Monday, 2 July 2012

Voting - update

For those of you who care a jot about why the person with the most votes to the English Pharmacy Board is only elected for two years and the person who came second is elected for three......

The rules state that the person in the community sector with the highest number of votes will  take the community pharmacy employee place - unless that person is a locum who will take the place reserved for a community pharmacy locum. Both of these places were allocated to year 2. Once these two places are filled the next place is allocated to the more generic community position which happens to give you a three year term this time around. 

So, in effect (leaving locums aside), the last English Pharmacy Board approved a system in which the highest placed community pharmacist would only be elected for two years and the next placed  would be elected for three. 

It really does tempt me to ask whether they actually understood what the system they approved.......


  1. I cannot comment for the rest of the board but I did understand the system and accepted that this could happen

    There were 3 posts where the candidate could get more votes than other candidates and a shorter term: community locum, community employee and academic. Due to setting up the board structure to allow 1/3 to step down each year and 2/3 to remain for continuity there was no "best" way to design it and there were always going to be 3 posts vulnerable to this issue. As it would only happen once, I thought it was acceptable albeit less than ideal.

    1. Spot on Catherine - hope others spotted it as well. The one thing I don't understand is why the system changed. My understanding was that in the past those with the most votes filled the any sector places first. If this had continued we would not have had these anomalies? Are you able to throw any light on why the system was changed? By the way - I am sorry you were not re-elected as everyone tells me you worked really hard and were an asset to the board.

    2. Sorry can't shed much more light as I can only remember (in detail) the 2 election schemes I've been involved in as a candidate.
      1st time round for me the system was different and "any" was an option so you could be in a sector + any OR just in a sector OR just in "any"
      This time it was changed so that everyone was in "any" regardless of eligibility for a sector and opting to stand in a sector

      The last time the ballot paper was made up of 6 mini-votes e.g. for my sector, primary care/public health, there were 2 candidates and voters could cast 1 vote; for hospital there were 4 candidates and voters could cast 2 votes (2 places)and so on. The "Any" sector had 3 places available and (from memory) 20+ candidates so it was just the 3 within that part of the ballot with the highest votes that got the seats - Sid, Graham and Graeme (from memory)

      We all stood with the knowledge that we could serve for up to 3 years but our terms were likely to be shorter due to the need to have a full re-election as the eligible membership changed post-split and we were voted in whilst membership of the then RPSGB was still compulsory to practice.

      It's quite difficult to compare the 2 systems as they are fundamentally quite different although I personally think the ballot paper this time confused matters more than simplifying them and I know of many people who supported me but also supported all the other primary care candidates which using the system from the first time I stood could not have happened.

      What is an issue, again to me personally although it does apply to a few people currently on the board, is the sector set-up and timescales. Whilst from the next election onwards all candidates will get a 3 year term I have to weigh up whether to stand in the only position I am eligible for next year (any) or whether to wait 3 years for the primary care/public health place to come up. Removing my personal dilemma (and just for clarity, this is not a declaration of intent to stand, it is hypothetical ramblings!) then you are in a similar situation in that you occupy an "any" seat but community seats (your sector) will come up each year.

      Before you ask, yes this was considered too but I will openly admit that I hadn't thought this through in its full implications until the election process was already underway. Much as I can see the argument for sectoral places, and having followed the discussion about them in PJ letter pages etc, right now I don't think they are necessarily helping us have a simple, easy to follow process that encourages voting. Based on the actual votes cast (obviously allowing for the 2 board members elected unopposed) then the board would not look much different to what it does now.
      Finally, thanks for your comments Sandra. I was disappointed not to be re-elected and am glad that I was appreciated and deemed an asset and not a liability. I wish you and all the board members (new and re-elected) all the best.