Council Reports

The Honorary Secretary of PSI provides an update to the PSI membership after each Council meeting. The most recent Council updates can be viewed here.

The current PSI Honorary Secretary is Dr Andrew Kennedy.


Council Meeting December 10th 2021

Honorary (Company) Secretary Update

In this update, I will provide an overview of our last meeting of the year which took place on the 10th of December 2021. There was no council meeting during November due to the PSI Annual Conference. I would also like to provide a brief introduction and overview of the PSI Governance Handbook. The document was last updated in June 2021 and is up for review shortly.

In our Governance Handbook, we reflect on ‘who we are’ as council members. Council members can have different titles under charity and company law. We are company directors/trustees and in this document, we can learn more about our responsibilities and duties which generally fall under statute and common law, and the memorandum and articles of association. Council members are supported by the provision of a code of conduct. There are 9 codes at present.

In addition to our legal duties, there are also good governance duties that focus on the overall direction and accountability. Working groups and committees also help us achieve these duties, such as strategic planning and resources. The governance structure of the PSI is made up of the council and council officers, council sub-groups, divisions and special interest groups. The role of the council and the role of individual council members is outlined. For new council members, they are to be provided with inductee documentation, such as the governance handbook, and policies, such as the conflict of interest policy.

There are operating guidelines for the council. The composition is outlined in the Mems & Arts. Generally, there are a minimum of 8 meetings per year and council members are provided with the dates for the year at the start of the year. The president and CEO agree on the agenda in advance of each meeting. Minutes are taken by the Coordinator Secretariat.

The Governance Team is outlined, which includes: the President, President-Elect, Honorary Secretary, Honorary Treasurer, Membership Secretary, and Past President. The CEO participates in an ex officio capacity. The Governance Team might discuss issues of strategic importance or take decisions on behalf of the council when an urgent response is required. The different roles of the Governance Team members are outlined in the Governance Handbook.  

An overview of council committees is provided. At present, the Membership Qualification Chartership Committee, Communications and Events Committee, Resources Committee, Science and Public Policy Committee, Undergraduate Accreditation Committee and Post Graduate Programme Accreditation Panels are all outlined. An overview of each committee’s purpose and objectives, membership composition and criteria, and accountability and reporting are provided in the document.

Sometimes the PSI also receives calls for nominations from external agencies and an overview of the process that takes place is provided.

An overview of each Divison and Special Interest Group is provided in the document and a guide for establishing and disbanding a special interest group is included in the appendix. In the appendix, there is also the grievance procedure for volunteers.

To review the Governance Handbook, log in as a member, go to your DashBoard, click Additional PSI Publications of Interest and you should find it there.

Recent appropriate agenda items to share that have been before the council on our 10th meeting of the year on the  10th of December 2021

CEO Report; the following was discussed, the PSI Budget for 2022 (with attendance from our accountant), membership figures update, Divisions and Special Interest Groups activity report, risk register full review and risk register top 5, membership feedback.

Items for decision and action; resources group update, update on property search, postgrad accreditation applications, student and early graduate representation on the council, a division’s membership rules, hosting of the ISPA conference, guidelines from the Special Interest Group in Autism, Special Interest Group application to become a Division.

Items for discussion; competency guidelines for a Division, some items needed to be deferred until the next meeting involving working groups.

Items for noting; EFPA standing committee nominees, placement office letter.



Council Meetings 24th September & 29th November

Honorary (Company) Secretary Update

In this update, I will provide an overview of the two most recent council meetings which took place on the 24th of September and the 29th of November. I would also like to provide a brief introduction and overview of the evolving and improving area of Risk Management that the Society undertakes.

Early in every council meeting, our CEO, Shane Kelly provides an overview of our top 5 risks on our risk register. There is a considerable amount of work that goes on behind the scenes by PSI office staff and council members with regards to the management of risk. This might be a good time to outline how staff and council of the Society currently manage risk.

There is a Risk Management Subgroup of the council that meets to review a Risk Register Excel document which contains our Risk Policy, Risk Register, a Risk Scoring System, and a Risk Historical Tab. We currently work with 7 Categories of Risk; Governance, Strategic, Compliance, Operational, Financial, Environmental, and Reputational.

