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Scottish Branch: Annual Review 2011

In February our scientific meeting and AGM were held in Glasgow. There was a varied and excellent programme and for the first time, the President, Gerry Mulhern gave a paper at this meeting; normally the President has attended the Annual Conference in November. This worked very well and provided the opportunity for the President to observe the work of the Scottish Branch and attend the AGM.

Results were presented on the conference survey, carried out by Morag Williamson and Dorothy Anderson on behalf of the committee. This will inform planning of future events, for example, there was a preference for one-day events over two-day events and a preference for Friday over Saturday. This may reflect the current trend in relation to study leave and time that members have available to attend conferences.  On this basis, the committee has been organising a number of one-day events in different locations in Scotland.

The undergraduate conference was held in Dundee in March. This has always been a popular event and through it, we aim to encourage conference participation, as well as raising the profile of the Branch and encouraging membership. 

In April the BPS Scotland Advisor was appointed. Joan Fraser has been a great asset, facilitating the smooth running of Branch activities. 

In June an evening event was organised by Alan Freeburn at the European Parliament Office in Edinburgh. The format for the evening was Catherine Stihler MEP in conversation with John Macgill, BPS Policy Officer for Scotland. The subject was 'Psychology and Policy' and the event was attended by members of several Divisions in Scotland. Issues that are taken up by the European  Parliament, and their relevance for psychology, were discussed.

October saw a very popular event on Changing the Lives of Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Complex Trauma   in Scotland. This was held at Napier University, Edinburgh, attended by members of a number of organisations in the field and was over-subscribed. It was organised by Thanos Karatzias, Convenor of BPS Scotland Working Party on this and Zoe Chouliara, Deputy Chair of BPS Scotland and member of the Working Party. A more detailed report will be presented at  the AGM.

In line with the practice of displaying public notices in Scotland, a Scottish Branch banner for conferences etc. in English and Gaelic, and displaying the Saltire, has been produced.

Finally, in November Kamal Birdi, Senior Lecturer in Occupational Psychology and Course Director of MSc in Occupational Psychology at the University of Sheffield facilitated a Strategy Day in Glasgow for committee members. The aim of this was to help the committee work together as effectively as possible in the forthcoming year, in terms of delivering the BPS Strategic Plan in Scotland, with particular reference to taking psychology to the public, the membership in Scotland and working with other member networks.

The event on 'Changing the Lives of Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Complex Trauma in Scotland' had representation outwith the BPS and has raised the profile of the Branch, represented by the Working Party, with other professional organisations.

We plan to organise another Undergraduate Conference on Saturday 17 March in Glasgow and a Postgraduate Conference. We are also planning an evening, Public Event with guest speaker.

The committee also plans to creating a BPS Scotland Twitter account and Facebook  page. Eniko Zsoldos, Hannah Ellis and Aisha Shahid have been working on this in the committee and so far have been provided with 10Top Tips for creating a Twitter account by Jonathan Calder in the BPS Media Centre.

In the remaining part of the committee term till the AGM the committee will continue to look at how it can lobby for teacher-training in psychology, including requesting a meeting with the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning. The committee also hopes to work on behalf of the membership with the assistance of the Policy Officer to take forward the proposed position of Chief Psychology Officer in the Scottish Government.

A further edition of the Branch newsletter is in progress, edited by Bridget Hanna and another meeting of the Steering Group, which comprises Chairs of the Scottish Divisions, is being planned, in order to progress the many facets of psychology in Scotland.

At present we have 3466 members in Scotland and hope to increase that in 2012.   

Liz Baikie, Chair