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Expert committees terms of reference


1. RACGP Expert Committees terms of reference policy

1.1 Policy Number: CO-O-030.4

1.2 Category: Organisational

1.3 Approval Date: 17 June 2021

1.4 Revision Due Date: 1 March 2024

1.5 Unit Responsible: Office of the President and CEO

2. Policy declaration

This Policy establishes the RACGP Expert Committees, their membership and responsibilities and provides guidance as to their proceedings.

This Policy is approved by the RACGP Board and endorsed by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

3. Background

3.1 Context

Part 10.3 of the RACGP Constitution empowers the RACGP Board to establish one or more committees and engaging RACGP members as it thinks fit.

Pursuant to this power, the RACGP Board through this document establishes the RACGP Expert Committees in those areas of expertise required to achieve the objectives and mission of the RACGP.

3.2 Definitions

In this Policy:

  1. Chair means that member engaged by the RACGP Board in that capacity for a Committee.
  2. Committee means one or all of those committees stipulated in clause 4.0 (as the context permits).
  3. Member ormember means a member of a Committee.
  4. Policy means this document.

Other than for these definitions, in the event of any inconsistency between this Policy and the Constitution, the Constitution prevails.

All references in this Policy are to this Policy itself, unless otherwise indicated.

References to the Chair, the CEO or to an RACGP General Manager include reference to their delegate (if any).

4. Establishment

The following Committees are established:

  • RACGP Expert Committee – Funding and Health System Reform
  • RACGP Expert Committee – Quality Care
  • RACGP Expert Committee – Research
  • RACGP Expert Committee – Standards for General Practices, and
  • RACGP Expert Committee – Practice Technology and Management.

5. RACGP expert committee objectives

5.1 General objectives

As an overarching obligation in addition to their addressing the matters in the respective areas described in clauses 5.2 to 5.6 below, each Committee is responsible for:

  1. pursuing the following objectives within the Committee’s area of expertise:
    • advising on the implementation of related initiatives developed in accordance with the RACGP's strategic plan,
    • establishing links where appropriate with relevant state, national and international groups to monitor trends and incorporate innovations into RACGP programs,
    • supporting a consistent and unified approach to policy across the RACGP, and
    • supporting close working relationships between GPs, GP organisations and the Commonwealth Government and departments.
  2. providing assistance and advice to the RACGP Board within the Committee’s area of expertise by:
    • supporting the development of responses and submissions in line with the RACGP Board and RACGP strategic direction,
    • providing assistance and strategic advice to the RACGP Board as requested, including input into the annual report, and
    • acting in good faith in the RACGP's interests.

5.2 RACGP Expert Committee – Funding and Health System Reform

The RACGP Expert Committee – Funding and Health System Reform is established to:

  • provide expert and informed advice on health system reform, health funding, workforce issues, business sustainability and patient access to care,
  • provide input into guidelines, position papers and RACGP responses related to health system funding and health reforms,
  • support GPs and practices to provide safe, sustainable and high-quality general practice services through providing advice on workforce issues, remuneration, equity of access, and
  • develop and maintain member-focussed tools and resources as needed.

5.3 RACGP Expert Committee – Quality Care

The RACGP Expert Committee – Quality Care is established to:

  • provide expert and informed advice and policy direction on matters of clinical excellence,
  • provide input into guidelines, position papers and RACGP responses to submissions related to clinical issues or delivery of quality care,
  • develop and maintain high-quality, evidence-based tools and resources to improve delivery of care in general practice and to support preventive care,
  • ensure the Committee represents key portfolios in the areas of: preventive health; chronic disease management; safety, quality; aged and palliative care; mental health; family and domestic violence, and
  • assist in sourcing of GPs to represent the RACGP on external committees.

5.4 RACGP Expert Committee – Research

The RACGP Expert Committee – Research is established to:

  • provide expert and informed advice and policy direction on research related issues in general practice,
  • support the strengthening of a culture of research in general practice and assist in the development of general practice research capacity, including academic career opportunities,
  • work with other College committees to identify their research needs and facilitate their achievement,
  • work with key research stakeholders and training organisations to increase engagement of medical students, registrars, and GPs in training, in research and critical thinking, and
  • support the work of the RACGP Foundation.

5.5 RACGP Expert Committee – Standards for General Practices

The RACGP Expert Committee – Standards for General Practices is established to:

  • develop and maintain standards and associated resources for general practice,
  • ensure the standards reflect quality practice and are independent of government policies and initiatives,
  • monitor the development and application of relevant standards in Australia and overseas and oversee the RACGP’s role in the development and monitoring of standards in related areas,
  • establish a mechanism for standards interpretation with organisations that accredit against the RACGP Standards, and
  • ensure adequate communication about standards for general practices within the RACGP, its members, the medical profession and the Australian community.

5.6 RACGP Expert Committee – Practice Technology and Management

The RACGP Expert Committee – Practice Technology and Management is established to:

  • provide expert and informed advice on e-health developments, information management, e-health standards and other areas of development that impact on the future operation of Australian general practice,
  • provide input into guidelines, position papers and RACGP responses related to e-health, digital technology in general practice and practice management,
  • develop and maintain business tools and resources to support general practitioners and general practice, and
  • support and promote the uptake of technology in general practice.

