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This is a Working Group of the Association of Therapeutic Communities, and is intended for members of the Working Group only. If you are not a member of the Working Group, please respect the privacy of these pages, and please do not alter or edit any of the material here.

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For a list of the members of the Executive Committee of the Association of Therapeutic Communities, with email addresses, please CLICK HERE



Craig Fees, convenor

Mark Freestone

Kevin Healy

Joanna Jansen

Ian Milne

Chris Newrith

Sarah Paget

Gary Winship

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ATC-CWG Correspondence

14.2.2006 FW:ATC Admin: "Journal Standing"

11.2.2006 Craig: "Too many journals"

ATC-CWG TERMS OF REFERENCE (draft, 8.2.2006)

The work of the Communications Working Group revolves around three interlocking categories:

1. The goals and objectives of the ATC

2: The To/For/With Whom of communication

3: The Modes and Means of communication


Drafts and discussion.

Tools of Communication

July 11, 2006 Meeting. Listen Again

RadioTC International download

"ATC-CWG Meeting July 11, 2006"

For podcast copy and paste the URL below into your iTunes or other podcast player

First Broadcast:

12. July. 2006


July 11, 2006 Meeting. Draft Minutes

Please add comments. If you leave a space at the beginning of your line, wonderful wiki will automatically enclose your comments in a comment box, like this one. If you add four wiggly lines "~", bob's your uncle

(Draft)Minutes of the ATC Communications Working Group Telephone Conference Meeting 11 July 2006

1. Hellos and late arrivals

1.1 The meeting began at 10.06 a.m. 1.2 Present: John Cross, Craig Fees (chair), Mark Freestone, Kevin Healy, Joanna Jansen, Ian Milne, Chris Newrith, Sarah Paget, Maureen Ward, Gary Winship (who joined the group during item 2)

2. Communication with Members 2.1. What are we aiming to achieve/How would we like things to be? Questions:

  • Who are the members?
  • What do they want from each other?
  • What do they want from ATC?


  • ATC is a network that allows linking up to take place, in potential
  • ATC represents a body of knowledge, held by experts
Craigtfees 11:42, 15 July 2006 (BST)O.K. That's our theory. Or is that our statement of what WE think ATC is about? So, is that a basis for a sales campaign. Knowing what we're selling?
Craigtfees 11:42, 15 July 2006 (BST)OR, having asked the question, is the logical thing to do to FIND OUT who our members are, and what they want?


  • Community of Communities provides the networking, ATC provides the credibility on which that networking is based
Craigtfees 11:42, 15 July 2006 (BST)Personally, although I think it important that they work together, and certainly don't get in each others' way, my feeling is that CofC and ATC are separate organisations, with independent tasks. Yes, they are inter-linked. No, that interlinking is not clearly and transparently defined. Yes, it is an evolving relationship. No, it has not been a consequence of explicit, informed decision-making by Executive Committee/Membership at each stage. No, it is not part of a larger, discussed and agreed business plan. Yes, it is seat-of-the-pants. Consequently, I can't see that it is right for ATC to hive off its networking function to CofC. Share networks, yes. Share networking, yes. Hive off, no.
Historical note: The ATC web-site, like the Charterhouse Group web-site, used to be sub-sites of The corporate URL for ATC was: It took a long time to get ATC (and CHG) to invest in its own domain name. To assert and take responsibioity for its own corporate identity. That assertion of corporate identity, and the assertion of a corporate agreed task - do less better -, does not seem to come easily to ATC. It is a form of risk-taking from which ATC seems to shy. It is Risk both because of what happens through the organisation when you follow the logic of having a firm and agreed corporate identity and task-set; and because of the the open conflict, and the consequent work and challenge-to-change which comes whenever an identity and a task are asserted. You would only do it if you understood Why.

Follow-on Comments:

  • Credibility and networking would work best with broadly-based membership
  • Organisations like ATC which have Group Memberships have difficulty engaging individuals within those Groups in the work of the organisation, to get participation and sense of ownership of ATC, for example
Craigtfees 11:42, 15 July 2006 (BST)But that is in the absence of the Internet. When individuals within member organisations know of the work only through their 'representatives', who may have all sorts of reasons either for not recognising their role and responsibiity in relation to informing others within the therapeutic community, or for not sharing information and drawing people in.


  • How can we bring individuals' enthusiasm into ATC?
Craigtfees 11:42, 15 July 2006 (BST)a) What is ATC, to bring enthusiasm into?; b) Why should they? What's in it for them? c) Why should ATC? What would/could ATC do with it? \Could it even cope with the challenge?

