From the President, April 2022

Katherine Carpenter writes.

It’s been a busy start to 2022 for the society, with a member vote having taken place on a number of proposals that are crucial to the future of our organisation and our plans to modernise areas that haven’t changed for a long time, in some cases even decades.

Around nine per cent of eligible members voted on the proposals, and although this is a significant turnout for a vote on governance issues, of course we will continue to work with members to try and engage even greater numbers in our votes and elections. I was delighted to be able to announce at an SGM in February that all four resolutions had passed with more than 83 per cent of votes cast in favour.

The next step for us is to seek approval for the proposals from the Privy Council, a process which is ongoing as I write this, and to then phase them in over the coming months to allow us all a chance to adapt to them and make sure that we get the most out of the opportunities that they present.

As we prepare for this, I thought it would be good to set out why I’ve been so supportive of these changes as BPS President, and why I believe they will represent a lasting positive legacy from my time in the role.

The BPS is a community of psychologists and people with an interest in our discipline but, having not been refreshed for so long, our existing grades excluded many people who use psychology in their work and who should be welcome as members. The changes to our grades that this successful vote allows for will mean that more members of the psychological workforce will be able to join the BPS as an ‘Associate member’, offering a home in our society to more people who are using psychology to improve people’s lives.

Introducing a ‘Full member’ grade will also provide better progression for our existing members, and create a structure that properly reflects the career of a psychologist in 2022.

Alongside the new grades, changes are also going to be made to our governance processes, which is extremely important for the modernisation of the society. For me, one of the key developments on this side is the term of office for the President being extended to two years. I can certainly vouch for the fact that it is difficult to have the impact that you want in this role in just one year, and that once you’ve developed the relationships you need with other organisations to start making headway, it’s time to hand over to someone else.

There isn’t space for me to cover every change that will happen as a result of this vote, but I would encourage you to read the proposals in more detail on the website. This has been a long time coming, but I hope you will see the benefits begin to emerge throughout 2022 and long into the future.

Katherine Carpenter
President 2021-22, The British Psychological Society
Consultant Clinical Neuropsychologist

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