Society

The Society redesigns its website; 2006 Award for excellence in teaching; and more

Revamped

THE Society’s new website design went live in November marking the beginning of a transformation of the whole website, involving changes in layout, design and content, making it more accessible and user-friendly.
The new-look site is clearer and easier to navigate, with the introduction of a Google-powered search engine to make searches more efficient and effective. The latest and most relevant information for individual users is also now more readily available through the homepage, which features options for the public, psychologists, students and organisations.
Simplification of the member login screen, which benefits from clearer instructions, and the ability to pay subscription fees online by credit card are other advantages of the new site. Another change will see the annually produced hard copies of the Society’s proceedings being replaced by a fully searchable online version.
In line with the changes to the Society website, the new BPS Communications website was launched earlier this year, showcasing the Appointments Memorandum – the place for jobs in psychology. The improved format of the site makes it even easier to search for jobs, with new features including searches that can be saved and referred back to, a facility to upload CVs, and
e-mail alerts and RSS feeds that can be set up detailing the latest vacancies.
A new version of the continuing professional development area of the website has also been produced. Following member feedback over the past 12 months this release includes many changes and new features – improvements in help and advice and layout, wizards and tools to aid creating new records and submission, custom reports and a new spell-check facility. The result is a tool that is more accessible and usable in all areas of managing your CPD.
In addition to these changes, we are continuing our audit of each area of the site to improve layout, performance and functionality, and to check the consistency and accuracy of content. A number of alterations have been made to those areas audited since the work began earlier this year.
While a large proportion of the site will have undergone change by the end of 2006, there is also a series of projects planned for 2007, these include the development of discussion forums, an increase in the amount of information available to the general public, updated FAQs, a greatly improved online shop, online event booking, online member application, a facility for members to update their records online, and a blog by the Division of Clinical Psychology. A survey of members is also planned during the year to obtain feedback on the changes that have been made.

Teaching award

DR Clare Wood of Coventry University has been awarded the 2006 Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Psychology. The award is intended as recognition of the unusually significant contribution she has made to education and training in psychology within the UK.
Bernardine King, one of her past PhD students, nominated Dr Wood for her outstanding performance in developing individual students and her innovative contributions to course development.
Dr King said: ‘Excellent teaching exhibits those rare qualities of engendering admiration in fellow teachers, whilst transforming the lives of the students, who come to see potential within themselves which they did not know existed. Clare Wood is one such teacher.’
Another nominator, Dr Stuart Ross (University of Wales) added: ‘Clare is not only a first-rate communicator, she exudes infectious enthusiasm for psychology. She is a truly inspirational person and while students may appreciate her artistry as a teacher, it is perhaps only those who have been privileged to work with her as a colleague who can fully appreciate what a gift she is to have as part of a team.’
Dr Wood’s teaching ability was evident from early in her career, when she was recognised by University College Northampton as an outstanding student on the Postgraduate Certificate of Teaching in Higher Education. Her first teaching position came a decade ago, when the then Nene College created a position simply for her because her presentation for another post was so good.
Seven years ago, Clare was introduced to the challenges of distance learning when she joined the Open University. Here she was a major force in reshaping the post-foundation courses offered. In September 2005 she joined Coventry University and made a ‘significant contribution’ to the master’s-level curriculum through a blended learning model, which offers distance tuition, e-learning and face-to-face teaching in research methods in psychology.
Since 2000, Clare has been the primary supervisor to five doctoral students and has led them all to successful completions. Dr King added that Dr Wood saw ‘students as peers who are beginning their specialist training in psychology rather than students who have little to contribute to their studies’.
Dr Wood added: ‘I am really pleased to receive this award, and I owe a huge thank you to all the students and colleagues that I have worked with and who have taught me so much about what good teaching should be about. I have been very fortunate to have had such strong collaborative relationships that I could draw so much good practice from.’

The Society launched the new London office with a evening of culture, conversation and canapés on 18 October 2006 with Professor David Cope officially opening the building.
The evening was a success and attendees were able to take a tour of the spacious, modern and newly refurbished premises and view pictures provided by Getty Images Gallery and posters regarding the Society’s numerous Divisions and Branches.
The office is now available for hire offering nine rooms of varying sizes (from 12 boardroom style to 100 theatre style) and layouts with good-sized windows and conveniently located five minutes’ walk from Old Street and Liverpool Street tube stations.
The rooms are very economical to hire and especially so for Society members who receive a 25 per cent discount when booking.
For reservations or more information please contact 020 7330 0890.

