Who is Fighting for the Destiny of Your Profession?

IT IS TRUE THAT WITH THE ADVENT OF SOCIAL MEDIA it is often the go-to place to exchange ideas and gain insight into industry solutions and regulatory concerns.  With the rapid changes happening in the world today time is of the essence and we all want answers as quickly as possible, but are you assured you are getting the correct answers and are you reaching to your association?

What is happening to industry associations? It is disappointing to see that the important role of a professional association can sometimes be overlooked or undervalued and as industry bodies fail to be supported, they lose their ability to survive. I am saying this because I have been informed that we are about to see another industry Association close its doors at the end of this year and if this continues, it will not be without dire consequences.

Regardless of what group you choose to belong this cannot replace the role of your industry’s standards body/association.  This is because the key mission and objective of an industry body are to represent the needs of its industry sector in a way that no other structure can effectively represent and defend you. 

Your industry association is entrusted with maintaining control, or oversight of the legitimate practice of the profession. Its role is also to safeguard the public interest.  Standards and Association bodies also have as their mandate to represent and safeguard the interest of its practitioners through various activities, including researching industry changes, needs, and trends and providing this information to their members to effectively prepare them for challenges ahead. 

“There are some battles that we can win through tenacity and personal effort, while others require the power of unity and the individual commitment to a group participation as part of preserving our professional identity. That is what makes a team work, a society work, an industry work, a civilisation work. This year I invite you to CHOOSE UNITY, as only through the power of unity can we secure a better future for our industry.” – Tina Viney

POSITION STATEMENTS

They also have a duty of care to maintain their own privileged and powerful position as a controlling body that establishes “position statements”.  These statements define the scope of practice and professional conduct that articulates and protects the professional identity of that industry. In other words, while they are not a regulatory body, they can establish and define acceptable industry standards that support best practices and shape the integrity and reputation of the profession.  However, these standards are meaningless unless the industry chooses to embrace and implement them in their businesses and their practices.

In the UK, the Scientific Council defines a professional body as an organisation with individual members practicing a profession, or occupation in which the organisation maintains an oversight of the knowledge, skills, conduct, and practice of that profession or occupation.

From a Quality Assurance perspective, government regulatory bodies are responsible to protect the use of professional titles, while industry membership organisations are required to oversee the activities of a particular profession, educate their members to constantly adhere to industry standards of best practice through a self-regulatory model that when implemented, elevate the reputation and recognition of the profession, build trust with consumers and gain the respect of allied health professionals and Government agencies.

Peak industry standards bodies that aim to uphold and validate the credibility of their members often develop accrediting programs that review qualifications, examine and define skills and competencies necessary to practice a procedure.  Such a program was introduced by APAN through our ARAP and CTARP Registration program, https://apanetwork.com/arap/  https://apanetwork.com/ctarp/

Peak industry bodies can also develop programs as learned societies for the academic disciplines underlying the profession.  APAN is the only industry body that offers three conference programs each year, as well as professional development courses that are purely educational.

ADVOCACY 

The activity of Advocacy is perhaps one area that is well within the responsibility and duty-of-care of an industry body.  Advocacy of a unified body aims to influence decisions within political, economic publications to influence public policy, laws, and budgets by using statistical facts of an industry as a whole to support their case.  They target the media, messaging to educate government officials and the public. Advocacy can include many activities that an industry undertakes including media campaigns, public speaking, commissioning and publishing research, lobbying with government agencies presenting a clearly articulated argument why certain changes are needed to best support and serve their members. Advocacy is where a direct approach is made to legislators on a specific issue or specific piece of legislation. These activities require unique skills in developing documentation, on-going relationships with government agencies and consistent pressure and tenacity to ensure the issue have been reviewed and considered.  Your membership also allows these activities to be skilfully prepared and pursued as these can be a costly exercise. APAN takes this role very seriously and contributes to such a process with a great deal of focus, supported by industry data. 

WORKING GROUPS

A working group is a group of experts working together to achieve specific goals. These could be regulatory reviews and new educational qualifications and updates.  Examples of common goals for working groups include:

  • creation of an informational document
  • creation of a standard
  • resolution of problems related to a system or network
  • continuous improvement
  • research

Working groups are also referred to as task groups, workgroups, or technical advisory groups, not to be confused with a trade union.  These are some of the core activities of an industry body, as through their membership feedback they can bring a great deal of wisdom to the process of change that best reflects the needs of their industry. APAN regularly participates in working groups and is currently involved in several working group activities in the review of regulations.

As we come to the close of another year, please give your membership with APAN serious consideration.  The more members we represent the stronger our influence with the Government.  We are not only here to support you on your personal day-to-day business and professional needs, but we are also actively involved in fighting for your future. To find out how you can be rewarded for joining or renewing your membership with APAN please email us on info@apanetwork.com or phone 07 5593 0360 for further details.