Looking forwards to the year ahead

24 November 2021, Dr Phil James, CIEH Chief Executive and John Herriman, CTSI Chief Executive

Hands holding the number 2022

Dr Phil James, CIEH Chief Executive and John Herriman, CTSI Chief Executive, contemplate what it means to 'shape the future' and share their aspirations for the 2022 Year Ahead Conference, which takes place online on 1-2 December 2021.

Dr Phil James, CIEH Chief ExecutivePhil writes: Even in the brief time that I’ve been associated with the environmental health profession, the political and regulatory landscape has shifted enormously in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and the outcome of the comprehensive spending review.

At this, my first Year Ahead Conference, I’ll be contemplating what it means to ‘shape the future’ when the only thing that’s clear is that we’re nowhere near as in control of that future as we’d like to be.

So, what I’m most looking forward to is not bold vision statements about the future, but the very practical opportunity to hear from a diverse range of people with different perspectives on what’s happening now, and what that might tell us about what’s around the corner.

I want to hear from the big players in this space and participate in conversations about the art of the possible, especially amid so much change and uncertainty about the years ahead. For me, this is a massive opportunity to hear first-hand from policy makers, subject matter experts and those engaged with tackling the big challenges facing public health and regulatory services.

Personally, I’ll be wanting to share my own views of the future when we kickstart the conference, recalibrating my perspective on these issues and working out what CIEH needs to do to further support the critical contribution of the environmental health profession. That’s a practical problem about what to do, to achieve and to prioritise in 2022.

We’re not alone, so coming together with the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) to confer with those who share our aims and values is a huge step towards a future defined by collaboration. I very much hope to see you there!

John Herriman, CTSI Chief ExecutiveJohn writes: I am delighted that CTSI and CIEH have returned to a partnership for the Year Ahead Conference. Driven by the same social purpose to protect the public, our respective professions work so closely together on the frontline that it is critically important that we do so at the national level as well.

This year’s conference represents that desire to work together for the common good and reflects a commitment we have both recently made as institutes to collaborate so we can have a greater impact.

The world has become more uncertain over the past year or so, with the long term social and economic consequences of the pandemic, the impacts of the UK’s EU exit, and the emerging challenges of Net Zero. We know that regulatory services collectively rose to the challenges of COVID-19, where we demonstrated our adaptability, something I consider to be one of our greatest strengths.

As we look to the future, one in which we know there will be increasing consumer vulnerability, adaptability will be a key feature of our work as we seek to keep the public safe. I am confident we will play as important a role as we have done over the last year as in the year ahead. Why? Because we have never been more needed, and this is the case we must keep making.

We, as a profession, and I know environmental health feels the same, take all these challenges very seriously. The Year Ahead Conference will be a chance to listen to different perspectives from a wide range of speakers and reflect on how we can work together to respond.

It would be an understatement to say, especially in my first year at CTSI, that I am thoroughly looking forward to meeting everyone and engaging in the constructive discussions I know we will have over the two mornings we are together.

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