The SACH AGM was held on
Monday 30 October 2007
at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.
Rev Derek Brown (President)
You must have been in a restaurant where you have been presented with a menu that overwhelms you because there are just too many choices to be made. It's a welcome difference from the days of school dinners when the choice was,take it or leave it. Having too much choice is probably just as bad as having too little, especially when thinking about the choice of topics that we, as chaplains, can choose from.
Would you care for a starter of competencies, a main course of registration followed by a sweet CPD? A recipe for indigestion, I think.
SACH exists first and foremost to represent the interests of members. This we do in a formal way through our participation in the various bodies that have an interest in chaplaincy and we also provide support in less formal ways to individual chaplains or departments.
We continue to work very closely with both the College of Healthcare Chaplains and the Association of Hospice and Palliative Care Chaplains, most notably on the issue of Registration and through the Chaplaincy Academic and Accreditation Board. I also met with the Presidents of the College and AHPCC and a representative of chaplains in Northern Ireland in Edinburgh last month when we talked about issues of common interest. A joint statement has been prepared and it will be published on the website in due course. One of the issues we discussed was the establishment of a UK wide panel of assessors who would be available to Health Boards and Trusts when making chaplaincy appointments.
We continue to support the work of CAAB, the Chaplaincy Academic and Accreditation Board. It has a specific remit looking at, for example, the qualifications needed to become a chaplain and the awarding of CPD points to courses and study days.
We are also represented on two bodies whose roles compliment each other, the ACTS Chaplaincy committee and the Spiritual Care Development Committee which provides NHS Scotland with a multi-faith perspective on spiritual care matters.
We also attend meetings of the advisory group which assists the Training and Development Unit in its work and through our representative we can take any ideas or training needs you may have to Chris Levison.
We also have been involved in the piloting of what is known as an e-portfolio for CPD. It might be just as well because the paper CPD folders which I've been talking about for months still haven't appeared! The ‘e' version is envisaged to be interactive and dynamic and might save the odd rain forest.
In March this year a number of us were privileged to be at the Conference celebrating 10 years of the Scottish Journal of Healthcare Chaplaincy which was a great success. If you weren't able to be there you will have been able to read the proceedings in the issues of the Journal published this year.
In April I was honoured to be asked to address the Board of Directors of the Association of Professional Chaplains which is the major American professional chaplaincy body. It was unfortunate that they were meeting in San Francisco but I take greetings from Scotland nonetheless. I was not only overwhelmed by the 850 delegates at the conference but also the commitment the newly certified chaplains displayed in achieving their award. I came away thinking that I would never have made the grade.
At last year's AGM there was a good deal of discussion about the changing world of chaplaincy. Back then there was the prospect of all whole time chaplains transferring to NHS employment and what that might mean. That was coupled with talk around the role of the union in negotiating on behalf of chaplains. It was agreed that the Executive should try to take stock of the discussions and assess what response SACH might make.
This has taken a lot of time and effort and I know that it has been worthwhile getting to grips with what we discussed and taking soundings from the College and the Amicus representatives. I won't repeat here all the arguments because you will have had a chance to read that elsewhere. Suffice to say with the new employment arrangements and with the benefits accruing from union negotiations we concluded that while we weren't yet at the stage of merging with the College, we could, for the first time acknowledge the role that the union now called Unite has played. This we can do by association- though SACH is not a trade union we would encourage those members wishing the benefits of trade union membership to join Unite.
I would like to express my thanks to all the Executive…Dawn, Iain, Margery, Mark, Evelyn, Ken; to Iain, Janet and James for the Journal; to Fred who looks after the website and edits Soundings and to the Aberdeen Secretaries Sheena and Gillian for their invaluable support.
Derek Brown, President, welcomed those present - Norma Livingstone, Sandra Bell, Tom Gordon, Mark Evans, Margery Collin, Mark Rodgers, Fred Coutts, James Falconer, Kitty McDonald, Chris Levison, Sue Duncan, Andrew Graham, John Fraser, Iain Telfer
Apologies had been received from – Donald Walker, Keith Saunders, David Mitchell, Yvonne Hendrie, Liz Gibson, Raymond Deans, Alasdair Graham, Georgina Nelson, Stuart Webster, Stuart Macdonald, Michael Hickford, Ann Watt, Lynne MacMurchie, Monica Stewart, Anne Macdonald, Judith Huggett, John Brewster, Ian McDonald, Gillian Munro, Anne Mulligan, John Thomson, Stan Cook, Ivor McClure, Joyce Nicol, Robin Paisley, Ewan Kelly, Ken Russell, Alistair Ridland, Jacqui du Rocher.
Derek invited Sue Duncan to lead the meeting in a time of Reflection.
Minute of Previous AGM
The Minute of the 2006 AGM was approved with the following alterations –
Anne MacDonald had tendered apologies and had not attended;
Pat McDonald had attended and not tendered apologies;
Corrections to spelling of names – Gillian Munro, Lorna Murray and Margery Collin.
Derek Brown presented his annual Report as President, giving a comprehensive account of the business of the Executive Committee, as well as his own particular involvements, over the past year.
He reported on continuing co-operation with the College of Healthcare Chaplains (CHCC) and the Association of Hospice and Palliative Care Chaplains (AHPCC) in relation to Registration and the work of the Chaplaincy Academic and Accreditation Board (CAAB). He also reported on a recent meeting between the Presidents of all three Associations and those in N Ireland, a Joint Statement from which will appear on the website in due course. Amongst matters discussed was the establishing of a UK wide panel of assessors who would be available to Health Boards and Trusts when making chaplaincy appointments.