Within each category, there are individual risks. For each potential risk, we describe the risk and the potential impact of this risk should it occur, we identify the risk owner, outline the steps to mitigate/control, designate responsibility for these steps, and we state how often the risk is monitored and reviewed. We then tabulate a risk score by multiplying a Likelihood score by an Impact score and adding a Control score which gives the Risk Rating which can be Low, Medium, or High.  We complete our risk management by referring to the Charities Regulator Risk Management for Charities (2019).

It is important to note that the identification of risk is supposed to be a proactive and preventative approach to managing risk. However in reality, sometimes the identification of risk is reactive and some risks may be added upon a chance for reflection on how things can be done better. Divisions and Special Interest Groups have had an opportunity to feed into the Risk Register.

At the council meeting on the 24th of October our top 5 risks related to; reduced relevance of PSI post-CORU regulation (Strategic), not having a professional conduct committee or process in place (Reputational), council lacking relevant skills and commitment to serve its purpose (Governance), council dominated by one or two individuals or by connected individuals (Governance) and strategic objectives not met due to absence of /poorly implemented action plan (Strategic). We also added new risks such as the risk of a council officer stepping down (Governance) and the risk of increased activities with events, and Div/SIGs increased membership with lack of required services (Operational).

At the following council meeting on the 29th of November, our top 5 risks continued to be those outlined above. The next meeting of the Risk Register subgroup is on Monday the 29th of November.

Recent appropriate items to share that have been before the council on our 8th meeting of the year on the 24th of September 2021

Items for decision and action; the council were asked to review a Special Interest Group in Ethnic Minorities application, to ratify a member of the Supervision Working Group, to review a submission from the Confidentiality and Recordkeeping Working Group, to assess a Fellowship Application, to review the co-option a Student Affair Group & Early Graduate Group rep, and to review a report of an accreditation committee.

Items for discussion; Motion 4 and Motion 5 of the AGM and related correspondence from the membership was discussed, increase diversity in psychology was explored, and having a social event around the conference was to be considered.

Items for noting; included a Communication & Events (C&E) Committee report, the completed Charities Regulator - Governance Code Compliance Record Form, our Pre Budget-Submission was being finalised, Heads of Psychological Services of Ireland (HPSI) & PSI collaboration, PSI rep attending Mental Health Commission focus group, and Mental Health reform letter to An Taoiseach.

Recent appropriate items to share that have been before the council on our 9th meeting of the year on the 29th of October 2021

CEO Report; the following was discussed, membership figures update, Divisions and Special Interest Groups activity report, risk register top 5, VAT refund, website security, membership feedback, Charities Regulator Annual Return 2020 submitted, new appointment at PSI HQ (Shane Moriarty - Research and Policy Officer).

Items for decision and action; establishment of a PSI Standing Conference Committee (SCC), reviewing an accreditation report for a professional doctorate and reviewing an Undergraduate Accreditation Committee (UAC) report, asked to ratify panel members for re-accreditation of a professional doctoral course, review a submission/response from the SIG Ethnic Minorities following council feedback, review an application for a SIG in Human Rights and Psychology, discuss the carryover of division budget 2021 into 2022, discuss profit from division events, a follow-up with the Confidentiality and Recordkeeping Working Group, a notice from the MQCC on eligibility to work and ethics.

Items for discussion; the PSI Strategic plan, co-opting and skills audit

Overview of Council & Honorary Secretary Role

Since taking up the role of Honorary (Company) Secretary in January 2021 I have been well supported in developing and enhancing my knowledge and skills to perform the duties associated with the role. As Secretary, I have responsibility with regards to the charitable purpose, legal functioning and compliance of the society, needing to be knowledgeable of Charity and Company Law. To this end, I was supported in accessing Continuous Professional Development in the area, completing a Certificate in Charity Law, Trusteeship, and Governance with the Law Society between February and May 2021. The charity landscape in Ireland, I hope, could be described as being in a positive state of change with stronger governance standards and structures being expected of the charity sector by the charity regulator. While this knowledge has certainly helped with the development of skills required in performing the duties of a secretary, I am well supported by my experienced council colleagues who have served previously in the role, and by other PSI staff, our CEO Shane Kelly and Division Liaison and Committee Manager Michelle O’Neill.

