College of Paramedic: Chair of Paramedic Council Election 2021


Our first Trustee election following the members’ approval of our new governance structure.

The role
The Chair of Council role is incredibly important within the College, as both a Trustee of the Board and as Chair of the Paramedic Council.

Trustees are legally responsible for the College as a charity. They do not get involved in the day to day running of the organisation, but instead they have an oversight role and seek assurance that the organisation is legally and financially sound and complying with its strategic aims and its charitable purpose, outlined in the College charitable objects. 

The Council is the new platform for the member representatives within the College and will steer and shape the College’s ongoing work and future aspirations by providing a platform for representatives to advocate for their members, providing a clear and vital communication channel between the College and its membership whilst encouraging high levels of engagement with the College.

Working together, the Board of Trustees, Paramedic Council and Chief Executive Group will provide collective leadership for the College of Paramedics and ensure the effective running of the charity, delivery of our strategy and active membership representation.

The Chair of the Paramedic Council is responsible for the effective and efficient functioning of the Council. As a member of the Board of Trustees, the Chair also represents the Council and membership within the Board.

The candidates
In June of this year the College of Paramedics invited all our full members to stand as a candidate for the important position of Chair of Council.

Four excellent candidates put themselves forward:
Daniel Irvine
Rory O’Connor
Benjamin Haselwood
Giles Adams

Each candidate had four fellow members who nominated them.

The College would like to thank all four of the candidates for putting themselves forward; demonstrating their commitment to the College, its members and the paramedic profession.

The election

As it is a Trustee position, it was members of Congress that voted in the election of the Chair of Council. The voting members of Congress are the Board of Trustees and the member representatives of the Paramedic Council. 

Using Congress as the electorate for appointing Trustees provides a vote for each of the member regions, reducing the inequality that may arise from a disproportionate number of members within the different regions around the UK and a vote for each of the trustees. Congress is made up of 13 (14 with the addition of the Chair of the Student Council) elected member representatives and 9 Trustees, and our quoracy requires any vote to have a majority from the regional representatives, who are elected by the members.

For the Congress vote to be quorate 51% of Board members and 51% of Council members needed to vote, with the added stipulation that there be at least one more Council member vote than Board member. This is to ensure that the member elected voice is represented by the majority of those who cast their vote. Civica Election Services were able to confirm that 7 of the 9 members of the Board and 11 of the 13 members of the Council voted, meaning that the vote was quorate. 

This first election of the Chair of Council has, by necessity, occurred during a transition period between the previous governance structure and the implementation of our new structure. After this governance restructure is fully implemented at the 2021 AGM, Congress will also include the Chair of Student Council as a voting member and the next Chair of Council will be elected six months in advance, taking on the role of Chair Elect for six months before starting their 3-year term as Chair. This allows a period of shadowing and development for the Chair Elect and ensures a smoother transition at the point of handover.

The results
The distribution of results between the four candidates is shown in the below image.

With a clear majority of the vote, Rory O’Connor was elected as the first Chair of Paramedic Council and he will hold this position until the AGM of 2024.

Download the CES Report of Voting here.

Rory held the post, on an interim basis, being elected by the former Board of Trustees in October 2020, from among four of his colleagues.
He said: “I am delighted to have been elected as the inaugural Chair of Council for the College of Paramedics. The Paramedic Council aims to bring the views of the membership to the very heart of everything we do for our profession here in the UK."

“I strongly believe that through increased engagement with our members we have the ability to represent you better in all areas of the work we are doing and deliver on the issues that are most important to you.”

Rory currently works in primary care as an Advanced Paramedic and has been the Representative Trustee for Northern Ireland for over eight years. He has built up a strong political footing for the College of Paramedics in Northern Ireland and brought a strong and articulate voice to the existing Board. 

Tracy Nicholls, CEO of the College of Paramedics said: “Rory has shown himself to be an excellent interim Chair of the Paramedic Council. His passion, integrity and determination to do the very best for our members is inspiring. With his leadership skills and desire to make our profession more inclusive, diverse and representative I’m certain Rory will help the Council go from strength to strength. We all wish him well in the role.”