However, along with the Members of the CINP Finance Committee, the Members of the Constitution and By Laws Committee, and the Executive Committee I am involved in activities that can bring long term benefits to the Society. This will therefore be a brief account of how the CINP is currently operating and how our current activities could be impacted by the economic realities faced by Governments in controlling their health budgets, the Pharmaceutical industry dealing with a decreasing return on investment in the drug development space (Dean et al., 2013) and the ever growing competition to attract delegates to scientific meetings.
CINP has the mission to advance the field of neuropsychopharmacology throughout the world. This has meant the operational hub of the CINP has been located in a number of countries. Currently our Head Office is located in Glasgow, Scotland, where our activities are managed by Gill Moore and her team at Northern Networking Events Ltd. Having our Head Office in Glasgow meant having charitable status in Scotland would be beneficial and we have subsequently gained that recognition. One of the consequences of obtaining charitable status in Scotland is that our activities are monitored by the OSCR, the Scottish charity regulator (http://www.oscr.org.uk/) . OSCR rightly take their role seriously and one of my first tasks as Treasurer was to ensure the financial activities of the CINP were meticulously recorded so that we would have no issues when audited by our own auditors or OSCR. I am pleased to report that due to our new financial management systems and the efforts of Gill and her team we have been complimented by our auditors on our financial operations and have had no major issues with OSCR.
The Finance Committee and the Executive Committee are constantly looking to improve our financial operations and so a second task I undertook for the Society was to review the cost benefits of moving to a new company for our accounting and auditing needs. At the last General Assembly it was agreed to move our business to AD Plus (http://www.adplusaccountants.co.uk/ ) who are a well-recognised firm who are expert in managing the affairs of organisations with charitable status in Scotland. In moving our business we have made significant savings on the costs of managing our affairs which will always bring a smile to the face of your Treasurer. As Treasurer I need to also acknowledge the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Roger Pinder (UK), whose knowledge and advice is invaluable in ensuring the financial operations of CINP continue to evolve and stay current with best-practice requirements.
As with all organisations, the passage of time can bring about the need to update the rules under which they operate. The Executive Committee have therefore charged the Constitution and By Laws Committee (Chair: Brian Dean; Members: Alan Frazer (USA), Kazutaka Ikeda (Japan), Philip Cowen (UK), Reto Strittmatter (Switzerland), Torgny Svensson (Sweden) with Gill Moore as Secretary) to review our operational rules and guidelines to evolve these important documents into a form suited to our current scientific and business practices. The Committee has worked diligently and has identified areas of our Constitution and By Laws that may need updating. In the first quarter of this year first drafts of a modified Constitution and By Laws will begin an iterative review process by the Committee leading to a final set of proposed changes being brought before the membership.
Finally, the financial model for CINP for many years has been to run a successful World Congress and to use the surplus from those Congresses as the major source of income on which to run the Societies affairs for the following two years. There are a number of challenges to be faced in maintaining such a model into the future which include:
• An ever growing number of scientific meetings competing with the World Congress for delegates.
• The challenge of maintaining a CINP presence on the events calendar in the “off” Congress years.
• Falling levels of available sponsorship to underwrite the educational activities at the World Congress.
• Ensuring the cost of attending the World Congress does not become prohibitive to people in countries which are developing skills in neuropsychopharmacology and who would gain great benefit from gaining new knowledge form attending a Congress, especially when it is held within their region of the World.
These issues are being confronted by the CINP Executive Committee.
In closing I would like paraphrase a quotation from Paul Keating, an Australian Treasurer and Prime Minister, “I think Australia has to be a country which has the ‘Welcome’ sign out” to finish by saying “CINP is a Society that has always had the ‘Welcome’ sign out, the challenge now is to ensure this welcome is affordable to all”.
The CINP has a strong track record in ensuring equity in access to its activities but it must remain a focus for the current and future CINP Treasurers which means they should always be unpopular as they seek to drive down expenditure as their contribution to ensuring the CINP’s is a beacon to everyone in our discipline.
Dean B, Moller HJ, Svensson TH, Geyer MA, Rujescu D, Scarr E, Millan MJ (2013) Problems and Solutions to Filling the Drying Drug Pipeline for Psychiatric Disorders: A Report from the Inaugural 2012 CINP Think-Tank. IntJNeuropsychopharmacol 17:137 – 148.