President’s column; Award for Distinguished Contributions to Professional Psychology; DOP flashmob; ethnic diversity and the workforce; and more

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

Happy New Year everyone. I hope that you have things to look forward to and a positive approach to 2010. Our stance towards the future and our inner resources are key issues addressed by the Foresight Mental Capital and Wellbeing project. This fascinating study has brought together evidence to develop a vision for understanding the opportunities and challenges facing the UK over the next few decades and how best to meet them.

Commissioned by the UK government, the report provides an independent view from over 400 experts in various fields to inform strategic planning by government departments, business and society. The report covers the issues facing people across the age span and the choices for policy makers. There are psychological issues identified throughout the report and Professor Cary Cooper outlined those relating to well-being at work when he addressed the third annual conference on ‘Psychological Therapies in the NHS’ recently (see p.16). Professor Cooper has a distinguished background in occupational psychology and is a well-known and successful advocate of the discipline. This work has implications for us all, and his overview was thought-provoking.

The conference is one event supported by the New Savoy Partnership, which brings together the key players in the therapies – professional groups (such as our own), the statutory sector and the third or independent sector. The two days of the conference covered science, practice and policy with concise summaries of current research and service developments. It was a rich mixture and a great way to learn of the most recent developments.

Planning for the future was the aim of an Away Day for the Board of Trustees. We heard updates of the work and ideas from each of the Boards: Psychology Education, Membership and Professional Training, Professional Practice, Research, and Publications and Communications. One promising new initiative has been the development of groups within the Leicester office to improve services for members. These Product Focus Groups are led by a Product Champion, with a team drawn from existing staff across various departments. Each group is dedicated to serving, maintaining and engaging the unique needs of different members; chartered and applied practitioners, students and graduates, academics and researchers and last but not least, subscribers and graduate members (who may not be working as psychologists). These groups will develop and improve services for their part of the membership.

One of the many valued services for practitioner members is the guidance issued under the auspices of the Professional Practice Board. There have recently been three sets of guidance issued. The first relates to clinically defensible decisions in the best interests of patients and relevant others: Interim Supplementary Guidance for Chartered Psychologists Seeking Approval and Acting as Approved Clinicians. The second provides a detailed explanation of the proposed Connecting Communities model: Connecting Communities, a New Horizons Strategy for Local Wellbeing Service Networks. The third is a revised edition of the implications for ethical practice in delivering psychology services over the internet and mobile telephone networks: The Provision of Psychological Services via the Internet and Other Non-direct Means (second edition).

The psychologists of the future who are currently studying at A-level or as undergraduates can get a glimpse of current research and practice across different areas of psychology at the Student Lectures, held this year in Edinburgh and London (see p.14). These one-day events included a wide range of topics. In Edinburgh the topics included self-presentation on online dating sites, evolutionary ideas about love, what makes us human, crisis negotiation, and whether or not pop music is bad for young people. In London the topics included traumatic spinal injury, talents in people with autistic spectrum disorders, brain damage, unlocking memories, and gambling addiction. These days are very popular and reaching out to young people is a real investment in the future of the discipline.

Finally, I spent some time with the Scottish Branch recently at their invitation and gave a presentation about some personal thoughts on the future of the Society. The feedback was very interesting and it was lovely to meet some old, or should I say long-standing, friends again and to discuss the past as well as the future.


Award for Distinguished Contributions to Professional Psychology
David Lane and Graham Turpin

The Professional Practice Board has honoured two psychologists with a joint Award for Distinguished Contributions to Professional Psychology 2009. The winners of the award, which recognises and celebrates psychologists who have made an outstanding contribution to professional practice, are Professor David Lane and Professor Graham Turpin.

Dr Carole Allan, Chair of the Professional Practice Board, said: ‘There was an outstanding field of candidates this year. It was impossible to choose between two such distinguished practitioners who have both made outstanding and wide-ranging contributions across the applied fields.’

Professor David Lane has been given this award in recognition of his commitment to the professional development of psychologists and workers in many other sectors. His work began in the 1970s when he pioneered the development of school-focused support services for children. This work has been widely applied in schools to manage behavioural difficulties and support the inclusion of children in classrooms. David set up what was to become the Professional Development Foundation (PDF) in 1975, of which he is Director. The Foundation provides high-level practitioner-directed research and training and develops consultancy programmes in the public and private sectors. Through the programmes produced here Professor Lane has made a significant contribution to the professional development of workers, including food scientists, vets, teachers and senior managers.

