A ‘robust’ independent review of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s (RPS) constitution and governance structures will be commissioned by the professional body.

The review will ‘ensure we are fit for the future to deliver for pharmacy’, the RPS promised.

A full review of its constitution and supporting governance structures is part of the RPS’s ‘evolution as the professional leadership body for pharmacy,’ it said, with an invitation to tender to provide the review issued on Tuesday (28 February).

In October, an independent review of RPS member participation and communications found that boards and members felt that they were not informed or included in RPS decisions until after they were made. It recommended that RPS be more proactive and transparent in its communications, as well as suggesting that it reviewed its governance system ‘as a priority’.

Led by communications consultancy Luther Pendragon, the review looked at how the RPS communicates decisions made on behalf of the profession through its governance boards.

The review found that 68% of members wanted to participate in the decisions the RPS takes on their behalf, but said that the organisation’s ‘complex and cumbersome governance construct creates opacity and disengages members on the decisions made on their behalf’.

The report, based on a members’ survey with over 1,300 responses, and subsequent focus groups and interviews, gave 28 recommendations based on four strategic principles:

  • Take a proactive and considered approach
  • Be more open and transparent
  • Build member equity and agency
  • Focus on collaboration and be visible.

RPS chief executive, Paul Bennett, said: ‘The recent independent review into membership participation and communication we commissioned identified that our current governance structures mean the way the organisation operates often seems opaque.

‘This resonates with various motions tabled at our AGM last year calling for greater transparency and different ways of working across a number of our governance structures.

‘The UK commission on pharmacy professional leadership has also usefully highlighted key questions about pharmacy professional leadership across the UK.

‘To best serve both members and the profession now is the right time to undertake a robust, independent review of both the constitution and governance structures of the organisation to ensure we are fit for the future to deliver for pharmacy.’

The RPS said questions to be considered by the review include what structures would be needed to welcome other professional groups that may wish to join the organisation, how to make patient insight integral to RPS strategy, clear pathways for delivery of assessment, credentialing and education services, and the implications of possibly moving to charitable status or some other legal structure.

‘The review will include recommendations to ensure how the corporate and governance structure could deliver most effectively on these questions,’ the RPS said.

‘Members and stakeholders will be able to contribute views during the course of the review.’

Expressions of interest to tender to provide the review are due by 18 March, with the intention that the review should begin in May, the RPS said.

In March last year, members of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) complained about the lack of transparency around the body's decision to leave the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP).

RPS president Professor Claire Anderson later said that having private discussions around the organisation’s FIP membership was ‘the wrong call’, with RPS members voting with an overwhelming majority to rejoin FIP and the RPS committing to greater transparency.