Division of Occupational Psychology - Annual Review 2011

DOP Strategy

The core strategic focus for the Division of Occupational Psychology for 2011 has been on growth and talent. We aim to enhance our profession, to develop capability and encourage high quality research coupled with informed best practice. We are all aware of the tough economic times and the need to grow awareness of the power and contribution of Occupational Psychology and how it adds value to people, teams and organisations. Our focus on talent development is centred on all members with particular emphasis on members in training. The Learning a Living programme has been success and has been supplemented by CPD activities and networking events.

The theme of the DOP Annual Conference is delivering excellence and this is at the heart of everything we do. The Executive team (Chair, Past-Chair, Chair –Elect, Treasurer, Secretary and Co-opted Member) worked closely together and with the whole DOP team to enhance the impact and contribution of the Division. Our work centres on the five objectives of visibility, influence, employability, competence, and science. We have made significant strides this year including numerous new projects as well as support for on-going activities. My thanks to all those who have contributed so much over the last year. It has been a pleasure to support members and to help to harness that drive and energy.


Member engagement continues to be a prime goal. We now have 150 volunteers actively engaged in the Division with many more members contributing via surveys, reviews and social media. We have started a mentoring programme with members from the Executive Group supporting all strategy convenors and country chairs. We are expanding our mentoring programme to the wider membership for 2012. This year, the existing working groups and strategy groups have been very active and my thanks to all involved. We have ensured that OP views are represented in wider groups including on the new Government Employee Engagement Task Force and in the BPS wide initiative on psychology in the NHS.  We have established two new working groups, one on OD Engagement and the other on social policy. Emma Donaldson-Feilder is also our representative on the Council for Work and Health.

The Executive represents the DOP on various British Psychological Society Boards including the Professional Practice Board where we liaise directly with other divisional chairs. We have been able to share best practice with them and we presented our new Leadership Development Programme to that group which was very well received.  We are also involved with the Representative Council at the General Assembly and built good links with branches and special interest groups as well as with other divisions of the BPS.

Steve Woods is now our representative on the Research Board. Our past chair, David Carew is the current QOccpysch Board Chair and is able to present our views and support our members in training. David and the team successfully took the OP Qualification through HPC accreditation in June 2011. As Chair, I also attended the HPC presentation to the BPS on next steps and presented our views re HPC issues.  We have established strong links with the Special Interest Group in Coaching Psychology (SGPC), with regular meetings with their Executive Group and a partnership sharing on PR & Communications expertise. As Chair, I also attended their conference in December to share ideas and establish support links.

We are building partnerships beyond the BPS and have established a good working relationship with the ABP –Association of Business Psychologists, whereby we will support each other to expand the impact of psychology in the business world. We have advertised each other’s conferences and we support joint events (such as a networking event in Wales) where appropriate. We are building links with CIPD and more widely within the business world. We have developed presentation materials and will develop these further to provide tailored information for business leaders, users of psychological services and the general public. This process is on-going and will be expanded in 2012.

The Executive have responded to many consultations and papers and have helped to shape documents and future direction. We continue to have an impact on national and international issues and to represent the interests of our members to government.

Expanding DOP

Our colleagues in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Cymru continue to actively support DOP activities on a national basis. The Northern Ireland and Scottish committees are looking at ways to promote Occupational Psychology to businesses. In Northern Ireland the team are currently working on a framework to engage with organisational bodies.  The Country teams have been working with the local branch to promote Occupational Psychology and identify cross-divisional areas of interest for pursuit.  

This year we have worked closely with DOP Cymru to establish a presence in Wales.  The team in Cymru are building local contacts and developing links with university institutions as well as with government. They are preparing for the formal launch of DOP Cymru in 2012.

Access to Journals and the Occupational Research Digest

Up-to-date research and information is vital to informing our best practice and in sharing knowledge on the latest trends in psychology. This has expanded within 2011.

The Occupational Digest, sponsored by the DOP and edited by Dr Alex Fradera, has proven to be highly successful this year. We will continue to support this blog and monthly email dedicated to psychology matters in the workplace. In addition, the society has provided online journal access through EBSCO. This is currently on a trial basis and we are looking for members’ feedback on the benefit of this service. We will continue to support access for 2012. We know from our members outside of academia that they value access to research databases and journals. This access helps to inform professional practice and is a core component of evidence based practice for Occupational Psychology.

Rewarding excellence and recognising volunteers

Our Awards event in October acknowledged excellence in psychology and celebrated success. Our awards programme is expanding and this year will have an award at the Conference for best practitioner in training as well as the second year of our volunteer award. This adds to our existing portfolio of awards designed to support and to promote achievement at different career stages. The goal is to encourage science and outstanding practice. We will continue to encourage best practice and professional success in 2012. We recognise and value the contribution of all of our volunteers through the Volunteers networking event in the summer and the Volunteer Award. The society is our members and we do not under-estimate the commitment and dedication of all the volunteers. Well done to all of the team and thank you.

