1. What does GPDF do?

The GPDF has been around since 1911 and is proud of its history in supporting General Practitioners (GPs) for over a century.

It describes its activities today as Listening, Supporting and Giving Voice. These are all core to its purpose of advancing the interests of Local Medical Committees (LMCs) in England, Scotland and Wales, and the GPs they represent.

2. What do you spend the LMC’s money on?

The majority of the funds we secure are spent on the Deed of Grant, which is an arrangement with the British Medical Association (BMA) to ensure that GPs’ interests are both promoted and protected. It essentially funds the various General Practitioners Committees (GPC), which is approximately half the amount, and the remainder pays for BMA costs to support that committee including helping to support conferences.

We also fund legal cases which we believe are important to the profession in addition to funding projects which are beneficial to LMCs or General Practice.

Finally, there is an element which is used to meet our own overheads, including Director costs.

3. How do you help LMCs?

All our elected GPDF Board Members are involved in an LMC. Through their day-to-day work they understand the challenges that LMCs face in supporting local GPs.

Many people are aware that the GPDF fund conferences in England, Wales, Scotland and for the UK. The output of these conferences then feed into each of the General Practice Committees (UK, England, Scotland and Wales). There is also a specific conference for LMC Secretaries. Attendees can claim travel, subsistence, and even hotel bills from us where appropriate.

We receive regular funding requests to support LMCs with both legal cases and projects they may wish to undertake. The criteria for approving such requests are focused on ensuring as many GPs as possible are supported.

Additionally, we are funding the development of the LMCs support network which helps to bring LMCs from across the UK together to support one another.

4. What is the ‘Deed of Grant’, and do you tell the BMA what to do?

The purpose of the “Deed of Grant” is to fund the GPC, and the BMA’s costs to support the GPC. The origins of it go back to our ‘trade association’ roots, and it’s what the majority of our income is spent on. By having a ‘Deed of Grant’ instead of a contract or service agreement we do not pay VAT, so although the name is unusual, it is to try and ensure value for money for members contributions.

Via the Deed of Grant agreement, the GPDF provides a contribution towards funding the GPC honorarium for GPCs in England, Wales and Scotland and agrees the honorarium level with the BMA, including waiving of the “24 meeting rule” for BMA meetings for GPC members.

Additionally, the Grant makes a further contribution towards the cost of the GPC Executive Teams (the Chair and Deputy Chairs for these three nation GPCs)

However, the Grant does not include any service level agreement or equivalent in terms of performance, personal or operational, for those Teams, and the management of these Team members is a BMA responsibility.

The Deed of Grant also includes mutual operational agreements between the BMA and the GPDF, such as the promotion of conferences.

The Deed of Grant means we have a defined and legitimate voice with the BMA. While we can’t tell them what to do, we certainly regularly enter into discussions on any subject that interests LMCs, to influence their  thinking and approach as a key stakeholder.

5. How do you decide which legal cases to support?

This goes back to our ‘trade association’ roots, and it’s about funding ‘test’ cases. Cases that are about proving principles that might be important to our members,  addressing important legal cases of principle impacting national issues and other projects that are mutually beneficial and relevant to either all or a wide number of LMCs. We budget about £100k a year to meet these costs, and if you feel that your case fits this criteria you can download our guidance document here or reach out to us for an informal (and supportive) conversation by contacting valerie.semeria@gpdf.org.uk.

6. How do you decide which projects to support?

GPDF is there to support projects that are over and above the normal activity undertaken by an LMC and when replicated across a number of LMCs, increase efficiency, innovation or share good practice. We love to hear about innovative projects which foster collaboration across LMCs, strengthening the LMC sector generally! We aim to support a wide range of projects, and are constantly impressed by the ingenious, unique projects that we hear about, so if you aren’t sure if your brainwave or tentative plans would be suitable for funding, please get in touch by contacting valerie.semeria@gpdf.org.uk, or read our bid criteria here.

In 2023, we have undertaken a root and branch review of our grants programme.

It is very important to us that LMCs feel able to apply for grants, and there is no maximum or minimum size of project that can be applied for.

7. How do you decide whether to support requests for extra funding from GPC or conference?

GPDF recognises the invaluable contribution that GPCs make to General Practice in the UK, and makes a significant contribution to the Deed of Grant (LINK) to help fund the day to day functioning of these committees, including the annual conferences. As we all know, there is never a dull moment in General Practice in the UK and the constantly shifting landscape means that often unplanned costs need to be incurred to deal with rapidly evolving situations, such as emergency meetings! GPDF is keen to hear from GPCs or LMC Conference chairs/ organisers who require funding for costs which address a clear need which cannot be met within the existing GPC structures and would be of benefit to a wide range of LMCs across Wales, England and Scotland. Guidance on what sort of funding would be approved can be downloaded here (LINK) or you can discuss it with us by getting in touch by contacting valerie.semeria@gpdf.org.uk.

