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

Mahatma Gandhi wrote that ‘the future depends on what we do in the present’. Certainly much of the Society’s work this year will impact on the future Society and the discipline.

One of the best things about being President has been meeting members in the Branches, where networking, member support and the dissemination of psychology outside the discipline is growing. Our public engagement work is taking many different forms. For example, the new partnerships with the Wellcome Library and the Science Museum, with a BPS Curator of Psychology at the Museum, will increase the accessibility of our history for members and the public. There have been many other examples of collaboration and partnerships this year. As a social psychologist this makes perfect sense to me: we know from research that collaborative working and mutual interdependence is the most effective way of achieving positive outcomes. For example, our BPS Blackwell imprint with Wiley Blackwell continues to flourish and our collaboration with Top Santé magazine, has seen two psychology supplements distributed with the magazine to more than 886,000 readers. Within the Society the Professional Practice and Membership and Professional Training Boards are looking at the harmonisation of divisional activities whilst the Psychology Education and Research Boards are working together to ensure that the undergraduate curriculum remains firmly embedded in psychological science.

We have also begun to extend our international partnerships, embedding international relations firmly within the governance structure with clear lines of reporting, representation and accountability. Following my visits to sister organisations in China, South Africa and North America new memorandums of understanding will be signed between the BPS and the American Psychological Association and the Australian Psychological Society. We are also looking at mutual activities such as reciprocal membership arrangements, facilitation of subsystem to subsystem links and joint scientific and practice statements and positions. As a first step, a joint BPS/Psychological Society of Ireland Presidents’ international roundtable will take place at the BPS Annual Conference in Dublin. The combination of an excellent programme and the opportunity to visit Dublin will make it an event not to be missed (www.bps.org.uk/AC2008).

Dissemination of science and practice is central to our mission. Our journals have again done well (including the new Journal of Neuropsychology), and the positive outcome over revisions to the 1983 Mental Health Act was due in no small part to the input of the Mental Health Bill Working Party – again working in partnership with other organisations to ensure the best possible outcome for service users most likely to be affected by the legislation. Investment in the future such as this, and our increased support for students and newly graduated psychologists, are vital if the discipline is to continue to thrive.

Of course, 2007 will perhaps be remembered as the year when statutory regulation began to take shape and become ‘real’. The Society’s position on statutory regulation has been based entirely on the principles of public protection, and on a number of occasions we have not been afraid to stand up for our views and speak out against proposals that would compromise the integrity of ethical practice and the public’s fundamental right to protection. It has been important to me, as President, that our negotiations, decisions and communications have been open and transparent, and I have valued the comments, questions and suggestions from individual members and subsystems. The consultation on legislation is currently in process. The Society is making a single response that takes account of the views of members and subsystems. It is important that we speak with one voice that has the weight of our membership. We do not know what the final legislation laid before Parliament will look like – but we can say that if we have concerns we will again speak out, and if that is necessary we may ask members at that time to respond.

So watch this space! Statutory regulation will mean changes for some individual members and to some parts of the Society. But it will also provide the opportunity to focus our resources and look at ways we can develop existing and new functions and services to the discipline and the profession. Let’s not forget that the Society will retain most of its functions as the professional body for British psychology with over 45,000 members.

So how has the year been for me? Well, I can honestly say that it has been a privilege to serve as President at a unique time in the Society’s history. Alice Walker wrote ‘Every small positive change we make in ourselves repays us in confidence in the future’, and I am confident that the Society and the discipline will continue to grow and flourish, not least because of the support and contributions of you the members and the staff, who in fact are the Society. Without your energy and enthusiasm we would not have achieved a fraction of what we have done.

Finally, I would like offer my best wishes to Liz Campbell for the coming year, I am sure that the Society is safe in Liz’s hands and that it will continue to advance and promote psychology pure and applied.

A new-style Annual Review, developed by our public relations team as a web-based resource to back up the Annual Report, is available at www.bps.org.uk/AnnualReview. See www.bps.org.uk/statreg for the latest on statutory regulation.

Mutual recognition of CPD in UK and Ireland

The Psychological Society of Ireland and the British Psychological Society have formally agreed to recognise each other’s continuing professional development schemes. The agreement will apply to members who hold registered membership of the PSI and chartered membership with the BPS and hold a practising certificate.

This will mean that such dual-membership psychologists will need to submit a log of CPD activity only to the national society where they practise. If the submission is accepted as complying with that society’s CPD requirements if it will automatically be accepted as satisfying the conditions of the other. Members who practise in both jurisdictions will need to submit a log only to the society where they live.Members of both the BPS and PSI will be asked to indicate when submitting
CPD logs if they are members of both societies and, if so, to note their membership numbers of both the BPS
and PSI on the CPD logs submitted.