In support of his nomination, Dr Sarah Corrie said: ‘He is indeed
a “professional developer” of an extraordinary kind. Professional psychology has benefited enormously from his contribution.’

David is also the Research Director of the International Centre for the Study of Coaching at Middlesex University, where he contributes to leading-edge research in coaching. It was here that he developed the first professional doctorate in coaching. His contribution to the field
of counselling psychology and psychotherapy is immense – and in his nominating statement he is credited with ‘bringing about the professionalisation of counselling psychology’, and ‘the development of psychotherapy as a specialism for psychologists’. This contribution has extended into Europe where, alongside Judith Baron, Professor Lane created the European Association for Counselling, which now has members in 15 countries.

Raymond Woolfe, Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the Society, said in support of David’s nomination. ‘Whatever he has done in his professional life has been characterised not to personal gain, but according to professional and ethical standards, and that along the way he has been a model and an inspiration to countless individuals, both psychologists and other professionals.’

On receiving the award, Professor David Lane told The Psychologist: ‘I was delighted to receive this award and thank those who supported me, and the British Psychological Society for considering me. Over many years of working with  the Society I have had the pleasure of engaging with colleagues dedicated to ensuring psychology serves varied communities. Representing the Society in Europe has also enabled me to work with many psychologists with differing traditions but a shared interest in our profession. For all those who have helped me make my contribution and to them as well as the BPS, my thanks.’ 
The second winner of the Award for Distinguished Contributions to Professional Psychology is Professor Graham Turpin, for his tireless work and dedication to furthering the practice of clinical psychology.

Professor Turpin’s contributions to professional practice in his career to date are extensive and too numerous to mention in full. Professor Turpin has used his experience and expertise as a practising clinical psychologist to advise and develop the profession of clinical psychology nationally. He has worked closely with the Department of Health, sitting on a many advisory groups. He has convened a national working party on training clinical psychologists within the NHS and has led many negotiations. His work has culminated in a series of professional publications and reports. Most recently he has made a significant contribution to the national development of the Department of Health’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies initiative, which is making a major contribution to improving the welfare of the public.

In his supporting statement Professor Michael Wang said: ‘Graham’s contributions have been manifold and influential, broad and wide-ranging, but always in the interests of patients, the public and the discipline of psychology, both pure and applied. He has rightly acquired a legendary reputation.’

In addition to this work Graham also sits on the RAE sub-panel for Psychiatry, Neuroscience and Clinical Psychology and is Head of the School of Psychology at the University of Sheffield, formerly chair of the Division of Clinical Psychology, he has been the Editor of the DCP’s journal Clinical Psychology Forum since 2007. Professor Tony Roth succinctly summed up Professor Turpin’s many achievements in his supporting statement: ‘Graham has made a remarkable and sustained contribution to the development of clinical psychology in the UK. He has directly shaped, promoted and supported the training of applied psychologists in general and clinical psychologists in particular.’

Graham Turpin said: ‘It was a great surprise and a privilege to learn about the award. I would just like to thank all those colleagues with whom I have worked over the years to promote professional psychology, especially in the NHS, and in particular Nigel Atter, Tim Cate, Bernard Kat and Tony Lavender.’
Joanna Colburn


Congratulations re ‘Care Matters’ Consultation!             Respondents to the 2007 Care Matters (Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Northern Ireland) consultation were quoted twice in the summary report on the consultation and psychological issues were mentioned several other times in the report. The Society would like to congratulate all those involved.

Responses submitted in November:

The National Dialogue on Dementia: Dementia Strategy consultation paper (Scottish Government) The draft dementia strategy outlined the setting up of five workstreams to address key aspects of dementia care: treatment and managing behaviour; assessment, diagnosis and patient pathways; improving the general service response to dementia; rights, dignity and personalisation; and health, treatment, public attitudes and stigma. The Chair of PSIGE-Scotland (the Scottish branch of the Division of Clinical Psychology’s Faculty for Psychologists Working with Older People) considered the strategy to be an important step forward in the development of quality services for people with dementia and their carers and particularly welcomed the emphasis on the development of a person-centred culture of care. The response highlighted the roles that psychologists can have both in assessment and in the training of staff who work with people with challenging behaviour in the context of dementia. The importance of increasing access to services and of effective workforce planning were also emphasised.

