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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.


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

Director of Finance and Resources - Phil Hodgett FCCA

Phil joined the BPS in August 2021 and is responsible for Finance, HR and procurement.

Phil has senior management experience gained with a number of large and medium-sized charities in the areas of cancer support, cancer research and professional membership, each of which had trading subsidiaries.

Before returning to his home town in Stamford, Phil was fortunate enough to have worked with a group comprising social businesses and charities providing services for those who are less fortunate or with fewer opportunities, which included mental health, homelessness and working with schools and nurseries.

Phil has recently completed six years on the board of a housing association in the North West of England, specialising in social housing, learning disabilities and independent living.

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