President’s letter, October 2017

Nicola Gale writes.

This autumn sees the usual round of political party conferences, packed with speeches, fringe events, planned and serendipitous meetings. Policies are launched, big ideas tested, and opportunities taken to influence agendas.  

This year the Society is attending both the Conservative and Labour conferences. Our policy team and our consultants Westminster Advisers work hard to plan our strategy and set up key meetings, contacting not only ministerial teams or members of select committees who have responsibilities in the areas we wish to influence, but also a broader base of politicians with a relevant background or interest, for example having disclosed relevant personal experience, or asked a parliamentary question.   

All our effort is geared to achieving our impact statement, that ‘People are equipped with the everyday psychological skills and knowledge to navigate a complex world, knowing themselves and others better. Everyone can access evidence-based psychology to enhance their lives, communities and wider society.’ We have developed a set of core policy objectives across practice, research, education and training and public policy. The party conferences provide a perfect opportunity to gain traction and build our reputation with policy makers by repeating and emphasising these public policy messages:
•    All new government statements and policy papers should include a description of the problem/issue from a psychological perspective that is informed by psychological evidence.  
•    All policy interventions should be designed to reflect the social determinants of human behaviour and response to social and environmental causes as well as purely individual, dispositional ones.  
•    All new policy interventions that aim to change human behaviour should be chosen based upon
a robust evidence base for their effectiveness.  
•    Governments should commit to prevention and reflect this in legislation, policy priorities, budget allocations and departmental targets.  
•    All government statements should contain a measurable objective to enhance the experience
of individuals, communities and wider societies.  

Our focus this year is on the core policy objectives in relation to children and young people’s mental health; the shape of the mental health workforce; and the work and health agenda. Our policy objectives and impact statement must become recognisable and consistent across all our policy work. How might this approach change things in your field?   

- Contact Nicola Gale via [email protected]

BPS Members can discuss this article

Already a member? Or Create an account

Not a member? Find out about becoming a member or subscriber