SACH continues to support the work of CAAB, with its specific remit of determining qualifications required of those considering chaplaincy as a career and, the awarding of CPD points for relevant courses and study days.
SACH is also represented on the ACTS Chaplaincy Committee, the Spiritual Development Committee, (providing NHS Scotland with a multi-faith perspective on spiritual care matters), the Advisory Group of the Training and Development Unit and, currently serves a group exploring the piloting of a CPD e-portfolio for chaplains.
Reference was made to the successful conference in March 2007, marking the 10 th Anniversary of the Scottish Journal of Healthcare Chaplaincy, from which articles have been carried in subsequent issues of the Journal.
In April 2007, Derek was invited to address the Board of Directors of the Association of Professional Chaplains in San Francisco.
Referring to discussion at last year's AGM anticipating the transfer of full-time chaplains to direct employment and related issues of trade union membership, Derek reported on the subsequent deliberations of the Executive, which, at this stage, did not recommend merger with CHCC but, for the meantime, a continuing separate existence for SACH with the recommendation that, should individual members wish to benefit from TU membership, it would make sense for members to consider joining UNITE, which, under its previous guise Amicus the Union, had successfully represented the interests of chaplains.
In the discussion that followed, the following issues were aired –
that debate on how the future interests of chaplains in Scotland could best be served would be a continuing focus for the Executive, recognising this to be a dynamic process
confirmation that Public Liability Insurance continued to be arranged by SACH
that it is possible to join a TU without becoming a member of CHCC
that though the climate in Scotland with regard to chaplaincy and its development appears in a much freer place than in England, it is important for the Executive to monitor what is happening elsewhere and, offer appropriate guidance to the membership
whether chaplaincy in Scotland is big enough numerically, to support two competing organisations, raising the fundamental question of what SACH's raison d'être is. This led to prolonged discussion on the particular ‘Scottish' dimension to chaplaincy ranging over issues including the independence of the Journal; a certain ‘autonomy' that safeguards being consumed by an ‘English' agenda; the dispassionate contribution of SACH to the currently divisive issues south of the border
the tension between the role of a professional organisation and the power of the Trades Unions, with comparisons being drawn between the professional bodies for doctors (various Royal Colleges)and nurses (RCN)
the perennial difficulty of attracting people to conferences, courses, etc (shared with other professional associations) leading to the recommendation that the Executive actively explore the possibility of a joint annual conference for chaplains in Scotland with both SACH and CHCC being able to hold their respective AGM's at the same time
how the fellowship between chaplains enjoyed in previous years and gatherings might be recovered, including part-time and sessional chaplains
the need to ensure that members are kept on board as developments in chaplaincy continue
the suggestion that Chris Levison might call together representatives of the various chaplaincy bodies in Scotland to look at the benefits of combined activities and the rationalisation of meetings
Derek concluded his report by expressing his thanks to the meeting for all contributions to discussion and, the Executive for their support and hard work over the past year; to Fred Coutts, Webmaster; to the editors of the Journal and, to James Falconer and the secretaries at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for their commitment to the production and distribution of the Journal.
Fred Coutts presented the current membership statistics – 135 members (47 WT or WTE); 59 Part-Time; 29 Associate. 27 people had joined since November 2006. 126 chaplains work in Scotland, 6 in England, 1 in Wales and 2 in USA. In response to a question, it was estimated that the total number of chaplains currently working in Scotland is in the region of 360, of whom approximately 60 are full-time.
Derek presented the audited Accounts for the previous year which were approved and adopted by the meeting and are engrossed with this Minute.
Election of Office Bearers
The meeting approved the following appointments to the Executive for the ensuing year.
President Derek Brown (2008)
Proposed Fred Coutts,Seconded James Falconer
Secretary Margery Collin (2008)
Proposed Tom Gordon,Seconded Sue Duncan
Treasurer Mark Rodgers (2008)
Proposed Andrew Graham,Seconded Chris Levison
Evelyn Cairns (2010) Adopted by meeting following co-option
Anne Mulligan (2010)
Proposed Iain Telfer, Seconded James Falconer
Andrew Graham (2010)
Proposed Norma Livingstone, Seconded Margery Collin
It was confirmed that Ken Russell has one further year to serve as an Ordinary Member.
It was also intimated that James Falconer has indicated his intention to retire, after ten years, as Journal Distribution Organiser. The call was made for someone to replace James.
1 Appointment of Auditor
The meeting homologated the appointment of Hilary Gardner, Accountant and Reader in the Church of Scotland, as auditor for the 2006 Accounts and, appointed her as auditor for the ensuing year, whom failing the Executive Committee was given powers to appoint a qualified person in her stead.
2 Annual Subscription
Proposed by Tom Gordon and seconded by Chris Levison, it was agreed that the Annual Subscription should remain at the current level for the following year.
3 Transfer of Employment
Asked if there were any outstanding issues regarding the transfer to direct NHS employment and transfer values of pensions, none was reported.
AdjournmentDerek thanked members for their attendance and the meeting adjourned for lunch. It was followed by three presentations on Research Proposals by chaplains who had participated in the course run by Harriet Mowatt over last winter.