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BPS Policy Unit

The best way to have your say

24 May 2018 | by BPS Policy Unit

Please welcome back Kathryn Scott, our Director of Policy & Communications, with this piece encouraging you to submit your campaign ideas for October's new senate.

The Senate is a really significant development for the Society and one that will help us to have more impact and to be more representative of what is important to our members.

There’s now just over a month to go for you and your member network to submit your campaign ideas for consideration ahead of October's inaugural meeting.

As Psychologists we study human behaviour. And that means we have something to say about lots of current issues.

What is the news if not reports on human behaviour? What are laws and policies if not guidelines for how humans should behave? A quick glance at today’s top stories – NHS funding, North Korean diplomacy, the Met police’s use force against black people and school performance – and I could imagine a Psychologist adding insightful comment to all of them.

But by trying to follow every story we spread ourselves too thin. To simply comment is not enough. We need to make clear arguments and provide relevant and usable evidence to back up our recommendations. We need to build relationships with important stakeholders and find out when and how decisions are being made and by who and then work out where we can add pressure.

Change takes time and we need to dedicate ourselves to making a significant difference on a select number of issues before moving on.

That’s why we are asking all our member networks – and by extension all our members – to tell us what are the burning issues that the BPS can really make a difference on in the next two years. What are the political opportunities that we could exploit to make that change and what is the powerful evidence that cannot be ignored.

We want to hear from you so that we can develop a focussed policy agenda is driven by the membership.

We’ve taken some inspiration from other membership organisations who have harnessed the power of coming together behind one issue.

The Women’s Institute, for example, encourages every branch to submit a resolution to an annual meeting, where members select a campaign for the year ahead. The WI has campaigned on everything from Climate Change to Equal Pay over the past 100 years, but the process means that the entire membership of the WI is focussed on the same campaign objective rather than each smaller branch pursuing its own agenda.

Our process is designed around the expertise of our members. The templates we have developed will guide you through the process and help draw out all the information that the senate will need to decide which ideas to take forward.

The Policy Unit is on hand to provide advice and help you think through your idea, and I’d encourage every member to talk to their member network chair if you have an idea for a campaign.

This is an important step in increasing the impact of Psychology on public policy.

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