Society

President’s column
Liz Campbell
Contact Liz Campbell via the Society’s Leicester office,
or e-mail: [email protected]

As I wonder what to say in this column, I am staring out of my window into one of those grey, wet afternoons that Glasgow does so well. The leaves have fallen from the trees in my garden and have created a wonderful mess of slimy sludge on the lawns and paths.    

I will be escaping from the Scottish weather in December when I go to the Indian National Academy of Psychology’s annual convention in Guwahati, Assam. I have been invited to speak and also to contribute to a symposium on training and certification of psychologists. I am very much looking forward to meeting with our colleagues in India. The Society hopes to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between our two bodies with the hope of increasing collaboration.

Psychologists in India are experiencing some of the same difficulties that we have faced over the last several years. They are trying to elaborate processes of certification and accreditation for professional psychologists in order to have nationally agreed standards of education and training. At the present time there is no statutory regulation of psychologists in India.I was hoping that I would not have to mention statutory regulation in this column,  as I am sure many of you would agree that the topic has occupied a disproportionate amount  of our attention over the last few years. However, as a brief update, it is the case that we have now been informed by the Department of Health that they expect to table the necessary legislation, the section 60 Order, in both the UK and Scottish Parliaments after the Christmas recess. The Westminster parliament returns on 12 January 2009 and the Department of Health tells us that they are still working  to an expected implementation date  of 1 July 2009 for the opening of that part of the HPC’s register for practitioner psychologists.

Sometimes the inbox of my e-mail account resembles the mounds of leaves in my garden, sitting there waiting for me to do something to move them. I get a considerable amount of correspondence from members on all kinds of issues and very much appreciate the insight into members’ concerns that this gives myself, trustees and staff. I also appreciate the assistance in shifting my e-mails by the staff in the Chief Executive’s office, Nichola Whitmore-Cooper and Lynn Williamson. The task of being President would be much harder if it was not for their invaluable support and assistance.

The Society has been experimenting with various kinds of electronic communication and web-based meetings. The aim of this is not just to be more efficient and to reduce costs but also to explore more useful ways of getting the information that members need to them. We are launching a new e-newsletter in January 2009 which will go to all members. If you think that your e-mail address, as held by the Society, may have changed then please do let the membership department know ([email protected]). 

The Publications and Communications Board are responsible for our internal communications. They also have oversight of our journals, public relations and marketing, parliamentary activity, and our public engagement activities. This board has recently awarded one of their public engagement grants to Dr Sarah Davidson of the University of East London. Dr Davidson is the psychosocial adviser to the British Red Cross, and her project involves training volunteers in emotional and psychological first aid for disasters or emergency situations. This is a very welcome development and I would like to congratulate Dr Davidson and wish the project all success.

 

Occupational psychology award
Rachel Tate

A project to find alternative ship crewing solutions that can meet naval operational requirements and employees’ expectations of length of time away from home has scooped top prize in the Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology Practitioner of the Year awards. 

The project, carried out by Naval Personnel HR Research Manager Rachel Tate, was judged to have been instrumental in shaping the direction of investigations into crewing options; the approach will now be shared with other allied navies, placing the Royal Navy at the leading edge of future crewing solutions. Rachel Tate was among eight short-listed candidates in the annual competition, held in London on 12 November.

Sea-Swap, which also won the category prize for Organisational Change, involved crews swapping their ‘home’ ship for another ship in the trial, so it was important to assess the impact on psychological factors. According to the competition judges, ‘the work helped open up an otherwise closed and tightly knit community, providing significant insight into the factors which underpin team ethos, identity, ownership and loyalty’.  

Tate said: ‘I am really encouraged by this award, which recognises the tangible benefits that our profession can deliver.’

Awards were presented to recognise excellence across three other categories: Development, Assessment,  and Health and Wellbeing.

‘Hays Advance: Global Leadership Development’, submitted by Stuart Duff of Pearn Kandola, won the Development category. The project involved the Hays leadership development team working in partnership with Stuart Duff and Pearn Kandola psychologists to create Hays Advance, an innovative and challenging longitudinal process for leadership development. The Advance programme evaluates and develops leaders across the globe, focusing on individual specific challenges and providing them with the skills to deliver their business plan.

‘Redesigning the Graduate Assessment Process for the NHS’, a project carried out by Stephen Lucks at Pearn Kandola, took the Assessment award. This involved the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement working with Stephen Lucks and his colleagues to modernise the graduate assessment process, increase validity, improve the diversity of the graduate pool and improve overall efficiency. The redesign made innovative use of online screening, involving verbal and numerical testing, a situational judgement test and a bespoke motivational test validated against the current graduate pool in the NHS.

The award in the Health and Wellbeing category went to Ronny Lardner, Director of the Keil Centre, for ‘Unlocking Safety Culture Excellence – Our Behaviour Is the Key’. This project involved three international companies – Wood Group, Woodside Energy and GlaxoSmithKline – starting on linked projects to strengthen their existing safety culture, thereby reducing the risk of industrial accidents. These unique projects developed and deployed a simple, user-friendly method to recognise that good safety performance depends on safe thinking style and behaviour at all levels of the organisation. The method integrated existing external knowledge with company-specific examples.

A special Lifetime Achievement Award, set up to recognise long-term contribution to occupational psychology practice, went to Professor Chris Brotherton, whose long and distinguished career culminated in a decade to 2007 as Professor of Applied Psychology at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. Professor Brotherton was also Head of Faculty for Psychology and Management at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and has overseen the delivery of psychology courses to over 500 companies. Until his retirement last year, he was Visiting Professor of Psychology at Tianjin University of Commerce in China.

Keynote speaker at the awards event was Chris Yates, Group OD Director at HSBC Bank. The awards were sponsored by SHL, demonstrating the company’s commitment to supporting excellence in the practice of occupational psychology.

 

Use our library
The Society’s extensive book and journal collections are housed at Senate House Library, University of London. Susan Tarrant, who had been the Psychology Librarian at Senate House since 1988, recently took early retirement for personal reasons. She has been replaced by Mura Ghosh, who is keen to foster and develop the links between the Society and Senate House. She is happy to deal with general and bibliographic enquiries, and welcomes calls or e-mails from Society members (020 7862 8449; [email protected]).

Members of the Society are entitled to free reference and reduced-rate borrowing membership of Senate House Library (see www.bps.org.uk/soclib) – giving them access not only to the Society’s own library collection but also to Senate House’s own complementary psychology holdings, other subject collections, and many other resources and services.

The Library is undergoing a review that will determine its future role following a change in funding arrangements (see Society news, May 2008). Some decisions are expected by the end of this year. The Society is hopeful that its more than 60-year collaboration with Senate House will be allowed to continue well into the future.

 

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