RPS rolls two executive functions into one after redundancies

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RPS rolls two executive functions into one after redundancies

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society is to recruit a new chief officer for education and membership, as well as four interim associate directors, two in education and one each for membership and professional support activities.

The director of education and membership job appears to combine the roles of two of the Society’s former directors who, according to official statements, “decided to leave” the RPS.

Former director of pharmacy and member experience Robbie Turner left officially on March 31, while director of education and professional development Gail Fleming leaves officially today.

It has also transpired that the RPS is losing both of the NHS secondees who have been widely credited with the creation of the RPS’s processes for consultant pharmacist credentialling.

In a statement issued today, the RPS says that “the final executive team structure has now been decided to deliver the five-year RPS strategy determined by the Assembly.”

It added that while the team's structure is an operational matter, the Assembly, including officers of the Society and the chairs of its three national Pharmacy Boards, have been involved in discussions that have led to the structure.

Functions ‘inextricably linked’ 

Addressing the rationale for the new combined director of chief education and membership officer (CEMO) role, the RPS said: “We are committed to championing the profession and want to strengthen our membership and education propositions, which are inextricably linked.

“Experience demonstrates that we must be even more joined up in the work that we do to optimise delivery of our strategic aims. A single executive leadership position will allow us to better align our resources and ensure a more unified approach that benefits the profession.”

The post will be responsible for the development and implementation of the RPS’s education and membership strategies, providing an “integrated and expanded educational and professional development offer” and “increasing the organisation’s appeal and relevance to an ever wider and more diverse audience”.

“Nothing could be more important to us than getting this right and supporting the profession. We are fully committed to fulfilling the obligations of our Royal Charter.”

As well as the CEMO, the future executive team will comprise the chief executive officer, chief operating officer, the recently announced chief technology officer and the managing director of the Pharmaceutical Press/deputy CEO, who is responsible for publishing activities and providing support to the CEO on operational delivery.

Criticism 

Pharmacy Network News first broke news of the two redundancies of two key senior executives on March 2. At the time, the RPS insisted that the final decision over a restructuring, which it claimed was in line with its new five-year strategy, agreed in the middle of last year, had yet to be taken.

The decision to lose the director of education role was, at the time, criticised by a number of senior pharmacists, including the former chief pharmaceutical officer for England, Dr Keith Ridge and Steve Churton, who as the last president of the old RPSGB presided over the extensive work to define the role of the professional leadership body post the creation of the GPhC as the profession’s independent regulator. 

Those deliberations included the ambition for the RPS to become the profession’s royal college, an ambition the chair of the English Pharmacy Board has stated is not part of the organisation’s current strategy.

The direction of the professional leadership body has also been questioned after it emerged that the RPS had recently left the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), a body it helped to found in 1912. The RPS says it intends to “continue to be an active participant in global pharmacy policy” though it has not expanded on how it intends to do that.

The RPS has already said it will launch an independent review of its decision-making processes, including the level of member engagement in policy development, the transparency of its decision making processes and the accountability of elected members for decisions taken at national board and assembly level. 

Recruitment for the CEMO role starts today, with Saxton Bampfylde acting once again as employment agency adviser. The closing date for applications is May 5.

A new chief scientific officer is also being appointed. Applications for the role following the departure of Professor Gino Martini, who is now heading up the University of Birmingham’s Precision Health Technologies Accelerator, closed on March 21.

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