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The RSA helped to explore how a modern professional institution could establish a greater voice for its members both within its own organisation and in its area of interest: in this case, the NHS. 

The RSA:

  • Provided a range of means for engagement with the audit.

  • Identified themes in each key evidence category- responses coded, classified and quantified, representative quotes selected.

  • Applied the RSA effectiveness criteria to reviewing current BMA approaches.

  • Identified successful organisations undertaking member voice/engagement, policy-making, and influence/impact.

  • Defined an overall aim to meet the needs identified in the evidence gathering and comparative analysis.

  • Considered how current arrangements can be improved and existing strengths can be developed.

  • Innovated new purposes/approaches/structures where necessary.

  • Worked towards developing a series of informal and formal approaches that can work as a coherent whole to achieve the aim.

The Consultation Involved:

  • A qualitative (self-selected) survey. c.526 responses.

  • Five regional consultation events (124 members, activists).

  • A series of other engagement events.

  • Thirty stakeholder interviews.

  • Consulting existing member surveys and research.

  • Reviewing structures, roles, public policy, representation, data on membership and engagement, a range of reports on current performance of committees and many more.

  • External desk-based evidence on changes to the NHS, membership organisation case studies, and effectiveness criteria.

The final recommendations are designed to ensure the BMA is:

  • Open: formal and clear decision making processes that do not suffocate the organisation and lock stakeholders out. 

  • Relationship-based: productive internal and externally relationships in order to pursue the institutional goals.

  • Mobilisation-focused: the full range of internal and external relationships are mobilised to leverage impact. In other words, they don’t simply broadcast.

  • Public Value oriented: blends the public good with private benefit, pursuing both goals in parallel and does so successfully.

This RSA project was working in partnership with the Democratic Society.