President’s column; Fellowship; North West/North East of England Branch Conference; and more

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

Our Divisions (how appropriate is this term implying separateness?) are an important part of our Society, and I recently have been the guest of the Division of Occupational Psychology (DOP). In November I provided a session for the keen and enthusiastic first cohort of their Leadership Development Programme at a residential weekend; this is a pioneer initiative that benefits DOP volunteers by developing their leadership capabilities and helps succession planning within the Division. This might usefully be spun out to other parts of the Society, and certainly demonstrates that the Division practises what it preaches. In January I attended their annual Division Conference in Chester; there were over 400 delegates there, ranging from undergraduate and postgraduate students to renowned practitioners and academics, including many international attendees. The whole conference was extremely well organised and started off with a ‘getting to know you’ session similar to musical chairs, which ensured that everybody had met a number of fellow delegates from the outset. In addition to this there was an ‘ambassador programme, which provided useful support for first-time conference attendees. Both these practices again could be copied elsewhere, and the buzz they created carried on for the entire conference. On top of this there was a caricaturist who went round doing sketches of delegates that were then displayed. There was ample opportunity to network, and a very varied programme including workshops, roundtables and seminars as well as the more conventional lectures and keynote international and national speakers. Amongst topics that intrigued me were the drive for ‘evidence-based management’, the debate re the ‘General Factor of Personality’ (the Big or Great One), work–family relationships (especially with the growth of social media) and retirement. The strap line of the whole conference was the very appropriate one of ‘connecting and contributing to make a difference’, and there was ample evidence of the effect that psychology was having on communities,organisations, teams and individuals.

In membership terms the DOP is our second largest Division, but it is still in size terms way behind our largest Division, the Division of Clinical Psychology (DCP). As I have mentioned before, there is a lot of excellent work going on in the Divisions that members could be more aware of, and which offers considerable potential for collaboration and joint working. The DCP has a very complicated set of subsystems, including regional and national Branches. It has 14 Faculties covering specialist areas such as eating disorders and perinatal psychology that are linked together through five Clinical Leads. They also produce a wealth of publications; these include the monthly Clinical Psychology Forum, plus over 90 separate publications including good practice guidelines, advice and guidance, briefing papers and occasional papers. All these publications are listed and are available from the Online BPS Shop, and it is well worth looking through the wealth of material available there.

This leads me to pointing out that besides the books and journals that we produce with Wiley-Blackwell (and the new PsychSource resource) there is a wealth of other publications, including our inhouse literature (such as the DCP ones), The Psychologist, our Research Digest (which is now nearly 10 years old and has considerable international impact, especially in the United States, providing an easily accessible widely used resource that presents an excellent image of our discipline to the public and others; it had 2.5 million page views last year, with 25,000 followers on Twitter) and also of course BPS social media.

One debate I will draw your attention to here, which is likely to affect us all, is the growing interest in open access (see for example Some see this as being the future for all academic publishing, offering basically free online access to the results of publicly funded research. It mainly covers peer-reviewed journal articles and conference papers, but also can include theses, monographs and book chapters.

The proposals are particularly science led, where the currency of findings may be relatively short (my old Vice Chancellor, an engineer, once recommended to me throwing away all journals over six months old) and where publication tends to be relatively quick.

This initiative is partly driven by the cost of journals to libraries, which is estimated at around £200m a year for the UK for work produced (either via research grants or university block grants) that is largely funded by taxpayers. It also has nobler motives; it is claimed that the action will widen the audience for research, making it more visible with greater impact, and there is evidence that open access work is more likely to be cited.

There are a number of issues involving copyright, and there are also ‘hybrid’ variants but there are two basic proposals, One is for ‘Green’ self-archiving, where authors publish and then archive a version of their article for free public use in their institutional repository or in some other open-access repository. There is also an embargo period (varying depending on the nature of the discipline) and there
are worries that if this is too short then libraries will cancel subscriptions. The alternative is ‘Gold’ publishing, where authors pay an article publication charge (which may be a substantial sum of money) to a journal for their paper to be made available online, free of charge, as soon as it is published. The costs for this could be included in research grants or provided (nominally) directly to institutions via block grants, but there are concerns that an unintended consequence of this may be that institutions will ration what they will support for any one author.

If this does come to pass (and the indications are that it will, though the ongoing situation is still fluid and developing differently in some parts of the world) then there are concerns about the possible financial impact this might have on our Society, as well as the impact on researchers. We do need to be aware that such developments are taking place, and we should be adding our voices to the ongoing debates where necessary, and plan for potential outcomes. 

Ethical Guidelines
The Society’s guidelines for conducting internet mediated research, first published in 2007, are being revised, and the draft revised guidelines have now been published for consultation.

A copy of the draft guidelines can be obtained by e-mail from [email protected], along with a pro forma for any feedback that you may wish to provide. All comments should be returned by Friday 12 April 2013.