2.2. What is it like? Informal contact with members: Comments:

  • There is not much or relatively little, except among members of Executive Committee


  • How do we know who members are?
  • How can we know what they want?

AGM as a mode of communication with members Comments:

  • Few members attend, few vote

Formal contact with members: Comments:

  • Phone/Fax/Email not much used, except around practical matters (subscription problems, Windsor, workshops)
  • An information and introduction pack is sent to all new members, but this is out of date
  • There are no brochures or handy information sheets that can be sent out
  • There are no separate information mailings to members. Mailings go out with newsletter and/or journal. Unless impossible, this includes AGM mailings.
  • There has been one issue of TC News. It takes a great deal of work to get out. It is difficult for working volunteers.

2.3. How do we go from here? Questions:

  • What does ATC do, and can it do less better?
Craigtfees 11:42, 15 July 2006 (BST)What does ATC do? Let's answer that question. Then let's ask: Can it do that better? And THEN let's ask, "If we can't do that better, can we do less better?" Or even, "If we can't do THAT better, is there something we can do better instead?"


  • "Doing less Better"

Actions: Update Members' Introductory Pack. Kevin Healy/Executive Officers

Craigtfees 11:42, 15 July 2006 (BST)20+ Executive Committee members. Being pared down to 12, through voluntary redundancy (and...). Why is it just Executive Officer's task? Why not write/email ALL committee members, lay out a set of working groups, remind them (which is true) that ATC is one of those charities where the work of the charity is primarily carried out through its trustees, and saying "Which of these Working Groups are you to be an active member of?" With one group called "Don't know yet Working Group". ANd why not a system where Executive Officers chair or convene Working Groups, but do not themselves feel responsible for being everything? Doing less more!

3. Communication with the Outside World 3.1. What are we aiming to achieve/How would we like things to be? Questions:

  • Do we want ATC to be a source of knowledge and an information provider?


  • Yes, it is a key part of ATC.
  • ATC is perceived as a credible organisation, full of really important, knowledgeable people

Follow-on Question:

  • Do we want ATC to be a source of Advocacy and Support?


  • Knowledge and Information, and Advocacy and Support are linked, but tap into different levels/types of expertise (academics, practitioners)

Follow-on Comment

  • It's easier to sell the product if you know what the product is.

3.2. What is it like? Telephone: Comments:

  • People consistently ring up CofC thinking it is ATC, wanting perceived ATC expertise and knowledge
Craigtfees 11:42, 15 July 2006 (BST)This is one of those very simple statements which self-effacingly puts its finger on the crux of an issue: "People consistently ring up CofC thinking it is ATC....." 
  • Admin Team takes calls asking
    • clinical questions, which can either be referred to Kevin Healy or answered with directions to available information (addresses, contact details)
Craigtfees 11:42, 15 July 2006 (BST)Do we have any stats which would help us understand nature, frequency and source of contact? (e.g., where did they get ATC number?) 
    • What is ATC, What does it do, What is a Therapeutic Community?
Craigtfees 11:42, 15 July 2006 (BST)Ditto. And do we have any mechanism for feeding back the questions coming in to the Executive, so it gets a sense of which way the winds out there are blowing?
  • CofC gets many calls asking for evidence that TCs work. ATC Admin refers such calls to CofC
Craigtfees 11:42, 15 July 2006 (BST)O.K., So I'm one of the web-site people. What does this feedback - which I didn;t have before - suggest to me?

Internet: Comments

  • A lot of people have difficulty with Internet technology and/or are frightened by it
Craigtfees 11:42, 15 July 2006 (BST)Solution: ATC campaign; educate the members. Get a grant. Create an IT-education team to tour member communities. Do something to get people past the fear; OR, to realise what a powerful tool they would help the ATC to become if they took the risk of becoming computer/Internet literate. Surely, at the minimum, a Campaign?
  • Commissioners and similar outsiders have good Internet skills; it is the everyday membership which doesn't
  • "Everyone uses the web-site"
Craigtfees 11:42, 15 July 2006 (BST)Wait a minute. How does this square with "A lot of people have difficulty..."?
  • But it needs reorganisation, there is too much information on it
Craigtfees 11:42, 15 July 2006 (BST)Too much, or poorly organised?
  • "ATC" is no good as a search term (everything but ATC is turned up)
Craigtfees 11:42, 15 July 2006 (BST)O.K. We're talking about corporate identity. We're talking about re-branding. We're talking about re-doing the web-site. So what do we do about search engine presence?