8. Why have you got so much money in the bank just sat there?

The money in the bank has accumulated over many years and is described by some as a “war chest”. However, LMCs have told us that they don’t need us to keep so much.

We are working very hard to re-assess how much is actually available to spend. We realise that these funds will not be accumulated again and aware that we have a duty to utilise it wisely to benefit Primary care, not to just subsidise areas of primary care that are underfunded by government resources. Our aim is to use these funds to create long-lasting, large-scale benefit to the profession.

Currently, much of our money is in investments, which will incur some taxation to release. We are currently progressing in sorting this out and working with our financial and investment team to make the most of our funds.

Our intention is then that we will retain a certain amount as our reserves to meet day to day running costs. We will then create designated funds for Legal Costs, Project Grants, Conference costs and “emergency” business with the remainder.

9. How does the board of GPDF work?

We have designated seats for England, Wales and Scotland, plus three further seats. Under our constitution, we can also co-opt up to three more directors with specific skills.

While things were unsettled, we met on a fortnightly basis (on Zoom), but this has recently changed to monthly meetings. We meet face to face a couple of times a year.

We run like any other committee: the usual cycle of agendas and minutes, with directors taking responsibility for different workstreams, drafting papers etc.

However, it’s not all about meetings. Most days we are in communication with each other, be it on email, text, or WhatsApp. It’s not just talking about the weather: most days there is something about the business to discuss/progress.

10. Why are the Board paid, and how much?

The calculation for Board pay is based on the same formula to the way time is compensated for on committees like the GPC. It is based on about 1.5 days per months, and the honoraria is £10,500, paid in monthly instalments over the year. Our non-exec director is appointed by the board. We look to recruit someone with skills the board is missing, and that can help with the business side of running the GPDF. As they are recruited for their professional skills, we pay in line with other similar size organisations for non-exec posts, with a time commitment of 14 days. They are also currently paid £10,500 a year.

11. Can anyone get involved?

As with most organisations, the constitution has its complexities. To stand for a director’s seat, you must be the nominated GPDF member for your LMC. This makes you a member of the company and able to vote as well as stand in elections. We have designated seats for England, Wales and Scotland, and then three ‘open’ seats anyone can stand for. Alongside this, the Board can appoint people with specific skills or experience that will help them to carry out their role more effectively, such as our non-executive director.

It’s important to us that we hear different voices from across the profession, which in itself is very diverse.

12. How does the secretariat work?

Currently, we are contracting all the back-office functions to a national organisation called Attend, who are the GPDF secretariat. They are our registered office, and can be contacted at any time. The address is Attend, 11-13 Cavendish Square, London W1G 0AN. The phone number is 0207 307 2570. Just ask for David or Janet. You may have already heard of Attend through their vast volunteer network which provides support to people and organisations who are making their communities healthier and happier.

Attend help us work with a number of other organisations who make sure our membership is up to date, that LMCs receive invoices on time, and that if we need to access support from lawyers or tax advisors for an LMC that we can do so quickly and easily. They also undertook our strategic review which was published in September 2023 and can be found here.

13. How can my committee get to know more?

You can always contact the secretariat on 0207 307 2570. Debbie or Janet will probably answer the phone

You can also arrange to pop into the offices at 11-13 Cavendish Square, London WIG 0AN (it’s just behind John Lewis at Oxford Circus). The building has a very nice café, and David would be pleased to buy you a cup of tea.

Alternatively, one of the Board would be more than happy to meet with you either virtually, or face to face. We really enjoy getting to know people.

14. What have you got planned for 2024?

Our business plan, available in detail here, details our objectives in keeping with our values, aims and strategic pillars of work:

  • To establish a new deed of grant.
  • BB Partners Project –
  • The rebuild general practice campaign.
  • Improving LMC Engagement and Report.
  • To refresh the conference process and deliver conferences as per plans.
  • To implement LMCs grants programme.
  • To implement grants giving framework for legal cases.
  • To ensure the efficient and effective collection of the GPDF Levy.
  • Assured and consistent delivery of services from Secretariat.
  • Stabilising and rebuilding GPDF