Society

Seminar on social inclusion; policy support unit; and more

Social inclusion – Our business? The Society’s Professional Practice Board is sponsoring a seminar on social inclusion, to take place on 5 October. David Carew from the Department for Work and Pensions will be a keynote speaker.The seminar will give an ideal opportunity for updates on government and Society work in the area.

Social inclusion – Our business?

The Society’s Professional Practice Board is sponsoring a seminar on social inclusion, to take place on 5 October. David Carew from the Department for Work and Pensions will be a keynote speaker. The seminar will give an ideal opportunity for updates on government and Society work in the area. This largely stems from 1999’s National Service Framework for Mental Health (see tinyurl.com/4pyh7) and 2004’s Cabinet Office Social Exclusion Unit consultation (tinyurl.com/24s3le) on how to reduce the social exclusion of working age adults with mental health problems. This report highlighted the impact of stigma and ignorance about mental health issues. It suggested that support to gain employment was perceived as a low priority for health and social care services, despite evidence linking employment with improved mental health. Mechanisms to support the transition to work are too complex and easily misunderstood, and a lack of access to social activities leads to pervasive feelings of isolation and a reduced likelihood of recovery.Responsibility for implementing the action plan fell to the National Social Inclusion Programme (NSIP: see www.socialinclusion.org.uk), a cross-departmental government initiative hosted within the National Institute for Mental Health in England. The Society was a founding member of NSIP’s Affiliates Network, and our current project on workforce development emerged from this partnership in 2005. In collaboration with the other four major professions involved in mental health services (psychiatry, nursing, occupational therapy and social work), we developed ‘capabilities for inclusive practice’. These will promote recovery, respect diversity and difference, involve service users and carers and facilitate positive risk taking. These will inform the training of applied psychologists at undergraduate and postgraduate levels: they are already integrated into the training of clinical psychologists and efforts are being made to negotiate their influence on the graduate basis for registration.
This process of internal negotiation has highlighted other ways the Society can contribute to NSIP’s promotion of socially inclusive practice. The Division of Clinical Psychology has commissioned a Good Practice Guide to support dialogue about the complexities and challenges its members may face when working in more inclusive ways. The Professional Practice Board has supported the production of cross-Divisional guidelines, which should certainly include issues of social inclusion. It has also identified it as a major topic area for the Society, and is considering a number of possible routes to take this work forwards, including working more closely with the Cabinet Office’s recently formed Social Exclusion Task Force.
Dr Mark Hayward, the Society’s workforce development representative at NSIP, said: ‘The Minister for Health, Rosie Winterton, has described social inclusion for people with mental health problems as a moral imperative. I think that the link between the needs, identity, aspirations and behaviour of individuals in distress and the needs, identity, aspirations, and behaviour of their local communities is a psychological imperative as well.’ Dr Fabian Davis, the Society’s affiliate to NSIP, said: ‘It is fitting that the social inclusion agenda is now a cross-Divisional issue for the Society – much more inclusive!’

To register an interest in attending the seminar, please e-mail [email protected].

 

Selected news from the boards
Research Board (19 January 2007)
- Research Assistantship Scheme: Following a review of similar schemes, the criteria for the award have been further developed and approved by the RA Scheme Subcommittee. The scheme would be advertised in The Psychologist and via the Association of Heads of Psychology Departments. The closing date for applications is 30 April. For details e-mail [email protected].

- Statutory regulation: The Department of Health have requested a meeting with Joint Committee for Psychology in Higher Education representatives to discuss the position of academics and researchers within the proposals.

- Research Seminar Scheme: Four seminars have been funded, covering social influence on memory, the nutrition–behaviour axis, forensic and investigative judgements, and childhood neurodevelopmental and behavioural problems.

- Postgraduate Study Visit Scheme: Visits to the following universities have been funded: Free University of Brussels – implicit learning; McGill University – autistic spectrum disorder; Queens University, Belfast – motor learning; University of Wales, Bangor – developmental dyslexia; Dalhousie University – human attention; Duke University – catching and tracking in birds.

- History of Psychology Centre: The draft agreement with the Wellcome Library and the proposed merger of the HOPC library holdings into the Society’s official library at Senate House were approved.l    Research Assessment Exercise 2008, questions for the subpanel chairs: Professor Dianne Berry would be attending the AHPD meeting in February to answer questions on the RAE. Any questions on the process should be forwarded to the Scientific Officer. The JCPHE were to seek clarification about which metric base would be used for psychology in the next RAE.

