Executive Committee Meeting Dates
- 20 February 2020
- 30 April 2020
- 3 September 2020
All meetings are currently held in Central London. This is the venue which most suits current members and is the most cost-efficient location. Meetings might be held elsewhere if this equation were to change. Meetings are usually held from 12.00 – 15.00 to facilitate travel arrangements. The dates planned for the 2020 cycle are:
Joint Meeting Date
- 6 May 2020
Every six months a meeting is held with the Deputy and/or Chamber President and senior members of the administrative team. Dates are set from one meeting to the next, so only one can be advertised at a time. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss issues raised by members and matters of policy or practice within the MHTS of concern to us all. This includes both complaints and congratulations as they are in our view merited. Usually, where a matter has been raised the DCP has included it in a communication with members if it relates to a matter of policy or practice which we have been able to make clear needs clarification. We have reciprocated if their side raises a matter about which they are concerned which we agree might helpfully be referenced in a newsletter from MHTMA. The DCP has made it clear that he saw this meeting as a key arena for communication and consultation. Members will always be reminded of them and encouraged to send issues into Exec members which they would like to be raised.
The next meeting is on:
Here are some examples of work MHTMA has done:
- MHTMA has a presence at Tribunal Forum meetings, which feed into the Judges Council and where we are able to discuss problems within the Tribunal Service Mental Health (TSMH) and gain a bigger picture of the Tribunal Service, such contact has helped inform members of the ongoing pension developments. In addition MHTMA attends the new Stakeholder Group meetings supported by Hospital MHA Administrators and the Mental Health Lawyers Association. Both these venues enable us to obtain a global picture of what is happening nationally, which is vital for assessing what is and is not worth pursuing in terms of any projects or grievances members may have.
- Following two consultations amongst MHTMA membership on the value of the medical members’ examination, summary findings were disclosed to the Administration and Senior Judiciary and a summary report subsequently submitted as a formal response to the Tribunal Procedure Committee’s Consultation on the proposed abolition of the preliminary examination. The second consultation included proposals for a greater use of ‘paper hearings’. We were very pleased to hear that the Tribunal Procedure Committee had noted the strength of feeling represented in responses, and that the proposals to end PHE’s and adopt more paper hearings were withdrawn.
- MHTMA has also responded to the consultation on the Review of the Mental Health Act 1983 (‘the Wessely Review’) making observations about proposals for reform and in particular the intention to produce a forward thinking plan for the future.
- In addition MHTMA has made observations on the potential for ‘amalgamation’ with the Court of Protection (dealing with Deprivation of Liberty (DoL) issues) following on from a suggestion made by Baroness Hale (President of the Supreme Court) at MHTMA conference several years ago. We contributed this to the Law Commission’s work on the MCA 2005 and DoL Safeguards, and used it in the context of a suggestion that might lead to Judge only hearings, something to which MHTMA is opposed.
- In conjunction with its AGM the MHTMA conference raises topical issues of concern to members and seeks to enhance wider understanding of mental health practice and education.
- A survey and detailed report on Specialist Lay members’ expertise and the inequality of their relative fee was undertaken and formally published.
- A report on IT was submitted to the TSMH covering a host of issues relating to computer use, printing costs and security, which has been discussed at length with senior management and judiciary and which continues to be a current topic.
- We have been asked for, and have given input on IT training and have subsequently sent out a questionnaire to members on IT training needs.
- We have been asked for feedback on proposed changes to the Bookings Policy and offered advice on the minimum availability requirements which resulted in the acceptance of our proposal that the requirement for medical members be reduced from 30 to 20, in order to help facilitate the time needed to fit in pre-hearing examinations.
- We presented a formal response to the Government Consultation on ‘Appointments and Diversity’ under which there was a proposed change to the renewal of our appointment being limited to three terms of five years, our objections were noted and the proposal abandoned.
- We have submitted responses to the Senior Salaries Review Board consultation and to the Liberty Protection Safeguards proposals (to replace DoL safeguards).
- We highlighted the need for members to consider responding to the proposed Rule 35 change, allowing for paper hearings to be used. Although the Rule was introduced against widespread opposition, it was modified.
- We have personally assisted and supported a member who faced disciplinary proceedings following a security breach.
- Safety of Tribunal members in the workplace has been highlighted as a significant concern, which led to the formation of a Safety Working Group, to look at all aspects of our safety when sitting. A detailed report was published and will be an important reference point for all future discussions. Our safety document can be found on the judicial intranet.
- We seek to clarify various pronouncements issued by the Ministry of Justice and the Administration, where we consider members may be confused by ambiguity or insufficient detail on a practical level. In addition we have provided guidance on matters such as applying for an extension of service, where guidance was not previously available.
- Ongoing MHTMA membership recruitment is a constant aim of the Association as new members are appointed to the service. This is crucial to ensure the long-term viability of the Association and all members are encouraged to promote the Association amongst colleagues whom they meet at hearings.
- We produce newsletters to keep members up to date on news.
- We have published various reports. The website also contains the MHTMA policy on Data Protection – a matter that MHTMA takes seriously – following the 2018 changes in the regulations.
Find our Data Protection Policy (MHTMA)