Award for Promoting Equality of Opportunity 2007
Adrian Webster

The Standing Committee for the Promotion of Equal Opportunities is pleased to announce that Adrian Webster is the winner of the 2007 Award for Promoting Equality of Opportunity. He has been recognised for his pioneering and innovative work with people who are often socially excluded. Professor Philippa Garety, who nominated Adrian Webster, said: ‘Adrian has worked within community mental health in London for 16 years. He is outspoken about equality for black and minority ethnic groups and his tireless campaigning has improved the lives of many people.’Adrian Webster has been committed to improving the accessibility and acceptability of clinical psychology services for black and minority ethnic (BME) communities since training in
east London in the 1980s. He is currently Head of Clinical Psychology Services in Lambeth, south east London, for the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SL&M).

In Newham, east London, he established a process of consulting with local communities. He then established various projects designed to support and capacity-build the BME voluntary sector, including establishing a counselling service in an Asian elders’ day centre and developing workshops for workers which addressed issues of stress, gender and culture.

Adrian has been Head of Adult Mental Health Psychology in Lambeth since 1998. He became SL&M Trust lead for refugees and developed a Trust-wide action plan to develop services for these groups. He established a network of lead psychologists and provided guidance and consultation to enable them to develop more appropriate services for BME communities. Subsequently, numerous small-scale initiatives have been established, including satellite clinics in voluntary sector settings and offering consultation, training and supervision to BME voluntary sector workers. He has organised conferences and delivered training to psychologists in order to disseminate the learning from these initiatives.

Adrian is a prominent authority in his field and is frequently invited to offer consultations and run workshops regarding the accessibility and acceptability of local psychology services to his counterparts around the UK. In 2005 he was awarded a grant by the King’s Fund to establish a psychology post specifically to work with and learn from the BME voluntary sector and faith groups. He has published a number of accounts of his work in Clinical Psychology Forum and The Psychologist (e.g. www.bps.org.uk/xmdb). He is an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a member of the National Steering Committee of the Race and Culture Faculty of the DCP.

On accepting the award Mr Webster said: ‘I am delighted to receive this award as a recognition of both the importance of this field of work and of the efforts of numerous psychologists and membersof BME communities I have worked with. Whilst the outcome of being chosen to receive the award is in itself a great honour, the process of reading the submissions of colleagues, BME community organisations and service users in support of the application, has also given me immense satisfaction and pride. I am grateful for the support and commitment of managers within South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust which has enabled me to carry out this work.’

Strengthening links with the A-level syllabus

The Society’s relationship with the exam board OCR continued to bear fruit in January, with two well-attended and successful events to introduce A-level teachers to the new specification. The ‘core studies’ element has been produced with clear links to resources in The Psychologist and the Research Digest (see www.researchdigest.org.uk/ocr).Authors of two of the core studies – Mark Griffiths, and Alex Haslam and Steve Reicher – attended the Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds and the Marylebone Casino in London to talk about their work. Both talks were passionate and intellectual in equal measure, and were well received by the assembled teachers.

Discussions are under way with the other major exam boards over other ways to get the Society’s free Research Digest service to as many teachers and pupils as possible.

 

News from the boards

Research Board 23 January 2008   

Behaviour change and climate change Professor David Uzzell has agreed to convene an advisory panel to prepare a report on the contributions of psychology to understanding behaviour change and the wider agenda of climate change. The panel would also consider a proposal to hold a large-scale conference on this topic.

HEFCE consultation on the Research Excellence Framework (REF) The Board considered the draft response to HEFCE on the REF prepared by the Joint Committee for Psychology in Higher Education. There was strong support for psychology being included as a science and a STEM subject.

Report on the future of conferences

A document on the future development of the Annual Conference and Edinburgh and London Lectures was discussed. It was agreed to circulate the report to all subsystems and boards for comment.

Draft statement on the evaluation of applied behaviour analysis in the DENI (2002) Taskforce Report on Autism The Board approved the draft statement. This is also to be considered by the Professional Practice Board before submission to DENI.

Proposed graduate basis for registration (GBR) curriculum The Board commented that the curriculum should reflect that psychology is a science; that it should be consistent with the revised QAA Benchmarking Statement; and that conceptual and historical issues and research design and methodology are best taught as components of other general courses rather than as specific course units. These comments would fed back to the Chair of the Psychology Education Board.

Academy of Social Sciences Six nominations for Academicians had been submitted in December 2007. The outcome of nominations should be known in March.

Impact of Psychology Project A bid for £3000 had been submitted to the ESRC to carry out an evaluation of the impact of psychology.

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