President's report: December 2021

15 December 2021, Julie Barratt, CIEH President

Laptop with CIEH logo on the screen

As CIEH President I am keen that members should know what I have done to represent them, and to that end I will be providing updates after every Trustee Board meeting outlining what I have done. 

For consistency I will report under three headings, being media engagement, profile and policy and member engagement. This report covers the period 23 September - 1 December 2021, which has been a very busy three months.

Media engagement

Several opportunities came up for me to comment in the media on various environmental health issues. On 23 September, I appeared on ITV’s What’s Really In Our Food programme, commenting on the number of food businesses that have sprung up during the pandemic and the pressure that this has put on environmental health teams.

I commented on the potential health impact of the strike by bin men in Brighton and Hove for BBC Radio Sussex and on GB News, both on 14 October.

On 27 October I was interviewed by LBC about CIEH’s view on the government’s failure to allocate finance to support Environmental Health apprenticeships, and the potential impact this would have.

I have continued to use the @CIEH_President twitter account to promote CIEH and our public health messaging. The number of followers of this account have now passed 500 and includes a number of high-profile individual and influencers. Please do follow this account and spread the word among your colleagues.

Profile and policy

On 13 October I presented to Gwent Magistrates Association, giving a paper on Statutory Nuisance prosecutions, and particularly explaining the back story to such prosecutions. This is the third of four presentations, which aims to help magistrates understand Non-Police Prosecutions and why they matter, and to prove them with an insight into the sort of questions they could ask to get a better understanding of the impact of offending on the victims. It has been a useful process for me, as it has shown that Magistrates often have a very poor understanding of the reasons for public health law, and when the justification for action is explained to them they understand that prosecution is generally the end of a long process where the victim has been prejudiced for a significant period of time. As the result of this work, I am hoping to engage with the Magistrates Association at a national level to highlight the importance of local authority prosecutions and why they should be treated seriously.

I recorded a message of congratulations to Louise Hosking, an EHP and CIEH member who ascended to the Presidency of the Institution of Occupational Health and Safety (IOSH) in November, which was shown at her virtual inauguration. It is good to see Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) and CIEH members taking up prestigious roles in partner organisations, while demonstrating that the environmental health qualification is one that has wide breadth and reach.

Member engagement

The new mentor network established as part of the President’s Commission was launched in October. I am delighted with the success of the scheme to date as we now have in excess of 60 members signed up to be mentors and a number have already been allocated mentees. We continue to recruit mentors and I would ask anyone who is interested in being a mentor to contact me for further details.

Phase two of the President’s Commission is now underway with the collation of training opportunities for the Directory of Student Training Opportunities (DSTO). We need as many training opportunities as possible to make the DSTO a valuable resource, more details of which can be found here.

Continuing the theme of engaging with students carried over from my last report, I have had a number of opportunities to talk to students, including:

  • 27 September and 11 October – University of Wolverhampton
  • 30 September and 1 October – University of the West of England
  • 3 November and 17 November – Middlesex University

To coincide with World Environmental Health Day on 26 September I presented a paper on Healthy Cities and Climate Change focusing on the need for EHPs to be advocates for people and for the climate. to the Australian Environmental Health Association on 24 September.

I have been developing a campaign to invite lapsed members and those who have started, but not completed their Portfolio of Professional Practice (PPP) to return to CIEH and to take up registration.

On 28 September I was pleased to chair the second of the free Stress and Wellbeing seminars offered by CIEH to members, both of which were very well supported and was pleased to have the opportunity to speak at the New to the Profession Coffee and Catch up on 19 October.

Finally, I have continued to support the President’s Challenge through its Facebook page and on Twitter. We are now very close to hitting our target of raising £5,000 for Water for Kids. I am now actively working on the 2022-23 Challenge which will be publicised shortly.

As ever, I encourage members to contact me to raise issues, propose ideas or ask questions. Drop me an email or send me a DM via Twitter @CIEH_President. I’m very keen to engage with and to talk with members about anything CIEH and environmental health related.

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