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Who We Are

The British Psychological Society is a registered charity responsible for the development, promotion and application of psychology for the public good.

Through our Royal Charter we are charged with overseeing psychology and psychologists in the UK, and we are governed by a number of democratically-elected boards and committees.

Find out more about our rules and statutes.

The Board of Trustees

This is the society’s primary governing body, with responsibility for the management and control of the society's affairs and transactions, which ensures that we conform to the terms of our charter and that we observe our legal obligations as a charitable body.

The Board of Trustees is made up of:

  • The Presidential Team
  • Honorary Officers
  • The Chairs of our four main boards
  • Council Representatives

To contact the Board of Trustees please email [email protected]

Meetings and Minutes

The Board of Trustees and The Representative Council (which consists of representatives from all of the society's current Member Networks, in addition to our regular trustees) meets every three months to discuss current and future issues affecting the running of the BPS.

Minutes from these meetings are available below.

Please note: you must be logged-in to access these documents:

Honorary General Secretary (2015-2021)

Image of Dr Carole Allan CPsychol Csci FBPsSDr Carole Allan CPsychol Csci FBPsS is an independent practitioner whose career has spanned a variety of clinical, organisational, and academic roles, including Professional Lead for Psychology in NHS Glasgow and Clyde, and Clinical Director for the Doctorate Programme in Clinical Psychology at the University of Glasgow. 

Dr Allan has aso held a variety of roles within the society, including Chair of the new Special Group of Independent Practitioners, Chair of the Professional Practice Board, and BPS President (2011-12).

She is currently a member of the Division of Clinical Psychology, the Crisis, Disaster and Trauma Section, and the Special Group of Independent Practitioners.

Her primary interests are in the fields of mental health, addiction, trauma, and occupational health, along with the importance of education and training in ethical and professional approaches to practice.

Honorary Treasurer (2019 - 2021)

Dr. Roxane L. Gervais CPsychol AFBPsS is an independent practitioner and consultant. She has worked for many years in diverse teams, in both the public and private sectors, as well as in different countries and has led projects across Europe and internationally.

Her professional and research interests focus on the well-being of individuals within the work environment, inclusive of job stress and strain, mental health, job satisfaction, work-life balance, and diversity within the workplace, inclusive of gender and generational issues.

Roxane’s work and research experience covers also leadership, communication, behaviour change, organisational change, as well as using occupational safety and health policies and practices to promote safe and healthy work conditions.

Roxane has previously served as the Chair of the Division of Occupational Psychology, and as the Chair and Honorary Treasurer of the North East of England Branch. She serves currently as the Division’s Honorary Treasurer.

She is the editor for the Division’s Work-Life Balance working group’s bulletin and was a co-facilitator of the Division’s Leadership Development Programme, which developed volunteers to lead within the Division.

Chair of the Research Board (2015-2021)

Image of Professor Daryl O'Connor CPsychol AFBPsS

Professor Daryl O'Connor CPsychol AFBPsS is a Professor of Psychology  at the School of Psychology, University of Leeds, where he heads the Health and Social Psychology Research Group.

A registered health psychologist with a strong interest in psychobiology research, Professor O'Connor is currently head of the Laboratory for Stress and Health Research (STARlab) and has long been involved in promoting open science and psychology both nationally and across Europe.

Daryl is also the joint Editor-in-Chief of the journal Psychology & Health, and has been actively involved in the business of the society for well over fifteen years.

During this time he has served as Chair-elect, Chair, and Deputy Chair of the Division of Health Psychology Committee, as well as a member of the BPS Psychobiology Section Committee (serving as Chair from 2004-2006), and has been an elected member of the Research Board since 2004 (including two terms as Deputy Chair).

He is currently serving his second term as Chair of the Research Board and is also Convenor of the Board of Scientific Affairs for the European Federation of Psychology Associations (EFPA).

Daryl has also acted as an Expert Advisor to the WHO's Department of Reproductive Health & Research and has been asked to advise upon research strategy at the National Institute of Aging and National Institutes of Health in the United States. In 2011 he was elected a Fellow by the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS), and in 2014 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA).

In 2015, he was elected a Distinguished International Affiliate of the American Psychological Association's Division 38 (Health Psychology), in 2017 he was elected Fellow to the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, and in 2019 he was elected Fellow of the European Health Psychology Society.

Chair of the Practice Board (2017-2020)

Alison Clarke MBPsS is a Coaching Psychologist working in a busy private practice, where she supports a wide range of clients in achieving transformational outcomes.

For over twenty years Alison has pursued a career in training, development, and management consultancy in Britain, Ireland and Europe, helping to implement organisational, procedural, and service-level changes in both corporate entities and in the NHS and Irish health services.

While working in Brussels she created a number of ground breaking career development programmes for students from British, Irish and European universities and colleges and, in 2012, was elected to serve as the media and communications spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Branch of the BPS.

Chair of the Education and Training Board

Professor Niamh Stack is a professor of developmental psychology and Deputy Head of the School of Psychology at the University of Glasgow, where she has worked for over 19 years and where she progressed to Professor on the Teaching and Scholarship track, a reflection of her consistent focus on education, teaching and learning throughout her career.

