President's report: July 2022

26 July 2022, 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 the organisation, 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 the three headings of media engagement, profile and policy and member engagement. This report covers the period 18 May to 14 July 2022.

Media engagement

The main thrust of the President’s Commission this year is the relaunch of the Directory of Student Training Opportunities. In order for it to be a useful tool it needs to contain a large number of opportunities of different types. To encourage contributions I prepared a short video asking employers to make contributions to the Directory which is being used across all of the CIEH social media platforms. I would encourage any employer who can make a contribution to the Directory to do so and help us support members on the Registration Pathway. The Directory is now live, having been launched on 27 June and more contributions to the growing list of opportunities are very welcome. Look out for an article featuring me talking about the directory in the next edition of EHN magazine, which will be published in September 2022.

I was pleased to take part in X-Ray, a consumer programme filmed by BBC Wales where I commented on secret camera footage of underage girls purchasing sunbed sessions. This was important because in my previous role as CIEH Director Wales I was heavily involved in the call for controlling legislation, which is now in place. The story was featured on the news section of the BBC Wales website and I also spoke on the BBC Radio Wales Drive time programme about the need for access to sunbeds to be controlled.

I have continued to use the @CIEH_President Twitter feed to promote the work of EHPs and of CIEH. This continues to be a useful mechanism for engaging with other stakeholders as well as with CIEH members.

Profile and policy

On 28 June I was delighted to attend a ceremony at the University of Birmingham to present a CIEH Honorary Fellowship to Professor Roy Harrison. Prof. Harrison has been a long-standing supporter of CIEH and of environmental health courses run by the University of Birmingham and I was very pleased to be able to make the presentation in recognition of his strong and consistent support.

Member engagement

This has been a busy period for member engagement. I am keen to support new practitioners, and on that note was invited to write an article for the Leeds Beckett University Apprentice Newsletter explaining what CIEH is as an organisation, why it matters and encouraging new apprentices to join and to benefit from all that the professional body can offer them.

Continuing the theme of working with new entrants to the profession, I joined Gary McFarlane in Newcastle on 30-31 May to deliver two interactive student training days, which helped new practitioners achieve elements of their Environmental Health Portfolio. These days are very useful to students, but require the support of mentors to role-play and challenge the participants; we were grateful for support from a number of retired members and from Gateshead Council staff in delivering them.

The 2021 President’s Commission saw the establishment of the CIEH Mentor Network and on 31 May I chaired the first Coffee and Catch up for mentors, where we took the opportunity to discuss how the scheme was going and to consider how it could be improved. I was pleased that the general consensus was that it is going well and that mentees value it. We decided that it would be useful to set up a WhatsApp group to be enable mentors to discuss issues raised quickly, and I’m pleased that CIEH Membership Engagement Manager Daniel Radley has facilitated the process of getting this set up.

I noted in my last blog that as the restrictions associated with Covid started to loosen, I had been asked to attend a number of face to face events, which of course I was delighted to be able to do. The first of these was the East Midlands 5+1 Conference on 15 June, where I made the keynote speech and answered questions from the floor. It was very nice to catch up with members face to face and to discuss issues that matter, such as the motions proposed at the CIEH Annual General Meeting (AGM) and the ways in which we are changing the way we work post-Covid.

On 16 June I attended the CIEH AGM, which was a virtual event. On behalf of the Board of Trustees I spoke to one of the proposed motions, presenting the Board view. It was good to see members engaged with the AGM, and taking a view on proposals put to it.

In a more social vein, I hosted the President’s Challenge Walking Weekend in Llantwit Major over the weekend of 17-19 June. It was a great event, over 20 people came and stayed and did the walks and we managed to fit a BBQ in on the Saturday night between bursts of rain. We did some real walking miles on the Wales Coast Path as opposed to virtual miles and got to meet people we knew by name only and met their dogs. Definitely a weekend to be repeated.

I have a number of further face to face engagements pencilled in for the upcoming months, but I remain happy to respond to questions or queries online or by email. If you want to raise anything with me, please drop me an email.

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