President's report: September 2021

28 September 2021, Julie Barratt, CIEH President

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

For consistency, I am reporting under three headings, which are media engagement, profile and policy, and member engagement. This edition of my report covers the period from 21 June to 23 September 2021.

Media engagement

I am continuing to use the CIEH President's Twitter account to raise the profile of the work being done by environmental health professionals. I was particularly keen to highlight the great work that they have done and continue to do in all our theatres of operation during the COVID pandemic. I also took the opportunity presented by #ThankYouSunday to thank environmental health professionals for their contribution on Twitter and LinkedIn, with both posts generating considerable interest and being reposted and retweeted.

Meanwhile, I was recently asked to contribute to the What’s really in your food episode of the ITV programme ITV Tonight. Filming took place on 9 September, and it was then broadcast on 23 September. This provided me with the opportunity to raise awareness of the critical role that environmental health professionals play in ensuring food safety, as well as commenting on the profession’s recruitment crisis.

Profile and policy

On 8 September, I presented a paper entitled ‘A license to...’ to Gwent Magistrates Association. This highlighted the back stories behind licensing prosecutions and explained the rationale behind licensing conditions. This is the second of four (previously three) presentations which aim to help magistrates understand non-police prosecutions and why they matter, and to provide them with an insight into the sort of questions they could ask so that they can get a better understanding of the impact of offending on the victims.

On 20 September, CIEH CEO Dr Phil James and I met with Sarah Albon, the CEO of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). It was a useful opportunity to discuss the HSE’s 10 Year Strategy Review, and to underline the issues raised by our members in their response to our consultation on the review.

Member engagement

On 20 September, I was due to take part in the third of the CIEH-conversations webinars featuring the CIEH leadership team where we discussed the new pathways to Professional Registration, but unfortunately due to IT issues was unable to do so. This had been previously identified by our Board of Trustees as the most important piece of work for the organisation in 2021, and I want to pay tribute to the group that has worked on putting it together. It has been a huge effort involving members, employers, academics and stakeholders, and gives us a solid foundation from which to move forward.

This will be supported by the new mentor network established as part of the President's Commission which is due to be launched in October. In anticipation of this, I chaired two sessions for new mentors in which we discussed how the programme would work and what our expectations of it are, as well as a walk through the new Environmental Health Practitioner Portfolio.

Supporting and encouraging students has been a theme over the last few months. To assist with this, I recorded an interview about the importance of environmental health for Leeds Beckett University to show to their new student intake. I also attended a meeting with the University of Birmingham to discuss work placements for students undertaking the Higher Certificate in Food Control.

There has also been a lot of international activity since the last reporting period. On 17 August, I was pleased to speak at the Nigerian Environmental Health Association's conference about the leadership role of CIEH, while on 21 August I attended the International Federation of Environmental Health Council's (IFEH) meeting and AGM.

Finally, I have been developing the second phase of the President’s Commission, which will include a campaign to invite lapsed members and those who had started, but not completed, their Portfolio of Professional Practice (PPP) to come back to CIEH and apply for Registration. I will also be working with our Network Manager, Alana Briggs, to develop a new directory of student training opportunities, to support the new Registration pathways. It will be a huge piece of work to which all employers can contribute, and we will be promoting it shortly.

A huge thank you to everyone who has supported me to-date, whether volunteering as a mentor or as a careers advisor. It's great to have you on board, and I’m very much looking forward to working with you.

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

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