The wider council membership has also been supported in accessing upskilling so that they can complete their council duties. In the first quarter, all council members were invited to attend training by Boardmatch. A range of topics were considered, such as; understanding the Charity Regulator and the Charities Act, what being a charitable company limited by guarantee entails and the general regulatory environment. It was also important for trustees to understand their responsibilities and the importance of their role, their legal duties and essential functions. We reflected on the organisational structure, member rights and the official roles such as the chair/president. We reviewed good governance, our meetings and board planning. We also completed tasks associated with the constitution. The constitution is an important document, it is our core governing document and is filed with the charity regulator. When we bring motions related to the constitution to an AGM, the charities regulator needs to be informed of and approve any changes that are voted in.  

Recent and current matters related to the role of the secretary involve the submission of our annual report to the Charity Regulator and the completion of the Charities Governance Code for inspection by the Charity Regulator should they request to see it. As Secretary, I also had responsibilities to complete during the build-up to the Annual General Meeting (AGM). This was mainly associated with informing members of the process regarding the motions and nominations. The process is followed as outlined in the constitution and has to be adhered to. As Secretary, minuting of meetings has been delegated to a PSI staff member. Karen Byrne, Council Secretariat & Conference Coordinator completes this role. This is very helpful given the voluntary nature of the role and the time demands that would be required.

The Secretary also requires an automatic role on certain council subgroups, particularly the Resources and Governance groups given the nature of both their role. The current work of the Resources group has been related to the search for appropriate premises whereas recent Governance group work involved preparation for the AGM. There are also other groups that I am personally involved in such as Strategic Planning, Risk Management and the Pre-Budget submission, these did not require automatic responsibility at this time but they felt like a natural fit.


An overview of a typical council meeting

For members to have an idea of what to expect should you decide to run for council I will provide an overview of a typical meeting. At the start of the year, the council are asked to indicate their preference regarding dates and times of meetings and this results in the council being provided with all the dates and times of the meetings well in advance of the meetings. We have 10 council meetings per year, they can be any day of the week and last approximately 3 hours with a tea break in the middle. Council members are provided with the council pack a week or two before the meeting, the council packs can be lengthy and might require an hour or so to read. Active participation is expected at each council meeting and there are often opportunities to get involved beyond council-only business in working/subgroups. It is hoped that every council member will make the most of their time on the council for the benefit of all members of the society.

We complete council meetings as outlined in the constitution, for example, checking to see if there is a quorum. The President leads the meeting and our council secretariat takes the minutes. We check for council-only business which might involve a discussion without PSI staff, for example, our role extends into human resources. We confirm the agenda including indications of AOB. Council members must inform the council regarding declarations of interest in line with our policy, for example, conflicts of interest policy. We review the minutes of the previous meeting and the matters arising from the minutes.

Following this, Shane Kelly, our Chief Executive Officer provides us with a report related to their role. This might involve outlining our top five risks on our Risk Register, a membership numbers report,  Divisions and Special Interest Groups activity report and membership feedback. On occasion, we also have input from our Accountant where the council review our accounts and discuss financial matters. Following this, we move into three different types of it

Council Meetings 17th of January 2022 and 18th of February 2022

In this update, I will provide an overview of our first and second meeting of the year which took place on the 17th of January 2022 and 18th of February 2022.

I would also like to provide a brief introduction and overview of the PSI Resources Committee. I have been a member of the Resources Committee since taking on the role of Secretary in January 2021. For 2022, I have been tasked with chairing the Resources Committee. As Chair of the committee, my role is outlined in the Governance Handbook. The key responsibilities of the Chair are:

  • To chair all meetings
  • To agree the agenda in advance
  • To steer the meeting and follow the agenda
  • To ensure active participation of all members
  • To call for votes from time to time when consensus cannot be achieved
  • To uphold standards of conduct at the meeting
  • To act in an impartial and fair way during discussions until called upon to vote
  • To summarise decisions and follow through on actions

The current purpose of the Resources Committee is to oversee the resources: people and finance of the Society. While the Chief Executive Officer will have day-to-day responsibility for the people and financial management, the Committee will more specifically:

  • Regularly review the financial status of the Society
  • Receive appropriate input from the Society’s Auditor
  • Ensure accurate systems for monitoring and accounting of funds for budgeting and planning purposes are in place and to report to Council on any financial irregularities and concerns
  • Oversee short and long-term investments on behalf of Council
  • Ensure compliance with relevant legislation and that legal and corporate obligation are properly fulfilled by due dates
  • Ensure that all people & organisation policies and procedures are in place

