The BPS declares its commitment to promote equality, diversity and inclusion and to challenge prejudice and discrimination.
The purpose of the Presidential Taskforce on Diversity and Inclusion is to translate the society’s stated commitment to valuing diversity and promoting inclusion into concrete action.
David Murphy, 2019-20 BPS President, delivered an introduction to the work and membership of the taskforce at the 2020 Annual Conference in June 2020, and you can watch this below.
Dr Manreesh BainsShow content
Manreesh is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist working for South West Yorkshire NHS Foundation Trust.
For 10 years she worked in older adult services for the Sheffield Health & Social Care NHS Trust, and was the lead for the Build, Modify Expand initiative in the organisation, establishing the Trust wide BME Mentoring Programme & annual Working Together Conference.
She has been involved in initiatives to increase BME representation in the field of clinical psychology within the Yorkshire and Humber region.
She is passionate about race equality and teaches on the DClinPsy and IAPT programmes about this topic.
Manreesh continues to champion initiatives to support BME colleagues and service users in all that she is involved in.
"My best possible outcome for the taskforce – is that all staff feel valued in the profession. We genuinely challenge the status quo so that people’s talents are celebrated and the profession thrives."
Karen BeamishShow content
Karen Beamish, Director of Membership and Professional Development – joined us in January 2019 as Interim Director of Qualifications and Standards and now oversees the following departments: Membership and Customer Services, Professional Development and Assessment, Conference and Events, Member Networks, Partnerships and Accreditation, Workforce Education, Training and Standards.
Karen has a proven track record, at senior management level, of working on strategic learning and development projects with professional and expert bodies in the UK and abroad, including the Royal Society of Medicine, the General Optical Council, the Chartered Institute of Insurance, the Association of Business Executives, the Association of Corporate Treasurers and the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply.
My best possible outcomes for the taskforce – a paradigm shift to an inclusive and accessible society, that celebrates diversity and that it’s a golden thread through all we say and do. A decisive plan and overview of expectations of requirements for membership and professional development, inclusive of member networks to ensure that all aspects of the member value proposition, education and training are fully representative of the needs of our entire membership, fully accessible, affordable and relevant to all.
Helen CockleShow content
Helen Cockle is the communications officer at the BPS for the Diversity and Inclusion taskforce.
Diversity and inclusion has been the foundation stone of Helen’s work as she has progressed throughout her career.
As a communications specialist and wellness practitioner Helen started putting her commitment to diversity and inclusion into action in the late eighties and early nineties when HIV and AIDS was very high up on the social agenda.
This was a real call to action at the time as it was a time where stigma and prejudice was at an all-time high, and she hasn’t looked back since.
Championing diversity and prioritising inclusion has been a recurrent theme in Helen’s professional and personal life. This includes time spent as a BBC news journalist tasked with bringing the BBC closer to communities, to setting up and running voluntary sector projects for the most vulnerable in our society.
When I first joined the BPS I heard this taskforce was setting up and I am so glad to be a part of it. My best outcome for the taskforce is that I can support them to really open up the landscape so that people are included in all levels of psychology. From the decision makers at the top to the person who is receiving the vital support that psychologists have to offer. I can see that this is yet another area that needs to come together and reflect those that we are here to serve.
Dr Nasreen Fazal-ShortShow content
Dr Fazal-Short is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist currently working in independent practice.
She has spent most of the last 25 years since qualification from Birmingham working in various NHS settings, both as a jobbing psychologist and also in leadership roles.
She has been a Director of Psychological Services in the NHS and is a Graduate of the Nye Bevan Leadership Programme.
She has worked for several NHS Trusts in a variety of psychology and non-psychology roles and has held varied portfolios which included leading several successful service delivery projects and service changes. This has enabled her to amass a vast array of therapy, leadership, and management skills.
Within her NHS roles, she has been involved in leading the reform of services so that they are more responsive to the needs of service users, their carers’ and families. She has embedded inclusion and accessibility in all her work to date and has been vocal in both calling this out in services and then leading the change process. Nasreen has joined as the Chair of the Diversity and Incusion Taskforce.
Nasreen is passionate about inclusive practice and service delivery within all organisational structures. In order to achieve this within the BPS, we all need to understand that the processes that all humans are subject to such as unconscious bias will operate in the BPS and therefore will need to be attended to in order to undo the systemic and systematic institutional bias. Currently the evidence of this is evident everywhere but only ‘seen’ by some members. Everyone will need to move their position to see the effects of this.