Professional Practice Board (2 February 2007)
- New Ways of Working for Applied Psychologists: NWW was primarily focused on mental health provision within the NHS in England. It did, however, raise concerns for those who did not work directly within NHS structures. The project was still ongoing and final conclusions had not yet been reached. All responses to the NWWAP Progress Report had been forwarded to Tony Lavender. A NWW Mental Health Conference will be held in Leeds on 25 April. This would focus on the wider NWW project across all mental health disciplines. A Society-sponsored NWWAP Conference will be held on 20 July at the Walkers Stadium in Leicester. This would provide an opportunity for project findings to be communicated to members. (See www.bps.org.uk/ppb)

- Expert Witnesses and Disclosure of Psychometric Tests: The PTC and Expert Witness Working Party would consider rephrasing the Statement on the Conduct of Psychologists providing Expert Psychometric Evidence to Courts and Lawyers document following criticism of the Society’s advice on this matter by the courts.

- Capacity Working Party: The Code of Practice, part of the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act would be delayed until April. The provision of capacity advocates for those who lack capacity will come into force on 1 April 2007. This provision applies only to statutory providers of care. See www.bps.org.uk/ppb for more.

- Crisis, Trauma & Disasters: A web page has been created at www.bps.org.uk/ppb

- NHS Psychology Posts: Following a petition from the National Assessors a vote had been held and it had been decided in favour of postponing sending a letter to NHS employers. The letter would be revised and a draft brought back to the Board for further consideration prior to circulation.

 

Teaching psychology
Teaching of Psychology to Other Professions (TOPTOP) is a standing committee of the Psychology Education Board. One of its primary aims is to assist those who are teaching psychology but do not have qualifications in the field. The committee is looking to produce best practice guidelines, a core curriculum and to run workshops to give teachers an overview of the core areas of psychology. This should enable teachers to get a feel for which areas of psychology will be most relevant to their students. Statements of interest from those who are interested in joining the committee to help with these projects will be welcome. Candidates do not necessarily need to have qualifications in psychology to join the committee, as input from a range of backgrounds will be helpful. If you would like further information or a statement of interest form please go to www.bps.org.uk/toptop. Alternatively you can contact Paul Kelman on 0116 252 9585 or e-mail: [email protected].

From the Policy Support Unit

The past month has been a very busy one for the PSU, with responses having been posted to no fewer than 14 external consultations. We are very grateful to all those members of the Society who gave up their time to work on these responses. The responses can be viewed at www.bps.org.uk/consult; however, two are of particular note and are highlighted below.

Bearing Good Witness – proposals for reforming the delivery of medical expert evidence in family law cases (response to the Department of Health). The preparation of the Society’s response to this consultation sparked the interest of a large number of contributors and generated a detailed e-mail discussion lasting for almost four months. Our particular thanks go to Paul Cousins of the DCP Forensic Faculty, for somehow collating the many and diverse comments into a single response with which all contributors were able to agree. This response began by noting the Department of Health’s failure to consult the Society formally on this issue and continued by pointing out that the proposals lacked both a consideration of the range of applied psychologists involved in expert witness work within the family court system and also a recognition that most of these are not employed within the NHS. It was argued that the consultation paper obfuscated the differing roles of psychology and medicine within family proceedings and significant concerns were identified regarding the practicalities associated with the proposed model and also in relation to its ability to ensure the provision of good quality evidence.

National Occupational Standards for Psychological Therapies (response to Skills for Health).The Society’s response to this consultation is notable for having been received by Skills for Health as one for which they had been ‘particularly looking’. In its response, the Society expressed support for the development of National Occupational Standards in the psychological therapies. However, a number of points were also raised in connection with the proposals outlined, including: a need for greater reference to be made to NICE guidelines; the importance of approaching competences for psychological therapy with children as a separate matter (rather than just seeing whether adult approaches have to be adapted); a need for greater user-centredness; and a need for considerable elaboration of the model. Several points were also made in connection with the proposed working methods and timescale and it was suggested that a greater emphasis on ethics and supervision would be helpful. The response concluded with offers for the Society to nominate people to assist with expert groups and to provide responses to other draft documents as the project progresses. Subsequent correspondence with Skills for Health suggest that these offers are likely to be accepted.

 

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