The Society has undertaken a number of significant membership projects over the last couple of years, from introducing the Subscriber membership grades for those with interest in psychology, to producing the welcome pack for newly admitted Chartered Members. The most recent of these projects has been to revise the guidance information for applicants seeking to become a Fellow of the Society. 

A Fellowship is recognition of significant contribution to the advancement or communication of psychological knowledge or practice either by research, teaching, publications or public service, or by organising and developing the work of others. It is the highest title a member can apply for.

The Society encourages applications from members who work within all settings including the NHS, prison services, social care, education, business, sport those who work in independent practice settings or within academic institutions.

The Society believes the title should be attainable by members across all areas of the discipline, and the revised guidance and application information, which sets out the criteria for the award, also provides examples of who may be eligible. Please visit the Society’s website for further information.

Are you ready for the HCPC CPD monitoring?

Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registration renewals will be sent to registered practitioner psychologists in March 2013. Each time a registrant renews their registration with the HCPC, you will be asked to sign to confirm that you have met the HCPC’s CPD standards. A random sample (2.5 per cent) will also be selected for audit and will be required to provide an accurate record (with supporting evidence) of CPD activities for the past two years.
Details of the HCPC CPD standards can be found on the HCPC website:
Sample HCPC CPD profiles for practitioner psychologists are available on the HCPC website (


Scottish Branch Undergraduate Conference
The Scottish Branch annual Undergraduate Conference is a great opportunity for final-year students to present their dissertation findings to other students, and for third- and fourth-years to hear about the research being carried out by their peers around Scotland. The conference will be held on Saturday 23 March at the University of Abertay, and there is no charge to attend. Information will be provided about postgraduate courses around Scotland, with a free lunch and
a keynote speaker.

Register online at
. There are only 200 places for the event and students will be registered on a first-come, first-served basis, so please make sure you apply as soon as you can!


Basking in reflections of glory
North East/North West of England Branch Conference 2012, reported by Andrew J. Manley (Leeds Metropolitan University)
and Julie Freeborn (Occupational Psychologist)

The Etihad Stadium in Manchester, home to the current English Premier League Champions Manchester City FC, proved a fitting venue for a conference aiming to prompt reflection on a golden summer for British sport. The fifth annual North East of England Branch Conference (organised in collaboration with the North West of England Branch) invited delegates, including academics, students and practitioners from a wide range of psychological domains, to report and reflect on their experiences of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, whilst also challenging them to consider how psychological research and practice can continue to make a significant contribution to the fieldof sport and exercise in the future.

The conference programme read like a ‘teamsheet’ of top players from the worlds of academia, consultancy and athletic performance, all eager to share aspects of their work and experience with the aim of encouraging deliberation, discussion and debate. The speakers certainly did not disappoint. The opening workshop of the conference, facilitated by Jon Finn, Professor Jim McKenna and Dr Andrew Manley (all from Leeds Metropolitan University) used a combination of group activities and contemporary psychological evidence to explain how the principles of sport psychology have been utilised to enhance the performance of client groups, including school children, university students, athletes and coaches. At the same time, Helen Brown, James Hazlett and Christopher Wright (also from Leeds Metropolitan) described some of the challenges they faced when supporting high-level youth athletes aiming to achieve future Olympic success in Rio. To close the session, Stuart Larner (freelance writer and Chartered Psychologist) described key moments in athletes’ experiences of failure, including an interesting insight into the sensory demands of motor racing (e.g. the challenge of driving through tunnels and back into light at high speed whilst trying to avoid potential hazards).

The second of the two morning sessions was dominated by a concept often cited by sports performers, pundits and the press as one of the primary determinants of athletic success, yet it remains a topic that has been fiercely debated by researchers in sport and exercise psychology for over a decade; that concept is mental toughness. Dr Lee Crust (University of Lincoln) reported findings to indicate that high levels of mental toughness as measured by the Mental Toughness Questionnaire-48 (MTQ-48) are associated with increased pass rates in a sample of university sport students. On the surface, such findings have important implications for the identification and measurement of mental toughness, although Dr Crust did make reference to a recent challenge within the literature (Gucciardi et al., 2012) which questioned the MTQ-48 as a valid measure of mental toughness.

Enter John Perry (Leeds Trinity University College) whose presentation aimed to provide empirical support for the factorial validity of the MTQ-48 as a commercially licensed measure of mental toughness. It is always a challenge to clearly articulate and explain the findings of a study comprising over 8000 participants within a 15-minute overview, and convincing the audience of the authenticity of his findings became an even tougher task for John following an unfortunate yet rather amusing verbal slip where he described his methodological approach as exploratory structural equation ‘medalling’ rather than ‘modelling’! Following his engaging presentation (for which John was awarded the Early Career Researcher Prize), a great deal of questioning ensued where the reliability of the MTQ-48 and a revised version of the measurement tool were central topics of discussion – even the chair of the session was drawn into the debate! John should be commended for explicitly referring to his work as ‘evolution not revolution’, clearly expressing his desire to change and adapt to the emerging evidence base. It is to be expected that many of the delegates who were fortunate enough to attend this session will be looking forward to exploring John’s data in greater depth when it is published in the near future (Perry et al., in press).