My hopes for the taskforce are that the BPS becomes a safe place where all members can feel they will be truly understood and in order to do this we will have to tolerate the burden of living with society as it is and not as we would wish it to be as the BPS is a microcosm of that. A second hope is that once we put our own house in order, we can become a beacon for other institutions and organisations to follow suit. They will say ‘ look, the Psychologists have moved themselves; they worked on their painful discoveries, took action and now they truly ‘get it’ and we need to follow their leadership...’
Dr Christeen GeorgeShow content
Dr Christeen George is a consultant with Amama Associates and was formerly the Programme Director for the MSc in Occupational/Organisational Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire.
She is a Chartered Psychologist, and is on the HCPC register as an Occupational Psychologist, and her main interests focus around people’s behaviour in the workplace and employment relationships.
She is particularly interested in psychological contracts, organisational and professional commitment and positive psychology.
Her book concerning the psychological contracts of professional workers is published by the Open University Press, and her recent research has been concerned with the retention of professional workers.
Dr George has managed and delivered research projects in many large organisations. Her recent practitioner experience includes the encouragement of responsible gambling, team building with staff in a special school, and the development of an instrument to evaluate the effectiveness of Continuing Professional Development courses within the NHS. More recently she has conducted workshops on ‘Decolonising the curriculum’ and has published a blog entitled ‘Don’t call me BAME’.
"My main hope for the taskforce is that as a result members and potential members perceive the BPS as more inclusive, reflecting them and their experience."
Dr Sue HolttumShow content
Dr Sue Holttum is a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the BPS, and works at both the Salomons Institute for Applied Psychology, Canterbury Christ Church University and the British Association of Art Therapists.
At the Salomons Institute, Sue works mainly with the clinical psychology doctorate team, supporting research and service user involvement, however she also has experience of severe depression and brings this and related experience to her work.
Recently Sue made a major contribution to the production of new evidence-based British Association of Art Therapist guidelines on art therapy for people with a psychosis-related diagnosis. Sue also writes regular commentaries on research for the journal Mental Health and Social Inclusion.
"A great outcome of the taskforce for me would be if its work inspires many people, who do and don’t see themselves as having ‘protected characteristics’ under the Equality Act, to be more curious about why different people need those protections, and if it enables them to feel more empowered to help the change."
Deborah HusbandsShow content
Deborah Husbands is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Westminster.
Her research interests include student experiences of belonging and engagement using qualitative methods as well as deconstructing race, gender and ethnicity with a specific focus on Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) students and their experiences of intersectionality and marginality.
Her PhD focused on experiences of constructing identity in Black female undergraduate psychology students.
She is the Outreach Lead for Psychology and works with schools and colleges to bridge the transition into higher education and the study of psychology. Deborah also co-leads the Human Library Project at Westminster and co-chairs the BME Staff Network, of which she is the founding member.
Deborah is a Chartered Psychologist, a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and an Associate Fellow of the BPS with membership of several networks. She also serves on the Psychologist and Digest Editorial Advisory Committee.
"My best possible outcome for the taskforce is that the taskforce must take both a broad and a narrow view of lived and living experiences of diverse inequalities. In the time allotted to us, we (the taskforce) aim to use this lens to shed a broader light on the work of the BPS, its fit for the current times, and how the BPS should best position itself as a positive force for the future."
Laura KilbyShow content
Laura Kilby is a Reader in Social Psychology based at Sheffield Hallam University.
As a Critical Social Psychologist her primary research interests centre upon examining relationships between power, discourse and the construction of marginalised identities and marginalised groups.
Much of Laura's research examines identity in the context of Peace and Conflict,
She also researches aspects of Citizenship and Immigration, Gender and Homelessness, Social deprivation, and Health and her research mainly utilises a range of discursive analytic methods. She is also interested in examining how policy and identity intersect.
Laura teaches Qualitative Research methods; Peace and Conflict studies; Critical Social Psychology and History and Philosophy of Psychology to varied student cohorts at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, as well as supervising final year project students. She also supervises doctoral students researching aspects of identity construction or other projects using methods of discursive psychology.
"I would like us to achieve some practical improvements during the lifetime of the taskforce, for example implementing measures to help academic departments (i) become environments where students and staff from minority groups feel at ease and at home; (ii) increase representation of diverse theoretical perspectives and research findings that engage students and staff with the wealth of psychology that exists beyond the interests of white Western men. However, for me, the best possible outcome of the taskforce will be if it is able to permanently embed the desire to address issues of inclusion and diversity as ongoing and welcome concerns within the culture of academic and professional institutions."
Dr Allán LavilleShow content
Dr Allán Laville is Dean for Diversity and Inclusion and a Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at the University of Reading.