Prior to taking on the role of Deputy Chair of the Education and Training Board in 2019, Niamh had extensive involvement in the Undergraduate Education committee.

She first served as a committee member, then Deputy Chair and then Chair which included overseeing a root and branch review of the standards for Undergraduate Education. As part of this role Niamh also served on the Partnership and Accreditation Committee. Niamh was also the Deputy Chair of the Review Group for the 2016 QAA Psychology Subject Benchmark Statement. These roles collectively reflect her committment to enhancing educational provision across the discipline.

She has extensive experience of undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum design and delivery in her roles as programme lead and then Director of Teaching and Learning in the School of Psychology at the University of Glasgow. Integral to this latter role has been a focus on curriculum enhancement for skills development for psychology graduates of the future and a commitment to the development and dissemination of Open Teaching practices and resources. Niamh also has an extensive track record of external examining at other HE institutions in terms of both annual review processes but also periodic subject reviews.

Her research interests are focused around difference and diversity in development. She is the Research Director of the Scottish Network for Able Pupils based at the University of Glasgow and she primarily researches and publishes in the area of gifted/highly able learners. She is also actively involved with a number of community partners to facilitate research partnerships. These research collaborations support community partners by providing an evidence base for the voluntary work of these community partners and in parallel provide applied research settings for psychology student dissertation projects.

Chair of the Member Board and Interim Chair of the Board of Trustees

Image of Carol McGuinnessProfessor Carol McGuinness is Professor Emerita at Queen’s University Belfast. She is a Chartered Psychologist, member of the Division of Academics, Researchers and Teachers in Psychology, the Cognitive Section, and the Northern Ireland Branch.

She graduated from University College Dublin with a 1st class honours BA psychology degree in 1972, and an MA in 1974. She received her PhD from Queen’s in 1979, where she has worked for most of her professional life, teaching and researching.

She has been a passionate advocate for teaching psychology, both locally in Northern Ireland and UK wide, and was awarded a National Teaching Fellow in 2000 (the first year the fellowships were awarded).

With a background in cognitive psychology, Carol's research has a strong educational focus. Her work on designing interventions to enhance children’s classroom learning and evaluating early years interventions has a sharp policy/impact focus, being influential in several educational systems, as well as specifically informing changes to statutory curriculum requirements in Northern Ireland.

Carol has been an active member of the BPS since she was a postgraduate and has worked with many different membership networks and working groups. For example, she was Chair of the Special Group for the Teaching of Psychology in the 1990s and Vice Chair of the Division of Teachers and Researchers in Psychology (now DARTP). She chaired the BPS Working Party on A-level Psychology (2003), edited Psychology Teaching Review (1999-2004), and was an elected ordinary member of the Psychology Education and Public Engagement Board for two years in 2012.

More recently she has been Chair of the Northern Ireland Branch of the BPS (2010-2016) where she worked closely with the leads of local BPS divisions to influence public policy. She continues to act as policy co-ordinator on the NIBPS committee. 

Carol first became a Trustee for the Society in 2017 when she was appointed as Chair of the Education and Public Engagement Board.  She stepped down when that Board was discontinued. In 2020 she was appointed as Chair of the newly created Member Board.

Chair of the Representative Council (Observer on the Board of Trustees) (2018-2020)

Image of Dr Peter Branney CPsychol AFBPsSDr Peter Branney CPsychol AFBPsS is a Chartered Psychologist and Senior Lecturer at Leeds Beckett University, specialising in Social Psychology and Qualitative Research Methods.

Following the completion of his PhD Peter joined the Centre for Men’s Health at Leeds Metropolitan University, and in 2009 he was promoted to the position of Senior Research Fellow. In 2012 he transferred to the School of Social, Psychological and Communication Studies as a Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology.

Peter is currently a member of both the Qualitative Methods in Psychology section and the Standing Conference Committee of the British Psychological Society, and also acts as an External Examiner for the psychology degree programmes at Cardiff Metropolitan University and Edinburgh Napier University.

Co-Opted Trustee (2019-2021)

Dr Adam Jowett CPsychol AFBPsS is a Chartered Psychologist and an academic within the School of Psychological, Social Sciences at Coventry University. He is also an Associate Editor of the journal Psychology & Sexuality.

Following completion of his PhD, Adam was a Research Fellow at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Leeds, and since 2012 he has been at Coventry University as a Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Associate Head of School.

Adam has also been Course Director of a BPS accredited MSc Health Psychology programme and has served on the committees of several BPS Sections, including as Chair of the Psychology of Sexualities Section. He is also a member of the Division of Health Psychology and the Qualitative Methods in Psychology Section.

Co-Opted Trustee (2019-2021)

Christina Buxton CPsychol AFBPsS is a Chartered Psychologist, Associate Fellow of the BPS, and a Chartered Scientist.

She is a member of the Division of Teachers and Researchers in Psychology, the Division of Occupational Psychology, and the Division of Counselling Psychology.

