We thought we’d give you a potted history (blog by blog) of the Reform APS movement so far.
Ironically, it was the Clinical College’s survey that launched the Reform APS group late last year. The survey highlighted the arrogant sense of entitlement of many clinical members and their willingness to advance their own interests at the expense of all their colleagues.
When the RAPS website arrived mid-January 2017, it immediately became a portal for the fury and disillusionment of the majority of APS members against the Two-Tier system.
The APS President’s immediate response was to email every member to warn them about the “scurrilous” emails being sent out by RAPS. People ran for cover, too scared to openly be identified, fearing the repercussions on their careers if they spoke up.
A number of threats and delivered ultimatums were aimed at closing down RAPS to end the discussion of matters vital to the interests of members. These have included legal threats, warnings of complaints to the Ethics Committee, demands for resignations, etc.
But RAPS fought on. They held their first meeting in St Kilda and two brave board directors attended – Felicity Allen and Jill Wright – to hear what the members were concerned about.
At the meeting Dr Clive Jones and Professor Mark Anderson provided the critical research showing why Two-Tier System is not justified.
By early February, the four non-clinical directors on the board were rolled and the clinical faction gained full control of the APS board, effectively muzzling all opposition. We still don’t know how that happened but after seeing the president in action at the EGM on June 6, we can begin to understand it.
In the February edition of InPsych , the APS Executive Director, Professor Lyn Littlefield, in her report on “Ten Years of Better Access” accused RAPS of spreading misinformation in relation to the APS’ role in establishing the higher rebate for clinical psychologists – as revealed in the Freedom of Information (FOI) documents RAPS obtained – download here.
In reply RAPS wrote a blistering response titled the APS Matters Misfires – download here
In March a second leak from the Clinical College hardened RAPS supporters further when their college chair incredulously tried to argue that the two-tier system created a diversity of psychological approaches.
In March also the Executive Director in APS Matters assures members that they will have a chance to have their say on the two-tier system. Then the worst and most biased Member Survey in the history of the APS was issued to members, the results of which will be forthcoming in the June InPsych and from which we will have to try to decipher the truth from fiction –download here
We’ve been told that there were over 4,000 comments in the survey demonstrating members frustrations with the questions.
By the end of March, a RAPS poll attracts more than 1,300 responses in just three weeks, with over 1,000 members indicating they would consider leaving the APS if the board does not begin representing the interests of generalist psychologists?
This was sent to the President but RAPS has not yet received a reply.
In early April RAPS decides that the only way forward for the Society is to spill the board and let the members vote in a whole new team.
Within 6 days RAPS collected more than 100 signatures for Call for a Spill. Within another 10 days they collected another 100 signatures to require the APS to send their Statement on the Spill to every APS member before the vote is held.
Then the board struck back!
In April they brought forward the vote on the new Constitution before the spill could take place. They carefully chose a date, May 23rd, on which they would not be legally bound to add the Spill to the Agenda, deliberately frustrating members.
RAPS supporters quickly mobilised and within a couple of weeks had collected over 200 proxies votes against the Constitutional changes.
Then the board struck again! They cancelled the May 23rd EGM and set a later date, still outside the legal limit for the spill, and thereby invalidating all the proxies that RAPS had collected. Once again frustrating members and causing maximum difficulties.
In early May another leak from the clinical college reveals the clinicals are finding it hard to believe that their non-clinical colleagues would dare to take back control of their society. But a brave clinical psychologist agreed with RAPS that non-clinical members do the same work, and we are equal in our competencies- download here
Then the President attacks RAPS again and we learn that in 2011 he urged clinical members to fight en masse for the two-Tier system that demonstrates that clinical psychology is the specialisation of psychology in psychiatric disorders – download here
By mid May the race is on to win the Governance vote at the June 6 EGM.
The APS management plays every trick in the book, including the saturation lobbying of members to vote YES; refusing to circulate the RAPS case against the changes to members; holding the EGM at the inconvenient peak day and time for working psychologists, causing them to lose valuable income and discouraging them to attend; and providing misleading information about some venues thereby preventing some members participating in the meetings.
Despite this over 160 members turned out at the Melbourne EGM and over another 450 in the other States and Territories. The Melbourne meeting was a shambles; the venue far too small so that people couldn’t hear, and there was no opportunity for a proper debate of the issues –download here
Following the EGM the Executive Director misinforms members again by claiming an “overwhelming support for the proposed Constitutional changes” which was in reality only passed by a handful of votes and is being contested by RAPS – download the letter here.
And finally last Friday the Executive Director acknowledges some members’ concerns, echoing a similar sentiment from her in February (the pain caused by the two-tier system) but ten years overdue.
It’s time the Executive Director retired before she has the chance to send another APS submission to the Medicare Taskforce advocating for a specialist item number for clinical psychologists only.
The June 6 vote revealed that there is a real division in the society – with 5% of the members very concerned about the way the APS is being run – which is not going to go away. And RAPS is not going to go away!