Membership Composition and Criteria

  • President-Elect – Anne Kehoe
  • Chief Executive Officer – Shane Kelly
  • Honorary Treasurer – Odhran Mc Carthy
  • Honorary Secretary – Andrew Kennedy

As members of this group should have an understanding of financial accounting and preparation of accounts as well as people and organisation best practices, the Resources Committee will likely always need to consider co-opting members with the required expertise. This is necessary as in our constitution our board of council members can only be made up of psychologists so it is a realistic expectation that there will be knowledge and skill gaps that will need to be filled. While psychologists in officer roles can receive training in the related areas this is unlikely to meet the competence and confidence needs associated with the tasks of the Resources Committee. As a result, Council has co-opted two people who will meet the financial and HR skills needs that have been identified for this year. Both co-optees have extensive experience in their related sectors, we are very fortunate to have them;

  • John Fleming – an Accountant, who is a Senior Investigator with the Central Bank
  • Patricia Murray – a Senior Work Organisation Psychologist/Inspector with the Health and Safety Authority with expertise in HR

Membership will change year to year based on Council officership. As the President-Elect moves into the Presidency they step down from their role on the resources committee to be replaced by the incoming President-Elect. The council members in the Treasurer and Secretary roles continued involvement depends on them continuing in these roles. Co-opted members need to be co-opted annually and should be aligned to skill and knowledge gaps that have been audited. The Chief Executive Officer will remain on the group from year to year.  The Resources Committee is accountable to and reports to Council on assigned matters.

Recent appropriate agenda items to share that have been before the council on our 1st meeting of the year on the 17th of January 2022;

CEO Report; End of Year figures (Accountant input), Membership figures update, Membership Feedback, Divisions and Special Interest Groups Activity Report, Risk register top 5, Property purchase update, and Personnel changes at HQ

Items for decision and action; Introduction of new members, a revised and up-dated Division rules, Council co-options, Nomination of Council Officers, a Division Application, a Special Interest Group for Addressing Climate and Environmental Emergency

Items for discussion; Board skills audit, Psychology managers forum, Strategic plan working group, Workforce Planning, Council Working Groups

Items for noting; Science and Public Policy Committee update, PSI letters to external individuals and services

Recent appropriate agenda items to share that have been before the council on our 2nd meeting of the year on the 18th of February 2022;

CEO Report; Membership Figures update, Membership feedback, Divisions and Special Interest Groups Activity Report, Property purchase update, Procurement policy draft proposal, Risk Register top 5 and Research and Policy Updates

Items for decision and action; Council Co-option, Change of the AP Guidelines to reflect CORU, a Revised and up-dated Division Rules, Panel members for Doctorate in Educational and Child Psycholog

Council Meetings 3rd meeting of the year on the 22nd of March 2022

Honorary (Company) Secretary Update

In this update, I will provide an overview of our third and fourth council meetings of the year. 

Recent appropriate agenda items to share that have been before the council on our 3rd meeting of the year on the 22nd of March 2022;

CEO Report; Membership figures update, Membership Feedback, Divisions and Special Interest Groups Activity Report, Risk Register top 5, Research and Policies Update (New), Property purchase update.

Items for decision and action; Leave for Council Members Policy, Procurement Policy, Panel members for courses, psychological support initiative for people affected by war in Ukraine, Open Letter from the Citizens Assembly on Drugs, Accreditation Criteria for a course, funding application.

Items for discussion; PSI Presidential Development Fund Update, Re-establishment of The PSI Mentoring Scheme, A Training and Competencies Framework, PSI Task Force on Climate, PSI’s Response to the War in Ukraine, Follow-Up from Boardmatch Training.

Items for noting; a SIG correspondence to the council.

Recent appropriate agenda items to share that have been before the council on our 4th council meeting of the year on the 28th of April 2022;

CEO Report; Membership Figures update, Membership feedback, Personnel changes at PSI: appointment of Rachel Cooney as General Administrator & Member Support, Divisions and Special Interest Groups Activity Report, Property purchase update, Procurement policy draft proposal, Risk Register top 5, full risk register review (ongoing), and Research and Policy Updates.

Items for decision and action; Knowledge and Skills Framework for Healthcare Professionals Working with the Older Person, Letter re Professional Practice issues, accreditation of course response, Derogation Proposal, Panel member for accreditation of a course.

Items for discussion; HSCP Meeting

Items for noting; None