The morning session continued with a workshop on acceptance and commitment therapy delivered by Fiona Randall (Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust) and Elizabeth Burnside (Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board). The workshop encouraged delegates to reflect on the benefits of achieving a life lived in accordance with core values, rather than the limited satisfaction of achieving (and then resetting) goals. Goal setting, while still hugely popular as an intervention in sport and exercise contexts, has been recently questioned in terms of the extent to which it can facilitate happiness. Interestingly, most delegates reported feeling satisfied with their ‘lot’ following this session, which provided alternative perspectives and strategies based on acceptance and commitment therapy.

The afternoon commenced with a series of interactive poster presentations, which took an innovative approach to allowing presenters to discuss their work with a wider audience and covered topics such as imagery preference amongst footballers, and the impact of physical activity on quality of life in people with psychosis. The poster session was followed by a hugely engaging presentation by the keynote speaker, Dr Steve Peters (consultant psychiatrist currently residing with the British Cycling Team and Sky ProCycling). In outlining his working model of the functioning human mind (commonly referred to as the ‘Chimp’ model), Steve offered an excellent overview of the biology of the brain in an accessible manner, whilst also alluding to strategies that can be effective in optimising human performance. As a psychiatrist with a medical background who is now working in elite sport, Steve commented comically about his sense of having ‘entered the lions’ den’ in agreeing to speak to an audience consisting mainly of sport psychology practitioners and students. However, despite making a clear distinction between the approaches adopted within the fields of psychology and psychiatry, Steve was quick to acknowledge the professional benefits he has gleaned from working closely with psychologists from a range
of backgrounds and domains.

Once the keynote presentation had drawn to a close (and Steve had finished signing numerous copies of his book for several inspired delegates ‘and their chimps’), the conference concluded with a panel discussion session comprising of star-studded guests Danielle Brown (double Paralympic gold medallist in archery), Phil Clarke (former professional rugby league player and correspondent for Sky Sports), Mick Hill (former Olympian and javelin coach to Olympic champion heptathlete Jessica Ennis) and Laura Weightman (British Champion and 2012 Olympic finalist in the women’s 1500 metres). A raft of questions from the audience (some more challenging than others) were put to the panel, prompting the four guests to reflect not only on the sporting events of 2012, but also their own careers and the extent to which psychology had impacted on each of them. A key message that the panel seemed to unanimously agree on was that psychology as a scientific discipline has much to offer people who are involved in sport at all levels, and that the challenge for researchers and practitioners is to devise effective ways of making the discipline more appealing, accessible and accepted by sports performers and their support teams. Just as the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games aimed
to ‘inspire a generation’, it is hoped that on some level, the discussions that took place during the final panel session and the conference as a whole will have inspired the next generation of educators, researchers and practitioners to immerse themselves in this burgeoning field of science known as sport and exercise psychology.

Gucciardi, D.F., Hanton, S. & Mallett, C.J. (2012). Progressing measurement in mental toughness: A case example of the Mental Toughness Questionnaire 48. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 1(3), 194–214.
Perry, J.L., Clough, P.J., Crust, L. et al. (in press). Factorial validity of the Mental Toughness Questionnaire-48. Personality and Individual Differences


RAPPS – route closure

The Society’s online Register of Applied Psychology Practice Supervisors (RAPPS)is designed to recognise psychologists with special expertise in supervision. The register, which is open to all Chartered Members of the Society, provides a resource for trainees looking for a supervisor. All entrants receive a certificate confirming their registration. 

Alongside the training route the register has, since opening, operated grandparenting criteria for candidates who have delivered supervision for a minimum of one year in the last five years. This grandparenting route will close on 1 April 2013 and applications after this date will not be accepted.  

If you’re not in a position to apply before the deadline it will still be possible to join the register by completing one of the Society’s approved training courses. Please visit the Society’s online shop to access course dates and availability.
- Please visit the Society’s website for further information and to download an application form.

EuroPsy – Important information

The Society is the UK body approved by the European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations (EFPA) to award the European Certificate in Psychology (EuroPsy). Psychologists who are Chartered Members of the Society and/or registered with the HCPC are eligible to apply for EuroPsy by one of two routes – Standard or Transitional.

The Transitional Route enables candidates who achieved Chartered status by dint of a previously recognised grandparent route, or, who have been admitted to the HCPC’s register via grandparenting or as international applicants, to apply for EuroPsy for a limited period. It is our understanding that EFPA intends to close the Transitional route to new applicants in July 2013. After this date, only candidates who meet the Standard route criteria will be eligible for the award ofEuroPsy. If you are interested in becoming EuroPsy registered and did not complete a training route that is currently accredited by the Society or the HCPC, you will need to apply as a Transitional route candidate. If you believe that the Transitional route applies to you, you are strongly advised to submit your EuroPsy application by 28 June 2013.
I    For more information and to download an application form, please visit the Society’s EuroPsy web page –

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