Since 2011, Allán has trained over 300 Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners within the Charlie Waller Institute, University of Reading and is the Deputy Co-Chair of the BPS Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner Training Committee.
Allán is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and an Associate Fellow of the BPS, and in 2019 Allán won the Reading University Student Union Award for Diverse and Inclusive Teaching Excellence.
"My best possible outcome for the taskforce would be to have a clear action plan on a) how to reduce attainment differentials across protected characteristics and b) how to diversify the psychological workforce, so all minority and marginalised groups are represented."
Debra MalpassShow content
Debra Malpass joined the BPS in January 2020. She leads the research, insight & knowledge management function and oversees the Research and Impact team, the Practice Guidance Team and the History of Psychology Centre.
Debra has a Ph.D in psychology and a wealth of experience as an academic researcher having worked in psychology departments in the UK and USA for over a decade.
Prior to joining the BPS Debra worked as a researcher at AQA, the UK’s largest exam board. In this post she carried out mixed methods research with 14–16 year olds. She also designed GCSE, A-level and vocational qualifications and carried out statistical analysis to set exam grade boundaries every summer.
Debra also led the Research and Analysis team at the Solicitors Regulation Authority, where she pioneered the use of machine learning, behavioural insights and randomised controlled trials to regulate the legal market. In this role she was the lead for insights and analysis of a range of diversity data relating to solicitors and law firms.
"The best outcome for the taskforce is that the BPS, employers and training and education providers all collect consistent, high quality data about students, trainees and professionals to effectively monitor the diversity of the profession and the discipline of psychology. This information will be used to highlight issues and evaluate the effectiveness of changes made to ensure the discipline and the profession reflects the diverse communities we support."
Rachel MillerShow content
Rachel Miller is a Stage One trainee health psychologist at University of Stirling, with special interests in both chronic illness and disability.
Her thesis is a collaboration with the University of Toronto, which looks at supporting adolescents with chronic illness through a peer-mentoring programme, and she has also worked as a study support mentor for the University of Strathclyde, working with students who have health issues or learning disabilities to overcome barriers to studying.
After completing her undergraduate psychology degree at the University of Reading in 2016 Rachel worked as an assistant psychologist in their School of Psychology, mentoring young adults with Asperger’s, and has also worked for the charity Stay Up Late as a buddy and mentor to a young person with learning disabilities.
"I have lived experience of chronic physical and mental illness and hope that this experience plus my academic interests will be of benefit. My hopes for the taskforce are that we can engage with the wider psychology community to build a more inclusive BPS at all levels of career and training."
David MurphyShow content
David Murphy is the 2019–2020 President of the BPS. He proposed the establishment of the taskforce and will be the link to the Board of Trustees during his time as President and then as Vice-President.
His background is in Clinical Psychology and he worked with patients with physical health problems in acute hospital settings for many years before moving into clinical psychology training and research in the field of clinical leadership.
"Growing up as a member of a privileged ethnic group in the UK, being cis-gendered, heterosexual and able-bodied, I don’t have direct experience of many of the forms of prejudice and structural inequality that are the everyday reality for members of BPS and of our society in the UK as a whole. However, training and working in hospitals in multicultural parts of London for many years, has allowed me to learn from the people I have had the privilege to work with about their experiences of racism, ableism, transphobia and other forms of discrimination and oppression.
As chair of the management board of the Clearing House for Postgraduate Courses Clinical Psychology and also as director of the Oxford clinical psychology course, I have been able to contribute to highlighting and starting to address the underrepresentation of certain groups in the profession, and particularly the disparities in shortlisting outcomes for applicants from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds.
I think that, for too long, we have elevated psychological science and practice to a position that denies the sociocultural foundations upon which it has been built, thereby perpetuating cultural imperialism and inherent racism. I am a dyed in the wool cognitive behavioural therapist but we can’t slip into believing that psychological distress resides solely in negative cognitions and dysfunctional behaviours, to do so denies the reality of the experience of oppression of marginalised and oppressed groups in society.
For the taskforce to be successful in achieving its objectives, we need to engage across with people right across the BPS, to listen, to discuss, and to raise up and connect those many different groups that are already working towards these goals – however great the taskforce are (and having met them all I can confidently say that they are really great!) we can’t just sit in a room or on a zoom call and expect to come up with the perfect solution. Our ultimate aim is to make the BPS into a genuinely ‘inclusionist’ organisation, only then will we really fully have the credibility, and capability, to apply psychology effectively to tackle the exclusion and inequity that is rife in UK society and around the world."
