change, to the AGM, had been voted through at the RCPsych Council and approved by the Board of Trustees.
Meanwhile, two other two constitutional changes proposed by the Officers, at the AGM, were accepted.
The first was to allow the Chairs of our International Divisions to be full members of the RCPsych Council, and to attend remotely.
This change was proposed in order to recognise the fact the College is an international organisation, with 3,800 members based overseas out of a total membership of 20,569.
The other suggestion was to change the name of Council to ‘Council of the College’ instead of ‘UK Council’ – again to recognise the international nature of the organisation.
In the vote to change the Bye Laws to enable International Chairs to become full members of Council 67.5% voted in favour, 32.5% voted against and 16 people abstained.
Meanwhile, in the vote to the change the Bye Laws to change the name of Council 74.5% voted in favour, 25.5% voted against and 13 people abstained.
A total of 425 members attended the AGM, 135 in person and 290 online.
At the end of the AGM, Adrian demitted office and handed over the chain of office to our new President Dr Lade Smith CBE.
After the AGM, Adrian commented:
“I am obviously disappointed that our proposal to extend voting rights to Affiliates fell at tonight’s AGM.
“I believed this suggested change was crucial for us to fully embrace our Affiliates, most of whom are SAS doctors.
“However, we are a democratic organisation and I respect the result of the vote – and consider this matter now closed.”
He added: “It is important that we can have discussions about difficult and challenging issues, and resolve our different perspectives through transparent processes such as this.
“I am very grateful to all our members who joined us for our AGM – either in-person, or online – and who took part in the vote, whichever way they voted.
“As we look to the future, it is key now that we re-double our efforts to support and value all our Affiliates and other SAS doctors – who do such an important job to enable us to deliver excellent patient care across mental health services.”
On the other two votes, Adrian said:
“I am so pleased that our members endorsed our vison to fully recognise the fact we are a global organisation, by backing our proposals for the Chairs of our International Divisions to be full members of Council and for changing the name of Council.
“If you add these changes, to the one that was signed off by members last year – to enable all our AGMs and EGMs to be delivered by digital platforms – we have significantly modernised our constitution over the last 12 months.”
The changes to the College constitution, to enable our International Division Chairs to become members of Council and to amend the name of Council, will now go to the Privy Council, for sign off, as the College is governed by a royal charter – with full sign off expected to take several months.