Future of the Parole Board (Ministry of Justice). The role of the Parole Board has altered significantly since its creation in 1968 and it is now a quasi-judicial, decision-making body. However, its functions, status and resources have not been systematically considered in relation to these changes. This consultation was aimed at addressing these issues and at considering whether any changes to its sponsorship and role would support the Parole Board in carrying out its functions more effectively and efficiently. The Society’s response stressed that the Board should continue to provide an impartial and independent function and identified a preference for the sponsorship of the Board to remain within Access to Justice. The need for a clearer remit (via a review of the Board’s rules) was identified and a review of other processes to improve efficiency and effectiveness was also recommended.

Every School a Good School: The way forward for special educational needs and inclusion (Department of Education, Northern Ireland) This document was designed to foster a stronger, more robust framework for supporting learning, focusing on early intervention and collaborative working. Members of the Northern Ireland Branch welcomed proposals concerned with reducing the statementing process and upskilling mainstream school staff, but noted a failure to recognise the developmental nature of many of the problems discussed, and that some other issues were insufficiently addressed. It was recommended that a consortium of psychologists from the Initial Teacher Education colleges in Northern Ireland would be best placed to deliver much of the training needed for school staff.

The preparation and submission of the Society’s responses to consultations on public policy is coordinated by the Policy Support Unit (PSU). All members are eligible to contribute to responses and all interest is warmly welcomed. Please contact the PSU for further information ([email protected]; 0116 252 9926/9577). Details of active and completed consultations are available at:

Could the ‘flashmob’ – coming together in a public place to
do something striking – be the face of the future in terms of engaging the public with the Society and the discipline? In July, 21 brave members of the Division of Occupational Psychology descended on Trafalgar Square to hold up signs saying ‘I’m an Occupational Psychologist. Ask me what I do’, ‘Will develop psychometrics for food’, and similar.

Organiser and DOP Past Chair Gene Johnson said: ‘Did we achieve what we set out to? Well, lots of people did stop to look at us and talk to us. The signs were very colourful and caught attention. Admittedly, our objectives were no more ambitious than this, to get together and do something. The consensus was that we should do it again, especially now that we know it can be done and it wasn’t terribly embarrassing.’

The event itself generated quite a lot of dialogue on the Practitioner-in-Training Yahoo! group. ‘Some people felt that we should be doing a more elaborate media campaign, others wanted an impact assessment, some thought it cringingly embarrassing for us,’ Johnson said. ‘I thought the most balanced, proactive summary of the event was one which questioned whether the essence of a flashmob was somewhat lost in this event. A successfully executed flashmob event requires a fair amount of coordination, choreography (right down to rehearsals) and a sufficient amount of “shock and awe” element. There must be enough movement and surprise to make people turn their heads rather than carry on minding their own business. In the end, it is not about generating awareness in those 20 or 50 people around you at the particular moment in time, but it is about creating a viral message.’

The DOP are looking for ideas for future events, via [email protected], and Gene Johnson encourages other Divisions to consider getting similarly creative with the way they promote their work.


Ethnic diversity and the workforce

Madeleine Wyatt (Centre for Performance at Work, City University London)?and Rob Briner (Birkbeck College, University of London) report on a new Division of Occupational Psychology working group

The increasing ethnic diversity of the UK workforce continues to present a range of practical and policy challenges and opportunities for employers and government. Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) individuals make up approximately 10 per cent of the working population (National Audit Office, 2008). Clearly many of these challenges and opportunities can and should be informed by psychological research. In order to consider this and to bring together researchers and practitioners with relevant interests and expertise, the Division of Occupational Psychology has set up the Working Group on BAME Career Mobility, chaired by Tinu Cornish and Etlyn Kenny. This group met for the first time in November, and the inaugural meeting identified many areas in which occupational psychologists could contribute. Some of these are described here.