Martine RatcliffeShow content
Martine Ratcliffe is a Chartered and Registered Forensic Psychologist who jjoined the Prison Service in 2001.
For the first 10 years of her career Martine worked within a young offender’s institution delivering and managing offending behaviour programmes, and also offered a crisis intervention service for young people who were in distress and required psychological support.
On becoming qualified as a chartered and HCPC registered Forensic Psychologist, Martine began working with IPP (Imprisonment for Public Protection) and Life sentenced prisoners within both the male and female prison estates.
Martine has always been interested in Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) and this has been amplified through working with young people and from personal experience as a black woman working within HMPPS (Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Services).
She firmly believes that lack of diversity and inclusion can have an impact on life in general, in our professional practices and the organisations we work, and her current role as National Psychology Services Equalities Lead evidences the commitment HMPPS Psychology Services has in making Diversity and Inclusion a priority and at the heart of our work.
Martine's priorities are to 1) Ensure fair treatment and equitable outcomes for service users and 2) Increase diversity in staffing across Psychology Services and ensure fair treatment and equitable outcomes for Psychology staff.
"My hopes and aims for the Diversity and Inclusion taskforce are that we enable, promote and support the Psychology profession to be reflective of the communities we serve. Also that the training that is offered by the BPS, including training to become a qualified psychologist in any psychology profession, is responsive to the needs of a diverse range of individuals, groups and communities. It is hoped developing cultural competence is embedded into our professional training and practice."
Yetunde Ade SerranoShow content
Yetunde Ade Serrano is am a registered practitioner Counselling Psychologist who has worked in the field of mental health for about 20 years, working with a variety of clients who present with multiple challenges, both physical and psychological in nature.
Her principal role is within independent practice; however, she is also involved in academia, the Division of Counselling Psychology and other groups within the British Psychological Society.
She believes it is important for us to acknowledge a variety of experiences, current and past, as well as the racial/cultural differences and the impact these have on many areas of our professional lives (although not limited to this arena). However she also believes that this is lacking within the structures of the society and, as a consequence, we do not function as a psychologically minded organisation even though at face value this is what we sell.
The acknowledgment of these challenges is vital not just for members of the society but also for the management system of the organisation.
"My hope is that as an organisation we can provide, continue to foster, a safe professional home for all members where respect and allocation of resources are afforded to everyone regardless of racial or cultural background. I hope that this taskforce will provide clear guidelines around racial/cultural discrimination and appropriate consequences for non-adherence to said guidelines. As well as an organisational strategy to deal with incidences of discrimination when they do occur."
Emily StoutShow content
Emily Stout (BSC, PGDIP, MSC) is a Trainee Sport & Exercise Psychologist, currently undertaking a Professional Doctorate at Liverpool John Moore’s University.
Her passion for understanding the psychological factors affecting sport performance/athletes began during her time playing junior tennis, in which she played to international level/represented Great Britain.
Emily currently provides psychological support across a range of youth sport settings including water-polo, tennis and football, where she focuses on creating environments that enable junior athletes to thrive as people and performers, and is also hugely passionate about mental health awareness/education and currently volunteers for Everton in the Community’s flagship ‘Tackling the Blues’ mental health programme in schools.
"Best outcomes of the taskforce: Giving voice to practitioners/members from marginalised groups regarding the challenges they face as they navigate training and working as a psychologist. Dissemination of findings/recommendations to key stakeholders e.g. university programmes running BPS qualifications, so that steps can be taken towards creating more inclusive environments."
Anjam SultanaShow content
Anjam Sultana is a HCPC Registered Educational Psychologist working in the West Midlands, as well as an Honorary Lecturer on the Applied Educational and Child Psychology Doctorate at the University of Birmingham.
Anjam has worked in education for 18 years and qualified as an Educational Psychologist in 2014. Prior to training as an Educational Psychologist, Anjam worked as a Teacher of Science in the West Midlands.
Anjam’s areas of specialist interest are race and racism in education, gender and adolescent mental health.
"My desired outcome for the taskforce is to lead to greater diversity and inclusion within the profession and discipline of psychology by removing any barriers for currently underrepresented groups, and enabling an increase in the numbers of trainees entering the profession, from such groups."
Layne WhittakerShow content
Layne Whittaker is an undergraduate psychology student at the Open University, graduating in 2021.
She work as a British Sign Language Interpreter, making sure members of the Deaf community have equal access, and ultimately aims to complete an MSc in Occupational psychology focusing on Diversity and inclusion.
"My hope is that we can make the BPS a more inclusive place for all members of all backgrounds and abilities."