PR and communications

This year the website has been updated and OP Matters continues to be a good communication medium. In 2012, we will continue to develop the website and social media. The DOP linked -in pages and DOP Twitter are growing in influence and provide a good communication channel. OP Matters will be redesigned in 2012. Our members’ survey has been completed this year and we intend to benchmark data on an ongoing basis. We are expanding our communication channels with the wider public, potential partners and to users of psychology.

Developing the profession

This year, we have undertaken a number of projects which support our strategic goals in terms of enhancing growth and talent within the profession. In particular, we have undertaken three core activities; firstly the Expert Panel review of Occupational Psychology, secondly the development of the Leadership Development Programme and thirdly the Membership Review project.

  • Expert panel

The review of Occupational Psychology in today’s world was developed through the Expert Panel in 2011. This group was chosen to represent the views of core parties in psychology and to consider the on-going relevance of the current eight areas on which we base the training of future Occupational Psychologists. In between Expert Panel meetings, members and users were surveyed and data and information collated. The report outlining the findings of the group is available at Conference, with recommendations on the next stages in developing the eight areas and our approach as Occupational Psychologists.

  • Leadership development

Our aim in developing the Leadership Programme was two-fold; firstly, to ensure succession planning within the DOP and secondly, to enhance the leadership capabilities within our profession. In conjunction with the Work Psychology Group, DOP established a new Leadership Capability Framework. This was the foundation for a new Leadership development programme for a cohort of our existing volunteers within DOP. The programme will take place in 2012 with leading edge leadership residential placements as well as on-going projects. The goal is to establish an annual leadership development programme which will benefit occupational psychologists as well as existing DOP volunteers. The goal is to practice what we preach and enhance capabilities within our profession.

  • Membership review

DOP have undertaken a review of our membership criteria in 2011. We have worked closely with the Memberships Standards Board and looked for ways to widen membership access whilst retaining high professional standards. We undertook a review of international and national member organisations as well as a data review and a survey of members. We thank the DOP Intern who worked on this project over the summer months. The findings were presented by the Executive to the Membership Standards Board in November and our conclusions were approved. This has now been presented to the BPS Trustees for comment.

Engagement with academia and international liaison

This year, the DOP have worked closely with international psychology organisations. In particular, we are involved in the initial trials of Europsych and we have put in a bid to host the EAWOP (European Association of Work and Organisational Psychology) Conference. We hope that this conference will be hosted in the UK in 2015 or 2017. We are working with Aston Business School in supporting this bid. In addition, we are building links with academic psychologists and institutions.

Our engagement strategy combined with our focus on the value of Occupational Psychology has enhanced the DOP’s impact externally. In particular, we have engaged with employers and users of services as part of our partnership programme and through our PR & Communications activities. Our Awards Event and Conference receive good press coverage. Our use of social media such as Linked-in and Twitter enables us to have a dialogue with a wide range of people. OP Matters, our video links and website are viewed and used by a range of interested people. Our events and conferences combined with other communications to provide a forum for employers, users of psychological services and the general public.  We contribute to government and other consultations and provide data and information about best practice in Occupational Psychology. Essentially this objective is central to all of our activities.

On behalf of the Division, the Executive has a number of tasks that are of high priority during 2012, and will form the basis of our activities in the forthcoming year:

  • Fully support, mentor and encourage all the strategy groups, country chairs and their working Groups. If you would like to get involved please email us.
  • Work closely with the QOccpysch Board and providers of training to support practitioners in training to reach Chartership level.
  • Enhance the growth and talent agenda by expanding the leadership programme, enhancing the work of the Expert Panel and developing the membership project to the next stage.
  • Promoting occupational psychology to users of psychological services as well as the general public. Enhancing the partnership programme and ensuring that the presentation and other materials are developed to present a consistent and progressive message.
  • Work closely with the Professional Practice Board, the trustees and Representative Council and other divisions, branches and sections to enhance the profession of psychology. Contribute to consultations and the broader society agenda.
  • Enhance professional standards and CPD through close liaison with HPC and by encouraging the professional development of members. Mentoring and leadership will support this process whilst awards will celebrate excellence and success.
  • Engage with the academic community; to provide support to them and ensure evidence based practice. To encourage academics and practitioners to collaborate.

Further information

All of the volunteers are at the heart of the Division’s work. We know that increasingly people want to be involved and they can see the end results of their good work. We pass on our sincere and heartfelt thanks to all who have contributed throughout the year from DOP Committee members and their working groups and to those who have been involved in specific projects. In particular, my thanks to my fellow Executive team members Antonia Dietmann, Alan Redman, David Carew, Gene Johnson, and George Delafield for all of their guidance and direction during the year. We also send our thanks to the organisation behind the machine and all of those who have contributed from the BPS offices. We appreciate your dedication and support.

Hazel Stevenson, Chair