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The CPSP Governance & Management Mechanisms with an eye to the future

The current structure of governance in the College is a legacy of the time when the fraternity was small and the specialties few in number. It served the College well and is the reason why the College grew in stature, expanded both its repertoire of specialties and its reach in terms of spread across the country and the region. The very reason for the College’s good name was its ‘federal’ nature; this structure is now becoming a cause of dissatisfaction and annoyance for some of its constituents (i.e. specialties and fellows).

While there is good reason to persist with this federal structure as will be clear in the matter to come, it has become essential to alter and separate the systems of governance and management if the College is to meet the challenges of the future. The structure of governance was gradually but comprehensively compromised by the leadership of the past. In all fairness some semblance of separation of management and governance has taken place in the seven years between 2008 and 2015 but perhaps not enough to satisfy the constituents. Suffice it to say that the tussle between structures of governance and management is apparent when one looks at the constant and consistently high turnover in the posts of the College Registrar and Secretary. Such a rapid and similar turnover did not take place in the management structure of the Regional Centers where the Regional Directors (who are and should be management cadre) are part of the governance structure. Governance and Management are two different entities and a manifest difference between individuals appointed on either side must exist.

There are many reasons to maintain the existing structure of governance and introduce changes such that there is minimum opportunity for exploitation by external influences acting through proxy agents (Fellows in the shape of Councilors) wanting to gain a foothold within both the structure of governance and management for purposes of power and pelf.

It is essential that the Council retain its current structure as stated within its charter. Any attempt to change the stipulations within the charter will only afford an opportunity to modify the autonomous nature of the College. This autonomy is an absolutely essential foundation stone on which the progress of the College has been dependent. Any attempt to undermine this administrative and fiscal autonomy will be a factor that will most certainly impede and inhibit the growth and progress of the College in the future.

A classic example of what can happen when ill-advised and malicious change to any original charter is attempted is apparent in the case of the PMDC. Such a change was manifest in the form of the Parliamentary Act XIX that amended the original Charter of the PMDC; this act was surreptitiously submitted and then passed by a motley and scanty crowd of uninterested MNA’s within half an hour just before the break for Friday prayers in 2010. This amendment was and is now the basis of conflict between the CPSP and PMDC because it tilted the balance and encroached upon an area of function that had hitherto not been under the jurisdiction of the PMDC for 50 years. The College had been chartered in May 1962 and the PMDC and PMRC in July 1962 and the original charters separated the functions more or less explicitly. Since the authors and prime movers of the charters of all three institutions were the same they were careful to ensure that any areas of overlapping function and potential conflict were reduced to a minimum. This balance of function was unilaterally disrupted after 50 years without any consultation or negotiation and therefore there is good reason to suspect that there were ulterior motives and mal-intent that were the driving forces for the change and have since been manifest by virtue of acts by PM&DC.

For this very reason no change in the original Charter or rules of the College must be sought, instead the bye-laws can be added to or modified so that areas of function of the Council and management do not create any conflict or concern. A proposal to retain this autonomy yet modify the existing structure of governance is presented.

Where does one start?

1. With the Election process, this has to take place at a national level as stated in the Rules. What is not stated is the methodology and the time schedules (a minimum period has been prescribed not a maximum). Clearly this is an area which the College and its Fellows can use to their advantage and satisfaction. The Election can be conducted on-line. Fellows must be allowed the privilege of making their own decisions and executing them too. This can only be done at their convenience and the privacy of their homes or offices. The rare few who wish to cast their votes at the regional centers may do so as the electronic facility can be easily provided there. Such a system would do away with the current hypocrisy of pledging (promising) one thing and doing exactly the opposite. This is not acceptable behavior from an individual who is presenting himself for councillorship and is supposed to be honorable / venerable and a person of integrity.

The issue of tangible criteria that should be present in the nominee for Councillorship has to be developed and can be developed by asking the Fellows what they would like in a candidate and what they wish the Council to achieve. Nominees for councillorship could be measured against these criteria on the College website for all Fellows to see and evaluate three, six or twelve months prior to casting their vote.

The system of electronic voting has been indigenously prepared and can be implemented at a convenient time. (Details are available in another document).

2. The subject Faculties have to be developed. Faculties must not be created and exit at the same time as the Council. A Faculty group must work halfway with one council and halfway with the next council. Any specialty with more than 40 or 60 specialists/supervisors should be entitled to have a subject faculty. Specialties with less than that number of supervisors would be attached to a larger specialty group till they reached a critical mass. Faculty members may be elected from several/four tiers of Fellows in that specialty; for example tier 1: one to three years since fellowship (those with the highest marks in the qualifying examinations), tier 2: four to six years since fellowship, tier 3: seven years and beyond, tier 4: sixty years and older. Thus four representatives from each province could constitute the faculty of a specialty. The responsibility and tasks of each faculty group have to be clearly defined, they are:

• Review of curricular documents
• Evaluation of new training sites
• Inclusion of new supervisors
• Review of training programs
• Surveillance of trainee evaluation and performance
• Surveillance of supervisor evaluation and performance
• Structuring of the evaluation, certification criteria and methodologies for the specialty
3. Setting down the functions of the Council (while no mean task) has to be clearly outlined and can be debated; to begin with the following areas are worth seriously thinking about:
• Review of faculty recommendations and ratification
• Review of financial status
• Prioritization of expenses
• Authorization of expenditures
• Allocation of funds
• Review of faculty reports
• Review of annual departmental, regional center reports
• Employee salaries, appointment and retention
• Review and approval of new associations and projects
• Creation of Council sub-committees or working groups
• Future direction of the College with respect to academic programs, creation of financial reserves, etc.

Rizwan Azami.
24th February 2015.

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