The working group had its origins in a 2008 meeting of a small group of researchers and practitioners led by Etlyn Kenny and Rob Briner (Birkbeck College) and Doyin Atewologun (Cranfield University). One striking conclusion of this discussion was the very limited quantity of UK-based research on the role of ethnicity in work behaviour. While researchers in the US recognised the lack of ethnicity research 20 years ago (e.g. Cox & Nkomo, 1990), UK occupational psychologists have only just started to acknowledge and tackle this problem. In a recent review of research on ethnicity and work behaviour Kenny and Briner (2007) examined thousands of articles published over the past 50 years in nine leading occupational psychology, organisational behaviour and human resource management journals. Just 31 research articles with ethnicity as their primary focus were found. It is therefore not surprising that occupational psychology has only had a limited impact on policy and practice in the area.

The little published research available tends to focus on selection and issues such as adverse impact (e.g. Robertson & Kandola, 1982). While this is important, many other aspects of the selection process need to be considered. Organisations are still struggling to attract, recruit and retain BAME employees; only 59.9 per cent of the UK BAME population is employed, compared to 74.1 per cent of the overall population (National Audit Office, 2008).

After the selection stage mobility and progression within organisations is a key issue. Only 6.8 per cent of management positions in the UK were held by BAME employees in 2007, resulting in a gap of 3.5 per cent between the percentage of BAME managers and BAME individuals in the UK population. More worryingly, this gap is actually forecast to increase to 4 per cent by 2015 (Race for Opportunity, 2008). Organisations such as the NHS (2009) and the Police (Home Office, 1999) have already recognised this predicament, but thus far occupational psychology has yet to properly engage with these concerns. Although research specifically focusing on ethnicity is limited the more general literature on leadership, organisational change and career development may be relevant.

Examining the role of ethnicity is not only important in relation to improving the experiences of BAME employees in the workplace, but also in contributing to the effectiveness of organisations. Research into teams, for example, suggests that diversity (including ethnicity) plays
a role in teamwork, group cohesiveness and innovation (e.g. Richard et al., 2003). Thus far, these areas have been researched largely by social psychology, sociology and management, even though they are issues that sit squarely within the realm of occupational psychology.

It was also clear from the inaugural meeting of the DOP BAME Working Group that occupational psychologists need to champion ethnicity research and also find ways of ensuring that existing theory and evidence from occupational psychology research helps inform policy and practice. The aims of the group are to not only highlight the current state of ethnicity research, but to generate input from academics and practitioners. This is in the hope that occupational psychologists can build their understanding of the real concerns faced by BAME employees and employers as well as establish a deeper understanding of the causes and possible solutions to such problems. Over the next year, the group’s outputs will include a White Paper, a seminar aimed at a wide range of practitioners and a symposium at the DOP Annual Conference.

It is forecast that BAME individuals will account for over 50 per cent of the growth in Britain’s working-age population in the next decade (Cabinet Office Strategy Unit, 2003). The setting of the DOP BAME Working Group is therefore both timely, important and, we hope be seen as relevant to psychologists. If you would like to take part in the working group or like more information please contact Tinu Cornish ([email protected]).

Cabinet Office Strategy Unit (2003). Ethnic minorities and the labour market. Retrieved 30 November 2009 from
Cox, T. & Nkomo, S.M. (1990). Invisible men and women: A status report on race as a variable in organization behavior research. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 11, 419–431.
Home Office (1999) Career progression of ethnic minority police officers. Retrieved 30 November 2009 from
Kenny, E.J. & Briner, R.B. (2007). Ethnicity and behaviour in organizations: A review of British research. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 80, 437–457.
National Audit Office (2008) Increasing employment rates for ethnic minorities. Retrieved 30 November 2009 from
NHS (2009). Access of BME staff to senior positions in the NHS. Retrieved 30 November 2009 from
Race for Opportunity (2008). Race to the top. Retrieved 30 November 2009 from
Richard, O., McMillan, A., Chadwick, K. & Dwyer, S. (2003). Employing an innovation strategy in racially diverse workforces: Effects on firm performance. Group and Organization Management, 28, 107.
Robertson, I.T. & Kandola, R.S. (1982). Work sample tests: Validity, adverse impact and applicant reaction. Journal of Occupational Psychology, 55, 171–183.

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