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A new edition of our Practice Guidelines is published today

14 August 2017

Pressure on services, whistleblowing and inclusion are among the concerns reflected in a new edition of the British Psychological Society’s Practice Guidelines.

Published today the new guidelines, as well as updating the Society’s guidance in previous editions, set out best practice to assist psychologists in areas where they may currently be experiencing challenges.

One is the quality of the physical working environment and safety. Another is the need for support with working relationships, setting expectations of appropriate behaviour and addressing harassment and bullying.

Pressures on service delivery and 'doing more with less', plus raised expectations on professionals to report and take action when things are wrong, have meant there is a need for guidance on whistleblowing.

The guidelines place this in the context of the Society’s initiatives on workplace culture and positive managerial and leadership behaviours. The other side of the coin is supportive guidance on what to do when things go wrong, the duty of candour, and supporting a colleague when a complaint has been made. 

Inclusion is an area of focus for the Society this year and the Guidelines reflect this. They cover working with cultural difference; with faith, religion and spirituality; with sexual and gender minorities; and with people who may be socially excluded.

Guidance is also given on working with people who may be vulnerable because of their situation, such as unemployment. Other issues addressed include safeguarding, both of children and vulnerable adults, the management of cases of historical abuse, and modern slavery.

The Society expects the guidelines will be used by all applied psychologists, with their principles being taken into account in the process of decision making, together with the needs of others and the specific circumstances.

Nicola Gale, President of the British Psychological Society, says:

“Sitting underneath our Code of Ethics and Conduct, and alongside our Code of Human Research Ethics, this is one of our core guidance documents.

It is one of the things we are here for as a Society, differentiating the contribution psychologists – our members – make and supporting them in their work.

The guidelines offer clarity of expectations for our clients, support our practice, underpin our teaching and provide a means to benchmark standards.

Most importantly, they will be informed by use and further developed as a result”. 

Some 30 Society network and expert groups participated in drawing up the new guidelines, as did experts by experience, representatives of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and external bodies.

The new Practice Guidelines are presented interactively on our new website, with links to relevant supporting material.

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