Answers to questions about membership of the RCOG Women's Network
How does the RCOG Women's Network operate?
The Women's Network operates as a committee, coming together for week-day meetings, 4 times per year at the College in central London.
As well as the 14 lay members of the Network – which includes the Chair (Women’s Voices Lead) and 2 Vice Chairs – membership also includes 2 O&G consultants, 1 O&G trainee, and one of the College’s Vice Presidents.
The Network has clear Terms of Reference which outline its objectives and role within the College structure.
The agenda for Network meetings is put together by the Chair and Vice Chairs with input from members of the Network as well as some input from the College.
A meeting agenda often has some items for discussion relating to the work of the RCOG and an update from members on progress from other College committees that they are involved with.
This enables the opportunity to discuss any issues that may have arisen from members’ work on these committees that requires insight from the full Network or from a wider group of service users.
The meeting is also a chance for members to bring to the attention of the College any issues affecting the health and experience of services of O&G service users that they have become aware of from their own networks - from peers or through involvement with other groups and communities.
The Network plays a crucial role in engaging with wider groups of people who use O&G services, particularly the College’s Women’s Voices Involvement Panel, which is a virtual group made up of 500 women from across the UK.
Network members are able to bring the views of the panel, and of other special interest organisations and campaigns, into the College’s work, for discussion at the meeting and to inform the College’s intelligence.
In addition, the Network has strategic oversight and steering responsibilities for how the College continues to develop its work to involve the public within its activities, ensuring it is done in a meaningful way in line with good public involvement practice.
Outside of meetings, Network members are expected to comment on reports and papers electronically, reviewing documents and putting forward their views and suggestions from the perspective of the service user.
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What would I be expected to do beyond the Women’s Network meetings?
In addition to sitting on the Women's Network and actively contributing to its activities, members are required to join at least one other College committee or working group, to represent the Network and the wider public perspective.
This will involve a further day at the College every three months as well as a contribution to that committee’s work in between by email.
These committees cover many aspects of the O&G specialty and are made up predominantly of Members and Fellows of the College – that is, doctors who are practising in the field.
You can find information on specific committees which new Network members will be asked to become involved with on page 1.
Effort is made to ensure that the committees that members join are well matched to their skills and interests.
Having Women's Network representation on RCOG committee makes sure that the public perspective informs the activities of these committees, by providing service user insight.
The Network representative can offer their perspective, but also take any issues away and consult with the rest of the Network or the Women’s Voices Involvement Panel, before advising the committee further.
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How much commitment is needed?
The Women's Network meetings, and commitment to at least one other college committee, requires a minimum of 2 weekdays every 3 months, i.e. 8 days per year.
As well as attending these meetings there will be time involved to read meeting papers beforehand and progressing any follow up action required afterwards.
For example there may be project work which requires additional input.
There will also be additional requests via email to comment on draft guidance and reports the College is developing.
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What support can I expect as a member of the Network?
As members are volunteers, the RCOG greatly appreciates the skills and expertise they bring and is committed to supporting all members in the work they do with the College.
Assigned staff members are responsible for liaising with Network members and assisting with their administrative needs.
They support any project work and assist members to take forward work needed outside of committee meetings.
Upon appointment, members will receive an induction to the College and, as their membership begins, will be offered email or telephone support as needed from staff or the Women’s Network leadership team (Chair and Vice Chairs of the Network).
In joining additional College committees, Network members will be fully briefed beforehand to understand the work of the committee, its remit, and the purpose of their involvement within it.
Regular ad-hoc support and progress checks take place between members and the Network’s leadership team, to ensure involvement is working well and that their experience is continuing in a rewarding and productive way.
Learning and development opportunities will be available to members throughout their time on the Network including conferences, seminars and training events.
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Do I have the relevant skills and experience?
The RCOG and the Women's Network want to ensure that the Network is made up of skills and experiences of a wide range of people from diverse backgrounds and who hold varying characteristics.
On this occasion, the Network is particularly welcoming applicants from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.
We welcome applicants with different levels of relevant skills and experience, however an understanding of committee working is needed, as is an interest in areas of the College’s work.
Please thoroughly read the role description and person specification to understand the requirements of the role.
Many people with an interest in health and service improvement have a particular area of interest relating to a specific condition, personal experience or outcome.
Applicants with a specific interest like this are encouraged to apply, however Network members must be able to take an objective and balanced overview of a wide range of issues relating to the O&G specialty and be willing to learn and develop areas of knowledge beyond their specific interest.
If you do not feel that you have all of the specific experience and skills outlined, but you have a passion for, and dedication to, improve the health of those using O&G services; a balanced and open minded approach; and willingness to learn and develop your skills further, your application is very much welcomed.
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What does the application and recruitment process involve?
If you feel this voluntary role would suit you, and you could dedicate the necessary time to it, please complete the application form.
This asks for some contact information and that you complete a supporting statement outlining how your skills, experience and interests would make you suitable for membership of the Network.
Please attach your completed application form along with a basic CV and a completed equal opportunities monitoring form and send through to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any difficulty in applying in this way please get in touch and every effort will be made to support you to complete your application.
The closing date for applications is midnight on Sunday 28July 2019.
Applicants will be shortlisted by the interview panel, made up of the Women’s Voices Lead (Chair of the Network), one of the Vice Chairs and an RCOG Staff Member.
Shortlisted candidates will be invited to interview on Thursday 22 August 2019 via video conferencing or in person.
Should you be successful, you must be available for your first Women’s Network meeting at the College on Thursday 26 September 2019.
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What if I don't think applying to join the Women's Network is for me, but I still want to be involved in the College's work?
As the Women’s Network is a small strategic group, the RCOG Women’s Voices involvement Panel is designed to ensure a much wider community of O&G service users inform the College’s work in a more flexible way.
The Panel enables O&G service users to have real influence on matters that affect them.
Members of the panel receive news of opportunities to be involved through email and social media.
This could be by commenting on information the RCOG is producing for the public or taking part in surveys about your own experiences of care.
Most of this involvement can be done virtually and members of the group can choose the level of involvement that suits their interests and availability.
If you are not already a member of the panel and think this would suit you rather than applying to join the Network, you can find out more about the Panel and how to join here.
Membership is open access through a short registration form.
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