Brochures/Leaflets: Comments

  • Leaflets usefully require us to condense information into accessible bites
  • There are no standard leaflets stating: "We're the ATC. This is what we do. This is what we stand for"
  • The last leaflet was part of a re-branding exercise (ATC: "A radical group-based therapeutic approach"), which left us with thousands hanging around
    • Problems with distribution?
    • Problems with demand, as people turned more to Internet?
  • Better to put money shrewdly into one, 21^st^ century information resource than spread around

Other Organisations: Comments

  • A number of queries/contacts come from people who do not use Internet through MIND and other organisations, who have ATC on their databases
  • Admin Team responds to requests to update information

3.3. How do we go from here? [Empty set]

4. Communication with Ourselves 4.1. What are we aiming to achieve/How would we like things to be? Comments:

  • Question rephrased as: "What do we need from each other?"
  • Ratification. Response from Group.
  • Admin Team: Clarity of communication, information, decision-making from Executive
  • Would like promised face-to-face meeting with Executive Officers

4.2. What is it like? Comments:

  • Communication within ATC has never been so good. There is a much better sense of community among the Executive Group. "There is more communication now than I can remember"
  • Much of it is Internet based.
  • Even if there is not Reciprocity, a lot is read and absorbed. A greater Matrix for communication at this moment
  • There is more communication than there was, but there is a weakness in moving from communication to clear decisions, to shared understanding and commitment by all to an agreed decision/action plan.
  • Some specifics around proposal for CofC to assume responsibility for administering ATC membership were raised as an example of communication problems, with potentially disastrous consequences for ATC administration, and need for face-to-face discussion
  • Over two years it has not been possible to arrange face-to-face meeting between Executive Officers and Admin Team, despite contractual agreement for annual meetings, and plea from Admin Team for a meeting.
  • This difficulty mirrors other aspects of ATC functioning.
  • "A lot being read and absorbed" is of no use to someone who needs a response in order to take a decision or commit to an action. Reciprocity is essential for there to be 'communication'

4.3. How do we go from here? Question:

  • Could member of Admin Team regularly attend Executive Committee meetings?


  • There should be an annual meeting between Executive Officers and Admin Team

Actions: A face-to-face meeting between Executive Officers and Admin Team to be arranged as matter of urgency. Lead: Chris Newrith

5 Special items 5.1. ATC website redesign

  • Mark Freestone's proposal was discussed. Gary Winship affirmed that ATC could afford the costs of the re-design and implementation. Kevin Healy affirmed that the Communications Working Group could take the decision, and stated that the proposal was very competitive, given Mark Freestone\'s expertise on ATC and therapeutic communities.
  • Ian Milne noted that the proposal was for a like-for-like replacement of the current site in modern format. What was also needed was a radical overhaul of content. How would that be achieved?
  • Given that the web-site was our principal point of contact with the Outside, as well as with members, Craig Fees felt that an Editorial Team, on the principle of the journal Editorial Board, and with similar scope and responsibility, was needed.
  • Sarah Paget suggested that the Communications Working Group could take on this function, among others.
  • Mark Freestone agreed to be part of the new Editorial Team, with special responsibility for the journal. Chris Newrith felt he didn't have the expertise in computers and Internet to take the lead. Ian Milne felt these were good qualifications. Sarah Paget agreed to lead.

Actions: Sarah Paget to take lead in web-site Editorial Board

5.2. ATC branding for CRU Corporate Identity exercise This was touched on briefly but requires more information and fuller discussion.

6 Summary and Close

It was agreed to meet again in telephone conference.

Actions: Dates available for next meetings to be emailed to Craig Fees. All.

Meeting closed at 10.57


Click on the above to get to a calendar for August. Please fill in when you CAN and when you CAN'T be part of a telephone conference. Thanks - Craigtfees 10:25, 23 July 2006 (BST)


CF to 10.10.2006:

Sarah and Ian have both brought up the question of the date of the next meeting. Ian has asked whether it can be face to face. The next Executive Committee meeting of the ATC is on October 27

Actions Agreed from last meeting, July 11:

  • Update Members' Introductory Pack. Kevin Healy/Executive Officers
  • A face-to-face meeting between Executive Officers and Admin Team to be arranged as matter of urgency. Lead: Chris Newrith
  • Sarah Paget to take lead in web-site Editorial Board
  • Dates available for next meetings to be emailed to Craig Fees. All.

Minutes of the meeting of July 11 are online at ATC-CWG

What is status of agreed actions?:

Are there any other matters arising from that meeting?:

New items for the agenda:?

Possible dates and times for meeting to me, please, indicating whether that is possible for face-to-face and/or telephone conference call. Pre-ATC Executive Committee would be preferable, but we can take dates into November.

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