6. RACGP expert committee powers

The Committees can:

  1. recommend the RACGP Board adopt policy positions, clinical guidelines, and standards to achieve the objectives and mission of the RACGP
  2. establish sub-committees (whether or not called “sub-committee”; “task force” or “working group”) based on the Committee workplan to exist for the duration of the Committee’s term of office.

7. Membership

7.1 Committee composition

Each Committee must consist of:

  1. a Chair, approved by the RACGP Board,
  2. up to seven members approved by the RACGP Board from amongst the RACGP’s financial members (from whom a Deputy Chair may be elected), and
  3. up to three members co-opted by the Committee, who are either:
    1. general practitioners and RACGP financial members, or
    2. other individuals (whether or not RACGP financial members) who the Committee considers have required expertise for the Committee’s operation, providing that expertise is referable to the Committee or a complementary discipline (for example, a consumer representative, practice manager, practice nurse, or specific Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector expertise).

7.2 Member recruitment and selection

  1. Where new members are required, expressions of interest (EOI) will be called for the relevant Committee through RACGP publications. The EOI will detail the selection criteria on which the applications will be assessed.
  2. Selection criteria for new members will be developed by the Chair, Deputy Chair and RACGP management with consideration of the optimal skills mix for the Committee.
  3. Where the number of nominations exceeds the number of vacancies on a particular Committee, the Committee Chair will work with RACGP management to identify suitable applicants for recommendation to the RACGP Board according to the selection criteria included in the EOI.
  4. All members must have signed and returned to the CEO a fully executed RACGP Master Services Agreement before they are entitled to sit on or participate in a Committee.

Co-opted members:

  1. Co-opted members will be appointed by the Committee according to the needs and workplan of the Committee, as per Clause 7.1c.
  2. Co-opted members cannot fill the position of Chair or Deputy Chair.

7.3 Casual Vacancies

  1. The RACGP may fill casual vacancies using the process outlined for member selection in Clauses 7.2a to 7.2d.
  2. The initial term for a replacement member filling a casual vacancy must not exceed the balance of the replaced member’s term (but for the vacancy).

7.4 Terms of Office

Chair:

  1. Any term of a Chair’s Master Services Agreement will not exceed three years, and each such term must expire at the close of first RACGP Board meeting following the close of the third RACGP Annual General Meeting following the term’s commencement, unless otherwise approved for extension by the Board
  2. The Chair cannot be appointed for more than two consecutive terms as Chair
  3. Each RACGP Expert Committee Chair is appointed to be a member of the RACGP Board’s subcommittee - RACGP Expert Committee Chairs

Committee members:

  1. Any term of a member’s Master Services Agreement will not exceed three years, and each such term will expire at the close of the third RACGP Annual General Meeting following the term’s commencement, unless otherwise approved for extension by the Board
  2. The RACGP will retain the right to renew or extend the RACGP Master Services Agreement.
  3. Subject to clauses 7.4e and 7.4f, the total period of member’s engagement with a particular Committee will not exceed nine consecutive years.
  4. Members cannot be appointed for more than three consecutive terms.
  5. The Clause 7.4c calculation of total period of member engagement ignores any period that member served as Chair.
  6. The terms of any member’s engagement by a Committee is applicable only to that Committee. Accordingly, a member may be engaged through another Committee, in which case Clauses 7.4a to 7.4e will apply in isolation to any member engagement on any other Committee.

Co-opted members:

  1. Any term of a co-opted member’s Master Services Agreement must not exceed three years, and each such term must expire no later than the close of the third RACGP Annual General Meeting following the term’s commencement.
  2. The terms of any co-opted member’s engagement by a Committee is applicable only to that Committee.

7.5 Remuneration

Members are:

  1. paid in accordance with their relevant member’s Master Services Agreement, and
  2. reimbursed for incidental expenses incurred in accordance with RACGP Member Expenses Claims Guidelines, and providing they have the relevant RACGP General Manager prior approval.

The RACGP must ensure members are aware, such as by its inclusion in the relevant Master Services Agreement, it does not retain any pay as you go withholding tax or superannuation guarantee contributions from fees paid.

8. Operations

8.1 Meetings

  1. Committee meetings will take place at least 4 times in every calendar year, of which 2 meetings may be face-to-face.
  2. Committee members are required to fully prepare for each meeting, read the documentation in advance, and make every reasonable effort to attend each meeting.
  3. At least 50% of the members plus one constitute a quorum for Committee meetings. Co-opted members do not count towards quorum.
  4. The Chair is expected to conduct meetings and is responsible for approving the agenda and minutes and for any reporting that is required. When the Chair is not present the Deputy Chair, or their nominee, will fulfill their meeting responsibilities.
  5. Co-opted members do not have voting rights.

8.2 Compliance with RACGP Policies

The RACGP must use best efforts to ensure members, and must ensure all relevant Master Services Agreement require the member, while on RACGP premises or engaged in the context of Committee business comply with the:

  1. RACGP Member Code of Conduct,
  2. RACGP Member Expense Claims Guidelines (including by ensuring all travel and/or accommodation is booked through the Committee secretariat), and
  3. RACGP Conflict of Interest policy, and must use best efforts to ensure members:
  4. work within the RACGP strategic and policy directions,
  5. are equally accountable and responsible for acting according to the principles associated with being a member of the Committee,
  6. act in good faith in the RACGP’s interests,
  7. respect and do not breach the RACGP’s privacy or confidentiality obligations, and
  8. promote a favourable image of the RACGP, including by the inclusion of relevant provisions in the member’s Master Services Agreement.

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