Independent Governance Review

The Council of the PSI is responsible under the Pharmacy Act for the operation of a system of regulation of pharmacists and pharmacies. As a statutory regulator body, it is important that patients and the public have confidence in the PSI, the pharmacy regulatory system and in the ongoing safety of pharmacies and pharmacy services. The Council of the PSI applies high standards of governance to operate in the best interest of patients and the public as it delivers on its functions as specified under the Pharmacy Act 2007.

Review of the role and governance remit of Council sub-structures 2018

In December 2017, the Council approved the PSI’s 2018 Service Plan, which considered the governance objectives as set out in the Corporate Strategy 2018-2020 and identified a number of priority objectives for 2018. One of those objectives under the heading ‘Building an effective organisation and benchmarking our performance’ was to undertake a review of the role and governance remit of all sub-Council structures. The sub-Council structures refer to the Advisory Committees and any other sub-groups that are established by the PSI Council to support and advise it in relation to the performance of its functions. The review did not include the Disciplinary Committees of the Council, established under Part 6 of the Pharmacy Act 20007.

The review, by an external party, sought to assess the current sub-Council governance structures and provide recommendations on any appropriate revised structures which might be proposed to improve the effectiveness of Council in the streamlining of their work.

At the time of conducting the review, the PSI Council had six Advisory Committees, and a further subgroup as well as other working groups of particular purpose. As well as considering the role, remit and output of those structures, the review reflects on the working of the Council itself, and thus provides both short and medium term recommendations in relation to optimising the Council’s operation and functionality. Key recommendations of the review include disbanding the existing Committee arrangements and to instead put in place four Advisory Committees of the Council, aligned to the PSI’s Strategy and intended objectives, and including the retention of the Audit and Risk Committee.

Better Boards was appointed to conduct this review and the final report prepared by them is published here following the PSI Council’s adoption of its recommendations on 21 June 2018. Implementation of the primary recommendations of the report, including the establishment of a small number of new Advisory Committees, is intended to be carried out by December 2018.

Independent Governance Review 2015/2016

Arising from the recommendations from the independent governance review conducted by Mr. Felix McEnroy SC in 2014/2015 into a specific governance matter, the Council commissioned an independent review of its governance structures and practices in 2015/2016.  The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) was appointed to conduct this review and the final report, prepared by CIPFA, is published here following the Council meeting held on the 8th of December 2016.

The recommendations outlined in the report are being implemented by the Council and include the development of an annual performance review of the Council and Advisory Committees, improvements to the efficiency of Council meetings and deliberation, and a more robust training and development plan to facilitate Council members in all aspects of their role.

Under the Pharmacy Act, the PSI performs a number of statutory regulatory functions which must be carried out having regard to the public interest and the need to provide fair procedures to individuals that are the subject of disciplinary procedures. In light of the PSI’s regulatory role, the Council takes seriously any matters which could impact on, or have the potential to impact on, good governance, the proper functioning of the regulatory system and patient safety.

Independent Governance Review 2014/2015

In April 2014 a meeting of the Council was convened to consider a governance matter. The substantive issue involved an email chain in which some Council members participated. The emails were copied to some other Council members and some PSI staff. The subject matter and content of the emails raised governance and competition law issues and was relevant to the statutory functions of the PSI. The Council determined that an independent review be commissioned into the circumstances of the email chain.

Mr Felix McEnroy SC was appointed to conduct this review, and the final report generated by Mr McEnroy is published here following the Council meeting held on the 21st May 2015. The report has been provided by the Council to the Minister for Health and to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

The report found no information that would suggest a breach of competition law, or that the statutory functions of the Council had been compromised. The report made a number of recommendations that were accepted by the Council and these are being progressed. There are no complaints outstanding before the PSI in relation to any matter referred to in this report.