Christina is also senior practitioner member of the BPS Register of Psychologists Specialising in Psychotherapy, and on the BPS Register of Applied Psychology Practice Supervisors.

In addition she is a registered psychotherapist with the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), a member of EMDR UK and Ireland, and an accredited member of Emotional Freedom Technique international (EFTi).  

Christina is the past chair and treasurer of the BPS Crisis, Disaster and Trauma Section, a member of the BPS Research Board and the Representative Council. Christina is a member of the BPS Psychological Testing Centre (PTC) and is on the Register of Qualifications in Test Use (RQTU). She is a member of the PTC Committee on Test Standards (CTS) and a member of the CTS Health and Social Care Contexts Working Group.

Co-Opted Trustee (2019-2021)

Dr Esther Cohen-Tovee CPsychol AFBPsS is a registered Clinical Psychologist and is the Director of Allied Health Professions and Psychological Services at Northumberland, Tyne & Wear (NTW) NHS Foundation Trust. Her previous role was Clinical Director for Psychological Services in NTW FT (2010 - 2017).

Esther has worked in the NHS for the past 30 years, combining clinical work with leadership and management responsibilities since taking on her first professional management role in 1996. 

Esther has been a member of the BPS since 1988, and has fulfilled a number of roles for the BPS and Division of Clinical Psychology including representing the BPS on national committees and working groups.

She is currently serving for the second time as Chair of the Division of Clinical Psychology, is a member of the BPS Practice Board and is BPS Co-Chair of the Accreditation Programme for Psychological Therapy Services (APPTS), a joint initiative between the BPS and the Royal Collage of Psychiatrists.

Esther also represents the BPS on the Independent Advisory & Oversight Group for the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health & NHS Long Term Plan.

Our Senior Management Team is made up of a number of directors whose responsibility it is to oversee the smooth and efficient running of the society's internal workings:

Chief Executive Officer - Sarb Bajwa

Image of BPS CEO, Sarb BajwaOur CEO, Sarb Bajwa, joined the society in April 2018.

Over the years, Sarb has worked in the aid sector, in legal and financial services, and the energy industry.

He has continually sought to contribute to the overarching goals of each organisation while also leading these various professional membership bodies through a variety of challenging national and international political environments.

Driven to promote and support positive growth and development in all aspects of the society's work, his goal is to ensure the BPS continues to make a meaningful and positive contribution to the world.

Contact the CEO

Director of IT - Mike Laffan

Mike Laffan joined the society in July 2006.

Prior to joining the society, he worked in operations, IT, and auditing in a number of commercial, retail, and entertainment organisations, including Bupa, Eurostar, Granada, and Mecca Leisure.

Mike leads the underlying operational services of the society, which includes IT Services, buildings management, security, data protection, and health and safety.

Contact the Director of IT

Director of Communications and Engagement - Rachel Dufton

Rachel Dufton joined the BPS in September 2018.

As Director of Communications and Engagement she has responsibility for all internal and external communications and stakeholder engagement.

Rachel has worked in senior communications roles for a range of high profile professional bodies, charities and regulators across the health sector.

She led communications functions at the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the children’s charity Ambitious about Autism, and the Royal College of Nursing where she won several UK and international awards including the Chartered Institute of Public Relations ‘Outstanding In-House Team of the Year’.

Contact the Director of Communications and Engagement

Director of Membership, Professional Development and Standards - Karen Beamish

Karen 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 and Training
  • Quality Assurance 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.

Contact the Director of Membership and Professional Development

Head of Legal and Governance - Christine Attfield

Christine Attfield joined the BPS in January 2019 and leads on all legal and governance issues.

She is a solicitor and part ICSA qualified, and has worked in a variety of roles within private practice, industry and Higher Education.

Most recently she has worked as Director of Legal and Employment Services for Home-Start UK, a leading family support charity and as a commercial lawyer for the University of Birmingham.

Contact the Head of Legal and Governance

Change Programme Director and Deputy Chief Executive - Diane Ashby

Diane Ashby joined the society in March 2019 to lead the BPS Change programme.

She started her career in retail and worked in store management for Marks and Spencer and a number of senior roles in The Body Shop.

She has experience in both the private and public sector and has managed a diverse set of customer-facing services including contact centres, shops, warehouses, libraries, highways operations and waste services.

She has also driven a number of major transformational change programmes, implementing new operating models, business systems, process improvements and cultural change.

Contact the Change Programme Director

Director of Knowledge and Insight - Debra Malpass

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.

She 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.

Contact the Director of Knowledge and Insight

The society has four main boards which report to the Board of Trustees, each with a specific area of responsibility.

These boards are made up of society members, and their chairs serve on the Board of Trustees.

Each board also contains a number of sub-committees and working parties.

Please click the appropriate link below for more information on the remit and responsibilities of each individual board:

A number of other bodies also advise the Board of Trustees:

Two standing committees:

And three sub-committees:

  • The Finance Commitee

  • The Risk and Assurance Committee

  • The HR Committee

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