Society

Including membership survey, President's award, and public engagement grants.

Membership survey

LAST year the Society’s scientific officer, Dr Lisa Morrison Coulthard, conducted a survey to evaluate Society members’ expectations and perceptions of its service provision, and the Society’s marketing relationship with its members. All voting members were invited to respond to the survey, on paper or online.The response rate of over 20 per cent (6476 members) generated a vast quantity of data that has now been analysed. The overall composition of the respondents was generally representative of the entire voting membership, so it is hoped that the comments encapsulate the major concerns and views of the members. Many thanks again to those who took the time needed to respond to this in-depth questionnaire.
Detailed presentations have been made to the Board of Trustees, the Marketing Steering Group and, most recently, the senior management team. Twenty recommendations have been made on the basis of the key findings of the research, and the senior management team and the Trustees are now discussing how best to take these forward.
Specific recommendations include: a review of the current policy on lapsed membership and the potential introduction of a membership reinstatement fee; a review of the content of the Appointments Memorandum to broaden the range of advertisements; an awareness-raising campaign of the main benefits of membership; the potential improvement and re-design of the CPsychol certificate; a review of the benefits of graduate membership and of the Society’s support for new graduates; mechanisms for increasing the support for overseas members; strategies for increasing and encouraging greater member participation in Society business and events;
a review of the main forms of communication with members; and a review of the geographical spread of Society-wide meetings and events.
Some in-depth analysis of the open-ended questions (and in particular a breakdown by subgroups, such as age, duration and grade of membership) is still to be conducted but has now been delayed until the scientific officer returns from maternity leave (in February 2006).
Details of the main findings and a discussion of how this research and the key outcomes compare with previous work conducted in the field of relationship marketing in paid membership organisations are available on the Society’s website (tinyurl.com/77x6e).
If you have any questions or comments regarding the research, please contact Dr Lisa Morrison Coulthard directly ([email protected]), and she will respond as soon as possible on her return.

Statutory Regulation update

The Society’s negotiating team of Graham Powell (President), Ray Miller (President Elect), Tim Cornford (Chief Executive) and Mike Carpenter (Membership and Qualifications Directorate Manager) met with representatives of the Department of Health (DoH) on Friday 22 July. The meeting was held on an informal basis to enable the DoH to investigate in more detail the Society’s position outlined in its response to the recent consultation. The meeting also noted the fact that the DoH was undertaking a review of non-medical professional regulation, that the leader of that review (Andrew Foster) had recently issued a ’Call for Ideas’, and that he would expect to report to ministers by December.The discussion during the meeting covered a number of key issues including:
-    a restatement of the Society’s position and in particular its concern about the importance of the protection of the public;
-    specific concerns about the regulation model proposed in the consultation document;
-    the possibility of exploring other regulatory models in case they might meet the government’s objectives;
-    the DoH’s concerns about which title or titles might be protected, since specific standards need to be applied to protected titles;
-    the points raised by Andrew Foster in his ‘Call for Ideas’; and
-    some issues related specifically to devolved administrations.
It was agreed that further work needed to be undertaken and further meetings would be necessary. In the meantime the DoH would write to the Society giving its views on some of the issues.

President's award

PROFESSOR Peter Halligan of Cardiff University has been awarded the 2005 Presidents’ Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychological Knowledge.The Presidents’ Award is intended as mid-career recognition of the achievements of psychologists who are currently engaged in research of outstanding quality. Professor Halligan’s research covers a wide range of cognitive neuroscience, including unilateral spatial neglect, pain, heart bypass surgery, hysteria, biopsychosocial models of illness, beliefs and delusions and phantom limb phenomena.In nominating Professor Halligan, Professor Hadyn Ellis, also of Cardiff University, said: ‘I know of no better candidate in terms of all-round distinguished contributions to psychological knowledge. He has made the most diverse contributions to psychology of any person I know. He is a top-rated researcher, an assiduous and effective communicator, and is generally someone who reaches out, both to the academic and professional communities and also to the public.’Professor Halligan gained a BA in psychology and philosophy from University College Dublin in 1979 before completing an MA (Hons) in philosophy and psychology, a higher diploma in education (Hons) and a diploma in clinical and experimental psychology (Hons) at the institution.
In 1989 he achieved a PhD in neuropsychology at Oxford Brookes University and in 1993 was awarded the Spearman Medal by the Society for outstanding contributions to psychology in the first 10 years since becoming eligible for graduate membership. In 1999 he was award a DSc (Published Work) by the National University of Ireland.
Professor Halligan’s career has seen him work as a research psychologist at the Rivermead Rehabilitation Centre, and research fellow working with Professor John C. Marshall at Oxford University before taking up his current post as Professor of Neuropsychology at Cardiff University in 1999, where he has been instrumental in setting up Cardiff University’s Brain and Repair Imaging Centre.
Professor Halligan has delivered invited lectures at a large number of conferences both in the UK and internationally as well as organising nine conferences in the last 12 years. He has published 10 books and some 130 articles/book chapters.
Accepting the accolade, Professor Halligan said: ‘I am very honoured to receive this award both for myself and for the colleagues I have had the pleasure of working with over the years.’

Public engagement grants

THE 2005/6 Public Engagement with Psychology grants have been agreed and the winning applications announced. Altogether nine events are being funded, taking place between May 2005 and August 2006.
The Northern Ireland Branch has made two successful applications: one
for a promotional stand and seminar room at the Education Show in Dublin in November, and another for a stand at the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society’s Balmoral Show in Belfast in May 2005, with a repeat in May 2006. Other events that will have a psychology presence funded by a grant are the Welsh National Eisteddfod in Swansea in August 2006 (Welsh Branch), the PGA British Masters golf tournament in the Forest of Arden, Warwickshire, in May 2006 (Division of Sport & Exercise Psychology) and the York Festival of Science and Technology in March 2006 (North East Branch).
In March 2006, to coincide with both Brain Awareness Week and National Science Week, there will be a grant-funded event at the Dana Centre in London entitled ‘Tricks of the psych trade’, a collaboration between a psychologist – Dr Emma Lawrence from the Institute of Psychiatry – and two artists, one of whom has Asperger’s syndrome. The Lesbian & Gay Psychology Section is being funded to run a two-day event in Edinburgh in October this year for volunteers and workers in organisations that work with LGBT people or in HIV prevention.
The line-up of successful applications is completed by a seminar for policy makers to be held in Westminster in December (Social Psychology Section), and an evening event ‘Hearing voices: An ordinary experience?’ at the University of Surrey in Guildford this month (DCP Psychosocial Rehabilitation Special Interest Group).
Public Engagement with Psychology grants are awarded up to a maximum of £3000. The grants scheme for 2006/7 will be advertised in The Psychologist next spring, but interested parties can get in touch with Suzanne Jefford now ([email protected]) and she will hold details on file and send out an application form nearer the time.

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