Division of Forensic Psychology: Annual Review 2011

The Division’s committee has remained focused on supporting the membership through an agenda around four core strategic aims:

  • Enhancing a professional identify;
  • Upholding and enhancing professional standards;
  • Growing the membership;
  • Developing and promoting forensic psychology as a scientific discipline.

The committee has good representation across settings in which forensic psychologists practise, including health, criminal justice, academic institutions and private practice. Members from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland continue to take a central role across Divisional activity.

A number of key initiatives have been introduced this year to support the membership and enhance professional standards. The Forensic Practitioner Forum (FPF) has been put in operation as a source of professional networking opportunities for practitioners across settings, including those in private practice. Uptake indicates that this has been well received and provides a valuable mechanism of support for members.

The Forensic Psychology Trainee Forum is a key focus of support for members working towards qualifications in forensic psychology. The Trainee forum provides an opportunity for members to receive updates on events relevant to their roles and network with other members.

To support professional practice a Divisional initiative has been initiated to provide members with access to ethical decision frameworks and the opportunity to seek advice on practice issues. This scheme has been set up in response to feedback from members. The Peer consultation process is a relatively new initiative and feedback from members will be used to inform its development. 

In accordance with the Division’s strategic plan a membership survey has been conducted, enabling the membership to offer feedback to the committee and contribute to its schedule of work. This has been completed in collaboration with the Forensic Psychology Qualifications Board (FPQB), ensuring that Divisional actively is aligned to, and supports the work of other Society structures that are significant in the future direction of the Division.

The Division has continued to run a full schedule of CPD activity for members. This has included events for both Full and In Training members. The Division continues to work collaboratively, and has contributed to and jointly delivered events with other Divisions. Much of the training activity has been developed in partnership with the Learning Centre (LC) with a focus on providing high quality events to members. Feedback from the membership survey indicates that these events have been extremely well received.

A central event in the Division’s calendar was the 2011 DFP conference in Portsmouth. This event continues to be a focal point for members and an opportunity to communicate key developments in forensic psychology. As in previous years the event served as a platform for the work of members across training, practice and research. The high standard of this work was captured in the awarding of Divisional prizes to those members demonstrating excellence in areas of both Practice and Research. The 2012 DFP annual conference offers a similarly impressive line up of keynote speakers and activity hosted by University of Wales, Cardiff (26-28 June).

Activity by the Division’s committees in both Northern Ireland and Scotland has also offered a significant contribution from forensic psychology to wider public policy and demonstrated the contribution of psychology across society. The delivery of Divisional events at both the Northern Ireland ('Pathways to Justice') and Scottish Parliament ('Not Leaving Risk to Chance: An Evidence Based Approach to Offending in Scotland') is a clear example of the considerable contribution and energy of members of these committees.   

The Division remains committed to influencing wider policy through its engagement with Government consultations: 32 members of the Division contributed to the 83 consultations responded to by the BPS in 2011. Eleven of these responses were led by DFP members. The Division is also actively engaged in wider Society work.

The Division continues to produce ‘Forensic Update’ as a publication to provide members with access to research developments and promote forensic psychology as a scientific discipline. Forensic Update remains central to Divisional business. 2012 will see Forensic Update move to a quarterly electronic publication with an annual compendium of editions being made available in hard copy to DFP members. 

Key activity for 2012 will be the engagement of members across all grades of membership. Furthermore the Division is committed to mutual activity with other Divisions and Sections and promoting the awareness and involvement of its members in activity at Branch level. The Division welcomes engagement from others and would like to thank all those who have worked with and contributed to the Division over the past year. 

Giles McCathie, Chair