President’s column

The first offering from new Society President Professor Jamie Hacker Hughes.

Contact Jamie Hacker Hughes via the Society’s Leicester office, or e-mail: [email protected]

This is very strange for me to write as my first column as your new Society President. At the time of writing, Professor Dorothy Miell is still serving the final few weeks of her presidency, the team of Trustees that I have been working with over the past year as President Elect (a year, by the way, which I have found to have been incredibly helpful and insightful, but more of that later) is still intact and the BPS colonisation of the ACC in Liverpool for the 2015 Annual Conference is all still yet to happen. We will not yet have heard Professor Sir Cary Cooper’s keynote address, nor Professor Miell’s Presidential Address, nor that after dinner speech by the Reverend Richard Coles (of Saturday Live and Communards fame) following the gala dinner in that iconic venue by the quayside in Liverpool docks.

But all these things have indeed now come to pass as you read this and so it is now time to express some heartfelt thanks and to say some goodbyes. The first thanks must go to my predecessor, Professor Dorothy Miell, who has just come to the end of her term as the Society’s 80th president. Dot has been a very steady and firm hand at the Society’s wheel and under her guidance, first as President Elect and then as President, she has presided over the introduction of the Society’s new strategic plan and has also overseen a number of important reviews, including a review of the way in which the BPS exercises its governance. I am delighted that Professor Miell now moves into the role of the Vice President and I look forward to her sage and accessible advice being afforded to Professor Peter Kinderman, our new President Elect, and myself over the coming year.

As we welcome Peter into his new role, however, it is also time for us to say farewell to a number of Trustees who have now left the Board, many after a very considerable length of service to the Society. Dr Richard Mallows has just ended his term as Vice President and has served as one of our honorary officers since 2008, first as Honorary Treasurer, then as President Elect and then as President before his most recent role. Professor Pam Maras has stepped down after five years as Honorary General Secretary, the first of these in a dual role with her final year on the Presidential Team, to be succeeded by Professor Carole Allan, also previously a President. Dr Gerry Mulhern ends three years as a Trustee, having been on the Presidential Team before that, and Professor Ken Brown ends over 10 years’ service to the Board, including a term as Honorary Treasurer, then serving as President and Vice President and finally two terms as a Trustee, Dr Lyndsey Moon and Dr Gene Johnson also step down after two terms each as Trustees, in addition to a number of other Society roles.

Finally, Professor Judi Ellis ends two terms as Chair of the Research Board to be succeeded by Professor Daryl O’Connor. May I say a very sincere thank you, on behalf of all in the Society, to them all and we wish them well for the future. In their place we welcome Peter, Carole and our three new Trustees, Dr Abigail Locke, Dr Chris Lynch and Dr Lindsay O’Dell to the Board. We expect great things of them all, and I know that we shall not be disappointed.

This is an extremely exciting time to be your Society President. We are in the midst of a wide second consultation on the review of our member networks, which we launched at the society’s AGM at Annual Conference. The consultation is now in progress and remains open for all your comments until 6 July. Please, if you have not responded already, may I urge you to do so now. I should like members’ response to this consultation on the future organisation of our Society, which will so much determine our future contribution to our work and life outside it, to far outstrip the turnout at this year’s General Election. Please tell all your colleagues about it. To participate, if you have not already done so, go to the member network review webpage.

Please give us your input now, and please share the link as widely as you can with fellow psychologists, especially those who are not currently members of our Society. Thank you. I shall be reporting on the progress of this most important set of changes as they are considered, decided upon and implemented month by month.

My priorities over the coming year as your new President are to work towards achieving a higher profile for our profession, a stronger voice for psychology, and greater influence and impact on policy and practice locally, nationally across our four nations and internationally, and to seek to achieve better access, equality and transparency both into and across our Society. In other words, seeking to build our profile, our voice, our influence and our organisation so that we may continue to develop and grow as we go into the future.

As part of this vision, the editor of The Psychologist, Dr Jon Sutton, has been receptive to my ideas around themed content for topics of personal interest to me which also demonstrate the policy impact of psychology. This month’s related article is from Angela Carter, on youth unemployment, to tie in with my focus on homelessness, unemployment and social justice. The themes for July are Sport and Exercise, Physical and Mental Health and, for August, Languages and Culture, Cognition, Travel, and Aviation. We are planning to put the full programme on the website, with other information, in a newly created ‘President tab’ on the website as soon as we can make this available. We shall be reinforcing these themes through our press releases, and I would also encourage member networks to echo them around the country wherever possible. I am now encouraging member networks to nominate members who are subject matter experts in any of these areas, and skilled communicators, to join me in a ‘President’s Panel’, telling everyone about the fantastic work that psychology and psychologists are doing.

To contact me about this, or anything else, e-mail [email protected] or find me on Twitter. I shall also be writing a weekly blog which will be posted on the website and, when I am tweeting as President, my tweets will always carry a #BPSPresident hashtag.

I am now really looking forward to working with you, with all the Trustees and my colleagues on the Presidential Team, and I feel extremely privileged that you have trusted in me to become your new President. Together, we can.

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Nice to be mentioned, but I'm not a Dr.