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Karen Beamish

Grade A

30 September 2020 | by Karen Beamish

Last month I introduced our member grade review and was delighted to see so much interest from members, so this time I thought it would be good to cover the timeline and some of the detail of why we’re doing it – and how we’re going to move forward.

We’re now into the main section of the review, where we’re beginning to put in the research and design work needed to produce a framework of what the new grades are going to look like.

We want principles of co-creation to underpin our member journey, including the grade review, so it is being led by our newly-formed member board and there will be opportunities for you to guide us throughout the process.

Some members have asked me why reviewing our grades is important and necessary. I think it all comes back to four key points.

The first one is simply that this hasn’t been done for quite some time. Our grades were last reviewed back in 1989, while the majority of professional bodies similar to the BPS carry this out every three to five years.

This means that not all of our grades accurately reflect the people we represent – that’s what you told us during the early stages of the member journey project, during our co-creation summits and digital workshops.

Many of you told us that you find our grades confusing, and we’ve learned that this confusion is reflected throughout the market and with employers. Aspects of what we offer are often confused with the role of the HCPC.

Our grades are currently qualification-led, but our profession has changed significantly since they were devised, and we’d now benefit from a much more competency-based system.

This means making routes to chartership, and our other member grades, much more flexible and inclusive, about the skills and competencies that our members have rather than the qualifications that they’ve got, which were often earned a long time ago and may no longer be as relevant.

We also lack a simple function for corporate membership of the BPS, meaning that we’re unable to engage with other organisation and stakeholders as much as we would like to.

Members have told us that one size does not fit all, and the member benefits that you’re receiving are often not relevant and not personalised to your careers.

Speaking of careers, we know that we need to do a big piece of work looking specifically at the careers advice, help and mentoring that we offer, and this will be the focus of next month’s blog.

Promoting and supporting the profession begins in schools and, as I mentioned last month, we’ve been working with the Association for the Teaching of Psychology on a new toolkit for psychology teachers that is now available for free on our website.

September was an exciting month for us as BPS Learn went live on the 16th September. BPS Learn is our new virtual learning environment. It’s early in its evolution, but we are excited to make this significant move, future-proofing the delivery of our CPD and assessments for the society’s qualifications programme.  We will keep you updated on progress on this, but keep your eyes peeled for information regarding new programmes.

We’ll be contacting members with a more formal consultation process on the draft framework and grade descriptions that we produce, but we want you to have your say throughout the process, so if you have any thoughts or ideas please get in touch with our member journey team or join the Member Connect online community.


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