Fellowship citation
Dr Mickey Keenan

DR Mickey Keenan has been awarded the status of Fellow of the Society for his widely recognised contributions to applied behavioural analysis (ABA) in the field of autism. ABA is the intervention of choice for many parents and professionals, not least because it has been evaluated and has been demonstrated to lead to clear gains in learning and development for children on the autistic spectrum, if started early in life and if delivered in a highly structured, systematic fashion, on an intensive schedule.
Mickey Keenan has written key books on behaviour analysis and autism, developed electronic tutorials in the philosophy and practice of the science generally, and published in specialist journals in the field of ABA. His research contributions are wider than just autism, having worked in the field of behavioural interventions for a range of childhood conditions such as sex abuse or ADHD, and conditions of old age, as well as more basic research with humans and nonhumans.
As a result of his community work, a number of television programmes have explored the plight of parents seeking scientifically validated treatment for their children. He has appeared frequently on the radio on the subject of ABA, has trained a generation of doctoral students, and is a founder of PEAT (Parents’ Education as Autism Therapists). PEAT is a charity that has inspired the creation of 20 ABA groups in Ireland, and eight ABA schools there. Mickey Keenan’s energy in driving this forward in Ireland is appreciated by many colleagues in the field.

Adoption services clarification

IN May this year we reported on the Adoption Support Services Regulations 2005, and on the uncertainties over requirements to register for self-employed practitioners who give support to people involved in the adoption process. The then President, Graham Powell, had written to the Adoption Team at the DfES for clarification. In particular, the Society wanted to know whether registration as an adoption support agency (ASA) with the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) would be needed for
chartered psychologists at all, because they are regulated under the Royal Charterl    psychologists in private practice working for adoption agencies, etc.l    psychologists providing general services in which an issue relating to adoption emerges.

The reply from the Adoption Team made it clear that psychologists holding themselves out as directly providing adoption services must be registered. The fact that a person is already registered as a psychologist was said to be ‘not enough for providing adoption services to potentially very vulnerable people’. So chartered psychologists will need to register with the CSCI before offering adoption services as statutorily defined.
However, the letter explains that psychologists in private practice doing work on behalf of ASAs, local authorities or registered adoption societies are not caught by the regulations. So undertaking referral work from exempt or registered bodies will not mean a self-employed psychologist having to separately register as an ASA.
On the question of an adoption issue becoming apparent in the course of therapy or counselling, the Adoption Team said: ‘It was not the intention of the Regulations to cover any individual or organisation who may from time to time be providing services to those affected by adoption, but who are not seeking services in relation to their adoption. And we do not consider that a counsellor in this category will become an adoption support agency within the meaning of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 (and need to be registered), unless it becomes a purpose of their practice to provide adoption-related counselling.’
The position on interim arrangements while awaiting registration was made clear in the Adoption Team’s letter. Anyone applying for registration after the regulations came into force (on 30 December 2005) may not offer adoption services pending notification of whether the application has been approved.

Civil liability insurance

A CIVIL liability policy protects psychologists from any claim resulting from professional advice or services, but Society estimates suggest that only one in five members have such cover. The Society has now compared several different suppliers and is recommending Howden.Policies should include support and advice, and cover reasonable costs incurred in the defence or settlement of a claim for professional indemnity, public liability, cases of libel and slander, and inappropriate release of confidential information.
Howden also includes additional benefits such as cover for costs from non-payment of fees; loss of documents; complaints investigation; disciplinary proceedings representation; fidelity guarantee; directors and officers’ liability; and PR to mitigate damage to reputation.
Any psychologist undertaking private work would be foolish to do so without adequate insurance. Even those in employment could find that their employer’s indemnity may not be able to help them in the event of a complaint to the Society or in circumstances where there is a dispute with the employer.

-For more information see www.howdenins.co.uk and www.bps.org.uk/98yj.
 

A few Society members have recently received voicemail messages from a person(s) claiming to be from the BPS. These messages have requested that the member call back on a number beginning with ‘070’. When members have done so, they get through to a voicemail message telling them that they are through to the BPS. They are then put on continuous hold.
Please be aware that these calls do not originate from the British Psychological Society. The matter has been reported to Ofcom, who have stated that we are not the only organisation with the initials BPS to make this enquiry and that they are investigating the issue. Ofcom have set strict rules regarding ‘070’ numbers and their provision to companies and they are concerned that this may be a scam.
We strongly advise you not to respond to unsolicited requests to contact an ‘070’ phone number. If you are unsure about returning a call, please contact the Society on our main switchboard 0116 254 9568 or
e-mail at [email protected].

Equal opportunities matters
A summary of main items discussed at a meeting of SCPEO held on Thursday 21 September 2006.
THE opening of the new, more accessible, London office was welcomed and appreciation expressed to the Facilities staff in particular for their efforts in refurbishing the building.
A number of points relating to access were noted and will be passed on as appropriate. The  equal opportunities committee will again stress to the Board of Trustees the value of involving local access groups in ‘test-driving’ the building and in keeping access issues constantly under review.
The SCPEO meeting also approved a report entitled ‘Summary of Equality Monitoring Data 2006’, which was forwarded to the Board of Trustees. Key points raised indicate that gender and age profile of the Society’s membership was not reflected in patterns of access, participation or outcomes. However data recording levels are still unreliable for Ethnic Origin, Disability, Religion, Sexual Orientation and Language and a key recommendation to the Board will be to work towards increasing the response rates in these areas. New data provided this year would indicate that women were under-represented at the Annual Conference 2006.

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